Pretty Penne: The Best Pasta in Melbourne

In a town with a disproportionate share of quality Italian cucinas, here are the ones that stand out.

Summer comes and goes but pasta is forever. Melbourne has long held a particular obsession with the classic Italian comfort dish in all its forms. There are no shortage of venues in the city where you can get a heartening bowl of carbs, but these are our picks of the bunch.

Trattoria Emilia

With its art-lined walls, pink-striped terrazzo floors and brightly cascading flower arrangements, Trattoria Emilia feels more homely than a restaurant—but don't let the pleasantly lived-in atmosphere fool you. The menu is a loving homage to the food of Emilia Romagna in north-eastern Italy, with rich and balanced dishes such as pork and beef ragu over tagliatelle handmade on a daily basis.

Tipo 00

With a name like Tipo 00—the flour used to make pasta—you know this venue is serious and singular in its focus. Although the pasta dishes here are ostensibly simple, the two chefs who lead the kitchen—both of whom come from some of Melbourne's most renowned fine-dining establishments—elevate tried and tested favourites with top-notch ingredients and flawless execution. Tip: don't go past the gnocchi with braised duck.

Small Axe Kitchen

Pasta for breakfast? Yes, please. Subverting the frankly ridiculous notion that pasta is a dish best relegated to the latter meals of the day, Small Axe Kitchen is—as far as we know—the only place in town pioneering the idea of pasta in the morning. The signature dish is maccaruni—a thick, noodle-shaped pasta—topped with guanciale (cured pork cheek), salted ricotta, peas, mint and a slow-cooked egg.