Good Eats

Donnini’s @ Melbourne

During my honeymoon in Italy, we met this Australian mother and daughter travelling in Italy for the first time, seeking their ancestral roots. And they told me about Lygon street.

Lygon Street in Melbourne is like Little Italy – many Italian immigrants came and made their home there. And because of the community, many Italian eateries, street food stores and restaurants opened over the years. And now it is the go-to location for authentic Italian food.


Family atmosphere

It was difficult for us to choose from a wide variety of restaurants there – pizzerias, gelato parlours, fine dining types, etc. We settled into Donnini’s because we saw families dining in there so it must be kid’s friendly.

The Lunch

The food is classic Italian with fresh made pasta and daily specials.

Start – Bruschetta


Focaccia, sliced tomatoes, basil, olive grove extra virgin olive oil (Shepparton)

Classic starter made ‘WOW’ with fantastic tomatoes grown locally. One of the things I have missed from Australia is the tomato runs I used to do – buying loads of heirloom tomatoes and various varieties before I fly home to Singapore.

Daily Special – Antipasto


Selection from salumi australia – bangalow sweet pork naturally cured meats, ligurian olives, rosemary focaccia

Beautiful presented on a wooden block of cured meats made in Australia in the Italian tradition – prosciutto ham, salami, cured beef. Served with chunks of parmesan cheese, grilled peppers in olive oil, pickled and dried zucchini and brined olives from Australia. Yummy platter of pickled starters.

Daily Special – Passatelli in brodo

Passatelli in brodo

Parmiggiano reggiano and breadcrumb pasta, chicken broth

I have not tried pasta in chicken like this before, only from Campbell’s in a can. That’s how it tasted exactly – the chicken broth was really satisfying, the noodles still had the bite. An upgraded Campbell’s chicken noodles. Now that I have mentioned it, why can’t I find that in supermarket these days, only the alphabet soup version?

Pasta – Tris di pasta donnini

Tris di pasta donnini

Donini’s selection of three pastas – gnocchi al pomodoro, tortelli di ricotta, tagliatelle al ragu nostro

All pastas are hand made daily using free range eggs and durum wheat. The gnocchi uses san marzano tomatoes, delicious. The tortelli of spinach and ricotta is cooked in cream of mascarpone. And the tagliatelle uses a traditional ragu recipe and freshly grated parmigiana reggiano. Even though it is a tasting plate, nothing was prepped beforehand, all freshly cooked.

Salads – Verdure


Spring greens, lemon, EVOO

The simplest dish of the day. Came with the mains.

Mains – Grigliata di pesce misto

Grigliata di pesce misto

Market inspired mixed grill of seafood with two fillets, skewered prawns, hawkesbury calamari, scallops served with salad

Coming from an island blessed with the freshest seafood to the largest island in the world, what can I say about this mixed seafood grill – disappointing. I have learnt since then not to order seafood in a Western setting – they tend to overcook all the seafood. The flavours and freshness were good, but we were disappointed by the excessive grilling to get that char and caramelisation. Not needed especially when the seafood is fresh.

Just my opinion, don’t flame me because I don’t enjoy the Western way of preparing seafood. One man’s meat is another’s poison – just like the current Western view about wet markets in Asia – please don’t force us to live the way you want just because you don’t agree with how we have lived for such a long time. Wet markets have evolved and given time, it will evolve and improve.

320 Lygon St, Carlton, Melbourne
Tel : (03) 9347 3128

Date Visited : Dec 2014

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