PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
This Lygon Street gem is perfect for romantic dinners and group occasions alike. While other Italian haunts have embraced a more modern decor, this cafe/restaurant’s time-worn brick and antiquated wall-art make it the most rustic place on the strip. Traditional yet edgy dishes like the pear and gorgonzola risotto, the spaghetti cozzo with local mussels poached in white wine, and a large selection of cannelloni and gnocchi provide a fresh alternative to more traditional favourites, all at a reasonable price. Mixing and matching pasta and sauces is encouraged, and both entree and main sizes are available. There is an extensive non-pasta menu that includes quails topped with bacon, grilled mushrooms, rosemary and lemon sauce, Morton Bay bugs and coconut cream prawns.
The waiters have a charm that nicely complements the decor, and their knowledge and obvious love for food and wine from the old country give Pasta Rustica an authenticity that is becoming less common within Melbourne’s inflated cafe culture. The quiet inside tables provide an amorous setting for couples, while outside diners can soak up the rich bustle of Lygon Street. Pastas start from $13.90 while main dishes range from $27.90 to $34.90.