A nice Italian restaurant is always the perfect entree to a movie! When all we could find was a 9:40PM movie session at Jam Factory, we just knew that the stars were aligned for an Italian meal. Caffe E Cucina is one of the top rated Italian restaurants in the area, so the decision was an easy one.
Caffe E Cucina was opened in 1988 with a vision to introduce Italian hospitality to Melbourne. For a restaurant to be open for 30 years is a feat rarely achieved. Helen and I have witnessed numerous restaurants close down throughout the years, many which we considered of high quality. The restaurant business is truly cut throat, with everything having to work in harmony to have any chance of survival.
After visiting Caffe E Cucina I can understand how they stood the test of time. The service first and foremost was simply impeccable. Our dedicated waiter was quite a charmer, and had a constant smile that threatens to take your woman away. We experienced this service in Italy as well, the charm, the wittiness, and the smoothness. They make you look foolish for not tipping. Our waiter also remembered our whole order without writing anything down, and did not get one thing wrong. He was always on the ball to the point where our wine glasses were never dry, but we didn’t even notice him pour the wine!
Helen and I don’t place a huge emphasis on food authenticity, but if you’re someone who prefers authentic Italian food then Caffe E Cucina certainly delivers. The produce from the cured meats to the seafood was fresh. I couldn’t fault any of the dishes, there was nothing that steered me the other way. Picking any favourites here would come down to personal preference. I particularly enjoyed the swordfish carpaccio and linguine with seafood! The swordfish with the acidity from the grapefruit, pomegranate and tomatoes was fine tuned to perfection. An appetising entree that leaves you craving for more. The linguine with seafood was probably one of the best pastas I’ve had. Seafood already has so much natural flavour, so it’s always best to let it shine. That’s exactly what Caffe E Cucina has done. They haven’t overcomplicated this pasta and I was rewarded with fresh clean flavours. The linguine was cooked just right resulting in great texture. The respect paid to the ingredients was evident in all their dishes.
Now I did notice a little outdoor balcony outside where I was seated. This was apparently the ‘Rolls-Royce’ spot of the restaurant! It’s so special that it only fits two people. Helen and I would love to give this balcony experience a go in the future, but it does lead me to my one and only minor criticism: $230 minimum spend! I understand that they may not want two people out there sipping on water for 3 hours, but $230 sounds a bit steep indeed…
Apart from this minor criticism which technically hasn’t even affected me yet, Caffe E Cucina really is the place to be for Italian cuisine in South Yarra. These guys are without a doubt the real deal, and we cannot wait to head back!.
Caffe E Cucina
Approx $65 AUD per person
Address: 581 Chapel St, South Yarra VIC 3141
Phone: +61 3 9827 4139