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Massi is Melbourne's best Italian restaurant

We’re spoilt for choice of Italian cuisine here in Melbourne – there’s no denying. It seems somehow most evident when your stomach cries for a loving bowl of pasta and nothing else will do. We have pizza bars, gnocchi bars, cantinas and cucinas, just waiting to feed you. And then, there’s Massi. 

Image source: 
Holly Hawkins

Gorgeous – although simple in its description – is the perfect word to describe this Italian restaurant. Serving Southern Italian cuisine (from owner Joseph Vargetto’s dearly cherished Sicilian heritage), Massi seats a sweet 50 guests – just perfect for the closely confined intimacy that the restaurant welcomes its diners to be a part of each day. Massi stands tall with respect to tradition. With an admirable dedication to the delicacy of Italian cooking and it’s family-like staff striding through the restaurant in crisp ironed shirts and black vests – it feels as if you've known them forever.
 
Although with fine respect for tradition comes alongside a modern flare seamlessly intertwined throughout; exemplified by their arancini with basil pesto served in adorable trays with special pockets for each one. It also shines through their undefined tables and leather booths where conversations combine and friendships are bound over appreciation for culture and honest food.
 
Massi’s Wagyu bresaola carpaccio presents a mesmerising pattern waving against the plate, and is just one of many instances in which Massi creates something delicate, and beautiful.
 
Pastas are kept to a minimal selection and all represent the true beauty of Italian cooking – crafted with a few good-quality ingredients used carefully and considerately. Nothing is overdone at Massi with intense flavours or masses of the unnecessary. Massi cooks with love and a confident knowledge of what is needed and what is not.
 
Massi’s pappardelle with braised beef osso bucco, tomato ragu and ricotto salata can only be compared to falling in love with at first sight. And their pansotti of veal, lemon, rosemary and porcini sauce is a flavour so classically Sicilian but yet to be found elsewhere in Melbourne. A mention although must go to their pumpkin ravioli which is assured to linger in your dreams. It may seem silly to mention – as obvious as it lies – that the pasta at Massi is handcrafted fresh each morning.
 
Secondis offer fish, veal, lamb neck or scotch and eye fillet. All are cooked simply, yet are resoundingly beautiful. So too is their desert menu of tiramisu, gelati or connolo.
 
When dining at Massi, you feel a part of something much larger than just lunch, or dinner. Although it can be overwhelming with the abundance of Italian eateries around town, Massi sits somewhere above the rest with a little more fresh pasta, a lot more allure, and their own special flare of the traditional, classic, and the gorgeous.

Find Massi on 445 Little Collins St, Melbourne.