We explore what Cannoli Bar, Good Gnocchi and Connie's Pizza can offer for each meal of the day.
Breakfast – Cannoli Bar
Out of the city, but into the real Melbourne food scene, Cannoli Bar isn’t a pastry store that discriminates – it’s everything good about Italian pastries under the one roof. Tucked away in residential Avondale Heights, the old-milk-bar-turned-cannolificio (cannoli store) is a quintessential Sicilian shop. The first thing you notice when you enter, beside the mouth-watering cornetti con crema, are the empty cannoli shells stacked behind a glass panel. This is always a good sign that your cannoli will be filled with sweet ricotta on the spot, nice and fresh to avoid the pastry getting soggy.
The fresh fillings mean if you’re not a traditionalist (like me) and can’t decide what flavours to try, you can pick two because they’ll pipe them one end at a time. The staff communicate in Italian and, when the sun streams in the windows, you’d think you’ve been transported to Palermo. Their cannoli are so good, I’d brave the hour-long drive for one.
23 Riviera Road, Avondale Heights
Lunch – Good Gnocchi
This hole-in-the-wall restaurant has no signs, just an A5 menu hanging on each black-tinted window, and if you gnocch on the right pane of glass, you’ll be greeted by owner of Good Gnocchi, James Eddy. Eddy and his team of cooks are slinging exactly what they promise in the name, and it’s plated up in a foil takeaway container – like the ones your school canteen meals came in.
The small menu has four sauce options on offer with a vegan/gluten free sweet potato gnocchi option too. If you’re not a psychopath and like to mop up pasta sauce with a hunk of bread like a normal person, there’s also a small five-piece loaf of garlic bread on offer (thank goodness).
124 Langridge Street, Collingwood
Dinner – Connie’s Pizza
Is Connie’s Pizza strictly Italian? Well it’s a mix of cultures, just like Melbourne. The literal hole-in-the-wall dishes up huge Italian-New York style pizza pies as an ode to owner Michael Madrusan’s Nonnina. The pizza is served up either by the slice on white plastic plates, or as an 18-inch pie in a box that just fits through the kitchen’s serving window.
You won’t find the kitchen window out on the street but rather inside Melbourne’s Russell Street bar, Heartbreaker. The pizza they serve up is like a big hug from your Nonna – it’s in no way its own restaurant, but a delicious extension of the bar – so have a slice in one hand and a beer in the other. Need a recommendation? Get the Sicilian and thank us later. Open till 3am.
234A Russell Street, CBD