You might remember me saying that I’d rather eat at a food court than in Hardware Lane, Melbourne. Well….did I offend someone? Yes I did! My favourite Italian place for a quick pasta. Ciao Pizza Napoli. Anton, my sincere apologies!
Really though, it’s not a Hardware Lane restaurant because it’s tucked upstairs away from everyone and everything. No sprookers (yes Hardware Lane has sprookers and I hate it) trying to entice you into this place. This place is an institution. It’s another hidden favourite. As the picture shows above, you have to walk up a few steps to get into the restaurant. Fact is Giacomo, his wife & son were the first to open a pizzeria in Melbourne’s CBD in 1968. I know, I know..Toto’s was the first pizzeria in Melbourne, but it’s in Carlton, not the CBD. They moved their pizzeria to CBD, Hardware Lane in 1988 – still husband, wife & son running the place today!
On any given day the place pumps. Good old-fashioned Italian home cooked meals and great pizzas. Always full of business men (mainly lawyers I think – they do look like lawyers) No windows you see….very private. You can have a nice bowl of pasta in private. I often take clients there for that reason.
Why do I like the place? I went in there one day because I felt like my dad’s pasta, but Dad was away. So I asked Anton to cook pasta Napoletana – which wasn’t on the menu….I have to say it was the closest sauce to my dad’s I had ever tasted. I’ve been going back ever since.
You sit down to great old-fashioned service. White paper tablecloth, wonderful hospitality. Immediately you get some bread, oil, chilli and then comes pizza garlic bread. Can you smell it? Stay as long as you like. The family enjoys having you there.
The Diners Verdict – Look, in my opinion it’s not the place you take the family for lunch or dinner. You can, but the vibe doesn’t suit. It’s a place to go and eat good food, have a glass of wine and do some business. It’s private. You can have a conversation without being interrupted or someone next to you, listening in. You should book.
Ciao Pizza Napoli
Where: 43 Hardware Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: 03 9670 1110 – Tell them Rob sent you