Steeped in history, this Fitzroy Street favourite has become a pilgrimage for lovers of fine Italian food in Melbourne.

Di Stasio’s namesake is its owner Rinaldo (Ronnie) Di Stasio, though that’s not all the restaurant inherited from him. It’s rumoured even the front door handles - two bronze hands that reach out onto busy Fitzroy Street - are cast from the proprietor's own.

The artistic flair doesn’t end there: distressed neutral walls, with a bright splash of cobalt blue, hold dramatic masks that peer down on you as you dine.

It’s simple and intimate, but somehow the space has a theatrical air, as though it’s about to burst into an operatic aria. And, if you believe the stories, anything could happen if Mr Di Stasio is in the house.

The menu is thoroughly Italian, with suckling pig, whole roast duck and veal saltimbocca. But those in the know come for the seasonal set-lunch of two courses and wine.

With the addition of World Class venue Bar Di Stasio next door, you can either turn up early for a quick drink before your booking, or adjourn next door for an extra digestivo afterwards.

Staff are discreet and attentive, moving gracefully about the cosy space and it all feels a little bit rarefied.