Umberto Espresso Bar
At this tiny espresso bar and restaurant, you’ll likely be greeted by proprietor Marco Finanzio, or his father Umberto, who the venue is named after. It’s a welcome that sets the scene for this locally-focused hide-away.
The dark-wood panelled space is lined by a long espresso bar (coffee is by Genovese) down one wall which is mirrored by intimate tables space along the other. There's a cosy courtyard out the back.
The menu is compact and beautifully executed, with pasta dishes that rival any nonna’s (such as the broccoli and chilli penne). Specials of the day are chalked up on the walls. Make a note: they are "special" and when a dish is sold out for the night, it’s gone.
Finanzio is proud of his family heritage – both Italian and Australian. Umberto moved to Thornbury 50 years ago from Calabria and opening an authentic Italian espresso bar was a dream for this father/son team.
The hearty home fare is complemented by a tidy list of Italian and Australian wines, and of course, beers. If you're keen to kick on, Finanzio's bar, Joanie's Baretto is a few doors up. It's named after his Australian-born mother.
A recipe from Umberto's is featured in The Broadsheet Italian Cookbook. Buy your copy at shop.broadsheet.com.au.