Having lived in Glen Iris for 24 years, chef Joe Di Cintio noticed a gap in the local dining scene for an elevated Italian spot. So, in May, the Sapore and Sette Bello restaurateur opened Grazia, a 100-seat Italian neighbourhood restaurant, with managers and co-owners Marco Zanone and Anton Ursini.
The new diner is in a heritage-listed block on Burke Road, right by Central Park. After a four-year renovation, the shopfront is all that remains of the space’s former life as a beauty salon. A soaring atrium ceiling fills the restaurant with natural light, which spills over the Italian marble benchtops and terrazzo floors. In the open kitchen, an imported Castelli oven – one of only two in Australia – is turning out 72-hour-fermented pizzas, including the standout Gamberoni Grazia with king prawns, rocket pesto, green olives and Di Cintio’s chilli crisp.
While Roman-style pizza is the specialty, the extensive menu also includes starters and share plates like zucchini flowers stuffed with a decadent four-cheese filling, and chargrilled octopus with ‘nduja dressing.
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There’s house-made pasta like wild-mushroom-filled tortelloni in a black truffle sauce, and potato gnocchi served with eight-hour braised beef cheek. And a handful of larger plates include crumbed milk-fed veal with roast vine-ripened tomatoes, and rolled pork belly with a celeriac puree. For something sweet, try the house-churned dark chocolate and hazelnut gelato.
A steep staircase takes you to the second level, where you’ll find another dining area and a bar. Here the team mixes up signature cocktails like the spicy Margarita with house-infused jalapeno tequila. Also on display are gems from the restaurant’s wide-ranging wine list, which features bottles from “the bottom of Sicily right up to Piedmont", as Di Cintio puts it, as well as local Australian drops.
159 Burke Rd, Glen Iris
(03) 9470 3540
Daily 12pm–11 pm