Pass through the 1890s neo-gothic facade of Melbourne’s Rialto building to find Ronnie’s, a moody and inviting Italian restaurant. Founded by Matthew Butcher (of hospitality collective ETO), the 80-seat restaurant serves up family-style plates of house-made pasta, seafood and veggie-leaning starters.

Scan the menu and you’ll find plenty of elevated Italian favourites. Starters might include fermented potato focaccia, or grilled calamari alongside crisp chickpeas, tangy buttermilk and zesty lemon. For mains, there’s a saucy, spicy vodka fusilli with whipped ricotta and breadcrumbs; gnudi (gnocchi-like ricotta dumplings) on a bed of bolognaise; or barramundi drizzled in lemon butter sauce. For dessert, it’s got to be the baked cheesecake topped with strawberry and mascarpone.

The considered wine list features around 70 bottles of mostly Italian, Australian and French wines, which are organised by grape variety, body and flavour. There’s also a dozen or so by the glass, ranging from a muscular chardonnay by Margaret River’s Voyager Estate to a fruit-driven sangiovese cabernet by King Valley’s Dal Zotto. You’ll also find a tight list of cocktails, beers on tap and a selection of spirits.

Ronnie’s sits somewhere between an elegant Italian joint in NYC and a casual trattoria in Bologna. White tablecloths play off against red-brick feature walls and a white marble bar to create a classy but relaxed atmosphere, with old-school family photos decorating the walls. The Mitchell & Eades-designed space offers seating at snug indoor tables, in private booths, up at the marble bar overlooking the kitchen, or outside on the all-seasons terrace. There’s also a private dining room, complete with parquetry floors, for special occasions. Though any occasion is sure to feel special here.

Contact Details

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Updated: April 19th, 2024

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