Thirty Eight Chairs South Yarra
Thirty Eight Chairs is tiny. Owner Gino Forlano wouldn’t have it any other way. Just like in Italy, the close-spaced tables increase the chances you’ll get to know your neighbours; and maybe even share a bottle of wine with them.
Building on recipes passed down from his nonna, Forlano has created a menu that pays homage to all the family classics. Don’t expect to find any pizza here. Instead pasta is made fresh daily and cooked to a “nonna-soft texture” rather than al dente. The reginette ricce al ragu di anatra, or duck ragu, is a customer favorite.
The romantic lighting and furnishings are reminiscent of a local trattoria, too. The walls are covered in traditional Italian knick-knacks and toys brought back from Italy by the staff. Celebrating a birthday? Prepare to be serenaded by the whole restaurant using Forlano’s tambourine, which hangs from a rack on the ceiling.
Bookings are essential, but don’t worry: there are actually more than just 38 chairs in the house. Otherwise, you can always get your fix at the newer Thirty Eight Chairs in Carlton.