Little has changed at Machiavelli Ristorante Italiano since 1988. The collection of politicians and CEOs photographed for the wall of fame grows, and after 28 years at the helm, founder Giovanna Toppi has retired, but the decor and menu are the same, right down to the Spaghetti Machiavelli. This is a place that’s well and truly earned the status of institution.

The menu is filled with Italian classics: penne bolognese, crumbed calamari, caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and olives. But staying the same doesn’t mean Machiavelli is resting on its laurels. Unflagging attention to craft and freshness is the secret to Machiavelli’s success.

Fish deliveries happen twice daily, so the grilled John Dory is impeccably fresh. Every pasta noodle, lasagne sheet and ball of gnocchi is made in-house. The minute steak is flash-cooked in the dining room.

The food is good at Machiavelli, but the people-watching is better. On any given day you might spot a prime minister (past or present), a Channel Seven anchor, or even the media company’s chairman himself, at his perpetually reserved table.

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Updated: March 23rd, 2021

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