Cafe di Stasio has been open for almost 25 years now, right in the middle of the cheap and tacky burger joints and bars on Fitzroy street it stands out for its sheer classiness. There’s stiff white table cloths and white jacketed waiters but the mood is more celebratory than stuffy in the dark and cosy little restaurant. It’s a perfect date night venue for me and MTV.
|Spaghetti with crab|
The menu is classic Italian with some modern touches. A trio of fat, lightly tanned scallops ($29) have been oven baked in their shells and given some crunch with a topping of bread crumbs, parmesan and parsley. A tangle of spaghetti ($29) is flecked with parsley and slivers of fresh crab meat and slick with a buttery sauce.
The butter is back in the form of a golden puddle surrounding the pan fried escalope of veal ($39). It’s a bit too butter heavy for my tastes but the meat is tender and I love of the accompaniments of prosciutto, sage and three squat little cylinders of fluffy semolina gnocchi. A better dish is the evening’s special of eye fillet steak ($44) a piece of expertly aged, flavourful and exquisitely prepared prime beef. It’s a really thick cut of meat but it’s perfectly pink all the way through and comes wrapped in prosciutto and topped with a crust of pesto and breadcrumbs.
There are only a few desserts on offer but the mille foglie con mela ($17) doesn’t disappoint with its delicate layers of pastry and cream.
|Mille foglie con mela|
As you might expect the wine list is strong on Italian and Australian wines (including some bottles from Di Stasio’s own vineyard). It’s a lengthy list but it is expensive, there isn’t much around the $50 mark and the rich, hearty bottle of Punt Road Shiraz ($69) we had was one of the cheapest bottles on offer. Prices may be falling at Cafe di Stasio in the future though as the restaurant is closing in September for renovations which will extend it and give the restaurant a more casual feel. Go now for the classic Cafe di Stasio experience of classic Italian food with impeccable service.
Details: Cafe di Stasio, 31 Fitzroy street, St Kilda (Ph +61 3 9525 3999)
Damage: $236 for two.