Not so friendly at Fatto Bar and Cantina

A child unfriendly restaurant could be a positive thing. If you don’t have children or want to escape your own children and other people’s for a night a restaurant which positively discourages kids could only be a good thing.  But if you do want to bring your baby or child along to eat out with you, I wouldn’t recommend Fatto, the Italian “bar and cantina” at the Arts Centre, Melbourne.  The restaurant is a lot more casual than the short lived Trocadero, which it replaces at the complex but not so laid back that it welcomes children. 

Rabbit gnocchi at Fatto

I went there for an early dinner with my friend Claire and our babies.  We had a 5.30pm booking (who else but parents would eat at that time!) and were told we had to be done by 7pm.  I’d asked when booking if it was ok to bring the babies and was told it was although there were no highchairs.  I explained there would be two prams so an outside table would be best or one with a lot of space.  But when we arrived with prams in tow the waitress gave me a look as if I had just asked her to pick her nose and eat it and spent ages “setting up” a table inside.  The restaurant was empty apart from a few couples but she said all the spacious, vacant, outdoor tables were unavailable.

Arancini at Fatto
Arancini at Fatto

Our table turned out to be restaurant Siberia, in the far corner next to the toilets and necessitating manouvering the prams past every other table in the restaurant to get in and out.  Throughout our meal the babies were really well behaved and didn’t cry or disturb the other diners at all but the wait staff couldn’t really have been more unfriendly if they tried.

Octopus at Fatto

It’s a shame because the food was excellent.  Tiny little crisp arancini balls were gooey and soft inside with a comfort food combination of salted cod and risotto rice ($13).  Octopus ($8) was meltingly tender served in a slick of oil with warm salty olives and chilli.


The pasta was simple and elegant.  Egg yolk yellow strands of spaghettini were topped with delicate flakes of spanner crab and crusty fried breadcrumbs ($26) while fluffy squares of gnocchi ($25) sopped up the rich juices of rabbit wrapped in prosciutto and cooked with Marsala.  Fatto is a great restaurant, as long as you don’t try to bring your kids.

Details: Fatto Bar & Cantina, River Terrace, Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne (Ph 03 8698 8800) Open 11am – late. 
Damage: Reasonable. 
Children: No.  Children are allowed but this is not a kid friendly restaurant.  
5/10 Fatto Bar & Cantina on Urbanspoon


  1. Great review Gourmet Chick! Spot on. It is such an amazing Melbourne location and has the potential to be a superb and long standing Melbourne institution. Service…..hmmmmmmm!

  2. The food looks great but I would not be in a hurry to eat there with that type of attitude.
    How rude, when your spending in money in someones establishment they should respect you enough to make it a positive experience.

  3. Average food at best. Overpriced. Will go out of business shortly with that attitude.

  4. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience Gourmet Chick – but I think you must’ve caught them on a bad day! I’ve been to Fatto a dozen times – including once with a 1 year old – and the service is usually excellent. They bring out crayons for the kids to draw on the table cloths and are usually extremely accommodating. Plus the food is amazing! 🙂

  5. Great review! I almost went there for dinner last night before a show, but we ran out of time and had to go elsewhere. Glad to know the food is good but I’m now a bit wary about the service…

    1. we went last night and my friends from perth commented on the impecable service. it was amazing food and service. sounds like mum with pram is precious to be honest

  6. Shame that you had disappointing service, but the fact that they told you they didn’t have highchairs should have been a clue that it wasn’t really child friendly.

    1. Mrs B – You’re right (I’m still getting the hang of this dining with children business) although they could have said that children were not encouraged.

      1. you took children to a posh place on the yarra. hmmmm

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