251 Brunswick St
Fitzroy, VIC 3065
This meal at Alimentari is brought to you by K! The beloved foodie in crime who, if you’ll remember, gave me an awful recommendation for Kaneda. So this is his one big chance at redemption – let’s see if he’s earned his way back into my good books…
Alimentari is the closest thing K has to a local café; Mondays see him grabbing a quick lunch from the ever-changing menu, before catching a movie at Cinema Nova. Of course, he is far from the only person for whom Alimentari is a regular haunt. Operating in the same location since 1998, there are many people who seem just as home here as they would be in their own kitchens.
Although it may be a café, Alimentari is also just as much of a deli. Aside from the seasonal brunch and lunch menus, there is also an equally vast roster of salads, wraps, and sandwiches, as well as antipasto and charcuterie plates for later in the day. Round all that off with a selection of freshly-made take-home meals, it’s no wonder that Alimentari seems to draw in anyone and everyone.
Despite the very European feel of Alimentari, my Skinny Flat White ($3.8) was balanced and drinkable, instead of the strong, bitter brew I had envisioned. It was also served at the perfect temperature, and I guzzled it so quickly that I actually contemplated ordering a second cup.
I couldn’t quite believe it myself, but after weeks of eating avocado for breakfast on most mornings, I was in the mood for something different. After consulting with K on the dishes he’s tried before, we agreed on the Persian Eggs ($18). All up, it was a good, if not outstanding plate of eggs. The scramble was moist and tender (if not the golden, silky folds that I had hoped for), and although it could’ve done with more feta and dukkah, the bites that did have it were well-complemented by the earthy, creamy flavours.
On the flip side, the Toasted Bagel ($16.5) far exceeded expectations. Despite seeming run-of-the-mill, everything on the platter was just perfect. The classic combination of chewy bagels, salty smoked salmon, and dill-flecked goat’s curd was timeless and utterly delicious, and the selection of salad, soft herbs, and capers meant that you could customise your bagel to your heart’s content. It may have been simple, but everything hit just the right note, and left me thinking about it for hours afterwards.
K admitted after our meal that he was a bit nervous bringing me here, but as it turns out, he needn’t have worried. I was absolutely smitten with the homely European charm Alimentari exudes, not to mention the unfussy, wholesome, and tasty food. And unlike many places that have been around for this long, Alimentari doesn’t seem be resting on its laurels. Its menu is constantly changing and evolving, and full of fresh, seasonal ingredients. It may not be the most innovative or exciting out there, but it strikes that balance between interesting and comforting that has customers returning time and time again.
Rating: 14/20 – more than the sum of its parts.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.