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It was a happy day when I discovered a little slice of gelati heaven called MaPo. What was less happy was the fact that this discovered occurred approximately a week before lockdown started. And whilst MaPo stayed open throughout those dark months, I unfortunately did not live within 5km, or even 10km, and hence was forced to be MaPo-less for the entire time. But now that we’re all vaccinated and out and about, I was back at MaPo in a flash, ready to get all those gelato fixes I was denied for so long. And yes, you can consider this a spoiler to what I think of MaPo.

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Toki Italian Inspired

In between running wedding-related errands, we ducked into Toki Italian Inspired for a quick refuelling stop. Although located fairly close to the CBD, Toki is actually tucked away into a quiet side street, away from the restaurant-heavy side of Darlinghurst and Surry Hills. Judging by its proximity to office buildings, polite décor, and the general lack of hubbub at dinnertime, I get the impression that Toki mostly functions as a corporate lunch spot, plus the occasional takeaway dinner for locals.

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Pizza Fritta 180

Picture this: pizza, but deep fried. But not that horrible American thing where they coat it in a thick layer of batter before dunking it into vat of oil. Think instead Neapolitan-styled pizzas filled with gourmet ingredients, flash-fried until golden and puffy. Intrigued? So was I, and that’s why I’m here at Pizza Fritta 180. Every time I wander through the area, I can’t help but notice Pizza Fritta. Located right on the corner of a busy intersection, the bustling al fresco dining (bolstered cleverly by pedestrians waiting at the intersection) and vivid mural seems to promise a great time, and that’s not even taking into account the fried pizza bit.

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Frankie’s Pizza

I’ve been out clubbing exactly once in my life. Twice, if you generously count the time where a mate booked out a small dive bar for his birthday party. And that one time was enough to teach me that my penchant for good food does not stop after midnight. Unfortunately for me, the one time I went proper-clubbing was in Sydney, and by the time we emerged on the wrong side of 1am, kebabs and Maccas were the only options available. Growing up in Melbourne meant that I was used to wine bars and supper clubs open to the crack of dawn on weekends, if not around the clock, this came as a rather unpleasant shock. But once place I…

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The worst thing about being away from Melbourne during Covid – aside from not seeing my friends and family and y’know, the death and disease – was the fear that all the amazing restaurants I’ve yet to try will have shut down during my involuntary exile. And whilst many restaurants certainly bit the dust, Pentolina was not one of them, and now dining is (more or less) back, it seems just as popular as ever. Pentolina embodies everything I love about dining in Melbourne – its unexpected retro glamour tucked away next to a parking garage, the effortless old-world European comfort it exudes, and of course, the warm welcome and hospitality from each and every one of the staff.

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Westwood Pizza

I first came across Westwood Pizza via my favourite way for discovering new restaurants; that’s to say, completely accidentally. We were on our way out from a delicious dinner at Continental Deli when I spotted the tiny little shop across the road with a pizza oven tucked into the back. It certainly didn’t look like much, but one peek inside at the succinct menu scrawled onto the chalkboard changed my mind – honey, smoked eel, black garlic – the pizza toppings (not all on the same pizza of course!) read like the shopping list for a fancy deli, and doubled my resolve to visit.

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