Matteo's

533 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy North, Victoria

All Details
Hospitable flair: Matteo's is a stayer.
Hospitable flair: Matteo's is a stayer. Photo: Ken Irwin

Dani Valent

A mature and satisfying restaurant culture needs buzzy newies, but it also needs restaurants like Matteo's. For 20 years, Matteo's has balanced consistency and innovation, striving for high standards ahead of saturation coverage. Proprietor Matteo Pignatelli grew up in the northern suburbs, making pizzas in his family's takeaway shops; he's a genial presence here and in Melbourne's broader hospitality scene. He's watched them come and go, and through it all, he's welcomed diners into his glamorous restaurant.

Chef Brendan McQueen has led the kitchen for 10 years. His food is original, mixing French and Japanese (and other Asian) flavours and methods. The combinations are robust rather than whimsical. Think miso and bisque, roulade and daikon, or polenta-crusted tofu. It can be a bit out-there, but it can also be sublime. A seafood tasting plate stars seared tuna, dotted with spiky wasabi mayo and anchovy-salty olive tapenade. Both condiments amplify the richness of the fish. Also on the plate, a dainty carpaccio of octopus tentacles is topped with octopus and prawn dumpling bound with bechamel sauce. The third element is a terrine of citrus-cured salmon; its creme fraiche and fine herbs say France, but the Chinese broccoli-leaf wrapper tells a different story.

I think some plates have too much going on. Rolled rabbit mousse is a good medium for spicy Korean flavours, but a sauce and two condiments introduce coconut, tomato, kimchi, coriander, parmesan and lime, muddying the integrity of the dish. An earthy dessert demonstrates McQueen's knack with textures and sweet-savoury collisions, partnering chestnut and mascarpone cream with cocoa nib ''granola'' and beetroot sorbet. There are plainer dishes (steak, chocolate fondant), but you can almost hear the resigned sigh that accompanies the imperative to put these crowd-pleasers on the menu.

The seafood tasting plate.
The seafood tasting plate. Photo: Ken Irwin

The wine list offers interesting drinking and excellent value. Service is smooth and gracious. Creature comforts include upholstered chairs. Longevity requires working the angles. Matteo's has function spaces, a relaxed Sunday lunch offering, and respectful vegetarian and children's menus. It's professional and hospitable, offering sophistication with a cheeky wink, and plenty of reasons to return.

Rating: Four stars (out of five)

Rate this restaurant

Rate this restaurant:

Use [left] and [right] keys to rate, [enter] to submit, [esc] to cancel.

Rate this restaurant with 0.5 a star Rate this restaurant with 1 star Rate this restaurant with 1.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 2 stars Rate this restaurant with 2.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 3 stars Rate this restaurant with 3.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 4 stars Rate this restaurant with 4.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 5 stars

Write a review

Thanks for voting!

Write a review

533 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy North, Victoria

  • Cuisine - Contemporary, French, Japanese
  • Prices - Entrees, $19-$26; mains, $40-$44; desserts, $20-$24
  • Features - Accepts bookings, Licensed, BYO
  • Chef(s) - Brendan McQueen
  • Owners - Matteo Pignatelli
  • Cards accepted - AMEX, Mastercard, Visa, EFTPOS
  • Opening Hours - Sun-Thurs 6pm-9.30pm; Fri-Sat 6pm-10pm; Sun-Fri noon-3pm
  • Author - Dani Valent
Close map

Similar Restaurants

Venison, leek, blueberries and cocoa.

The Rose Upstairs

13/20

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Reader ratings (9)

Saint Crispin

15/20

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Reader ratings (36)

The Town Mouse

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Reader ratings (9)

3 comments so far

  • They also do a vegan degustation menu which is absolutely incredible.

    Commenter
    SC
    Location
    Date and time
    April 14, 2014, 1:29PM
  • I was here last night for the Degustation "set menu of small tastes over 4 courses....with 100ml taste of each matched wine (7)" delicious ! — I am always thrilled to be dining there. Maybe a quick 2-course lunch or thoroughly indulgent dinner degustation
    . Matteo & staff ALWAYS serve up a wonderful experience. My on-going thanks for helping me enjoy total 'food love'. —

    Commenter
    TheAgeOfLiving
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    April 14, 2014, 1:41PM
  • I was here recently, celebrating my husbands birthday. I remembered the food to be wonderful, service to be excellent and consistency second to none.
    I can't wait to go back. I have been looking for a restaurant to have my birthday at, and am tempted to go back to Matteo's based on how fabulous our last experience was.
    There is a reason they have been around for as long as they have.
    Go if you've not experienced hospitality the way you should!

    Commenter
    LoveIt
    Location
    Docklands
    Date and time
    April 14, 2014, 3:45PM

Make a comment

You are logged in as [Logout]

All information entered below may be published.

Error: Please enter your screen name.

Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Please enter your comment.

Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

Post to

You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

Thank you

Your comment has been submitted for approval.

Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

Most viewed restaurants in Sydney

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Melbourne

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Brisbane

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Canberra

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Promotions

The modern foodie picnic is about much more than a spread of roast chook and potato salad.

Jock Zonfrillo creates authentic Australian cuisine just by doing what comes naturally.