41 Little Collins Street Melbourne, Victoria 3000
|Opening hours||Daily noon-3pm, 5pm-10pm|
|Features||Accepts bookings, Bar, Business lunch, Family friendly, Gluten-free options, Groups, Licensed, Long lunch, Private dining, Pre-post-theatre, Romance-first date, Vegetarian friendly, Wheelchair access|
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
|Chef||Marco Lori, Stephen Phillips|
|Payments||Diner's Club, eftpos, AMEX, Visa, Mastercard|
|Phone||03 9639 0333|
Dancing with wolves is undoubtedly dangerous, yet little seems safer in Melbourne than booking this confident new Italian bistro. 'Lupino' is Italian for 'little wolf', which explains the neon wolf head above Lupino's wooden front door. The menu is classically familiar, the service is sure, the wines tick the regions, and yet the vibe and fitout is modern Melbourne in a reassuringly retro way. You might begin with baked polpetti drenched in sugo, or a generous serving of gnocchi swimming in rich gorgonzola cheese, or taglierini ribbons with prawns, mussels, tomato and torn basil. Sharing might prove difficult on small rectangular tables, but reach out nonetheless for liberal tagliata, chunks of porterhouse on a bed of drizzled rocket, or apply home-made chilli oil to fire up chewy pizza with Sicilian anchovies. Creamy tiramisu, or cassata with cherries will fortify you for roaming the Melbourne night. Lupino already feels as if it's been with us for years.