Lunch Mon-Fri noon-3pm;
Dinner Mon-Sat 6pm-9.30pm
Florentino is a Melbourne institution that continues to build, rather than rest, on its reputation. It's indulgent but not intimidating, respectfully rooted in tradition - the room's 84-year-old Renaissance-themed murals and wood panelling helping set that scene - yet also contemporary and exciting. The food is better than ever, from the deceptively simple (a tiny rustic chicory fritter, say, or luxurious egg-yolk and smoked ricotta ravioli) to the brilliantly modish (roast pork topped with glassy crackling, with a purée of cabbage and cider; a startlingly good trifle of black-sesame sponge, mandarin, and Campari meringue). Quiet theatrical flourishes - the sommelier solemnly rinsing each glass with a small splash of wine before pouring, a chunk of Reggiano cut from a wheel rolled out on a trolley, thick drops of 25-year-old balsamic poured from a tiny bottle - contribute to the Florentino holding its own as one of the city's best.
2 courses $65 (lunch only), 4 courses $140, 6 courses $160