An eating guide to Carlton

The spiritual home of Melbourne’s Italian community is still one of the best places in the country to shop for food and drink coffee like an Italian.

By Michael Harden
DOC Delicatessen

DOC Delicatessen
Any business with a glass-walled, climate-controlled room for keeping its prosciutto and other salumi in tip-top condition and that treats its equally impressive array of cheese - from aged parmesan to fresh mozzarella - with similar care is a friend of ours. 330 Lygon St, Carlton, (03) 9347 8482,

Baker D Chirico
Undulating joinery makes this one of the 'hood's most beautiful shops, but there's beauty, too, in Daniel Chirico's range of sourdough bread (from wholemeal to fruit loaf), custard-filled bomboloni and queue-attracting seasonal fare such as panettone. 178 Faraday St, Carlton, Vic, (03) 9349 3445,

Donati's Fine Meats
The strains of Italian opera, owner Leo Donati's bracingly frank manner and some of the finest rabbit, veal, pork and pork products in Melbourne make this butcher shop, here since the 1960s, a Carlton landmark. 402 Lygon St, Carlton, Vic, (03) 9347 4948

There are other artisanal coffee makers in Carlton (Faraday Street's Market Lane Coffee, for example), but nothing beats the marble-and-brass Roman style of Brunetti. The coffee's solid - kind of like you'd find in Italy - the experience unforgettable. 380 Lygon St, Carlton, Vic, (03) 9347 2801,

Owner and gelato-maker Lisa Valmorbida went to Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna and returned with a purist approach - nothing frozen, whole milk and only fresh fruit for flavouring. The result is gorgeously textured gelato scooped from lidded pozzetti. The pistachio is remarkable and there's also a Nutella fountain. Generous servings, too. 299 Lygon St, Carlton, Vic, (03) 9347 4596,

Kaprica Pietro
Pietro Barbagallo makes Sicilian-style pizza with care and skill in this rustic former garage. There's pasta, too, and Americanos, but the pizze are non-negotiable, from simple Margheritas to fancier pies such as salmone with mascarpone and roe. 19 Lincoln Sq, Carlton, Vic, (03) 9347 1138

Two forthcoming Carlton ventures are quickening pulses: the reopening of the refurbished and expanded King & Godfree deli and wine store in early 2018, and a new Sicilian 100-seater called Mr Pietro by Kaprica's Pietro Barbagallo.