Cugini’s – The Overview…
Cute little Italian
At first glance Cugini’s has that cute little Italian vibe that would feel right at home on Lygon street. However, moving further into the venue you’ll find a much more expansive restaurant/bar with an exciting menu that wants to be far more than your traditional pizzeria.
Moving on from his first venue, Pizza Strada and Bar, Daniel and his team are now bringing their awesome pizza dough and regional Italian pasta dishes to Fitzroy.
Entrees and Spritz
After arriving you’ll quickly be served their signature entree, arancini balls with a Sugo sauce and fried pizza dough. It’s a great way to sample some of their key flavours and it will help you work out what kind of food you’re in the mood for.
Next up you’ll probably want to order some drinks. Cugini’s signature spritz bar is definitely where you’ll want to start. They’re light little cocktails that pair perfectly with the food on offer. I opted for the Elderflower Spritz and I loved the floral undertones and zingy freshness. There’s a good range of other alcohol on offer too if you weren’t in the mood for a spritz.
Pizza and pasta
We decided to try a pizza and a pasta. Helpfully supported by our server who suggested we opt for one white sauce based dish and one red sauce if we were planning to share, we settled on the Pizza Bianca and the Agnolotti.
The pizza was exactly my thing. A beautifully thin (but not too thin) wood fired crust with plenty of air bubbles, the toppings were strong but simple. I loved the flavour of the mushrooms infused into every bite. I was a little dubious about pizza without a tomato sauce but it worked so well and I’m glad I was persuaded to give this one a try.
The pasta was a filling dish. The chicken and cheese filled pasta pockets were lightly spiced and the sweet pomodoro sauce complemented them so well. I’d say to make sure you’re hungry when opting for a pasta (or be prepared to take some home) as the servings are very generous, although they do offer entree sizes too if you wanted something a little lighter.
We finished up our meal with the cannoli and tiramisu – two very contrasting dessert options. The huge serve of creamy layered tiramisu was totally indulgent. Lee wolfed it down – enjoying the creamy richness. Having already overindulged enough on pizza, I stuck more to the lighter cannoli. The cannoli had a thin crispy shell and there was a plesant depth of flavour to the ricotta cream. It was a fresh little dessert that would make an ideal sharing dessert too alongside an after dinner (Community Roasters) coffee.
We also sneaked away with a takeaway Diavola pizza. This tasted just as delicious reheated the next day (on the sandwich press in case anyone is wondering). It had a nice spicy zing to it, a little saltiness from the olives and lots of flavour in the sauce.
Cugini’s should easily be one of those places that’s a community hub. With its affordable pizzas and well stocked bar it offers a great environment for everything from family dinner to cocktails with the girls. Its slightly out of the way location makes it a bit of a hidden gem at the moment so get there quick so you can brag to all your friends about who found this fab little restaurant/bar first.
Address: 350 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy
Parking: There is some parking outside, and parking directly on Nicholson Street is probably the best option. There is parking around on selected side streets but just be mindful of time limits and permit zones. It’s at the tail end of the shops so it’s less hectic that most of the nearby area.
Getting here on PT: Your best PT option is a 96 tram which goes right past the door (alight at Kay Street), although the 11 could be an option too with just the short walk to Nicholson Street.
Disclaimer: We dined as guests of Cugini’s, Fitzroy. Reviews are honest and based on our own personal experiences. We cannot guarantee things at a venue won’t change including, but not limited to, menu items and opening hours, so please confirm any details with the venue before visiting.