Eating with the AU: La Svolta Italian Restaurant – Prahran and Hampton (Melbourne)

As I enter La Svolta I am warmly welcomed by owners Valerio Calabro and Giuseppe ‘Pino’ Russo and I immediately feel like I’ve come to an Italian home as my hand is shook, names are vocalised and I am ushered outside to their new, ready for summer, dining space to eat and drink their exclusive new menu range.

La Svolta means ‘turning point’ because the owners ventured to Australia with a vision to bring the fresh flavours of their homeland to the other side of the world and I can assure you, be glad they did because when you visit here your stomach will be happy. Tonight is truly an Italian affair with traditional Italian aperitivo’s paired with a live Italian duet playing acoustic music to fill the air around us.

All the restaurant recipes and techniques are passed down from our Mammas and Nonnas, Pappas and Nonnos, creating a truly special dining experience. Tonight, the scene is set to a treat, and my friend and I sit down to sample their new menu whilst drinking Campari cocktails as well as some bubbly champagne. The tables are graced with traditional white clothes, umbrellas and a partly rustic look transcends upon us although we are not sure about the graffiti on the walls around us. We start tonight’s meal with arancini balls (scrumptious), a delicious salad of chickpeas with salsa and rocket as well as an octopus salad – all mouth watering.

Continuing on with beef tartare which was divine (and I don’t normally eat raw meat), fish skewers and pizza. I feel I need to talk more about their pizza selection because its thin yet lightly thick, soft and fluffy with amazing lashings of mozzarella cheese and various other spreads such as minced lamb, vegetarian options, prosciutto and traditional marguerita . La Svolta is proud to be one of only a handful of pizzerias in Australia that hold the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) Accreditation, as awarded by the official association in Naples. This means they make pizza the real, Napoli way. I’m actually salivating as I write this and wondering how quick I can head back to their kitchen. Pizza prices range from $13 to $25.

We also sample prosciutto on its own (I actually had seconds of this which is not a meal option I normally choose as I haven’t enjoyed past experiences of the meat), chicken wings in a salsa/tomato dressing, tender turkey pieces (so succulent and soft with a truly delicious taste), a sausage that was perhaps sautéed in red wine and it tasted like a divine mince all wrapped up in a sausage parcel (yum) and finally, bruschetta. To literally top all that off, we discovered Nutella pizza! The dough was just sweet enough and overall the pizza wasn’t too sacchariferous at all. This pizza is topped off with strawberries and I insist you must order it when you visit, seriously. Yum.

As we listen to the band and watch the sun set the fairy lights come on to give the new summer dining area a better feel about it than the actual location it is in, our tummies are full and we knew we would be coming back to taste more of the seasonally driven items on their menu. If you cannot get to their Prahran venue hopefully you can try their second place in Hampton. The new summer area is open now to experience although you will need to check if it’s a smokers paradise or not.

Prices seem to be in the medium range and won’t break the budget but for food as deliscious as this, its really worth every penny.

I also recommend the sunday night menu – every Sunday night at La Svolta Prahran, enjoy continual antipasto dishes, pizza by the metre and larger share plates served to your table until your bellies are full. We keep the dishes coming until you scream or groan BASTA! (or STOP!).
All for $30per person.

La Svolta


Address: 3-5 Cecil Pl, Prahran VIC 3181
Phone:(03) 9510 3001

address: 450 Hampton St Hampton
Phone: (03) 9521 8990

Images provided by La Svolta