A Lygon Street institution if there ever was one, Tiamo still attracts the same queues it did when it first opened some 50 years ago as Tamani (it rebranded as Tiamo in 1977). After Tiamo 1 started outgrowing its space, Tiamo 2 opened in 1996 as an extension of the original restaurant – these days, you’d be wise to make a booking for either one if you have any hope of getting in. Specialising in old-school Italian favourites like minestrone, veal palermitana, margherita and maccheroni della zia – served up on wooden tables surrounded by faded posters of Italy, checkerboard flooring and interiors that haven’t changed much in its decades of ownership by the same family. Tiamo is where you’d take a friend from out-of-town – it’s cosy, it’s homely and it’s a slice of Melbourne.
Best part: unlike everywhere else on Lygon Street, it’s open on Mondays for a quick bite before or after watching a discounted movie at Nova.