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Osteria Renata

  • Restaurants
  • Prahran
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. The bar area
    Parker Blain
  2. Making pasta
    Parker Blain
  3. Pasta dish with wine
    Parker Blain
  4. The dining room
    Parker Blain

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

This pasta-celebrating glamazon brings suave Italian moves to Prahran

Google “Osteria Renata” and you’re likely to see an image of the pasta to rule them all: half a lobster extravagantly splayed across a thick tangle of spaghetti. The sort of thing that ruins the sad office lunch of a sandwich eaten el desko, it also proves devastatingly effective in luring entranced diners southside.

It’s the perfect foodie thirst trap but you don’t have to get down with any conspicuous crustacean consumption to fall just a little bit in love with this glam osteria.

Few places come out of the blocks as convincingly as Renata. Its confident delivery of great Italian food, a likeable wine list with plenty of interest and service defying the city’s staff shortage makes it an immediate go-to. As the “what we did next” instalment from 

the crew responsible for South Melbourne’s Park St Pasta & Wine (recently sold to a former staff member), these things are totally unsurprising.  

Transplanting Park Street’s pasta focus to Prahran, longtime chef and newly minted co-owner Gus Cadden is clearly a man with an innate understanding of the world’s finest carbohydrate. 

That luxe lobster spag, swimming daintily its light-touch bisque sauce, requires 48 hours’ notice to order and a warning not to wear white. But there are more democratic entry points here. Like the quadretti: mushroom and mascarpone-filled pouches graced with the umami punch of porcini powder and coddled in a custard-like parmesan-infused sauce, a few caramelised leeks adding their own buttery interest. It’s a cracker. Or the tagliatelle wrapping itself around a deeply flavoured pork ragu with a flutter of chilli heat, which is as richly winter-defeating as it needs to be.

There is, we grudgingly admit, life beyond pasta. Everyone orders the gnocchi fritto, which triangulates the pleasures of the Piedmontese fried bread with a cacio e pepe-flavoured blizzard of pecorino romano and winking slivers of 36-month jamon Iberico. But your eye might also be drawn by the tuna tartare topped by a painterly mix of pear and green olives, a sweet-salty tussle interrupted by the citrus kick of lemon sorrel, or a charry octopus tentacle going minimalist with a puddle of nduja sauce. 

As in the way of all things Italian, the menu is best friends with wine. Here’s your chance to show off about your knowledge of viticulturalists of the Veneto – or assume the excellent default position of local Italian-hearted producers Chalmers on tap.

The chic whitewashed room with its olive banquette accents and mid-century posters also boasts a swoon-worthy timber bar where people pose prettily with Negronis, bellinis and spritzes. Hold the lobster spag and wear white to best effect. That’s amore. 

Written by
Larissa Dubecki


436-438 High St
Opening hours:
Tue-Thu 5.30-late; Fri, Sat noon-late; Sun-Mon closed
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