Grossi Florentino Upstairs is a restaurant steeped in tradition. Renowned for combining fine Australian produce with traditional Italian techniques, it is innovative and exciting while staying true to its Italian heritage.
One of the longest-running restaurants in Melbourne, its history dates back to 1928 when Italian expat, Rinaldo Massoni, established Cafe Florentino. The Grossi family purchased the venue in 1999 and renamed it Grossi Florentino.
These days, it is under the careful direction of one of Australia’s most-loved chefs, Guy Grossi. A leading authority on Italian food, Guy followed the lead of his father, Pietro, a renowned chef who migrated to Melbourne with his family in 1960.
Guy’s passion for fresh produce and Italian culture has permeated Grossi Florentino Upstairs and the Grill and Cellar Bar downstairs, along with the Grossi family’s ever-growing stable of restaurants and bars, most notably Merchant Osteria Veneta, Ombra Salumi Bar, and more recently Arlechin. Alongside these success stories, the Grossi brand also encompasses a specialty coffee roaster, an ice cream cart and an annual tomato festival – all celebrating great food.
But the jewel in the crown is Grossi Florentino Upstairs, set apart from the family’s other restaurants through the finest of details, from the soft leather-upholstered chairs to the little stools for ladies’ handbags. Massoni’s original dark wood tables remain, draped in quality linen rarely seen outside of Italy. The whole dining room is a Renaissance dreamscape, thanks to a series of beautiful wall murals commissioned by Massoni back in 1933. The Grossi family has painstakingly restored these murals, keeping the room’s history alive.
Having recently moved to Florentino Upstairs from Ombra, Guy’s son Carlo runs the floor alongside Head Sommelier, Michael Smith. Together in this iconic dining room, the pair has created a sense of grandeur associated with very few Melbourne venues.
Whether you select from the à la carte menu or the wine-matched, Gran Tour degustation experience, dining upstairs is decadent from start to finish. Dishes are intricate and well balanced, with plates graced with combinations using scallop, pancetta, sorrel and colatura, or Italy’s famed liquid essence of anchovy. You might also find the fresh flavours of asparagus, yolk, garlic, beets and almond.
From here comes the pasta. Your choice of four, including a Risotto with strawberry, asiago and leek, as well as a Maltagliati di Pane topped with bugs, colatura, capers and spinach. Larger meaty dishes follow showcasing high-quality cuts such as lamb paired with bagna cauda, eggplant and spring peas.
Desserts remain as traditional and fresh as the rest of the menu. Chocolate Soufflé with hazelnut and wattle seed ice cream is a popular choice, along with the Duchessa with zabaglione, gianduia and cherry.
All food is expertly paired with a glass of wine from the extensive, award-winning list. As Head Sommelier, Michael has drawn on his experience and knowledge to create a well-rounded selection that complements the menu and the venue itself, looking to history and quality for his choices. While it includes bottles from across the globe, Michael’s passion and appreciation for Italian wines is clear.