The food at Ricardo’s is akin to eating at Nonna’s place. You get hearty servings of traditional Italian cooking. This glass-fronted restaurant overlooking the busy Bridport Street shopping strip in Albert Park has become a neighbourhood favourite – and has been packing in diners for a very long time.

And pack them in, they do. It’s a marvel the wait staff manage to get around all the tables with patrons shoehorned around tables and spare floor space a rare commodity. On a recent Saturday night, the place – from very early on in the evening – was absolutely jam packed – and mainly with larger groups rather than romantic dinners a deux (or should that be per due?).

A fair number of the wait staff are also long-termers. Greedy Girl, gluttonous husband and their dining companions are greeted as old friends. Slightly squashed up next to the (luckily) empty fireplace, we settled in with a mix of aperitifs and ordered – from a comprehensive menu as well as the chalkboard specials written in Italian and translated with gusto by Joe the waiter. Unfortunately, at 8pm already one of the specials, a duck breast, had sold out.

We opted for a few starters to share – grilled chicken livers with spinach, anchovy fillets with tomato and avocado, and fried calamari rings with a tartare sauce and rocket. All did what they said on the label. The calamari was very good, dusted in crispy light crumbs (Greedy Girl suspects polenta) and wasn’t at all chewy. The chicken livers were also tender but needed the spinach to cut through the strength and richness. The tomato concasse was the highlight of the anchovy dish – it was fresh and tangy.

Ricardo's Albert Park

Grilled chicken livers with spinach

Ricardo's Albert Park

Anchovy fillets with tomato and avocado

On to main courses which we decided to wash down with a Majella cab sav from Coonawarra. Having eaten at Ricardo’s on a fairly regular basis for a great many years, it’s hard to go past favourites. This particular evening, one of our party opted for his regular dish, spaghetti marinara, which arrived at the table decked with a number of mussels, prawns and scallops and was pronounced very good.
Ricardo's Albert Park

Spaghetti marinara

Gluttonous husband, taken aback when informed the duck breast special had already sold out, also chose a favourite – veal piccantina. There was a generous serving of tender veal accompanied by a tomato and paprika sauce and a selection of vegies. His usual request for two pieces of corn on the cob rather than the usual potato was duly noted by the waiter but went unheeded by the kitchen. He pronounced it up to the usual standard.
Ricardo's Albert Park

Veal piccantina

The other gentleman in attendance decided to take a trip down memory lane with one of the specials – chicken cacciatore – chicken with a tomato and mushroom sauce – and proceeded to clean his plate.
Ricardo's Albert Park

Chicken cacciatore

We three girls at the table all chose another special, ‘Dory milanese’ – fillets of John Dory with a very light breadcrumb coating, served with tomatoes, olives, rocket and a cube of roast potato. The fish was cooked well and two large fillets were provided. It was just a bit samey after a while. Greedy Girl ate one fillet and passed her plate over to gluttonous husband.
Ricardo's Albert Park

Dory Milanese

We also had a side of very tasty rosemary-infused roasted potatoes and garlic and a rocket salad with parmesan and pear.

Feeling a little full, we opted to get a couple of servings of apple crumble for the table to share. It was certainly very edible – light, crunchy, not too sweet.

Ricardo's Albert Park

Apple crumble

By this stage, the restaurant had cleared out somewhat but, oddly, the wait staff were hard to track down. We fixed up the bill and headed out into the cool night.

Ricardo’s is almost a time warp. The style of cooking – and indeed, most of the dishes – have been on the menu for a decade or more. It’s certainly a very comforting, nostalgic meal at a good local eatery. Some diners have regular tables and come back for their favourites time and time again. Greedy Girl enjoyed her meal but there was nothing to rave about. When you’re served casalinga (home made) cooking, it’s not top of the list to go out for it when you can, well, cook it at home if you have any facility with Italian cuisine yourself.


99 Dundas Place, Albert Park
Ricardo's Trattoria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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