Caffe La Via burgersThe gourmet burger selection at Caffe La Via

Caffe La Via is one of those restaurants you’ve driven past a hundred times but only eaten at once. It’s been on Glenferrie Rd, Malvern, for as long as I can remember.

Until recently, my one dinner there was years ago and more about proximity – it was pretty much half way between my house and my friend’s – than anything else. I think I had pork belly but can’t really remember. On my two recent visits, which coincided with the launch of a new menu, the experience was memorable.

All the food trends of the moment get a look in. Modern Asian is ticked off in the form of a giant soft shell crab burger. The fried crab comes in a soft bun filled with a zesty slaw and is a meal in itself. The only drawback is working out how to eat it.

Caffe La Via mac n cheese bitesCaffe La Via’s fried mac ‘n’ cheese bites

Fried mac ‘n’ cheese bites with barbeque sauce are a nod to the new wave of American comfort food, while the Jalapeño poppers are a reference to Melbourne’s love of Mexican.

Caffe La Via spatchcockSpatchcock rubbed with Jerk spices


Caffe La Via rib eyeCaffe La Via’s rib eye

The two larger sharing dishes I had on my first visit – a spatchcock rubbed with Jerk spices and the giant 600g Cape Grim rib eye – were stunning. Served with bright and fresh sides including roasted butternut pumpkin with garlic, yoghurt and burnt butter, grilled asparagus and creamy polenta and a range of sauces. It was a choose your own adventure kind of meal and my favourite kind of eating as there’s something for everyone.

On my second visit my husband and I shared a chicken, mushroom and avocado pasta and a piece of salmon served on a bed of red cabbage. The homemade pasta itself was impressive but the two dishes couldn’t top the spatchcock and rib eye.


Caffe La Via sticky date puddingSticky date pudding with the just the right amount of toffee sauce

Desserts are crowd-pleasing classics done well. I couldn’t go past the sticky date pudding on both visits, which was swimming in just the right amount of toffee sauce. The miniature pansy on top made it Instaworthy.

It wouldn’t be 2015 without salted caramel featuring somewhere on the dessert menu. The pear crumble pizzetta with slow poached pear, crispy crumble and salted caramel ice cream was fun but a bit tricky to eat. I didn’t know if I wanted a knife and fork or fork and spoon but the combination of textures made up for the cutlery confusion.

Caffe La Via’s customers are young families with kids having a mid-week meal and older locals. Both times there was also a steady stream of people coming in and buying take away coffees. It’s a smart move seeing as most cafes making decent coffee (they use Sensory Lab-St Ali beans) – close at 4pm.

Service is friendly and attentive. If anything, it just felt a bit too leisurely for a work night when I wanted a nice quick mid-week dinner but didn’t want to be out too late. On the way home I texted my friend who I went to Caffe La Via years ago with, and sent some pictures of my favourite dishes. He texts back, `We need to go back ASAP.  I want to try that rib eye.’ I’m in.

AH x

(Images provided by Caffe La Via)


Trading hrs: Mon – Wed, 6am – 10pm, Thu – Sat, 6am – 11pm,  Sun 8am – 9:30pm

Menu link:

Bookings: Available by phone or online

Address: 252-254 Glenferrie Road, Malvern

Ph: (03) 9509 6373


Instagram: @caffelavia

Twitter: @caffelavia

Facebook: Caffe La Via

Must try: The spatchcock and rib-eye.

Consciousness: Caffe La Via aim to be as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible. All of their fresh produce is sourced locally from farmers markets around Melbourne. Their fruit and vegetable supplier visits these farmers markets every morning at 3 am to buy the produce and delivers to them daily. Their bread suppliers are organic, sourced from La Madre and Brasserie Bakery.  They use free range chicken and Green Eggs. Caffe La Via’s seafood is fished sustainably and delivered fresh every morning by Richmond Oysters. All of their suppliers are hand picked and where possible, produce is organic.

Their kitchen has a zero food waste policy (no food is allowed to be thrown away). Where possible, all produce that is near the end of its life is cooked and distributed to local homeless people in Malvern.

Caffe La Via also actively donates to and fundraises for various organisations including the Breast Cancer Foundation of Australia. Caffe La Via are big supporters of local schools and education projects for the homeless. This year (2015), they partnered with Cafe Smart Victoria and are a partner of their Dine Smart program donating $2 from each table served towards projects supporting the homeless in Victoria.

All their coffee cups and other takeaway containers are biodegradable and made using sustainable pulp from sugarcane trees by Biopak. Their coffee waste and grounds are used as a fertiliser for their herb garden and is also distributed to customers for use in their own gardens.


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Disclaimer: Decisive Cravings was invited to Caffe La Via as a guest of the restaurant. Please note that prices, menu items, management or trading hours may have varied since time of review. Our thoughts and opinions are based on our experience only.