There are few restaurants in Melbourne that are menu-less. Consider Italian restaurant Osteria la Passione in Richmond, where dining is like eating at home with family or friends. Chef Carmine Costantini (ex Caffe e Cucina and Yarck Tearooms) likens Osteria la Passione to a ‘Tavern of Passion’ because he offers delicious meals from his own kitchen (he lives upstairs).

His passion? Providing fresh, hearty food in a quaint, romantic and relaxed atmosphere. Just like eating a modest meal in Italy where the ingredients are sourced from local markets.

Carmine bakes bread, cures most of his meats, pickles his vegetables and scours several markets every morning to create a dinner degustation from scratch,   which is excellent value in Melbourne: $75 for a minimum of six courses.

After two fantastic visits, here’s a taste of what we sampled… Starters: ocean trout tartare, grilled zucchini and eggplant wedged with fresh tomato basil and buffalo mozzarella, kingfish carpaccio, prosciutto, speck, house pickled mushrooms.

Heavier: Cabbage roll with gorgonzola sauce, home made lasagna, tortellini broth; melt in your mouth buttery mushroom risotto, roast goat with mint sauce. Sweet: Tiramisu, peach tart, apple puff with apple vinegar, ricotta and saffron cheesecake.

Rustic, fresh, flavoursome and simple, Osteria la Passione takes eating back to its roots without fuss or pretension. But beware, it is not for all tastes. If you are truly passionate about food then you must be patient and open to Carmine’s style in order to really experience it (I have seen people walk out of this restaurant because they felt they were waiting too long and didn’t love the food on offer that evening).

Bring great friends, an empty belly, a good attitude, a bottle of vino and you will be rewarded (more than six plates over!)

JC x
Prices: Fixed banquet $75 per head (6 courses), $45 (3 courses).

Trading hrs: Tue – Sat 6.30pm-9.30pm

Menu link: Menu is updated daily.

Bookings: Recommended.

Address: 486 Bridge Road, Richmond

Ph: 9428 2558

Notes: It also pays to call ahead and book (Carmine will ask you about dietary requirements). Osteria does not have a menu and is not a fast food outlet, so if you don’t like surprises and want to eat right away, this is not the place for you. BYO Tuesdays only.


You’ll also like:

Suspended Coffee – a Tradition of Kindness

How to make Salami – a guide in pictures

Home Chefs #7 – Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Sugo 


Richmond VIC 3121, Australia

Osteria la Passione on Urbanspoon


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.