I Carusi III Carusi II is Pietro Barbagallo's second installment to his outer Brunswick pizzeria, i Carusi. This St Kilda counterpart is tucked away around the corner of Acland Street on Barkly; so don't walk too quickly as you can miss unassuming restaurant and its best pizza that I'm sure you will taste in your life (outside of Italy of course!).
In Melbourne, we tend to associate a great pizza with as much toppings as we can cram onto our pizza base. We need to give that expectation a re-evaluation. For me, it's not the quantity but definitely the quality of the ingredients and how thin and crisp the base is that makes or breaks a pizza.
I Carusi II is the benchmark for Melbourne's greatest pizzas and the full tables both inside and out of this cosy abode are proof to this claim.
Barbagallo's simple advertising strategy is his patronage. I Carusi II will spark your interest after spending half an hour trying to find a parking spot and as a result, having to park ten minutes away, only to find a crowded eatery with windows that open out onto the street. You won't spot a big neon sign with i Carusi's name on it. Instead you will spot the handwritten menu stuck on the window offering primi, insalata, pizza, pizza dolce and gelato.
At 9:30pm on a Sunday, i Carusi II is far from retiring for the night as patrons like me have their tastebuds set on a satisfying and delicious pizza. Without a waiting list to adhere to this late at night, I sat by the French windows next to a couple of Italian tourists at the table beside me. To top this off, the waitress greeted us in Italian and romantic Italian music played softly in the background.
Square wooden tables are dressed with starch white tablecloths (thankfully minus the butcher paper), offering a clean palette for the scrumptious selection of antipasto, 24 savoury twelve inch pizzas, five mouth-watering six inch dessert pizzas and gelato.
After perusing the menu, my stomach was set on Pizza for a Friend and Genovese ($17 each). With large white plates to eat the pizza on, together with sauvignon blanc vino from Italy, I was set. Both pizzas were aplenty for two hungry pizza lovers and were delicately decorated with gourmet ingredients including: white mozzarella, roasted pumpkin, pinenuts, rocket and goat's cheese for the former, and tomato, goat's cheese, pesto, roasted peppers and prosciutto for the latter. Each ingredient complimented the other and with a base that was crisp without a hint of sogginess, this was pizza perfect.
My wishlist for my return visit (which will definitely be soon) will be indulging in antipasto favourites of prosciutto, fried olives, sopressa and bocconcini as well as the gamberi picante ($18) pizza, not to mention sampling a glass of Italian wine. Bueno!
Review by Monica
Open daily 5-11pm
❊ Address & Contact ❊
⊜ 231 Barkly Street St Kilda | Map
✆ (03) 9593 6033
❊ Web Links ❊
→ I Carusi II
→ Review By Monica
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