Port Melbourne’s popular Ciao Cielo has relocated to a bigger space in a stunning heritage listed building after enjoying eight years of success. Owners Kate Dickins and chef Bryan Nelson have spent two years planning the move which sees its creative Italian cuisine evolve in a bigger and more beautiful venue, while also launching its on-site sister venue Ciao Cucina, a cheeky, more casual bar and restaurant to complement the fine dining restaurant.
The new venue houses distinct spaces; Ciao Cielo is Italian fine dining in the surrounds of a classical heritage building, with a green Bocce inspired lawn for al fresco garden dining.
Ciao Cucina is a Mediterranean beer garden inspired by beach side casual dining in Portofino by day. By night it transforms under a sky of twinkling fairy lights for a more casual, party atmosphere, serving authentic Italian wood fired pizzas, house made pasta made fresh daily, as well as other snacks including the bolognaise sandwich. Expect house made Limoncello martinis, a bespoke negroni list and a variety of spritzers for plenty of frivolous nights outs.
Kate and Bryan opened Ciao Cielo in 2010 to showcase contemporary Italian food, while paying homage to traditional techniques - a restaurant that Kate’s nonna from Vicenza would be proud to dine in, who inspired the original venue. Eight years on and the team has created a stunning venue that has become a Port Melbourne favourite. The new location is part of the evolution of Ciao Cielo, with a much bigger and more dynamic offering.
Our top picks from the Ciao Cielo menu include the Spencer Gulf King Prawn risotto. Superbly executed, the rice in the risotto was puffy and al-dente and, coupled with generous amounts of tender King Prawn pieces, had a wonderful depth of flavour.
The dish of Sardinian style goat leg was similarly wonderful. Goat leg had been cooked for hours and hours in a beautiful amalgamation of wild olives, fennel, lemon, chilli and marjoram so it was beautifully tender and had a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Together with polenta dumplings and crispy pangrattato, this was a hearty dish that was like a hug from nonna.
Dessert time is equally as gratifying. Think ricotta filled cannoli, the Amaretto bomb (a modern rendition of a Bombe Alaska) and last but certainly not least, some of the best tiramisu Melbourne has to offer.
A mere stone’s throw away from their original location, Ciao Cielo fans won’t have to venture far to their new venue based at 115 Bay Street, Port Melbourne. Expect to see be enticed by the reinvigorated menu and be pleased that some of your favourite classics have remained.
Location: 115 Bay Street, Port Melbourne
Phone: (03) 9646 7697