Cafe di Stasio is a bit of an institution on Fitzroy St. It has a kind of odd, Venetian style decoration that hasn't changed in years, professional waiters (not students of backpackers serving tables as in most of the other restaurants surrounding it) that have been there forever and good, solid Italian food.
I've been there a few times and have never been disappointed.
Today, we caught the lunch special: two courses plus wine for $35. It's a great deal, considering you would be looking at around $60 for two courses on their a la carte menu + wine.
Di Stasio has also got a winery in the Yarra Valley and the Chardonnay served with this special is their own - delicious, by the way.
I chose to order an entree and main and my husband went for main and dessert - so that we could share is all :). I really should have taken a picture of the menu so that I could name all the dishes correctly in here. My descriptions don't sound nearly as appetising as their Italian titles in the restaurant menu - apologies for that.
White fish fritters with balsamic vinegar and green salad
I had delicious fish fritters for entree. They were really light, not to dough-y or egg-y and contrasted well against the sharpness of the balsamic vinegar.
Our only disappointment was the rabbit. All the crumbled pieces had lots of little bones in them and it was difficult to cut and eat them. Rabbit is a hard meat to cook right and this one was over cooked in my opinion - a bit dry and blend.
Slow braised veal with tomato stew
The highlight for me was the veal. Although it lacked presentation, this dish tasted simply fantastic! I didn't need to use my knife at all; the meat came apart easily with fork and the stew tasted delicious!
Dessert was also very good. The custard was covered in tiny, cute vanilla bean dots and the mille feuille was crunchy and with a hint of citrus.
In sum, we enjoyed the lunch and the (generously full glass of) wine.