Thirty Eight Chairs (Carlton North)

651 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North
03 8383 4113


  • Melanzane a’ Parmigiana
  • Purp’ ‘e Patate
  • ‘E Mafaldine ‘a Cacciator
  • Pork Ragu Risotto with White Wine Sauce
  • Tiramisu Vesuvio
  • Pan di Nutella e Cocco
  • Limoncello

The Good

It was a brilliant start with the Melanzane a’ Parmigiana. Beautifully presented, the tower of baked eggplant was cooked to great softness in a rich and fragrant tomato-base sauce, and its juices generously flowed out with each chomp down. This was well complemented by layers of aptly melted and very flavoursome cheese that exhibited a slight char, providing great depth in flavour and a lovely creaminess throughout. We seriously couldn’t get enough of this, and really, should’ve ordered a main size.

We also enjoyed the Purp’ ‘e Patate. Distinctly European, the chunks of cold octopus were tender and juicy, without so much of a hint of chewiness. The pieces gave way with a slight crunch, which was nicely accompanied by chunks of potatoes and a fragrant dressing of parsley, garlic and olives that provided a light yet appetising flavours to the dish.

Any respectable Italian eatery is sure to dish up some solid pastas, and 38 Chairs should certainly be proud of their pasta offering. Our favourite of the evening was undoubtedly the ‘E Mafaldine ‘a Cacciator, which involved a long curly pasta that was served in an incredibly rich and flavoursome slow cooked duck ragu. The pasta itself was cooked to the softer side of al dente, just the way we liked, while the soft and succulent duck protein simply melted away in your mouth. Complemented by an abundance of porcini mushrooms and the bold pecorino topping it, this pasta was almost a flavour overload.

We also sampled the pasta special of the day, namely the Pork Ragu Risotto with White Wine Sauce. The pillowy soft aborio rice was cooked just so, exhibitng the right consistency without being overly wet nor glucky. Borrowing much flavours from the pork ragu and white wine sauce, the risotto was incredibly rich and flavoursome despite its simple appearance, and surely did well in satisfying our hunger.

We concluded our evening with the Tiramisu Vesuvio and the Pan di Nutella e Cocco. The Tiramisu itself was nothing short of spectacular, and was most probably the highlight of our meal. The incredible layers of cream, and mascarpone offered up an indulgent richness, which was perfectly juxtaposed by the spongy and aromatic coffee-soaked biscuits sitting underneath. Topping the glass was the chocolate soil crumble, offering up a subtle hint of sweetness that was the perfect accompaniment, both in sweetness and in texture.

The Pan di Nutella e Cocco was enjoyable as well, though arguably less spectacular. The hazelnut sponge was moist yet airy, with a pleasant hazelnut flavour permeating throughout. However, the best part of this dessert may just be that Nutella mousse,which was silky smooth and demonstrated an exceptional nutella flavour, all with a light airiness to it. Its richness was perfectly accompanied by the deliciously refreshing house-made limoncello with a beautiful zesty sensation throughout.

The Mediocre


The Bad


The Verdict

Having previously visited the original South Yarra 38 Chairs, it’s encouraging to see that the locals of Carlton have welcomed traditional and authentic Italian cuisine in droves.

This relatively recent opening of the Carlton North venue certainly brought with it the qualities that made the original 38 Chairs a treasured local gem, but also offers a more spacious and relaxed dining environment that’s great for a scrumptious date night.

Would Penguin Eat Again?

Sure. Authentic, delicious Italian cuisine made just like a Nonna would back in Itatly? Count me in for more!

Penguineats was invited to dine at 38 Chairs Carlton North.

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Thirty Eight Chairs Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato