Food and Drink


Lovely Rita

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Earlier this week I wrote about Banter Wine Bar in Queensbury Street, North Melbourne and harped on about how the strip was one of the most exciting in Melbourne. Well, Melbourne is blessed with many riches, and I think also happen to believe Johnston Street, especially east of Smith, is maturing nicely, like a fine wine.

Adding weight to my heady notions is Rita’s, a new all day cafe/bar/restaurant thingy that opened yesterday underneath the rumbling train line in Abbotsford, just opposite the Johnston Street Milk Bar.

Brett Graham, (that’s him flipping the pizza), Dan Spizzica and Ron Lowther are three mates from down the coast who started up Pizza Pizza and later The Bottle of Milk in Lorne. To keep themselves busy through the slower winter months the chaps decided to open a new place in the big smoke (and name it after Ron’s sister).

Rita’s is open for business every day from early till late. The feel is late night diner – booths, classic white tiles with Oregan oak tables and bar. It’s cosy.

In the morning bread from La Madre and Crumbs bakery might take the form of muffins or cakes. Breakfast includes seasonal dishes like the salt cod omelette with stuffed roast peppers ($15) and mushroom bruschetta with goats cheese, watercress and poached egg ($14). They also make their own Italian donuts and coffee’s courtesy of Seven Seeds.

Moving onto lunch and dinner the boy’s penchant for Italian food comes through – there’s a range of house made pastas – from the good old  spag bol ($14) to orechhiette, broccoli, zucchini and pangrattano ($16). The massive range of thin crust pizzas are available take-away and the lads will soon be offering a delivery service.

On the flipside a liquor license is coming this weekend, and the house beer rings at a modest $3.50 a pot. The courtyard should be done in a month too.

It might be on the beach, but there’s plenty to warm your cockles in Abbotsford this winter.

239 Johnston St, Abbotsford
9419 8233
Open every day 7.30am – 11pm


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