Rocco’s Bologna Discoteca was born out of a lockdown pop-up passion project. Emilio Scalzo and Zoë Rubino collaborated with head chef Josh Fry to serve meatball subs for takeaway from their Gertrude Street bistro Poodle. In the process they created a cult-like following for their signature sandwiches. Now Rocco’s has grown into it’s own venue with lunch, dinner and late night offerings.
Rocco’s trattoria menu boasts rich flavours, without being heavy. At dinner, you can treat yourself to house-made pasta and steaks sourced from retired dairy cows. There’s also salty anchovies, gooey Stella Alpine cheese topped with fresh figs, house-made salumi, and puntarella salad with crisp greens and decadent dressing. Sweet treats includes zeppole (hot Italian doughnuts) and a rotating selection of soft serve flavours including pistachio and limoncello. If you’ve got a hankering to try one of their famed subs, stop in for lunch or for a midnight snack on the weekend.
The food we sampled at Rocco’s warmed our hearts and our bellies. The booths by the bar are equally cosy. Or, if you venture to the back of the narrow venue you can pull up a seat at the kitchen counter. Here you’ll be treated to a full view of the open kitchen watching the chefs whip up fun, nostalgic Italian flavours and seasonal specials. Whilst upstairs a petite bar and balcony is ready to welcome a group of friends. The main bar is stocked with Australian and Italian wines, baladin birra (beer), and a library of Italian liqueurs. The taps are pouring an independent Australian lager and an alcoholic blood orange seltzer that drinks like a zesty mimosa in the best way.
If you’re after a true Plus One’s vibe, I recommend heading there for a little late night indulgence. (The venue is open until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.) Then order a house-made green almond amaro liqueur or a limonchello. (It’s not on the menu, but those in the know, know.)
Rocco’s Bologna Discoteca puts new memories on the menu whilst channeling Nonna house nostalgia.
Jenny S. is an event adventurer. When she’s not attending live shows, you can find her sampling the latest craft beer or sipping a creative cocktail.
Rocco’s Bologna Discoteca
15 Gertrude Street
Fitzroy, VIC 3065