Turmeric lattes, green smoothies and cronuts might come and go, but honest, home-style fare made with love has been a recipe of success for Caffè e Torta.
Set in the historic Royal Arcade off Little Collins Street, the bustling cafe has been a favourite of locals and visitors alike for nearly two decades.
Husband and wife team Mary and Andrew White are at the helm of this family-run business, which offers an extensive menu based on the Mediterranean diet, with an emphasis on vegetarian dishes.
Popular dishes include Mary’s mother’s slow-cooked beef ragù pasta, lentil soup and bruschetta, complemented by a mouth-watering range of artisan pastries, excellent coffee and an ever-evolving wine list.
‘From day one, our focus has been on quality ingredients, fresh produce, and simply prepared food that’s big on flavour – and we always try to source sustainable and ethical options,’ Mary said.
‘We wanted to bring some old-world European charm to the city and we think it’s the perfect place to settle in for the afternoon, take a break from sight-seeing or shopping, and watch the world go by.
‘For us, it’s so important to make our customers feel welcome. We treat them like our guests. We love what we do – so it makes it easy.’
While the city has changed around them, Andrew and Mary have remained focused on their original vision.
‘There’s been a huge increase in the number of people passing through the city every day,’ Mary said.
‘The market has also changed considerably – there are so many more places to eat, which in turn means our customers are much more educated now. And that’s a great thing.’
Caffè e Torta was one of 38 small business owners awarded a Lord Mayor’s Commendation in 2017.
The commendations recognise the long-term commitment and contribution of Melbourne’s small business proprietors to the City of Melbourne.
‘We are so grateful to receive a Lord Mayor’s Commendation. It was a lovely reminder of how important it is to stay focused and stay true to yourself,’ Mary said.
‘Melbourne has really grown up and become a living city. It’s wonderful to be part of it.’
Discover more local business champions at Lord Mayor’s Commendations.