I’m the first one to whip out the phone to get a snap of my food before it’s devoured to share on Instagram, but my blog posts about places to eat on the Mornington Peninsula have been few and far between. When I find one as amazing as Pala Cibo Cafe in Mornington though, you bet I’ll be shouting it from the roof tops. It’s rare to find a cafe or restaurant that ticks all of the boxes but I’m making the big call…I think I’ve found it.
Pala Cibo’s location in Mornington’s industrial precinct means that despite my frequent stalking of their mouth-watering Instagram images, I have driven past many times but not ventured in. Now I realise the error of my ways and will find it very difficult to steer past.
I have a list as long as my arm with reasons why I’m so excited about Pala Cibo Cafe but here’s five to get you started!
The first thing my eldest asked me when we arrived was, ‘What does Pala Cibo mean?’ Never wanting to be stumped by a question from an inquisitive seven year old, I was thankful the whole story behind the name and the family behind this local business, is explained on the menu. We learnt that ‘Pala’ is an abbreviation of the family name, Palamara and ‘Cibo’ meaning food in Italian, and diners get a real sense of being welcomed to in to enjoy a meal.
Access all areas
Entering through the big red doors at the front, we chose to enjoy the fresh spring day and sat in the light and bright alfresco area. Big enough to cater for larger groups, people with prams and those needing access for wheelchairs.
Our carefully selected table was strategically placed right next to the kids’ desk in the front part of the cafe. The colouring-in supplies kept the girls happy during the short wait for our lunch + the friendly staff made our talkative kids feel very welcome.
Despite the kid friendly environment, the inside of the cafe has more of a relaxed restaurant feel which evokes a cozy, intimate atmosphere – perfect for a kid-free lunch date (wink, wink) or a catch up with friends.
Varied seasonal + local menu
The Palamara family are passionate about supporting local growers by stocking their produce in their Village Fruits store in Mount Eliza and of course, in the Pala Cibo cafe. Head chef, Mario Tavian, showcases the beautiful local and seasonal produce across the menu.
I had the pleasure of enjoying a Gippsland Pork Belly (always love supporting my other ‘local’ farmers), which was served with roast pear and carrots. I’m not usually one for a coffee with lunch but ‘when in Rome’, or Pala Cibo as the case was for me, I’m glad I made an exception.
The girls had the ham + cheese croissant and the fresh + tasty calamari from the kids menu, which they enthusiastically declared as, ‘Yum!’
Well, is it the perfect cafe experience on the Mornington Peninsula? Truth be told, I do have one complaint…there are so many delicious choices on the menu, I may run out of time and friends to help me sample them all!