I suppose we may have seen Halal restaurants in Italy, but were they Italian? Oh, I suppose you don't actually find "Italian" restaurants in Italy... :-)
Anyway, this was a splendid find, a restaurant in a shop window situation, simple decorations, Halal Italian food. Omar, the proprietor and chef, was born in Tripoli (the one in north Lebanon) and spent several years in restaurants in Beirut, before coming to Australia in 1973, after which he spent decades working in Italian restaurants in Melbourne before opening his own restaurant a few years ago. Alamaro is a name derived from 'a la [omar]'
Easy to reach with a walk from the Coburg railway station or from the tram in Sydney Rd, along Bell St. Thus also in the amazing precinct of Coburg with its lines of other coffee and tea shops, markets and shops and stalls for everything. (Find the Coburg library on the map and walk down the lane from Sydney Rd to it, for example.)
Most of the guests at Alamaro are from India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia and most are Moslem. There is no music and no alcohol. This suited us fine. There was some 'music' of happy children. We are not Moslem but the welcome was warm and beaming smiles and great assistance with finding the right thing for a difficult diet problem. Introducing a Melbourne daughter, in her 20s, on our second visit, the warmth extended to "I can be her mother until you come back." Very nice people.
The food is perhaps best described as old style Australian Italian - Italian in the dishes and their absolute freshness, old-style in their abundance. Fresh whole snapper was especially good; a vegetarian with us ate well and abundantly. Special mention is deserved by huge salads with large variety of leafy items. Prices modest.
So if you are interested in going to a wonderfully multicultural part of Melbourne, an unusual restaurant with effort into food not decoration, then this is a great place to go.
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