So most people go to Lygon st for the Italian food and the atomosphere. On a sunny weekend it is so nice to sit out in the sun and eat pizza and drink coffee to your hearts content. However, I find that I often get heckled my waiters wanting to entice me to their establishment over the next and it gets a little uncomfortable.
Essentially Lygon st is great if you can find a table outside in nice weather (it sure is a challenge) and even if you do, you will likely be sitting with smokers (and as a non-smoker I don't wish to taste their carcinogens with my meal thanks). Therefore, a few years ago when I lived in Carlton I discovered Cafe Italia. It's technically not ON Lygon st, but its in a little lane just off it, so close enough.
It is kind of indoor/outdoor but without the smokers. The food is always quite appetising. I am a fan of their thin crusted pizzas in particular, but all around everything is usually pretty good. They also make their own pasta and olive oil, which is nice. You can even purchase a bottle of unflavoured or flavoured olive oil to take home if you wish.
On my lastest visit there, we ordered 2 different pizzs (#2 and #6) which were both great. I also ordered the Ceasar Salad and my sister got the Calamari with a pear/almond salad (almost like a waldorf salad i guess). Everything was pretty tasty. The Calamari/salad was a little bland, it felt like it was missing something. All around though it was a good lunch. For Dessert, my sis got the dessert special which was vanilla bean panna cotta with pistachio nut butter. Holy moly it was good! (sorry the photo was taken when it was half eaten!)
Find them here: