Attempt #59 - 'Leo's Spaghetti Bar'


When? - 14th of July, 2011

Where? - Leo’s Spaghetti Bar, 55 Fitzroy St, St. Kilda

Price? – $14 for small parma, $19 for regular parma (see review for details)

Barry? - No

Website? -

Reviewers – Adam, Lee, Nikki, Pat[/info]

Todays review is going to be a downer, which is possibly why I procrastinated on writing it for so long, why it is coming to you guys a few days too late, and for that I apologise.

Some non-review related stuff first, if you aren’t interested in that stuff, scroll down until Tony Danza tells you to stop, the review of Leo’s will kick off there.

First up, some news, Those who follow our story of how Parma Daze came to be will know that all the reviewers used to meet at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Ascot Vale every Wednesday, for their Wednesday parma night - a parma that after 59 reviews we are yet to find an equal. About a year and a half ago The Prince of Wales was torn apart by fire, and the best parma in Melbourne was lost.

Unfortunately last week word came through the grapevine that its pretty certain the owners of the building have opted not to rebuild the pub and have asked the owners of the Prince of Wales to vacate the premises, looking to sell the building to developers.

The Prince of Wales was a huge part of many peoples lives, including my own - It was my second home, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without that pub, I met my fiancee under its roof, as well as some of my best mates. Hopefully a little bit of the Prince shall live on in Parma Daze, as we still refuse to rest until we find Melbourne’s perfect parma.

Farewell, Prince of Wales Hotel. You will be missed.

Since the early days of this website, one restaurant has come up pretty regularly in conversation, via email, facebook, twitter and even word of mouth, Leo’s Spaghetti Bar always came up as one we should try. On at least ten separate occasions I have been suggested Leo’s, and to those ten people who suggested it to me I apologise in advance, as this review is probably going to offend you guys.

We arrived at a semi-busy Leo’s and took our seat, we glanced at the menu but we were pretty clear on what we wanted… parmas. After a few attempts we managed to wave over a waitress to take our order, but on ordering we were posed with a question that I wasn’t prepared for - would we like the ‘special’ parma, or the parma on the menu. I asked what the difference between the two was and she responded ‘Oh just the size of the chicken is a bit smaller, the special one is $14 and the menu one is $19’ Curious but hungry, Reviewers Pat, Adam and Myself ordered the $19 meal and reviewer Nikki volunteered to try the $14 variety. We organized a garlic & cheese pizza to stave off our hunger while we waited.

Now a small garlic and cheese pizza doesn’t go very far when you split it amongst 4 people, so after the first one was demolished in about 7 seconds flat we decided to try another - again we had to wave like madmen to get the attention of the staff to place our order, eventually we got it through and garlic pizza no #2 came out at the same time as our chicken parmas fell in front of us.

$19 Parma -

$14 Parma -

I first saw my parma, and size-wise it was decent (at first glance, anyway) but I was shocked when I saw reviewer Nikki’s parma - everything was smaller, smaller salad, tiny amount of chips and the size of the parma itself was laughable, it looked as if you could put it in a bun and call it a chicken burger - It’s pretty obvious what happened, those darn neighbour kids were playing with their baseball in the backyard, the ball smashed through Leo’s kitchen window and bam

Honey, They shrunk our parma.

But back to my parma, There was barely any nude schnitzel, heaps of cheese and some shaved ham, however it was very light on the napoli, leaving the parma very dry. I mentioned the abundance of cheese before however it was absolutely tasteless and rubbery, reminiscent of cardboard. The chicken itself was a little thin after first cut, which you can see from the following cross section - The chicken seemed to be of good quality, however taste-wise it didn’t quite cut it.

The chips were shoe-string (aka. McDonalds) fries, stacked under the parma, there was a decent serving, however completely forgettable.

The side salad was quite good, large serving of lettuce, onion, rocket, cucumber, tomato and onion with a creamy caesar dressing - very tasty.

This parma was a massive let down, mostly because I had heard so many good things I was itching to try it. The difference between the ‘special’ and ‘regular’ parma was simply shocking, 90% of the places we visit offer the exact same meal on the special night as they do on the regular night, having such a drastic change for a $5 difference in price is just insane, especially since $15 still isn’t that cheap in the world of parmas! especially without a free pot.

Although we don’t score on it, the service at Leo’s also has to be mentioned, it may sound as if I’m just nitpicking now, but we were never approached to see if we needed anything, not once, From our first order, to several drinks during the meal, to even getting the bill at the end of the night, we had to go to extreme effort to get any attention from the staff.

We did go to Cold Rock afterwards though (a few doors up from Leo’s), that was friggin amazing.  I got Cookies & Cream ice cream mixed with cookie dough. Seriously, how good is Cold Rock!?.

Parma - 4.75
Chips - 4.00
Salad - 5.63
Value - 5.75
Total - 4.98

The search continues…

Leo's Spaghetti Bar on Urbanspoon