(Melbourne) Universal


The second day my cousins came to visit, my brother and I showed them around the city and we settled on having lunch at Lygon Street. Call us indecisive, but even after walking past the numerous restaurants there, we were still contemplating on what to eat until we decided on Universal. It might seem strange to think that we were struggling to make a decision especially when we’re on the famous Little Italy, but speaking from experience, we’ve either not been to the right places, or truly exceptional restaurants that serve good food at reasonable prices which live up to their expectations are rare despite the competition in the area. Universal may not be one of the representative restaurants when one mentions Lygon Street, but it was still one of those “above-average” restaurants which accommodated us satisfactorily. Given the list of different restaurants at Lygon Street that I’m hoping I’ll be able to try out at least once, I probably won’t be coming back unless I’m seeking for assurance of food quality (when I can’t be bothered to try out new stuff), or when I’m seriously craving for some chicken parma.

 – General Review –

  •  Service: 6.8/10

Service at Universal was mediocre, not exactly friendly, but not rude either. There were only a couple of waitresses around which made it difficult to get their attention and ask for requests.

  • Servicescape: 7/10

There are plenty of seats at Universal, both indoors and outdoors, and the place is clean and quite spacious. The restaurant is adorned with simple decorations, apart from the distinct large flags hung on the ceiling. However, the pop music playing in the background didn’t really seem to match the ambiance. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of people eating in the restaurant when we were dining there, so the empty seats gave the impression that the restaurant was unpopular (although we may be wrong, and just happened to visit at a time that was less crowded).


  • Non-smoking area: Yes, plenty of seats available both indoors and outdoors.
  • Vegetarian dishes: Yes, but quite limited.
  • Price range: $$ (AU$15 – $25 for most main and sharing dishes.)

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

 – Food Experience –

1) Chicken Parmagiana:

We’ve been warned by my brother, who has previously tried this dish at Universal, that the Chicken Parma was gonna be huge but we were still stunned anyway when the waitress settled the plate in front of us – It. Was. Massive. The portion didn’t seem like it was meant to be for one person! After getting over our initial shock, we quickly found the parma to be delicious, albeit a little on the sour side due to the sauce. However, the cheese wasn’t too rich and it was nicely melted, and the crumbed skin wasn’t too crispy nor oily. There seemed to be an equally large portion of fries and salad as well. Personally, I thought the fries were good but the salad should have more greens in it. In summary, one enormous meal that we could even share among the six of us.

Chicken Parmagiana ($14)

Chicken Parmagiana ($14)

2) Pork Ribs & Chicken Wings:

In contrast to the Chicken Parmagiana, this dish had similar servings of both fries and salad, but the pork ribs and chicken wings were a bit lacking in terms of portion, even for normal standards. I loved the chicken wings though – the sauce was delicious, kind of sweet, and the skin was crispy but the meat tender. The ribs were good too, albeit a little fatty, but it’s ribs so that’s not unexpected.

Pork Ribs & Chicken Wings ($16.90)

Pork Ribs & Chicken Wings ($16.90)

3) 1kg of Fresh Mussels:

1kg? Not enough! This dish was perfect for sharing, especially for seafood lovers. The mussels were fresh but the fishiness was a little poignant. Sauce was cheesy, a little salty, but savory nonetheless.

1kg of Fresh Mussels ($24.90)

1kg of Fresh Mussels ($24.90)


Location: 139-141 Lygon Street, Carlton – VIC, Australia (3053)

Contact number: +61 3 9347 4394

Website: Universal

Operating hours: Mon- Sun: 11.30am – late

Posted by: V

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