WHERE TO EAT IN MELBOURNE
With the world at our fingertips, it might sound strange, but Melbourne is one of my favourite cities to eat in. The restaurants listed below are my hand-selected picks that I return to time and time again (or at least every time I’m in Melbourne). Global cuisines at their yummiest.
A little piece of Paris in downtown South Yarra, Entrecôte has become an institution among locals who love a timeless steak meal. With an elegant simplicity at its heart (in true Parisian style) the menu consists of its signature dish of steak, fries and salad and a few other French classics like escargot. Inside an unassuming Victorian terrace, the restaurant feels unmistakably homely. Under vintage lighting, we were seated in the front room, which felt like sitting in someone’s dining room, just with multiple tables instead of one. This restaurant is an absolute must do for me. On a side note - take a trip to the bathroom for some very loud classic French opera. Also, don’t miss the live jazz on the terrace on Sundays from 5:30 pm. Très chic.
Find it here: 131-133 Domain Rd, South Yarra VIC 3141
Chin Chin & Go Go Bar
If your cravings are for Thai food, don’t miss this popular spot. An Australian x Thai fusion is just as popular with tourists as it is with the locals. Chin Chin has been drawing a crowd since opening in 2011 and the hype is yet to fade. Unfortunately, there are no bookings unless you are in a large group and on the Saturday night we visited the line was so long they weren’t taking any more people on the waiting list. Que, Go Go Bar. The subterranean bar is like the cooler younger sibling with hip waiters, local DJs on rotation playing hip hop/rnb/90’s classics and a darker edgier atmosphere, all with the same menu as Chin Chin upstairs. I’m not the biggest fan of Thai food, but everything we ordered was beyond delicious and the cocktail menu equally stood up to the plate. Keep an eye out for the Pad Thai Noodles, Salt and Pepper Squid and Crispy Barramundi and Green Apple Salad on the menu. On the cocktail menu, my favourite was the Chin Chin Swizzle.
Find it here: 125 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Existing under the same family roof has Chin Chin, Baby Pizza is my favourite Italian restaurant in town. Between their artisan pizzas, made with flour imported from Naples, Italy to their house-made pasta and main courses that have a modern Australian twist Baby is delicious from start to finish. For me, they perfectly tick the boxes for traditional Italian options and something a little newer and different. The Mozzarella section on the menu can’t be missed and don’t even consider not getting a pizza. One of my favourites was the Polpette e Polenta, which is meatballs with soft polenta, chilli and garlic – yum! The vibe is fun and relaxed, plus on the nights we visited a booking hasn’t been needed, which is a refreshing change for the Melbourne culinary scene, although I’m sure sometimes it can be quite busy, and they do take bookings.
Find it here: 631-633 Church St, Richmond VIC 3121
A Japanese must do, Mr Miyagi is a contemporary twist on a traditional cuisine. As you would expect from a non-traditional Japanese restaurant, the menu goes far beyond sushi and miso soup. I love a great grazing menu, and this one packs a punch. My favourite dishes on the menu were the Salmon Nori Taco, the Spiced Tuna Tartare Cup and the Kingfish Ceviche. In true Melbourne style, there are no bookings unless you are in a large group, so there is often a wait of an hour plus. Luckily, the bar is amazing and can keep you preoccupied while you wait for your table. Coupled with great atmosphere and a strong cocktail list (yes please, Hello Kitty Sour and the Shinjuku Sling) Mr Miyagi is perfectly situated in Windsor on Chapel St, making it nice and easy to continue your night out through other bars and clubs along the strip.
Find it here: 99 Chapel St, Windsor VIC 3181
Prepare your senses and head down a quintessentially Melbourne laneway to cross the threshold of Lucy Liu. Here you will find yourself walking down a dramatic neon-lit red tunnel to the restaurant and bar. From the fire engine red tunnel emerges a dimly lit, tightly packed area with vertical wooden slats contrasting polished concrete, house beats pumping through the room and puppy dog hologram menus - and such the sensory overload begins. The menu is mainly Southeast Asian, spanning Thai, Korean and Japanese. I loved their tasting menu, for a little bit of everything and the cocktails didn’t disappoint either – my favourite was the Floating Market.
Find it here: 23 Oliver Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
I have to include Super Normal on my list because I have had so many recommendations for it, but unfortunately I didn’t get to have the pleasure of dining here due to time constraints. It is high on my list for my next trip and from what I have heard it is a new spin on Asian cuisine and the food is second to none.
Find it here: 180 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Check out my favourite cafes in Melbourne here>