My favourite foodie spots in Melbourne! + COVID friendly tips
Updated: Mar 27, 2020
Us Melbournites are absolutely SPOILED with the selection of amazing food and beverage venues available to us. Brunch, dinner and cocktail dates are an incredibly popular option among lovers so I wanted to share some of my favourite spots that I hope you'll enjoy as much as I do! Some of these are $$$$ fine dining venues but some are more accessible for those who want to eat great food without the frills. RE COVID-19: Social distancing and prohibitions are adding strain to our hospitality industry. Most restaurants are now offering delivery and take away to try to keep some income flow. Now is a really great time to grab takeaway or delivery from your favourite local spots to help ensure they survive the Coronapocalypse. My advice is to book with them directly as apps such as uber eats take a huge cut on top of huge fees! For fancier affairs, grab a gift card from restaurants that offer gift cards to use once the pandemic is over! Try to prioritise small, locally owned and family run businesses who may face greater hardship than some of the bigger restaurant groups at this time. I know it's financially difficult for everyone right now, but many restaurants are running specials and even buying something small like dessert or just one main collectively across the community can help keep their livelihoods afloat! Stop giving your money to Mc Donald's, Dominos and KFC. They'll be fine. The Chinese restaurant around the corner that does the amazing lemon chicken or the family-owned pizzeria that uses just the right amount of toppings for your preference may not be.
Lui Bar - CBD
Atop the 55th floor of the Rialto building, Lui Bar offers stunning views paired with sleek decor, 5 star service, gorgeous cocktails, and delicious nibbles. A must, for those who are new to or visiting Melbourne. For romantics, be sure to catch the sunset!
Eau De Vie - CBD
Self described as "A bar straight out of 1920’s prohibition America" Eau De Vie is an incredible and indulgent - not-so-secret anymore - Melbourne Cocktail bar. Well-hidden on Malthouse Lane in the CBD, be careful you don't walk straight past the very inconspicuous entrance. Be prepared for flames and smoke and liquid nitrogen and be sure to give my favourite cocktail on the list the Sgt. Pepper - it's slightly spicy! - a go. The food menu is also absolutely mouth watering!
Boilermaker House - CBD
From the creators or Eau De Vie comes a temple for worshipers of craft beer and malt whisky. You can't visit the Boilermaker house without trying one of their signature rotating menu of boilermakers - paired beer and whisky with a tasty flavour complement of perhaps nougat, chocolate, preserve or the like. Their food and charcuterie offerings are also sensational.
Naked for Satan - Fitzroy
One part Vodka infusion and tapas bar - Naked Downstairs - and one part swanky Fitzroy rooftop bar and restaurant - Naked in the Sky! A little more casual than our previous options, the tapas is incredibly reasonably priced, the vodka infusions are delicious and the rooftop is lovely on a spring or summer's evening.
Los Hermanos Taqueria - Brunswick
A brilliant and authentic little Brunswick casual dining spot with a simple menu of Mexican street food and a brilliant offering of Tequila! Your water arrives in empty tequila bottles, you make your own guac, and the hot sauces can be a bit of a hilarious ride for my less heat-accustomed white friends. My recommendation: the fish tacos are to die for!
Blue Stone American BBQ - Coburg
I have too many recommendations for this casual Coburg gem. They're very close to where I live and I will not stop encouraging people to go there because I REALLY want them to stay open for very selfish reasons. The food is just so so SO delicious and the owners are super friendly and accommodating. Slow cooked meats, burgers, and real southern American sides - WHERE ELSE CAN I GET GRITS IN MELBOURNE? - they have one of the highest Zomato ratings in Melbourne at 4.8/5. Their banquet menus are EXCELLENT and they're very reasonably priced for the quality of food. PLEASE. JUST GO. For the good of mankind! I'm ordering a feast myself today!
Rockpool Bar & Grill - Crown
Rockpool was the first fine-dining establishment I was introduced to, and will always be a pillar of opulence for me. When I've had a long week and just want to treat myself to a fine dining experience or spoil a friend for their birthday with exceptional service, several dozen oysters, free fancy bread and butter, and a perfectly cooked steak, Rockpool is my go to.
Attica - Ripponlea
For a dining experience that transcends good food and exceptional service into art. Attica is one of my favourite places to eat especially because it uses overlooked native Australian ingredients in 10+ course set menus and is an elevated experience I think everyone should try at least once. At ~$500 per person with wine pairing, it's definitely not kind on the hip pocket but so, so worth the experience.
After the Tears - Elsternwick
Lovers of authentic Polish food rejoice! After the Tears has got you, boo. The duck and sour cherry pierogi are in my top three favourite resturant dishes I've EVER had. The schnitzel is out of this world. The slightly kitsch decor is romantic and takes me back to Eastern Europe. And the Vodka list! Ahhhh the Vodka list.
Mesob - Northcote
If you've never had the pleasure of eating Ethiopian food, you are seriously missing out. This isn't a fancy affair. You're recommended to eat with your hands using the delicious fermented bread to scoop up the fabulously tasty, hearty and healthy curries and stews. They have some delicious cocktails and imported Ethiopian beers to wash all the sumptuousness down!
Caspian Cuisine - Forest Hill
I stumbled upon this unassuming gem on one rainy Mother's Day in 2017 after getting into a car accident - it was fine, the road was wet and the car behind me had bald tires. The accident was literally right out front on Springvale Rd and my sister and I had to wait for a tow truck - and a ride. "Oh, I've never had Iranian food before" I thought while waiting, and in I went. I didn't even eat Mum's food when I finally got there because I'd filled up on the delicious pomegranate and walnut stew, beryani and flat bread. Now, every time I drive out east to visit my parents I can't help but stop and grab something to go and it's definitely a winner with dates who are keen on interesting food rather than a fine-dining experience.
Dexter - Preston
Ahhh, Dexter. Another HOLY SHIT AMAZING American BBQ venue that's close to my house and close to my heart - and lucky because I always need to immediately lie down and rub my food baby after stuffing my face there. When Dexter says "hot meat donuts", I say "how many am I allowed to buy?". The 4.9 rating on Zomato is definitely not enough praise for those donuts alone. The rest of the food is incredible too, but it's those donuts that really keep bringing me back. This is not one to be missed.
Oasis - Murrumbeena
Is it a bakery? Is it a cafe? Is it a deli? A grocer? Oasis can only be described as Mecca for foodies. They do so much and just do it SO well and by all reports treat their staff with respect and run a really tight ship. A perfect brunch or lunch date spot!
The Brunswick Mess Hall & Little Mess - Brunswick
A fitted out old church to match the simply divine asian fusion cuisine! I've spent many a night getting drunk with friends at the adjoining bar, Little Mess, ordering plate after plate of fried tofu and bao and it is in Little Mess that I was introduced to the holy grail of cocktails by my favourite bartender or all time - the Charlie Chaplin. Though of course we ventured into the restaurant itself plenty of times too! Head chef is former Longrain employee Kampat Suthipong, so the food is freakin fantastic and the real deal! Highly recommend it for a slightly fancy, but grounded affair.
It was REALLY hard to contain my list to a respectable size for blog form. A special mention to Rumi - Brunswick, Blu Fish & Chippery - Coburg, The Glass Den - Coburg, San Telmo - CBD, DOC Pizza & Mozzarella Bar - Carlton, Laksa King - Flemington, Rosetta - Crown, Spice Temple - Crown and gah there's too many to mention! Go, eat and be merry! Kisses,