I get quizzed from time-to-time on where my favourite restaurants are in Melbourne. There’s so many to pick from, and it is always a little contentious with everyone having their own unique experiences. As well, restaurants themselves are highly dynamic with menu, management and kitchen changes. So that’s my disclaimer if you disagree!
Of the places that I’ve had a chance to visit so far (miles from being exhaustive by all means) here are what I rate as my top restaurants and eateries in Melbourne:
- Rice Paper Scissors, 19 Liverpool Street, Melbourne and 307 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
There’s plenty of competition when it comes to the Asian-fusion game with the likes of Gingerboy, Lucy Liu, Longrain, Red Spice Road amongst many others. Who doesn’t want to sell street food style at high street prices? I think Rice Paper Scissors does it best with their five dishes for $59 offer which makes a great feast for two or more. Vibrant and loud flavours that still stay true to its origins.
Fave dish: Sticky Pork Belly
- Dexter, 456 High St, Preston
American BBQ, but not as you know it, and that is a good thing at Dexter. Excellent quality meats coupled with creative combinations and an abundance of sheer style. Portions are nothing to be sneezed at and its all coupled with a chilled back atmosphere and hip ambience.
Fave dish: Caramel short rib
- Bibelot, 285-287 Coventry St, South Melbourne
Considerably less prolific than Zumbo and all the more better for it. Perfect desserts that showcase skill and enviable flavour combinations. You can’t dine at Bibelot and not end up smiling. Heavenly.
Fave dish: Hazelnut-Praline Crunch
- Chef Lagenda, 16 Pin Oak Crescent, Flemington
Malaysian home cooking done simply, and done well. Food that you could eat all day, and afford to eat all day. Substantially better than the majority that you’ll find in the city centre. Also check out Mamak.
Fave dish: Beef rendang
- Addict Coffee, 240 Johnston St, Fitzroy
Brunch doesn’t more competitive than in Melbourne but Addict comes out tops for me based on the trifecta of coffee, service and food. There’s an alarming trend of a narrow focus on the image and “Instagram-bility” of plates but here its backed up by perpetual excellence. Expect queues.
Fave dish: espresso
- The Noble Experiment, 284 Smith St, Collingwood
There’s a lot of surprises in store at The Noble Experiment, and the cocktails don’t get much crazier than this. Everything breathes fun and rewards curiosity with the $65 chef’s menu offering an entertaining and memorable night.
Fave dish: bathtub cocktail
- Lune Croissanterie, 119 Rose St, Fitzroy
The queues do not lie. Lune Croissanterie offers the best croissants in town and they know it. Agathe is a close second and better on a day when you can get one straight off the oven rack. Service is artificially slow but the buttery layers and melt-in-your-mouth qualities makes it worth it.
Fave dish: pain au chocolat
- Aka Siro, 106 Cambridge Street, Collingwood
There’s a lot of good Japanese around Melbourne, and the canon is there is usually lots of charm, friendly service and amazing food. Hakata Gensuke takes the cake for straight up ramen but for a wider selection and more cosy spot, Aka Siro in Collingwood is worth checking out.
Fave dish: karage curry
- Gazi, 2 Exhibition St, Melbourne
Opinions vary somewhat when it comes to the modern-Greek stylings of Gazi, but I was sold on my first visit easily. Amazing service, fast delivery of dishes with every plate being full of flavour and celebrating the essence of Greece in a most contemporary fashion. Wide, varied menu with lots of wins. Book.
Fave dish: Duck souvlaki
- Gelato Messina, 171 Chapel St, Windsor; 164 Swan St, Richmond; 237 Smith St, Fitzroy
Of all places on the list I would have ended up doing this one the most. Frozen confectionary is one of my favourite food groups. Gelato Messina delights with weekly flavour changes, great product and is always a real crowd pleaser.
Fave “dish”: Salted caramel and white chocolate gelato
I’m sure the list will evolve as I check out more places and change my mood, but that wraps things up for now!