It’s a good year to love food, Melburnians. To be honest, I can’t think of the last time it was a bad year to love food in Melbourne, as the last decade or so has been very kind to us hungry foodies.
We’ve seen the likes of Embla serving up classy bistro –style bar food (with killer wine and cocktail lists to boot), Atlas Dining’s rotating cuisine restaurant, Tipo 00’s sister restaurant Osteria Ilaria and swish South African stud, Ramblr, complete with charcoal pit for authentic, meaty fare.
But enough dwelling on the delicious past, let’s talk about where you want to eat in 2018. Some are new kids on the block, others are simply bucket list items I didn’t get to in 2017. Here are my top picks for where in Melbourne I want to be eating ASAP.
So, it may not be new to Australia, but Long Chim burst onto the Melbourne food scene in 2017 at Crown Casino. If you didn’t get a chance to sink your teeth into this tasty Thai last year, you’re in luck. There isn’t too long a wait most weeknights for walk up tables and you can book pretty easily with a short lead time too. It may be predictable, but it’s hard to go past the beef Massaman curry – tender meat and a perfect balance of spice and flavours are always a winner.
8 Whiteman St,
Southbank VIC 3006
Just in case you thought Melbourne was lacking American style food options, Morgan McGlone (previously of Belle’s Hot Chicken) is almost here to save the day. Opening in February, this massive 350 seater diner is going to pay homage to some of the world’s most interesting museums, with giant, taxidermy animals and other cool décor. Stay tuned for that one.
401 Collins Street,
Michelin star restaurant? Tick. Dishes for under $7? Unbelievably, also a tick. Hawker Chan recently burst onto the Melbourne food scene from Singapore with the likes of crispy skin chicken, pork, ribs, noodles and rice. Be prepared to line up for quite a while, but once you’re there, the whole experience will be quite cheap and cheerful (just with exceptionally tasty food!).
157 Lonsdale St,
Melbourne VIC 3000
This place just seems like a chic place to go on a date or maybe a ladies’ night. Good European and local wine and paired with delicious tapas style food. You might find yourself quaffing a glass of Riesling from the Rheine Valley, while you snack on salmon rilletes on light rye, or perhaps a glass of Tuscan Sangiovese with a side of pork with green olive and tarragon mustard is more your scene. Either way, you’ll leave feeling classy, tipsy and satisfied – and without a huge dent in your wallet either – bonus!
46 Hardware Lane,
Melbourne VIC 3000
There’s scarcely anything I love more than good, honest bowl of pasta and Pasta Adagio in Richmond is doing exactly that. With beautiful produce, authentic recipes and a nice selection of dishes on offer, there was never a doubt this would be a winner. Start with some antipasti, follow it up with Chef Carmine Costantini’s famous ragu and tagliatelle and follow it up with a classic tiramisu. Or, if you’re not in a decision-making state of mind, let Costantini decide for you, with a three course set menu for $69 a head. The choice is yours.
486 Bridge Rd,
Richmond VIC 3121
2018 is a perfect time to continue enjoying sustainable, paddock-to-plate cuisine. For housemade chutneys, sauce and olive oil, sustainable meat that is farmed onsite, a huge kitchen veggie and herb garden, plus their own vineyard, it’s hard to go past Green Olive in Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula. Nearly everything on their extensive tapas menu with daily specials is produced on-site (or locally) and can be enjoyed at the winery, complete with lawn and lake views.
1180 Mornington Flinders Road,
Main Ridge, Victoria 3928
In 2014, Melbourne was shaken when the iconic Stokehouse burned to the ground. But, since reopening at the end of 2016, alongside the ground level casual bar, Pontoon, it’s gone from strength to strength. Expect to find a raw seafood bar with options like saltwater ceviche with daikon and a mandarin vinaigrette, or something more substantial such as a perfectly pink salt grass lamb served with broad beans, pickled pea sauce and mountain pepper. Enjoy all this while overlooking views of the St Kilda foreshore – we recommend a sunset sitting.
30 Jacka Boulevard,
Saint Kilda, Victoria, St Kilda VIC 3182
Hero image by Amy Foyster.