5 Mouthwatering Restaurants in Melbourne, Australia
There is nothing like asking for restaurant recommendations in a new city than from a local. And especially one who has a developed palate, a keen sense of style, and a taste for the finer things in life. When I met a fellow traveler and foodie on a tour through Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, it dawned on me that she had to be my go-to source for delicious food intel in her home city, of Melbourne, Australia. And there is no sense in keeping it a secret. So we partnered to put together this delicious set of yummy restaurant recommendations. Oh, and if you follow Shirleen's Instagram account, there will be no shortage of mouth-watering images to make you want to go running for the restaurant door.
Here are Shirley's 5 Favorite Restaurants in Melbourne, Australia:
This is an institution in Melbourne. Tucked away firmly in the center of Melbourne’ iconic laneway, Flinder’s Lane, Chin Chin oozes the ultimate definition of a cool eatery. With neon pink lighting and playing the best hits of the 80s and 90s, this is not a hard restaurant to find; especially with a line wrapping around the corner at all times of the day. That’s right – no reservations; first in, first served. You may see Chef Chris Lucas at the back of the open kitchen, easily identified by his mohawk cooking up Asian influenced dishes. He takes simple Asian dishes and kicks up the flavor profile adding multiple textures, heat, sweetness, and sourness. He serves the best curries in the country including the braised duck curry, with creamy coconut cream rice and son in law eggs, or try the bbq king salmon wrapped in banana leaf. End the night with a layered coconut sago and ice-cream or the warm banana roti.
Must try dishes: Rendang curry of wagyu beef, caramelized sticky pork, corn and coriander fritters
Opulence is an understatement here. Perhaps a restaurant to be saved for only the very special moments, Rockpool is Chef Neil Perry’s iconic steakhouse, carving up only the finest Australian beef. Situated along the Yarra river, you will walk through wooden doors into a dark and moody, dimly lit restaurant, walking past the fire blazing open grill. The steak is served on a large plain porcelain plate, with a slice of lemon on the side. Your waitress will bring you a selection of complimentary sauces all complimenting the fine meat in their unique way. Having steak here will make you into a snob at every other steakhouse. Perry doesn’t stop at the steak. Whether its hand-cut pasta, Australian grilled seafood or desserts – he just does everything right.
Must try dishes: 41-day Rib Eye on the Bone, King Prawns and goats cheese tortellini, grilled octopus with pesto, Summer Pavlova
A recent addition to Melbourne’s dining scene, Chef David Thompson has produced Long Chim along the Yarra river in the Crown Casino precinct. Whether you sit inside the open air restaurant or outside on the terrace, you could spend many warm summer Australian nights eating and drinking the night away. Thompson delivers classic Thai inspired dishes with a western flair, but most definitely maintains the Thai heat. Best to ask the waitress before ordering or adjusting to your preferred spice levels.
Must try dishes: Roasted duck fried rice, Whole fish 3 flavours, Lamb Ribs with coconut cream, massaman curry of beef
If you have ever wondered the streets of Italy to ask the locals where the best pasta is served, they will say it’s in their mother’s kitchen. That’s exactly how you feel at La Spaghettata. This is situated along Melbourne’s Little Italy’s Lygon Street in and among several other Italian eateries. But after trying the restaurants to the left and to the right, there’s something about the pasta and the sauce at La Spaghettata. It’s simple, basic and uninterrupted. The pesto sauce is made up of 4 ingredients and again the puttanesca with only 4 ingredients. Choose something off the menu, or ask the cute young Italian waiter to bring you a combination of 3 kinds of pasta on a platter, served on the classic red and white checkered tablecloth.
Must try dishes: Penne Puttanesca, spaghetti Bolognese, Penne Pesto
This middle eastern inspired restaurant or more specifically Armenian cuisine will ignite the Arabian queen within. The cuisine is centered around the spicy warm flavors of sumac, saffron, harissa with sweet notes of pistachio and pomegranate. Try to go with a large group of friends, because the more dishes you order the merrier. You want to start with lamb neck wrapped in fine, crispy kataifi pastry and basturma and egg; sort of a fancy canapé of beef jerky and quail egg on toasted brioche. The lamb shoulder is quite literally an entire lamb shoulder, soft and tender falling off the bone. Add sides of spiced rice, asparagus with mint and mascarpone stuffed zucchini flowers. Make sure you leave space for an unbelieve deconstructed baklava with walnut toffee ice-cream and salted caramel, or the syrup soaked the warm honey cake with cardamom yogurt. Whatever you chose from the menu, Sezar will not disappoint your tastebuds, it will only leave you longing for more.
Must try dishes: Lamb shoulder, basturma, and egg, new style baklava with salted caramel
If you give any or all of these restaurants and dishes a try, let us know what you think!
We hope you enjoy these culinary gems and have the best of times eating out in Melbourne!