Along Southbank's riverside strip you'll find Southgate, a restaurant, shopping and entertainment catch all that'll knock you into a stupor with its enviable views of Melbourne's CBD skyline. Try The Deck, a European-style dining hub with a sunny outdoor deck, French-style charcuterie and a full wine display from Australia and beyond. Head to Miyako for authentic Japanese teppanyaki, where talented chefs juggle utensils and food while preparing your meal. Or for a pre-show feed try their special bento box available from 6pm to 7.30pm. At Bluetrain you'll find casual pizza, pasta, burgers and cocktail jugs inspired by classic Melbourne streets (our pick is the Chapel Street). At the drink slinging Waterslide Bar you'll get your dinner and drink in one classy hit. If you show your comedy festival ticket to the Waterslide staff before your show, you can take advantage of their drink specials ($4 sparkling, $4 pots and $8 pints). More foodie options come via Southgate's licenced food court, where you can watch happy go lucky Melburnians make the most of Southgate's unbeatable riverside location.
Dig into what the judges of the 2014 World Pizza Championships were tasting when they crowned 400 Gradi’s Margherita the best in the world. It’s more upmarket than your regular pizzeria so you won’t find a Meat Lovers in sight, but what you can expect is wood-fired dough with beautifully simple toppings. The sister venue of the Brunswick Street original, 400 Gradi at Crown has inherited that same airy crust, delicious melty cheese and fresh ingredients as its predecessor. Throw in a glass of vino and you’re set.
When David Thompson’s Thai restaurant Long Chim opened its doors to Melbourne, we finally got to taste what Singapore, Perth and Sydney had been raving about – and boy was it worth the wait. Long Chim revs the engine over a bunch of Bangkok street food favourites including beef rice noodles and mashed prawn curry packed with a whole lot of chilli. Robust and casual, Long Chim makes a strong case for doubling down and ordering one of everything on the menu. If your stomach (or wallet) isn’t up for that, just order the chicken larp. It’s worth it.
Texan Kevin Bludso topped a bunch of ‘best barbecue’ lists in the US before his arrival at Southbank, all thanks to his barbecue briskets and ribs that have been cooked low and slow for 14 hours on wood and charcoal. Experience a little bit of Texan flair with sticky pork spare ribs, fall-apart pulled pork and loaded sides like house-seasoned fries and mac'n'cheese. It’s a messy affair, but worth it.
If you feel like being super fancy, Neil Perry’s rendition of a traditional American steakhouse brings high quality meat and wine to the Crown promenade. Their signature cuts of beef are sourced directly from humane producers, dry aged on premises, and cooked to meaty perfection. There’s no escaping the fact that Rockpool Bar & Grill will cost you, but everything from the steaks to the seafood, the rotisserie menu and the cold bar will make this night one to cherish.