Embla sums up what we love about the restaurant scene right now. A lack of attitude. Style without fuss. Above all, a place that you visit intending to have a quick glass of wine and a snack, and then emerge blinking, two bottles and eight courses later.
Igni’s the best thing to happen to Geelong since the Cats won the flag in ’07, ’09 and ’11 combined – hell, throw in Jimmy Bartel’s Brownlow for good measure. And it’s only an hour’s drive from Melbourne. So, what are you waiting for?
This Indian newcomer is providing a good reason to head back to Brunswick Street, a strip that has been resting on its laurels for way too long while gabbing incessantly about its 1980s heyday.
It may be a hike out east to visit this shining jewel in Melbourne’s café crown, but no one ever said all the good things had to be in the middle.
Ghost Kitchen’s Taiwanese street-food menu makes it hard not to feel like you’ve been missing out on something delicious your entire life.
The bar at Lûmé, and its manager Nick Tesar, are among the very best in Australia, full stop. The level of creativity, the use of incredible techniques and left-field ingredients, the beautiful presentations and above all the imminently enjoyable flavours are second to none.
The people have spoken – and the people want vegan Latino.
A $20 note will buy you a souva and some chips or salad at Jimmy Grants with change to spare. It’s a great way to eat food by a big-time chef (George Calombaris) without breaking the bank.
Led by award-winning head barista Matt Perger, the St Ali baristas have played an active role in introducing Melburnians to a considered appreciation of their daily caffeine hit, from the house-roasted beans to the precise latte art.
Lord of the Fries’ success in not-so-secretly getting the meat-loving masses to embrace their vegan and vegetarian menu is commendable if not awe-inspiring.
Three words: People’s Choice Award. That’s right, folks: the citizens of Time Out have spoken in the 2015 Food Awards and decreed this buzzing dumpling house their favourite spot to nosh. It’s a heavy burden, but one we reckon HuTong can handle.
It takes a special kind of guy to decide to open a tiny, forward-thinking, degustation-only restaurant in Beaconsfield serving produce plucked from their own allotments. In fact, it takes three of them. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the Bertoncello brothers, a trio of industry true believers who’ll make even the most rusted-on cynic shed a fuzzy tear.
He bookends his meals with offal. He serves parsnips and onions for dessert. He's chef Dan Hunter, and he didn't come to Brae to mess around.
Few chefs could convince us that a deconstructed clam chowder is a good idea. But Nick Stanton is that prodigy.
George Calombaris’ fancy souvlaki shop is no late-night greasepit. It’s a bar, diner and takeaway in one where you can get ouzo for a fiver, hammer huge fresh salads full of almonds, barley and citrusy handfuls of rough cut parsley, or get a baggie of slow roasted lamb to go.
This is what happens when you take fine dining pros and set them loose on the morning meal.
We knew this punk vegan eatery would find a warm reception in Fitzroy. How could it not? They're serving south-of-the-border snacks backed boozy cocktails and punk rock, played loud.
A decade is a long time in restaurant years – especially in Melbourne, land of the fickle diner. So what is it about this high-end Cantonese restaurant that’s kept it kicking strong through 38 years, two recessions, the digital age and a plague of screechers decreeing the death of fine dining?
Attica is the little restaurant that could, in the little suburb that you wouldn’t expect, headed up by one Ben Shewry – the New Zealand chef famed for surfing, foraging and crying, to whom tricks and gimmicks are anathema and sustainability is innate philosophy.
Guy Grossi came kicking and punching into 2013 with this salumi bar – a modern proposition that encapsulates everything great about Melbourne dining.
If this isn’t the best little hole-in-the-wall dumpling den in Melbourne, we’ll eat the menu. Just watch us. The space is no more than a plain canteen, and it’s located in a Bourke Street arcade. But what they lack in décor and ten point precision pinches on the rustic dumplings, they make up for in crazy freshness and flavour.
South American restaurants are generally better known for meat, smoke and fun than precision cooking. But there's an extra element of sizzle to the food being dished up by head chef Blair Williams and his Peruvian sous Daniel Salcedo.
Well Melbourne, it seems you still can't get enough of the loud Thai dishes and neon bunnies at Chris Lucas's Flinders Lane canteen.
Until she was 40, Rosa Mitchell was trimming locks as a hairdresser. Now she's the owner of Rosa's Kitchen and Rosa's Canteen, two of Melbourne's finest Italian restaurants.
More restaurants we love
Too many restaurants, not enough time. Cut the fat with our guide to the best places to eat in Melbourne right now.