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Quincy Malesovas

Quincy Malesovas

Contributor

Articles (11)

The best pizza in Melbourne

The best pizza in Melbourne

February 2023: this month, celebrate World Pizza Day on February 9, by going on a pizza crawl to try a slice at as many of the spots on our list of the best pizza in Melbourne as you can squeeze in! Hot tip: wear your stretchy pants.  Whether you like yours thin and crisp or deep-dish, hot from the oven or straight from the fridge with a glass of OJ, there’s no denying the universal appeal of pizza. Outside of Italy, we reckon Melbourne pumps out some of the best pies in the world, and we've eaten our way around the city to find the very best. In no particular order, here are our favourite pizza restaurants in Melbourne. Looking for more? Check out Melbourne's best Italian restaurants here. Can't decide what you feel like? Check out the best restaurants in Melbourne here. 

The best bubble tea in Melbourne

The best bubble tea in Melbourne

We have no doubt you've drunk plenty of the stuff, but how much do you really know about bubble tea? Tapioca is a variable and versatile ingredient thanks to its high starch content, which gives it a delightfully chewy texture when cooked. It’s used in many forms across many countries, in dishes such as Brazilian pão de queijo and Malaysian kuih, but one of its greatest applications is to make the soft, springy pearls found in your bubble tea. Invented in Taiwan in the 1980s, bubble tea has rapidly evolved from a trend to one of the globe’s most popular non-alcoholic beverages. Several decades since its inception, the bubble tea boom continues with more and more shops popping up in Melbourne each year, from international chains to locally owned iterations. The beauty of bubble tea is that each experience is different – at most stores, every step of the process can be customised from choosing your tea base and toppings to selecting sugar and ice levels. From chewy grass jelly to thick, cheese-flavoured foam and chunks of taro, options go far beyond your basic boba pearls, though they’re always a safe option.  No matter how you take your tea, you can’t go wrong with these top spots. Prefer a brew? These are Melbourne's top spots for a coffee in the CBD. And if you need something to eat on the run, try out the best cheap eats in Melbourne. 

The best food trucks in Melbourne

The best food trucks in Melbourne

From Queen Vic’s Summer Night Market to Welcome to Thornbury and Grazeland, food trucks are everywhere these days – and there’s more than ever to choose from. If you need help sorting through the options, work your way through our round-up of the best meals on wheels around town. Smoky, chargrilled skewers, molten cheesesteaks and fully-loaded vegan fries are at your disposal, just as long as you know where to find them. Prefer a sit-down meal? Here are the 50 best restaurants in Melbourne. Looking for a bevvy? Visit one of the 50 best bars in Melbourne.

The best restaurants for vegetarians in Melbourne

The best restaurants for vegetarians in Melbourne

While many restaurants offer solid vegetarian options these days, there are some spots that know how to elevate vegetarian food to the point that even carnivores forget there was no meat involved. From fancy dining to cheap eats, Melbourne serves up excellent vegetarian fair for any time of the day, any day of the week. Here are the best restaurants dishing up plant-based meals. Want more? These are the best restaurants for vegans in Melbourne. Wanting to explore the town? Check out the best cheap eats in town. 

These are the best restaurants for vegans in Melbourne

These are the best restaurants for vegans in Melbourne

Vegans tend to get a bad wrap, but that shouldn't mean they only get to eat bad wraps. Melbourne continues to expand its plant-based options, with everything from vegan degustations to vegan cheap eats available across the city. While there are many dedicated vegan and vegetarian restaurants, some of Melbourne's most beloved and popular spots are also serving up excellent vegan fare. These restaurants won't leave you wanting for any meat.  While you're at it, check out the best restaurants for vegetarians in Melbourne. Explore more with the 50 best restaurants in Melbourne. 

The best Christmas Day lunches in Melbourne

The best Christmas Day lunches in Melbourne

With Christmas less than a month away, now’s the time to start mapping out your holiday menu. If you’d prefer to take a back seat this year, we’ve got some suggestions for where to find a festive feast just as good as mums. Whether you’re spending the day with friends or your extended family, here are the top spots to gather this Christmas Day, no matter your taste or budget. Still need to organise your office Christmas party? Check out the best venues for end-of-year celebrations here. Running behind on present shopping? Take the easy way out with the best Christmas hampers. 

The best banh mi in Melbourne

The best banh mi in Melbourne

The best bánh mì has bread with crunch, but not so much that it scrapes the roof of your mouth. It’s fluffy and light, but not so flaky it completely disintegrates into your lap. It’s the perfect vessel for liberal amounts of pâté, a Vietnamese condiment called egg mayo butter – either egg mayo is spread on one piece of bread and butter is spread on the other, or the two are spread on top of each other – fresh cucumber, pickled carrot (and daikon if you’re lucky), generous sprigs of coriander and chilli massaged into its crevices, a dash of Maggi seasoning and the protein of your choice.  The traditional bánh mì thịt nguội (bánh mì filled with cold cuts) was eaten as a control wherever we could alongside one other roll for variety, which has produced our rankings for some of Melbourne's top bánh mìs. Love things between bread? Here are the best sandwiches in Melbourne. Prefer those sandwiches toasted? These are the best toasties in Melbourne.  Time Out's 100 Days of Summer calendar is here to help you plan your entire summer in Melbourne.

The best hotel dining in Victoria

The best hotel dining in Victoria

Hotel dining has a reputation for being inferior to standalone restaurants, but these eateries are flipping that narrative entirely on its head. Located in some of Melbourne’s top hotels, they’re all destinations in their own right – whether you’re spending the night or just passing through. Forget room service and lacklustre risotto under a metal cloche and instead expect four-course meals and degustations to rival any of the city's top restaurants. Added benefit? It's a far shorter commute to bed if you overindulge – and we recommend that you do.  Speaking of restaurants, here are Melbourne's best for you to eat your way through.

The best food court eats in Melbourne CBD

The best food court eats in Melbourne CBD

From pan-fried pork dumplings to vegan ramen, some of Melbourne's best bites can be found in its food courts and arcades. Proving no-frills doesn't have to mean no flavour, here are some of the city's top dining hall dishes. Looking for even more cheap eats? Save a bit of dough with our list the 50 best cheap eats in Melbourne for under $20.

The best fried chicken in Melbourne

The best fried chicken in Melbourne

From the United States to Korea and Taiwan, fried chicken spans nearly every country and culture. Not everyone can meet their fierce standards, but these joints have come pretty damn close to perfecting the ancient art of battering and deep-frying poultry.

The best burgers in Melbourne

The best burgers in Melbourne

Food fads come and go, but there will always be a place in our arteries for the humble hamburger. For something budget-friendly and old-school, Southsiders swear by Andrew's in Albert Park, while Northsiders are devoted to Danny's in Fitzroy North. You could argue that Huxtaburger reinvigorated the craze when it first opened in Collingwood, but there's been a lot to love since then. Here are Melbourne's ultimate burgers, from triple-stacked beef and cheese situations to equally decadent vegan alternatives. If they're not enough to satiate you, check out our wraps of Melbourne's best late-night eats and Korean barbecue joints. Recommended: The 50 best restaurants in Melbourne.

Listings and reviews (8)

Dom's Social Club

Dom's Social Club

4 out of 5 stars

Part of the small but mighty hospitality group behind Takeaway Pizza, Dexter, Kenny Lover andthe much-anticipated the Keys, Dom’s is the only venue to penetrate the inner-city bubble. And it’s so good, it may just trigger die-hard northsiders to do the same. Sure, there are plenty of other spots to grab a slice, but one worth venturing south of Thornbury for? That’s arguable. Very few straddle that elusive line of tradition and innovation quite like Dom’s – not even itssibling, which runs a close second but doesn’t boast the dynamic, three-level venue (rooftopincluded). Pies are available venue-wide, and much like Takeaway Pizza, have that classically Italian, woodfired vibe though the toppings like mortadella, thyme and fermented honey or ghost pepper salami and pineapple salsa set them apart from the pack. The veg options are almost as exciting; the roasted mushroom and truffle cream number is aparticular standout. On paper, it sounds like overkill (do you really need sour cream on a white base?), but it works seamlessly alongside a sharp orange wine to cut through the dairy. There’s also an ever-rotating wild card which, on our visit, has a Latin lean – see the creamedcorn base, finger lime and coriander salsa, and chunks of chorizo – that reinforce thesentiment that a restaurant is best experienced through its specials board. Thirty dollars a pop is a hard pill to swallow, especially once you tack on a few glasses of natural wine, but if you’re willing to sacrifice toppin

Bar Romantica

Bar Romantica

4 out of 5 stars

Everything about Bar Romantica nods to old-world New York – the Italian-leaning menu and plush banquettes, the warm wood walls, the simple drinks list. It obviously sets lots of expectations with the name, though that’s not entirely their fault (they inherited “Romantica” from the previous owners). The eatery may not scream romance – aside from the heart-shaped table – but it does evoke a certain lust towards the kind of hospitality it's hearkening back to.  This is particularly true when seated at the bar – perfect for pretending you’re cooling your heels at a Manhattan dive. Being in the hot seat has perks too, like having the waitstaff’s full attention. Service here is quick and cordial in just the right amounts with drink top-ups at the ready. The wine list is fairly traditional with a few new-school nattys by the glass and an even fresher, funkier extended offering (plus plenty of hard-to-find Euro pours). The food straddles a similar line between old-school and new, keeping things at once consistent and exciting even if a few dishes fall flat. The handmade pasta is one of the venue’s biggest claims to fame and the quality is there. If you’ve ever had hard, store-bought casarecce, you’ll delight in the soft bounciness of Bar Romantica’s fresh (and very, very long) versions, which come with “winter pesto” and stracciatella. If reviewing the pasta alone it would be an easy five stars but this particular dish lacks cohesion. The sauce is too oily and thin to stick to the sl

Lulu’s Char Koay Teow

Lulu’s Char Koay Teow

4 out of 5 stars

Located on the quieter end of the street, Lulu’s Char Koay Teow always manages to pull a crowd that rivals its neighbours – and though it’s inspired by the hawker stalls of Malaysia, there’s no hawking necessary here. Day or night, the small, bustling eatery is almost always packed to the brim, clear evidence that the food speaks for itself. Their signature is – you guessed it – the char koay teow, which has been steadily gaining the restaurant cult status since they opened three years ago. It’s deeply flavoured but not too saucy and chock-full of ingredients. Choose from blood cockles or razor clams or (my personal favourite) duck eggs, which are folded into a base of thick, chewy rice noodles alongside prawns, Chinese sausage, pork lard, chives and chilli. Unless you go for the $9 vegetarian version, which swaps the animal products for tofu and veg but manages to pack the same punch, even when packed up and reheated at home. It’s probably thanks to the special sauce, a secret recipe borrowed from the owner’s mother-in- law who used to run a popular CKT stall in Penang. In other words, this is probably the closest thing you’ll find in Melbourne, and that’s something to get excited about. For the sake of doing one thing very, very well, you’d think Lulu’s might stick to the classics but they’ve been expanding their menu as of late. Thankfully, quantity has not sacrificed quality – options like the jawa mee, a soupy hokkien noodle dish topped with potatoes, tofu, crushed peanu

James

James

5 out of 5 stars

Between Covid-19, the great sandwich/bagel boom and the growing disinterest in brunch, cafés have not had it easy the last few years. But rather than let the climate get them down, the James team took the transition in stride, shifting gears to an all-day, Korean-inspired menu led by chef Sangsoo Kim – and they’re all the better for it.  To call a dining experience faultless is a big call but my time at James is the closest I’ve come in a while. I can’t comment on their status as Wynward, the café they operated as previously, but on all counts except maybe the name, James is a massive win.  By day, the venue serves coffee; lunch bowls like spanner crab ramen and wild mushrooms over sticky rice; and a smattering of small plates plucked from their dinner menu. At night, the selection is more extensive and includes a set menu, which is probably the best way to experience James for the first time. Food is complex but accessible, and prices are fair too at around $14 to $16 a dish. Each comes with two identical portions, seemingly designed for sharing, though one could easily make a nice solo meal out of a couple of small plates.  It pays to crowdsource photos if you’re unsure – this menu is hard to gauge off description alone. The charred cucumber, for instance, comes halved in two long strips, spread with yoghurt, and finished with sliced grapes, black olive crumb and the subtle spice of ​​​​shichimi. It’s a delicate dish that could nearly pass as a palate cleanser if not for th

Waxflower

Waxflower

4 out of 5 stars

In Melbourne hospitality, there are two primary camps – the traditionalists and the trend-chasers. When well-executed and willing to evolve, the latter can be stellar. But it can also quickly become a parody of itself, making the rounds on niche inner-north meme accounts before fading into oblivion as the new hotspot swoops in to steal its place. Full disclosure: I predicted Waxflower would follow that path. With not-so-savoury online reviews and a too-cool reputation, it seemed the wine-cum-listening-bar’s best days were behind it. But after visiting for dinner the other day, I confidently rescind any doubts I had about the venue. It was a weekday evening and the venue was comfortably full, vinyls blasting through the custom wooden speakers. Too loud to carry a conversation, the volume was my one gripe but as if the DJ could read my mind, this was amended shortly upon my arrival.  Despite the noise, Waxflower makes a perfect date spot – loud enough that you need to get close with intimate booths perfect for sidling up in. And the staff are just attentive enough to keep your drinks flowing without third-wheeling you.  Wines are the focus here and the list is decent with by-the-glass options scrawled on a chalkboard on one wall. It's barely visible from where we are sitting, so we opt instead for cocktails, which are mostly Japanese-inspired (as is the “listening bar” concept, an homage to Tokyo’s jazz kissa). The options aren’t super extensive and two are Spritzes, which bare

Moonhouse

Moonhouse

4 out of 5 stars

'Asian fusion' is a bit of a dirty phrase these days, which is bad news for culinary giants like the Commune Group (New Quarter, Hanoi Hannah, Tokyo Tina and Firebird) who’ve built their brand around the concept. But with their newest venture Moonhouse, located off Carlisle Street in Balaclava, it’s clear they are trying to move away from gimmicks towards something with a bit more substance. Whether or not they’re succeeding is a bit murkier. The menu, led by executive chef Anthony Choi, head chef Shirley Sunnakwan and pastry chef Enza Soto, plays on old-school Chinese-Australian dishes like Peking duck (prepared two ways), prawn toast (reimagined as perfectly cut, sesame-crusted squares with lobster bisque for dipping) and Hainanese chicken rice (served in mini-club sandwich form on crustless rounds of soft white bread). With nods to both the Hainanese dish and ubiquitous poached chicken sandwich found at every Aussie café, this spin has universal appeal – nearly every table in the packed restaurant had one. As with the group’s other venues, the food is undoubtedly whitewashed. Even with a healthy lashing of chilli oil, the chicken and prawn wontons, served in a broth we thought tasted faintly of salt and little else, feels dumbed down for a non-Chinese audience – though to be fair, we did overhear the person next to us complaining that their noodles were "too spicy". Where the menu shines is in its vegetarian and vegan fare. Deep-fried tofu can be notoriously flavourless, e

City Wine Shop

City Wine Shop

4 out of 5 stars

Now in its 13th year running, this bottle shop, bar and restaurant is an early fixture of the Con Christopoulos’ culinary behemoth that has taken over the corner of Spring and Bourke Street. Situated next to (and sharing a food menu with) the European, another Christopoulos enterprise, City Wine Shop is a cosy, intimate space with green-tiled walls, chalkboards displaying the daily specials and an entire floor-to-ceiling wall of bottles available to take home or drink in – but choose wisely, because corkage is $20. There’s plenty of seating on the footpath outside, but given its proximity to the Princess Theatre and its scene-y reputation, it fills up fast even on cold winter nights. A seat at the bar is the next best thing, perfect for posting up with a plus-one or maybe a book. This is the sort of place you can go alone without feeling lonely. Helpful (if a little bit brash), the waiters will likely have a chat and offer some guidance if you’re overwhelmed by the vast selection. While the menu has plenty of classic pours, there are a few wild cards on there – think earthy, amber wines from Georgia and dark, biodynamic reds from Austria. As for beers, the selection is a bit old-school with an emphasis on mainstream Aussie and European ales. Food is solid, comes quick and includes all the classic wine bar bites – grilled saganaki with preserved wild figs, oysters raw or Rockefeller, bite-sized anchovy toast and caviar with cream and blinis. According to one team member, the c

300 Grams

300 Grams

300 Grams opened its Northcote doors to much fanfare in 2019. Since then, they've launched a second shop in Coburg to meet demand for its beloved burgers. The secret to its moreish quality is its smash patties, which get pressed onto the grill until they develop a delicious and crispy finish. The 300 Gs burger, which comes with all the classic fixings plus the shop's secret sauce, is a foolproof option. But if you can handle the heat, the super spicy Hot Bird fried chicken burger is also worth a try.

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