Since leaving Melbourne I've wanted to publish a sort of guide to Melbourne and it's best restaurants/bars. We ate out at so many amazing places so it was hard to come up with a top 5 but I think I've just about managed it. Of course these are just mine and Stew's personal opinions, and there are plenty more cafes, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, takeaways, frozen yogurt places that are worthy of a top 5. The food and drink in Melbourne is exceptional so you won't be disappointed anywhere you go! But we all have our personal faves and here are mine...
1. Top Paddock
Located in Richmond, but very close to South Yarra and Chapel Street this incredible cafe is worth a trip too. From the city you can get a tram or two to Richmond, otherwise you can walk along the rivers edge for maybe 20-30 minutes. Top Paddock has an excellent reputation for producing incredibly flavoursome food that looks stunning and is very reasonably priced. Everywhere in Australia is more expensive than it is in the UK so if you come here as a tourist you might be shocked at the prices on arrival. However once you adjust to the Australian dollar you will find that everywhere is about the same price when eating out, in the evening especially. I would say you can expect to spend anywhere between $10-$20 for a good lunch, and $20-30 for dinner.
We visited Top Paddock twice but I wish we'd gone more. From following them on instagram I could see that the rest of their menu was just as good as what we tried. From left to right we had the blueberry hotcake (complete with edible flowers), the soft shell crab in a brioche bun, and the poached fruit and coconut bread (again with edible flowers). All were amazing on the taste buds and the presentation is definitely instagram/blog worthy.
2. The Meatball and Wine Bar
I loved this restaurant so much I ate there 3 times, twice with Stew and once with a friend. Located on Flinders Lane this beauty is in the heart of the city centre, close to Flinders Street Station and Federation Square. It's likely that you will have to queue to eat here or put your name on the list and come back later, no matter what time of the day you go and seven days a week. It's pretty famous in Melbourne with tourists and locals.
I'm not a huge fan of meatballs but their dishes are something to shout about. The menu is simple and easy, you first choose your ball (pork, beef, chicken, fish or veggie), you then choose your sauce (tomato, cheese or pesto) and then you choose what you want them sitting on top of. You can pick from creamy mash, polenta, pasta or you can have them on their own. They also come served with a mouth watering slice of bread. From my 3 experiences I think I have now tried every combination and can safely say they all blew me away. And you must must must try their mini sliders!! A meatball in a brioche bun covered in whichever sauce you prefer. Seriously so good!
3. N2 Extreme Gelato
If you visit Melbourne or Sydney I suggest follow N2 on instagram to see a full range of their marvellous creations. The ice-cream itself is so creamy and the flavours are delicious! They go to town with their inventive ingredients and style. We tried the Ferrero Rocher one which came complete with an injection of hot liquid chocolate. Mm mm! The place itself is pretty cool to hang out and watch them making it too. I can't wait to visit the Sydney one too.
4. Sweetwater Inn
Tucked away behind Chapel Street this place has to be found! If you're heading to Chapel Street for a shopping trip stop by for lunch, otherwise make a visit for dinner and cocktails. It's an American style restaurant in a huge warehouse building. With an open fire, the owners dog roaming around and cute Jack Daniels salt and pepper pots, this place is bursting with personality.
The cocktails pictured above were only $10 which is the cheapest cocktail I've found so far in Australia, so it's worth a visit just for that. And who doesn't love a cocktail in a jam jar or a tin can?! :) The food above was the pulled pork bun and beer battered chips! But since visiting twice the second time I had the wagu beef sandwich which came with a layer of gravy inside and I would highly recommend that for all you meat lovers. It was insanely good and pretty cheap for Melbourne.
5. Naked For Satan
Naked For Satan is a really cool bar in Fitzroy with a roof top area home to an incredible view of the city skyline. They serve up an extensive list of cocktails, they're pretty pricey ($20-$25) but they look and taste amazing. They also serve tapas style food for $2 each. You simple help yourself and then they come over and count up how many cocktail sticks you've left behind. Pretty genius way of doing bar snacks. This is definitely the best rooftop bar we visited in Melbourne but be warned on a busy Saturday night you might be queuing for half an hour to get in the lift! It gets crazily busy, especially on a hot day. Fitzroy is a super cool area to explore though and go out for food or drinks, so Naked For Satan has to be on the list to stop by for a quick cocktail.
I may do another post similar to this but of things to do and see in Melbourne :)
Hope you liked it! If you ever come to Melbourne and visit any of these places you'll have to ket me know.