Restaurants in Melbourne

Jan 21st, 2016, 01:45 AM
  #1  
ksm
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Restaurants in Melbourne

We have been in Melbourne for a week and will be here for three more weeks and we have not found a restaurant that I would rave about. The food has been OK but we really enjoy a good meal. We are willing to go to a higher cost restaurant maybe once a week but like to try to keep it more in the average range. I would say maybe $20AUD for a main at lunch and maybe $30AUD for a main at dinner. (I have the feeling at most places the menu is the same for lunch and dinner?) We don't like Asian food that much but if someone has a restaurant and a SPECIFIC dish to recommend we would give it a try. We prefer to sit down and order, but would be willing to go to a highly recommended order at a counter place.

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.
ksm is offline  
Jan 21st, 2016, 02:34 AM
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Obviously Melbourne has a strong Asian influence in terms of food. Like in NY or a lot of big cities, "ethnic" is also the best way to eat well cheaply. I'll stay away from Asian food though as it's hard to predict what ingredients would cause that dislike, so hard to know what to recommend. (I do *really* like the caramel pork belly at Burma Lane, however)

To start, of the upper tier restaurants, the highest rated, including one of the top 500 world-wide, is Attica. Other high end places would be Vue de Monde, Grossi Florentino.

Movida has a lot of fans for Spanish, though we usually prefer Portello Rosso. San Telmo is good for outright carnivores. Belle's Hot Chicken in Richmond does a good Nashville hot chicken and Le Bon Ton in Collingwood for Texas style brisket. Maha for modern middle eastern and Gazi does the same with Greek. Pretty much all of Lygon street above LaTrobe is chock-a-block with Italian places. Trattoria Emilia or Tipo oo are a cut above those.

For all rounders ("Modern Australian") good for throwing good local ingredients on a plate in interesting ways - Ezard, Cutler and Co, Pope Joan, Top Paddock.

Lume is got a lot of buzz right now, very "out there", though I haven't been. Apparently the crew of the Fat Duck, when Heston Blumenthal relocated his UK restaurant to Melbourne this past year, was over there quite a bit when not working themselves.

Om Nom has a good name for special desserts. When all else fails, Huxtaburger has good smash burgers and Mamasita (if you can get in) does decent, if a little pretentious, tacos.

Got to be honest - as a Yank, Melbourne prices for dining out were a shocker when I first moved here. Ingredients, rent, labour are all more expensive than most of the US. Now I've sort of lost track off the top of my head what the mains are going to run at some of these places but I'm probably over your mark on several suggestions. Probably check out the menus first before booking.
CounterClifton is offline  
Jan 21st, 2016, 03:25 AM
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Lots of good recommendations from CC-
Supernormal - I really like , it has Asian influence - it's lobster roll is fab.
Lyon street is full of tacky places and the only ones I would eat at are University Cafe, Tiamo and Brunetti .
The Town Mouse and Carlton Wine Bar in Drummond Street are good.
Mamasita is east to get into for lunch .
Pei Modern has a good lunch deal .
Pure South on Southbank is Tasmanian food and wine.
Rock pool at Crown -a great steak place.
Lady Carolina is wowing everyone with its Peruvian menu - great setting.
Fatto - overlooking the Yarra just near the arts center has nice Italian food .
Bistro Vue - lovely French food.
CC- had dinner at Le Bon Ton tonight - really enjoyed it.
St Crispin in Smith Street does lovely food .
Love the food and the service at the Press Club and another one of George Columbaris is The Hellenic Club in East Brunswick
northie is offline  
Jan 21st, 2016, 10:43 AM
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we loved http://meatmaiden.com.au . hard to single out a favourite dish as they were all excellent and the menu changes regularly. the short ribs and brisket were fantastic as were the "chicken ribs". The sides were also fantastic. in fact i couldn't fault it - something that doesn't happen often!
crellston is offline  
Jan 21st, 2016, 02:51 PM
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Interesting Counterclifton re prices here . My family and my New York friends say restaurant prices are similar to New York . I know NY is not all US hehe.
northie is offline  
Jan 21st, 2016, 07:35 PM
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Very true, Northie. NY is quite exceptional in many ways to the rest of the US. Although I'd wonder how far you'd get outside Manhattan compared to regional Victoria and find a much bigger change. At least when the USD and AUD were closer to being at parity (which was around the time I arrived).

Now, a $30 main here is less than $22 US and that's a pretty good deal for an American visitor, really. That's your average chain steakhouse meal price, not even counting tipping differences.

ie, I don't imagine you couldn't find a BBQ place in Texas, for instance, charging anything close to what Le Bon Ton (understandably) does here except for the week Aussie dollar. I'm really glad you liked it, by the way. I think it's closest to home, myself. Meatmaiden is ok, run by a Scot who doesn't care much for Yanks.. lol (considering what they chose to make). Go figure.
CounterClifton is offline  
Jan 21st, 2016, 07:48 PM
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It's my ( very limited ) experience that NYC, Washington DC & the Hamptons restaurant prices are very similar to Sydney & Melbourne for similar places & foods ( $ for $ on menus - ignoring the FX differences & compulsory tipping. On today's AUD:USD rates, that could add 50% for Australians).

None of the restaurants I visited had the huge, oversize portions we hear about, either. More or less the same as ours ( except for the course names).
Bokhara2 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2016, 10:36 PM
  #8  
ksm
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I will start my research with the lists. I am bound to find a plenty to try now. I will write back as I try them out. I have not thought the prices have been too bad for the type of food we like to eat. But as I mentioned I find the same prices for lunch and dinner at most places. We like to eat our main/large meal at lunch time and in the states that plan usually saves you quite a bit of money, but not finding that here. We were very surprised when we had lunch in St. Kilda at Donovans and most of the mains were 50AUD and up.
ksm is offline  
Jan 21st, 2016, 11:59 PM
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Ah yes, but you weren't obliged to tip, so I guess that deducts 20-25% on US prices & the FX rate drops another 30% - so roughly $25US?
Bokhara2 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2016, 12:15 AM
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Donovans is, with its ocean view, top $.

You could have had 3 courses + a glass of wine for a weekday lunch for $45 at Circa ( 2 hats in the 2016 Age Good Food Guide).
Bokhara2 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2016, 02:37 AM
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Bokhara, have you heard if Circa has changed much since Paul Wilson went on to other things?
CounterClifton is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2016, 08:40 PM
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I agree Bokhara re NY prices - we stay on long Island , Manhattan and Hamptons are prices are similar to Melbourne. I do always cringe at the up to 20 % service charge . I find drinks esp a glass of wine more expensive than here.
What US has over Australia is the cheap mum n pop places all over the states and even some "good " chains.
Hope you find some places you like ksm.
The service at Le Bonton was fabulous CC we even tipped.
northie is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2016, 08:45 PM
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ksm - just looked at Donovan's and was shocked at the prices. I haven't paid that price recently except for places with degustation .
northie is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2016, 11:38 PM
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CC: I don't, but will consult with my Melb foodie guru & report back.

Northie: me neither. Tourist tucker / UTS*/ pricing, unless it's an exceptional dish, which the one listed isn't.

* yes, just as crude as you'd think I meant.
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