I love my food, and if you’re like me, you will love Melbourne and all that it has to offer. Pressed for time, this short visit didn’t really allow me to tick off many places from a long list friends gave to me. Still, I did feast and here’s just a few that restaurants I recommend should you find yourself in the city with some coin to spare. Also my friend, Arniella, is part of a foodie group in Melbourne. If you want to meet cool people while expanding your gastronomical vocabulary, send me a message and I will pass on her details.
Find them here: Watergardens Town Centre, R07/399 Melton Hwy, Taylors Lakes
Bookings: +61 3 8358 2109
I’ve been told that Cafe Greco have several restaurants in Melbourne, and I’m not surprised. The food is fantastic and service was quick. I’m not that schooled on Greek cuisine, so it was great to be able to try something new.
We met up with Ian’s brother, Carlo, and his wife, Valentina, and their kids Blake and Jimmy. Dinner that evening were two platters - meat and seafood. I drooled over the size of the prawns and looked back on the days before I was allergic to crustaceans. The platters were on the table in less than 20 minutes, which was awesome because I was so hungry.
I loved the calamari from the seafood platter, and the lamb from the meat platter is a must. Charcoal always brings out this incredible flavour in lamb, and dipped in tzatziki...divine! I wish we ordered extra pita bread, just to have a break from all the meat. Although I don’t think I could anymore in after our meal.
We hung around the playground so Blake could play - Ian ended up getting me a hot chocolate and churros from La Chocolateria for dessert. Great food and awesome company, I slept good that night.
RonnaEats: 4.5 Spoons | Atmosphere: 4.5 Stars
F.A.T. Fried and Tasty
Find me here: 360 Lygon St, Brunswick East | Bookings: +61 3 8560 3328
You will probably never find southern-fried chicken and waffles on a Weight Watcher’s menu, still, if you don’t care about the calories, it really is the bomb. Lygon Street in Melbourne is the street for whatever it is that you’re craving. FAT Fried and Tasty is located in the more industrial end of Lygon Street, where you find cafes and hair salons amongst mechanics and tyre fitters.
We actually sought out fried chicken (the southern variety specifically) and waffles after a post on Instagram - we figured we were heading into the city anyway and hadn’t had breakfast yet. I thought that by the time we got into the city, we would be ready for lunch.
For you sceptics who doubt this delicious combination - haters gonna hate but it’s ya’ll missing out.
The waffles were served with two pieces of southern-fried chicken, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and maple syrup. I could have done without the ice cream, but hey, I wanted the full soul-food experience. Next time I will try their spicy version, and maybe less the waffles.
We went early so probably beat the lunchtime rush. Also you should check out their funky bathroom - funky being the artwork, not the smell.
RonnaEats: 4.5 spoons | Atmosphere: 4.5 Stars
Find them here: Southgate, MR2/3 Southgate Ave, Southbank | Bookings: +61 3 9699 3600
Melbourne is one of the, if not, the most multicultural city in Australia - which is great for us foodies because migrants brought over fantastic cuisine that caters to every palette. La Camera means ‘the room’ in Italian - it was a pretty popular room looking at how packed it was on a Friday night. Luckily my friend, Selena, managed to get us a table, better yet, we had a view of the Yarra River and city lights.
La Camera is on the first floor of the Southgate Building in Southbank. We booked a room in the city, and probably would have only been a 15-20 minute walk from our hotel. Running late, we took a taxi and experienced the hustle and bustle of Friday night traffic. Although there’s a more social different vibe, perhaps it’s because most people are out for the night, it never feels as stressful as peak hour traffic after work.
The restaurants and bars at street level must pay a premium - though with the amount of customers that night, I would say it was worth it. We met up with Selena after 6pm and we only had the table until 7.30pm, which meant quick menu decisions had to be made. We settled on a garlic and cheese pizza for our starter (by the way, the pizza starter is good for four), and I went with the spaghetti bolognese for my main. I found that over-indulgence from the last few days meant my stomach wanted comfort food over spice.
Selena often comes back to Whakatane - we catch up at least every couple of years. I have to admit, it’s taken me ten years to finally visit Melbourne, so it was good to not only catch up, but to see what gastronomical delights it had to offer.
After dinner, we walked along the Yarra, and headed towards Crown Casino. Not that we had any plans to gamble the night away, we just wanted to avoid food coma from all the carbs. Though once it settled, we walked back to Southgate to the Lindt Cafe. I had the hot chocolate - which was served with small jug of milk and melted chocolate. The consistency was perfect for sipping chocolate. By the end, I had the equivalent of three small hot chocolate drinks. Way too much indulgence for one night!
RonnaEats: 4 Spoons | Atmosphere: 4.5 Stars
Find them here: Hamer Hall, Tenancy A Southbank Promenade, Southbank
Bookings: +61 3 9682 9042
PIZZERIA, BAR AND TAPAS
We had actually walked past Teatro the night we dined at La Camera (it’s just a short walk). I was catching up with Becca and Arniella, both originally from Whakatane, and we spotted the $15 Paella lunch special. Of course I couldn’t have it (traditional paella always has prawns), but most of the group was keen. We had to wait an hour for lunch, so found a food court and caught up on the goss over smoothies.
Becca was in my year in high school, and Arniella a year younger. Both had moved to Australia over ten years ago - so this visit was well overdue. Both come home regularly, but it was great to see them in their adopted city. Becca’s husband, Mark, couldn’t join us as he had already bought a ticket to spend the day eating, drinking and betting on horses.
I ordered a calamari tapas - which I highly recommend. It was succulent and the batter light. For my main I went for the margarita pizza, which a nice break from meat, yet still had that satisfying comfort that comes from carbs and cheese. It turns out Becca was also allergic to crustaceans, so she had the Moroccan Lamb pizza, while everyone else got the paella.
Eating a pizza twice the size of my face was no easy feat. I managed all but one slice, which was a good effort on my part.
We walked off lunch and made our way to South Wharf where we tried to do some shopping. Food coma took away my enthusiasm to shop and I walked out empty handed.
A day exploring in the city is not enough, next time, I’m sure to come prepared.
RonnaEats: 4 Spoons | Atmosphere: 4 Stars
Who is RonnaEats? Ronna Funtelar runs this independent foodie blog, with a philosophy to eat and write about food we can rave about. We don't ask for free meals or collaborate with our reviewed eateries, so you can be assured the reviews are unbiased and all for the love of food. Whether it's a food truck, a hole in the wall eatery, street food, local hangout or fine dining, we want to know where to head to for our next food adventure.