You could spend a life time eating out every night and still never try all the food that Melbourne has to offer. It’s a hard task choosing a restaurant, let alone choosing what to order from the menu. But if you want to get a taste of Melbourne and some of the dishes that are sticking around for all the right reasons, we’ve made a list of places to start. Bon appetit.
Salmon Nori Taco
Mr Miyagi, Windsor
As far as fusions go, it doesn’t get much better than Mr Miyagi’s Salmon Nori Taco. Mexico meets Japan as tempura fried nori sheets form the taco shell, filled with generous amounts of grilled salmon belly, sushi rice, spicy napa cabbage, Japanese mayo, and chili oil. So many textures, so many flavours, but somehow it all just works. I am yet to find someone who hasn’t left Mr Miyagi dreaming about the salmon nori taco. For $12 it’s an absolute must!
Mr M also introduced Melbourne to the salmon nori taco’s little sister, the bomby spider crab taco. If you already love the original salmon, this is one to try.
This unusual dish has stood the test of time. Inspired by the Basque Bar culture, the anchoa has been on Movida’s menu since 2005. Hand-filleted Cantabrian artisan anchovy on a crispy crouton with smoked tomato sorbet… Now I don’t particularly like anchovies, but this dish is an exception. The wait staff will instruct you to spread the sorbet across the delicate crouton. The icy and refreshing subtle sweetness of the sorbet cuts through the saltiness of the anchovy, with the crunch of the crouton adding another element. Movida’s signature dish is a steal at $4.50. It’s only bite size and is over before you know it, but is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.
Adjacent to the Melbourne Arts Centre is Fatto, the all-day Italian bar and cantina. Fatto is perfect for a pre-theatre dinner,but it is also worth coming in any time of day or night for the Crab Spaghettini. The hero of this simple pasta dish is the spanner crab, complimented with lemon, chilli and topped with crunchy breadcrumbs. It’s light and zesty and delicious. Take a seat on the heated terrace, sip on a vino and twirl your pasta as you take in one of the best views in Melbourne of the bright city lights and Yarra River.
New England Lobster Roll
One of the original lobster rolls in Melbourne was found at chef Andrew McConnell’s St Kilda restaurant Golden Fields (now wine bar Luxembourg), but McConnell bought the dish to Supernormal where it quickly became a customer favourite.
The sweet brioche bun is relatively small but extremely delicious. Smeared with Kewpie mayo, the bun is filled with watercress and shallots, a dash of lemon juice, and chunks of Western Australian rock lobster. For the original and the best lobster roll in Melbourne, give Supernormal a try…it’s anything but.
Popcorn & Salted Caramel Sundae
Arbory, Flinders Street Railway Station
A throwback to your childhood memories, but a hundred times better than you remember. The Popcorn and Salted Caramel Sundae is served in a glass shaped like an icecream cone (cute!), filled with the most deliciously rich salted caramel, creamy soft serve, popping candy, and impossibly light and fluffy popcorn. Yes, fluffy. We aren’t sure how they do it either, but it is SO FLUFFY.
Burger With The Lot
Andrew’s Hamburgers, Albert Park
There’s a reason Andrew’s is Melbourne’s most famous and long running burger joint. Since opening in 1939, Andrew’s has gained a cult following. They keep things simple, serving up authentic old-school burgers, the way burgers should be. Forget about brioche buns and mac-and-cheese patties, Andrew’s do things their way, and their ‘Burger With The Lot’ hasn’t changed in seventy years.
For $10.50 you can expect a juicy, flavoursome patty, crispy bacon ,all the salad trimmings and a perfectly cooked egg in a fresh bun.
400 Gradi, East Brunswick
You don’t have to fly to Italy to have a taste one of the world’s best margarita pizza, just jump on the number 8 or 1 tram to East Brunswick. In 2014, 400 Gradi’s margherita pizza was crowned best in the world at the Pizza World Championship in Parma, Italy.
The famous pizza features San Marzone tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil and EVVO on 400 Gradi’s perfect, crispy pizza base. The unpretentious simplicity that you want from a margherita, but just a little bit more fancy.
Peanut Butter and Tomato Toast
The menu urges you to trust the folk at Barry with this one, and trust them you should. One of the best breakfast spots north of the river, Barry’s toast with Crunchy peanut butter, heirloom tomatoes and salt & pepper peanuts is a game changer.
Tomato on toast is good, peanut butter on toast is good, it makes sense that these two toast classics come together for one delicious (and healthy) breakfast. Not the combo we deserve, but the combo we need.
By Madeline Wallman