So you have a date night coming up but no clue on where to go? Maybe this can help!
If you are after a fun, casual night:
- Gami is great for a first date. It’s casual and if your date hasn’t tried Korean fried chicken before you'll introduce them to something deliciously new. If they already know about it, then even better! Who doesn't like fried chicken (if your date really doesn't like fried chicken.... what are you doing with him/her?? jk)
- Sushi Hotaru is a small and cozy kinda place. The big plus here, is you get to sit pretty close to your date and have a train of food go right past before your very eyes! No need to fuss over a menu or wait for your food because it's all before your eyes. With the price set for most plates, you won't have to worry about a nasty shock when the bill comes either!
- Hutong is the place to go if you want to impress your date with good dumplings. Their Xiao Long Bao are famous and for a good reason too. It's a fast paced restaurant so you can get a good feed before you move onto the next part of your date
- N2 is not exactly a restaurant, but it's a pretty easy way to kill an hour or so for $6 a pop or as a post dinner date. Your date will be amused by the way the gelato is made, while you get to enjoy the smooth yummy texture in a whole array of different flavours! The best part about N2 is that their menu changes every week – always different, always interesting and may even quickly become your favourite date spot.
- Gypsy and the Pig specialize in Japanese pork dishes. It’s a small cozy place and you will spot a pig whichever way you turn your head. The offer pork belly dishes done in a variety manner from crispy to stone pot or in a sushi.
- Mrs Parma is as the name suggest, all about the Parma. Your date will get a wide selection of different types of parma and sauces. It’s very casual and heaps of cider and beers to choose from.
If you are after a semi romantic night
- Meat Wine & Co is situated by the Yarra River, so you can enjoy a good steak with a lovely view. After your meal, you and your date can go on a post-dinner stroll and watch the fire display outside Crown.
- Koko really hits the spot for some great Japanese, but my tip when venturing here is to ask for the window seat. You will get an amazing view of Melbourne and maybe have to jump a stone or two to cross the water feature in the middle of the restaurant.
- Cumulus Inc is the perfect place to get to know your date with great food and romantic mood lighting. Conversations will flow over their tuna tartare with green pea salad. Being on the quiet end of the CBD, it gives you and your date the perfect opportunity for a nice walk back into the city (for that cheeky post-dinner drink) if you plan to hit a bar or two after.
- The Point at Albert Park is another favourite for steak where you get a beautiful view of Albert Park Lake and then follow it up with a nice drive. The venue is beautifully lit at night and the food won't disappoint either. I suggest the carved on the table option, just for the beautiful meat and it’s extra topic to talk about during dinner.
- Takumi is a small Japanese BBQ restaurant with great mood lighting. You can opt to pick from the BBQ options (I would recommend the Waygu and Ox Tongue) or their yakitori. Just make sure your date knows in advance that it’s a BBQ date and not to wear their tux or silk dress. Their cuts are generally higher quality than your average BBQ restaurant so if your date likes their meat, they should walk out happy.
If you are out to impress
- Rockpool is well.... Rockpool, it would be rare to find someone who is not impressed with what Neil Perry has to offer. Highly regarded in Melbourne for its quality menu, the steaks are their specialty and I wouldn’t leave without having their amazing passionfruit pavlova. Their tables are spaced out enough to give you privacy and no one can eavesdrop on your conversation. I am happy to third wheel on your date!
- Cutler & Co in Fitzroy is a place most foodies would have heard before. Impress your non-foodie date with Cutler & Co’s innovative menu (like their grilled beef rib with sesame) and lush decor. Or if you prefer something traditional, let them wow you with how good roast chicken can taste.
- The Press Club is still around, it has just gotten smaller and moved next door to make room for its sister store Gazi. This is where George does his best work and innovation comes out and the layout is very modern and chic to match the food style. It's a mix of contemporary and Greek.
- Attica is a world ranked restaurant (21st in the world to be exact) and winner of the coveted three chef hats. Menu is definitely on the innovative side (think fish cooked in paper bark). Ben Shewry loves to experiment with flavours, delighting and exciting your senses (some of the produce he uses comes out of his own garden). But make sure your date appreciates good (and adventurous) food, otherwise you might get a WTF reaction for some of their offering. Oh and book ahead.... not weeks more like months!
- Grossi Florentino is not just fine dining but it’s also an experience. Impeccable service from taking your coat to giving you a goodies bag to take home to continue the food journey at home. Creative pieces between meals as compliments from the chef (yes that’s sometimes Guy Grossi himself) and mains that you will have difficulty faulting.
If you are just after something fast and easy (cheap)
Laksa King is by far the best laksa I've had in
MelbourneAustralia. What they have to offer speaks for itself and it's cheap too. Even if you don't like laksa, their other Malaysian dishes won't leave you with food envy either (mmm that satay chicken roti wrap yummmmm).
- Snag Stand is great if you want a pre-movie bite that's fast and leaves room for dessert. With plenty of different hot dog combinations and tasty chips too, it beats other fast and easy options like Maccas.
- Shanghai Street is where you can great dumplings without the hefty price tag. There is a massive queue out the door for a reason! You need to eat fast here and this place is definitely not one to take your date to if you plan on having a serious long conversation. Their chili oil, peanut wonton is delish, if you can handle spicy.
- Mamak is good for fluffy roti and satay sticks. No frills and can get you full for under $20.
- Don Too is small place that specializes in Ramen at night. They do a thick broth the option to upsize and add more char siu and runny egg.