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Foodies worldwide will tell you that when it comes to romantic restaurants, Melbourne’s got it covered. Hungry to help you find a favourite our editorial team pooled their heads and made a list. In celebration of Melbourne’s wonderfully cosmopolitan makeup, we also decided to traverse the gastronomic globe without even having to leave the city limits!
10 of the best romantic restaurants; Melbourne
As mentioned in the preamble, we really wanted to showcase the multitude of different cuisines you can discover in Melbourne. Indeed, there’s a bounty of brilliant romantic restaurants in Melbourne, but we feel that the following 10 are truly special – in no specific order. We’ve also included a little map below the slideshow so you can see whereabouts in the city each spot is. Dig in!
Romantic Restaurant Melbourne #1: Dalmatino
If you’ve never been lucky enough to experience Croatian cuisine in full view of the Adriatic, this family run restaurant will transport your taste buds to Dalmatia and back in a heartbeat. Everything from the brilliantly beefy pašticada to the glorious ribarski brudet (fish soup) is akin to what you would most likely enjoy in a Zadar konoba. Hospitality is the order of the day here and the tentative staff will readily take you on a journey through the very best of Balkan cookery.
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Romantic Restaurant Melbourne #2: Sezar
Ever tasted food from the cradle of civilization? We hadn’t until we ventured to Sezar. Perfectly encapsulating the cultural melange that is Melbourne, this Armenian spot is a leftfield departure from the city’s usual foodie footfalls. As you’d imagine, Caucasian food is a quixotic mix of hearty European grub and Middle Eastern spices, so expect a meal big on flavour. Make sure to try Sezar’s homemade Baklava for the perfect post-dinner sweet treat.
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Romantic Restaurant Melbourne #3: Hellenic Republic
It would be an absolute travesty not to include a Grecian establishment in our top 10 romantic restaurants in Melbourne. After all, the Victorian capital is home to the largest population of Greeks outside of Greece. It’s a true challenge to single out a favourite but top spot had to go this Brunswick haunt. Fronted by Master Chef’s George Calombaris, everything on the menu has that Taverna-style honesty, yet comes across as effortlessly modern.
Photo: Hellenic Republic]
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Romantic Restaurant Melbourne #4: MoVida
Any legitimate list of the best romantic restaurants in Melbourne wouldn’t be complete without a mention of this joint. Tucked away on the iconic graffiti-clad Hosier Lane, this side street bistro is revered for its top-notch tapas. In fact the food here is so authentic you could be forgiven for thinking you’re sitting in Barcelona’s Barri Gòtic. There’s plenty to choose from so come hungry (we recommend the king prawns cooked in cider!). Libation wise you can’t go wrong with a crisp Moritz lager to wash it down!
Photo: MoVida/Jazmine Thom
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Romantic Restaurant Melbourne #5: Pastuso
Sticking to the Hispanic theme, this Peruvian gem is a cornucopia of mouth-watering delights. Lima-born head chef Alejandro Saravia has assembled a clever menu that’s designed to mirror the breathtaking topography of his homeland. A nod to the country’s coast comes in the form of fresh ceviche and the rustic (and vertiginous) Andes are expressed through succulent grilled meats. Finally, the wildness of the jungle gets a shout out too by way of the Pisco bar… lashings of it too!
Photo: Paul Jeffers/Getty Images
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Romantic Restaurant Melbourne #6: Centonove
When it comes to the romance of mealtime, few countries can vie with Italy’s appetite for the amorous. Yes, Melbourne is replete with Italian restaurants, but none quite compare to the first-date feel of Centonove. A favourite amongst Kew natives, Jesse Davidson and Patrick Fletcher have done a great job of crafting an impressive menu based on their travels through Italy. Get a taste for Tuscany with their delicious roast duck or dream you’re in Amalfi savouring some fritto misto. Prego!
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Romantic Restaurant Melbourne #7: Bistro Thierry
Hankering after a romantic meal in Melbourne that’s packed with a certain savoir faire? If so, the oh-so chic Bistro Thierry oozes it in abundance. 15 years strong and Thierry Cornevin’s fabled French eatery still woos diners with its Gallic charm. Take a seat, order a bottle of Bordeaux and get things off to a garlicky start with a beautifully prepared plate of escargot. The menu abounds with classics à la steak frites, veal medallions and beef bourguignon. Simply put, we just can’t get “un oeuf”!
Photo: Bistro Thierry
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Romantic Restaurant Melbourne #8: Minamishima
Hidden down a nondescript back alley just off Richmond’s thronging Bridge Road is where you’ll discover this coveted establishment. Having ascended the ranks from humble dishwasher to award winning restaurateur, sushi maestro Koichi Minamishima has built a place that’s both clandestine and marvellously minimalist. Everything’s omakase – or ‘chef’s choice’ – so prepare to be dazzled by Minamishima’s exquisite knife work and efforts to source the best fish going. You’ll struggle to find a more artistic exposition of Japanese cuisine anywhere else in the country.
Photo: Melissa Davis
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Romantic Restaurant Melbourne #9: Dansk
There aren’t many other parts of the world that can claim to have conquered the open sandwich like Scandinavia. Denmark’s variant is called smørrebrød (“butter and rye bread”), which can be found in plenitude at Dansk. Swing by for a lunch date and order toppings including traditional Gravlax or glazed pork belly. Prefer evening occasions? Try out their tasting menu for a proper excursion into Danish delicacies. Highlights include the prawn and lime tartlet as well as the cured ocean trout served with a moreish cucumber consommé.
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Romantic Restaurant Melbourne #10: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Whoever said British food was a beige nightmare composed of deep-fried disasters and less-than-flaky pastry was a first-degree philistine! English celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal confronts that hackneyed stereotype head-on with his eponymous eatery at Southbank’s Crown complex. The restaurant’s burnished interior makes for a classy backdrop to sample a menu that comes across like a scrumptious ode to Britannia’s gastronomic history (think savoury porridge or powdered duck!). If the edibles weren’t breathtaking enough, the panoramic views are rather special too!
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