Celebrating a milestone birthday, special anniversary or simply upping the ante on date-night? Elevate your evening at these cult-status eateries, degustations and luxe fine-dining spots.
Gimlet at Cavendish House
Old world glamour and modern dining collide at Gimlet. Grab a booth and see for yourself why the restaurant landed a coveted spot on The World's 50 Best Restaurants' top 100 list. Start your evening at the bar with the namesake Gimlet cocktail, a sweet burst of gin and botanicals. The menu heroes seasonal, Australian produce and the wood fire oven is the centrepiece of the kitchen.
Whether it’s your first date or 10th anniversary, Society promises a night to remember. Melbourne’s new supper-club has been brewing for four years and the doors are finally open. Statement crystal chandeliers twinkle above as lamplight glows on curvaceous booth seating. Sip caviar-topped martinis in the lounge before succumbing to Japanese-inspired or Euro-style cuisine.
Traditional interiors, a modern menu and world-famous Peking duck. You're in for a feast at Old Beijing. Start with plump xiao long bao and mountainous spicy noodles. Then move onto slow braised pork belly, fresh oysters and the signature duck. The drinks menu is classic with a twist. We'll be ordering shiso gimlets and Szechuan sours until closing time.
From the legends behind Sunda comes Aru - Melbourne's latest Little Collins hideaway. The menu of hearty feeds ranges from turmeric mayo scallops to torched salmon and dry aged duck. There's also fusion delights like black garlic egg noodles, spanner crab fried rice and kaya jam waffles.
Vue de Monde
If you want to really push the boat out, do it at internationally-renowned Vue de Monde. Perched on the 55th floor of the Rialto building, the views rival the lauded menu. The considered decor subtly interprets the Australian landscape. The seasonal Chef’s Menu is classical fine dining meets native Australian ingredients. This is definitely not a cheap eat. But it is unforgettable special occasion territory. Bookings essential.
Guy Grossi’s famed clutch of Italian restaurants perched on Bourke Hill are an enduring staple of Melbourne’s food and culture scene. For that special occasion, ascend the stairs into the historic environs of fine dining Grossi Florentino. It’s lavish but never stuffy. Seasonal produce is joyfully celebrated here. A bowl of bright tomatoes might serve as a table decoration. A bottle of the year’s house olive oil makes for a delicious souvenir.
Located in the historic Olderfleet building, Freyja feels like something truly novel. With a Nordic-approach to Aussie fine-dining, dishes are infused with the complex flavours of our native produce. The restaurant introduces Melburnians to Scandi gastronomy and you can expect unique flavour pairings that are beautifully executed, paired with Nordic rum cocktails.
Located in an intimate, futuristic space, Archer's needs to go right to the top of your special occasion dining list. Beautiful beams of light glow warmly against the unique, vault-like interiors. And the menu is an ever-changing celebration of seasonal, local flavours. Don't miss a trip up to the 15th floor for drinks at neighbouring Sunset House.
A riot of colour and punchy flavours, Chris Lucas' Yakimono is a high energy all-day eating house. Follow the neon signs into the Japanese-inspired eatery, reminiscent of Tokyo's Izakaya bars. Enjoy flame-fired cooking and off-grill options like noodles and sushi. To drink, it's sake and cocktails named after Tokyo neighbourhoods.
Eureka! We've found Melbourne's most glorious views. Eureka 89 soars 300 metres above sea level. Time your visit to watch the sun set over the glittering city skyline as you embark on a five or seven course chef's menu. With a seasonal modern Australian menu, you'll always be served art on a plate. Try delicate dishes like yellowfin tuna and smoked beetroot or Victorian-grazed beef paired with local wines.
Sitting on Bond Street, Maha’s decor is as captivating and dramatic as the menu. It's regularly awarded as one of the city’s finest restaurants. Shane Delia and his team take Middle Eastern flavours and spin them into the future. The tasting menu promises an opulent spread. Share smoked hummus, tuna kibbeh and roasted lamb cutlets. And finish on honey-drizzled Turkish delight dumplings.
If discreet fine dining with dramatic Japanese flair is on your wish list, enter the world of Akaiito. Dark and moody, lit by a rosy ribbon of light overhead, it’s tailor-made for clandestine catch-ups. Take your seat by the show kitchen to watch as the robata chefs and sushi masters prepare your multi-course set menu. From the dry aged duck with burnt apple puree to the spiced rhubarb dessert, it’s a gourmet degustation.
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