Looking for an intimate hideaway for dinner à deux? Enjoy good food, wine and romance with your sweetheart in these softly lit retreats.

Society

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.

A woman walking through a contemporary wine cellar in a blue dress.
Society photo by Tom Blachford

Matilda

Flames from the open kitchen heat body and soul at Matilda, a meat-lover’s celebration of Australian cuisine. Beguiling mood lighting softens the decor of timber and leather, fuelling appetites for big flavours. Wood fire, charcoal and smoke create magic to enhance sirloin, barramundi and duck. Even the potatoes are hay-smoked and dessert might be apple tarte tatin.

Hemingway’s Wine Room

Ernest himself would have felt right at home at Hemingway’s, a seductive homage to Europe’s wine bars. Bar shelves lined with bottles and books lend a bohemian vibe, while the brasserie’s red leather banquettes are pure Paris. Choose the prix fixe menu to splurge on delicate crab cake entrées and Wagyu filet mignon. Follow with your choice of dessert or cheeses from the trolley.

Plates of salmon and other fine food on a marble table.
Hemingway’s Wine Room

TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie

Carlton’s TuanTuan has a Parisian-chic interior, but the cuisine is Hong Kong comfort food. Take a seat at your table for two in the courtyard, next to the Shanghainese mural and central spotlit tree. Don’t miss out on the signature snow buns, with beef or crispy pineapple. Go Macau-style with pork and seafood on rice, or try congee with abalone and chicken.

Tipo 00

Take the pressure off date night, and settle in for an evening of pasta and wine at cosy Tipo 00. Feed your appetite for the good things in life by starting with freshly shucked oysters and chef-selected salumi. Move on to sophisticated but hearty house-made gnocchi with braised duck. Finish with eucalyptus and raspberry pannacotta, and savour the relaxed atmosphere of this charming Italian.

A jar of chocolate fudge being poured on a brownie.
Tipo 00

Vue de Monde

With those bewitching 55th-floor views to distract you, your eyes might wander from your partner at Vue de Monde. But don’t worry, they’ll be busy admiring the menu at this fine dining icon. Australian ingredients star in dishes like oysters with native citrus, and chocolate soufflé with billy tea ice cream. Even the decor is local, dressed in kangaroo skin and fur.

Aru

The wood-fired hearth sets the tone at Aru, from the pan-Asian cuisine to the room’s sensual warmth. Intimacy is on tap too, with fellow diners draped in shadows cast by clever spotlights. Fire-tempered dishes emerging from the open kitchen include small plates of torched salmon. Share Moreton Bay bug with blistered tomato, and scorched passionfruit pavlova for dessert.

Woman eating a desert with a cocktail
Aru

The European

At the old-world European, wines are French or Italian and the menu is an elegantly Euro melting pot. Start as you wish to continue, with caviar, blinis and champagne. Share chateaubriand for two, then lean back in your bentwood chairs to make room for the grand finale. Meringue bombe alaska or a selection of cheeses from the cellar.

Akaiito

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 eight-course set menu. From the Wagyu tartare to the robata chargrilled kingfish collar, it’s a gourmet degustation.

A custom red ribbon-like light fixture in a boutique restaurant.
Akaiito

Last updated on Tue 12 Apr 2022

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