Little over a year from its spectacular revamp, Hotel Esplanade aka The Espy is the St Kilda go-to, drawing critics and punters alike with its vintage-meets-mod good looks, vibey music nooks, two stellar diners and a rooftop with scorching beach views. Topping the LUXE list of Best Bars & Restaurants in Melbourne, rough-luxe The Espy is a one-stop mega desti for all things pulled, poured, plated and played.
Behind the cult boozer’s 140-year-old facade, Chef Sarah Chan helms Canto-riffing Mya Tiger which pays homage to her roots with a menu referencing favourite childhood dishes like prawn toast, dumplings and crisp-pork bao. When she’s not whipping up divine baos, you’ll find Sarah supporting these top Melbourne winers and diners. Read on to eat like a chef in Melbourne.
I love this place! My partner and I always sit at the bar, they know our faces and place an Aviation cocktail down for each of us before we’ve had a chance to take our seats. My go-to dish here is the squid-ink pasta. My tip is to sit at the bar, let the staff order for you then sit back and enjoy the show.
361 Little Bourke St, tipo00.com.au
Denton Wine Bar
This is a great little wine bar and bottle shop, beautifully simple with tasty dishes and an interesting wine list on the blackboard. You could be anywhere in Spain or Italy snacking and sipping away, chatting to your neighbours beside you on the bar. Enjoy this slowly – take your time.
1 Flinders Ln, dentonwine.com
Heartattack and Vine
This is a regular pitstop for me before going across the road to Cinema Nova. My go-to here is the porchetta roll and a Negroni. I try to limit myself to two Negronis otherwise I watch the movie through my eyelids.
329 Lygon St, Carlton, heartattackandvine.com
Parrot Seafood BBQ House
This place is without a doubt my all-time favourite restaurant to go to when I’m feeling a little (or a lot) homesick. From live seafood to classic roasts they do most things really well and I usually end up over-ordering (if there is such a thing). I always go for the steamed parrotfish from the live tank with delicious ginger shallot dressing, followed by the mud crab noodles.
293-295 Racecourse Rd, Flemington, @Parrot-House
This may appear biased but honestly, they serve the best Caesar salad and pizzas in Melbourne. The team in there work tirelessly on the pizza dough fermenting it for 72 hours, giving it a great amount of chew and puff once it comes from the wood ovens. I wander down after a long Sunday lunch service and watch the kitchen work the charcoal grills while I sip my pint of Balter.
11 The Esplanade, St Kilda, hotelesplanade.com.au
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