Is there anything more fabulous than a long lunch? When you’ve got good food, cold drinks, great company and the whole afternoon to knock yourself into a food coma the world is your oyster. Here are 15 of our favourite Melbourne restaurants to hit up for a long lunch this Spring.
If you are yet to dine at Flinders Lane's Asian masterpiece, you need to get down to it—of course, we're talking about Supernormal. Andrew McConnell's crown jewel and home to the most famous lobster roll in Melbourne. The Supernormal menu is changing all the time, but it's always designed to be shared, so grab a couple of mates and try a serve of duck bao, a whole flathead with burnt butter sauce, wild watercress and shaved kombu, some beef tartare, and whatever else you can fit in.
Prince Alfred Hotel
As the weather is warming up, why not book a table and soak up the atmosphere at PA’s by enjoying a lazy feast in the legendary outdoor courtyard in the heart of Richmond. They’ve mastered a perfect balance between classic pub meals like chicken parma with more modern Aussie dishes such as the ancient buddha bowl and cauliflower orecchiette. For lunch with your girlfriends, we recommend the Aperol Spritz and charcuterie board for $45, available every day of the week.
When the craving for Argentine food strikes, Melbournians head to San Telmo. Accept no substitutes. We’re talking empanadas, chargrilled sardines, house-made pork and beef sausages, and of course, big hunks of meat. Lamb rump, flank steak, beef sirloin, ribs, eye fillet—you name it, they’ve got it and it’s cooked damn well (or medium-rare, if that’s how you prefer). A lovely mid-week date option.
Skinny Dog Hotel
It’s hardly slim pickings at Skinny Dog Hotel. From cold beers to crisp ciders, you’ll need something when you’re chowing through the Famous Skinny Dog Parma—a 350-gram schnitzel with slow roast Napoli, Virginia ham, chef’s secret three cheese blend, special salted beer battered fries and salad. Finger-lickingly messy pizza and loaded herby pan-roasted chats will keep a hanger at bay.
$25 Aperol Spritz jugs, mushroom and mozzarella arancini and steaming bowls of linguine marinara, what more could you want? This humble, traditional Italian restaurant lies in the trendy laneways of Brunswick and is churning out some irresistible dishes, with tonnes of specials to get your hands on like pasta and vino or two for one cocktails every Friday lunchtime. Mamma’s Boy has done bottomless lasagna and bottomless gnocchi, so you won’t want to miss what’s next.
Melbourne’s favourite river restaurant and bar has hit the Yarra early for its third consecutive season this year and we are urging you to try it. The 2019 design takes inspiration from 1970’s summer in Miami- think pastel colours, palm trees and a menu that celebrates all things Latin American, Mexican and Cuban. Book a booth at Arbory and spend the afternoon gorging on white fish ceviche, lobster tacos and truffle pizzas with a cocktail in hand.
You’ve probably seen it all over Instagram- the classic red-lit alleyway with a large neon sign saying ‘Lucy Liu’ on the back wall, inviting you into a dimly lit and funky warehouse serving up some mouth-watering plates. Lucy does an express lunch, with 4 courses and a drink leaving you stuffed to the brim. We recommend the hot trout salad, fried chicken bao and lamb shoulder with roti, mmm.
This beautiful seaside venue is perfect for a slightly classier lunch, with marble floors and large glass windows looking onto Elwood beach. Go healthy with the Bathers salad or splurge on some kingfish sashimi, Porterhouse steak and chips and a creme brulee to finish. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Elwood Bathers is a little haven churning out dishes that’ll have you coming back for more.
Rooftop Burger Shack
Looking for something low-key but with an impressive skyline view of Melbourne’s city...look no further than Rooftop Melbourne where an understated little burger truck sits churning out the best buns in town. On the menu stands 7 burgers which they’ve mastered to a tee, but we recommend the mushroom burger with whipped feta, baby kale and onion jam. It’ll send you, whether vego or not, into a frenzy. So sip the afternoon away on a cold beer and tuck into a burg while soaking up the best the city has to offer six storeys high.
In the city’s biggest beer garden lies Trunk Diner, an American style diner with its own Melbourne flair. Guests can sit outside on wooden tables with red and white striped umbrellas and fairy lights spanning the space while chowing down on the Mac Daddy burger or a California style salad. If you’re after something a little more classy, Pepe’s Italian and Liquor has just opened up at the same space who are mixing Italian and American cuisine with dishes like spicy vodka rigatoni. Perfect for a long, boozy lunch to satisfy all your carby cravings.
Shimmy into Tenpin after a swim at Port Melbourne beach (hopefully sewerage water-free but at this stage we’re not sure)—they’re bowling strikes. A (bowling) ball of fun, expect a hub of Asian-inspired cocktails and some of the best curry around. Betel leaf with sticky pork, prawn, pineapple and peanuts are a fresh, zesty start while crispy squid and BBQ salmon with red pepper relish is non-negotiable.
If share-style Indian cuisine doesn’t scream long lunch, we don’t know how to help you. Start with modern classics at Mukka including light, pancake-like Dosas made from rice and lentils. Served with curried potatoes, sambar dal and coconut chutney, it’s a vibrant, flavour-bursting start to your lazy lunch. Slow-cooked goat curry and the ever-popular, creamy butter chicken will thrust the loudest tables into silence.
Eat'aliano by Pino
Italian food was made for (spirited) sharing. Eat’aliano by Pino fills tables with puffy-crusted, cheese-coated pizzas including the all-time favourite Margherita. For those averse to sharing (you know the one), main courses include a homemade pappardelle with slow-cooked lamb ragu to die for, and roman semolina gnocchi with four-cheese sauce and walnuts. Toss a few Pizza Nutellas in to make the dessert crowd happy.
If the fact that Iki-jime is Shannon Bennet's baby isn't enough to tempt you, the food sure will. Iki-jime is a gorgeous seafood restaurant in the heart of our CBD. Treat yourself to the finest quality seafood including rusty wire oysters, a selection of raw fish with condiments, seaweed gnocchi and much more fishy goodness. If you want to extend your stay, try a cocktail in Bar Jime, right next door. You won't be wanting to get up from your seat any time soon…
Feast of Merit
It’s wine-o’clock at every hour when you’re at Feast of Merit. Cocktails, beers and a generous range of wines (any lover of red would be pleased) are perfect for washing down a feast with serious merit. We rate the middle Eastern crumpet with lamb shoulder and poached eggs or the Karnibahar- cauliflower, chickpeas and caramelized yoghurt...ooft.
Want to sample all these spots but can already hear your wallet screaming? That’s what Urban Feast is for; if you see an icon next to a restaurant’s name, then you can get $25 off your bill. Learn more about Urban Feast here.
Image credit: Simon Shiff