It's no secret that Aussies love the mighty chicken parma. It's been a stalwart option on pub menus for centuries (slight exaggeration) and has a rep for being one of the biggest plate-able dishes of all time (truth). Whether you prefer your parma extra cheesy; with the addiction of ham or bacon; sitting on the chips or alongside; there's a whole stack of parmas in this big city to sink your teeth into.
In true Urban List style, we've done the hard yards to bring you 7 of the best parmas in Melbourne. Are you up for the challenge? Order's Up!
Prahran Hotel | Prahran
Okay, Urban Listers, this one has it all; the complete package, combining all the important things; crispy chips, a garden salad you'll actually want to eat and of course the main event – a generous but not over-sized chicken parma. Note: This means you won't have to be rolled out of the restaurant and into your car, which is a definite win for us. The standout here is the Napoli sauce; it looks legit, tastes legit and doesn't get lost in the flavour of the ham. In terms of the plating, you'll find your chips under your parma, but relax, they don't get soggy because they're oh so crispy and beer battered. Mmmm. Pick up a mouth-watering chicken parma at the Prahran Hotel for $14 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays or for $21 at any other time. Prahran Hotel: You've. Nailed. It.
The Exchange | Port Melbourne
Another contender for best parma in Melbourne (and also the biggest) can be found at The Exchange in Port Melbourne. It's a good thing these guys have massive plates, because this thing is mammoth. Share your parma with a friend or throw caution to the wind and give it a go yourself. Why not? You can gloat to your mates afterwards, right? For the not so adventurous (or hungry), there's the special 'Ladies' Parma, which is exactly the same in terms of ingredients, just smaller (thank goodness). Not only is this parma huge, it's delicious too and not overly thick, which means you can really taste the flavour. The Chef uses two cheeses to make this baby sing, one being mozzarella and the other, his little secret. You'll just have to try it to find out!
Skinny Dog Hotel | Kew
If size matters, then this parma's for you. Quite possibly the largest parma I've ever seen that has to arrive on its very own plate to avoid overhang. Trust us, you're going to need to be more than a little hungry to tackle this monster. Dig into a hearty serve of chips and salad that make up two yummy side dishes, completely normal in size, but small in comparison to the large slab of chicken that lays before you. If you're up for the challenge, go for the full serve, but if you want something a little more user-friendy, half serve that baby up. Skinny Dog incorporates basil into their parma mash-up of champagne ham and mozzarella cheese, and it really, REALLY works. Take advantage of the Thursday night special and snap up one of Melbourne's best parmas with pot of beer or soft drink for only $20. Perf!
The Park Hotel | Abbotsford
Head to The Park Hotel for your parma fix and you'll be at the mercy of Head Chef, Paul Lewis, who not only takes pride in everything he makes, but loves coming up with quirky little adaptations for his dishes. Take the standard parma for example; instead of using ham, it's all about the bacon for a richer, heartier taste – and you won't find it tucked away under the cheese either, but proudly displayed on top for all the bacon lovers to see. You'll also find chunky chips with ample salt and a fairly solid salad, too. The great thing about the The Park Hotel (aside from their yummy parmas) is that they'll accommodate most dietary and taste requirements. Insider's Tip: Ask for the parma lollipop or the soon-to-be-perfected parma calzone for something different. These guys aren't on the menu, but if you ask, you shall receive. Thanks Paul.
The Royston | Richmond
Located in the back streets of Richmond behind Bridge Road, you'll find the Royston, home to the popular Wednesday night trivia and also one of the best parmas in Melbourne. If you're not a chips-under-the-parma kinda kid, you'll like that the Royston put their fried delights alongside the parma to avoid any potential chip-sog that may occur during consumption. We dig that. We also dig their breadcrumbs, which they do perfectly, crispy but not too crispy and with the perfect chicken to crumb ratio. If you like ham, you're in good hands too because this parma has a strong ham flavour, but is by no means overpowering. While the salad is fairly standard, the chips are delish and salted to perfection. Mondays and Wednesdays are the nights to visit – get your parmas for just $17 a pop!
The Local Taphouse | St Kilda East
Head Chef at The Local Taphouse, Wayne Seberry describes the chicken parma as a simple dish that needs to have every component done right for it to be a success. Makes perfect sense doesn't it? Which is why The Local Taphouse serves up one of Melbourne's best parmas. Place your parma order to find a mouth-watering free range chicken breast, topped with wood-smoked ham for a slightly different flavour and a generous finish of good ol' fashioned cheese. While it's not as big as some of the aforementioned parmas, it definitely ticks all the other parma boxes, and is one of our top picks.
Union Club Hotel | Fitzroy
When you go to the Union Club Hotel you've got options. Most places have one parma variety on their menu but Union has two, the classic and the Mexican Chicken. Order the standard for all the usuals including a clever mix of mozzarella and tasty cheese; or up the anti with the Mex to feast on chilli bean Napoli, jalapenos, Virginian leg ham, parmesan and tasty cheese. Both parmas are big, thick and tasty with extra crispy breadcrumbs and come alongside a decent salad and some pretty damn good chips, too. There aren't huge lashings of cheese, but there's plenty of ham if that's your thang. Visit on a Tuesday night and pack a parma for just $15.
Did we miss your pick for the best parma in Melbourne? Let us know in the comments below.
Main image: Skinny Dog Hotel via @a_smitttty Instagram.