While Melbourne has no shortage of cheap 'n' chic restaurants, when you're in the mood for something special a $15 wine and dine deal just doesn't cut the culinary mustard. Knowing this, we've searched high, low and dined all around town to find the best restaurants in Melbourne for special occasions. Boasting delectable degustation and tasting menus, wine pairings and top-notch service, here are five Melbourne fine dining restaurants that will truly knock our socks off. And my, oh my, aren't they fine!
O.MY | Beaconsfield
Owned and operated by three brothers – Blayne, Tyson and Chayse Bertoncello – O.MY has taken a fresh approach to Modern Australian cuisine, their famed degustation menus injecting a dose of excitement into the fine dining scene. With a seed-to-plate philosophy, O.MY champions the very best of seasonal, local and organic produce, all ingredients grown on the O.MY farm or sourced from the brothers' friends five minutes down the road. Head Chef Blayne, driven by a passion for produce and keen understanding of flavours, spends countless hours researching and sourcing the specialised seeds, picking produce fresh each morning and creating dishes that continue to push the culinary boundaries. The four, six and eight course tasting menus are constantly changing, dictated by what's best in season, featuring the likes of King Prawns coated with a King Prawn powder, served with buttermilk sauce, lemon gel, pink peppercorns and sorrel varieties picked straight from the garden. Yum! Add on the wine pairing, designed by up-and-coming Sommelier Chayse, and you've got the ultimate fine wining and dining experience. Open for only 15 months, we see big things destined for O.MY. Watch this space, Listers!
Woodland House | Prahran
Housed in a grand Victorian mansion, Prahran's Woodland House is arguably one of Melbourne's best restaurants, offering delectable degustation, fine wine and impeccable service in classic surrounds. Previously working under Jacques Reymond, chefs Thomas Woods and Hayden McFarland have crafted a menu that is as delicious as it is innovative, with dishes such as Spanish mackerel with burn dashi, lotus root and shiitake gracing the seasonal menu. With a sensational a la carte offering, as well as five and eight course tasting menus, you're truly spoilt for choice at this Melbourne fine dining restaurant. Woodland House's Sunday lunch is a real stand out too, with the choice of four or six courses featuring the very best seasonal, local ingredients (they're offering TUL readers a super exclusive deal too!). Whatever you do, make sure you opt for the paired wines; Woodland House boasts one of the best wine lists in Melbourne, with an impressive range of older vintage Australian reds.
Attica | Ripponlea
Regularly ranking as one of the world's top restaurants, Ripponlea's Attica is at the pointy end of Melbourne's fine dining scene. Don't let the unassuming dining room fool you – Attica is every inch worth the hype, with its famed eight-course tasting menu taking guests on a journey of Native Australian flavours. From bush berries still on the twig, to whiting cooked in paperbark and a salted-caramel filled egg to finish, Attica is full of culinary surprises, and a definite must-do for any self-respecting Melbourne foodie. We suggest you put yourself forward as guinea pigs and book in for Chef's Table on a Tuesday night, where Head Chef Ben Shewry and his kitchen team test and develop new kitchen ideas for just $125 per person (wine match an additional $75).
Cutler & Co | Fitzroy
Another of Melbourne's best restaurants, Andrew McConnell's Culter & Co is fine dining made cool. Located in an old metal works factory on Gertrude Street in Fitzroy, Cutler & Co's sleek industrial fit out, designed by McConnell's architect wife Pascale Gomes-McNabb, is the perfect setting for the restaurant's menu of unpretentious fine food. Take your pick from the a la carte menu, or let McConnell do the work for you with the six course degustation, featuring delicious dishes like flounder with smoked mussels, leek and a brown butter sauce. Drool! The expert team of sommeliers know their stuff, so take full advantage of the progressive wine selection with the classic pairing at $90, or go all out with the premium selection at $130. Watching what you spend? Cutler & Co does a pocket-friendly Sunday lunch, with a four-course menu for just $75, with an extra $50 for wine selection (you know you want to!).
Image credit: Vue de Monde Facebook.
Vue de Monde | Melbourne CBD
With sweeping views of Melbourne from level 55 of the Rialto Tower, Vue de Monde is one of the best fine dining experiences in Melbourne. The word experience is key; with 360 views, a grand interior, top-notch service and Shannon Bennett's famed degustation menu, Vue de Monde is big, grand and the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion (or woo somebody special). Drawing inspiration from the Australian landscape, Vue de Monde matches local, heirloom and seasonal produce with modern culinary techniques, creating truly inspiring dishes like salt cured wallaby, smoked eel with white chocolate and caviar, beef tongue with beetroot and bone marrow and the best darned chocolate soufflé you'll ever have. One of Melbourne's best restaurants, hands down.
Main Image Credit: O. MY