Paleo is slowly making its way into the mainstream dining scene, whether it's promoted as paleo, or not. If a restaurant has notable allergy-friendly and organic options, there's a good chance there will be at least a couple of paleo-friendly dishes available.
The paleo diet, summed up, pretty much involves eliminating grains and dairy from your diet, and eating as our cavemen-and-women ancestors would have. By doing so, you remove the majority of packaged, processed foods, and eat a lot more healthily.
Paleo-style eating is more than that for me, though. I have an autoimmune disease which is typically just given a band-aid solution of medication, and passed off by doctors as 'just something you need to learn to live with'. Eating a paleo-style diet has allowed me to get my health under control, without the need to resort to synthetic medication or accepting a future of feeling lousy. I know how hard it is when going out to eat with friends, and all that seems to be available are burgers, crusty bread, and creamy pastas. I'd like to share my 11 favourite Paleo dishes in Melbourne, that are quite friendly to our non-paleo friends, too!
1. Bread-Free Breaky Burger – Palate, Prahran
This delicious creation is made with roasted tomato, baby spinach, smoky bacon and grilled zucchini, sandwiched between two fried free range eggs, with a dollop of guacamole to top it off. For a drink, try the Chocochia – with banana, coconut cream, raw almond and cacao butter, plus chia seeds.
2. Paleo Bircher Muesli – Paleo Café, Mornington
Take a short drive out of Melbourne to this paleo mecca. This newly opened café has an array of paleo-friendly dishes, but this one is a clear winner for me. Ground linseed, dried cranberries, goji berries, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and chia seeds, softened with fresh fruit, juice and coconut yoghurt. Their kids' menu also boasts a Paleo Bolognaise, made with sweet potato noodles.
3. Coffee, Chai Tea, Hot Chocolate – Garage Espresso, St Kilda East
Okay, not a dish as such, but definitely worth a mention. It's quite hard to find a dairy-alternative that isn't soy when after a café caffeine fix. If you've been trying to love espressos or long blacks, but your heart just isn't in it, then coconut milk coffees will be your new love.
4. Raweos – The Staple Store, Ripponlea
Ask me how much I miss Oreos and I might start to tear up, a little. But then remind me of the delicious creation that is raweos, from the Staple Store, and it'll all be good again. Catie makes them fresh, and they often sell out. They come in a huge range of flavours, often with superfoods, giving them a special nutritional boost (they're healthy, right?) and it's always a surprise which one you'll find.
5. Mulled Wine Braised Beef Cheek – Josie Bones, Collingwood
Hearty and satisfying, served with parsnip puree and crispy parsnips. On the side, why not enjoy some pork cracking with rhubarb sauce?
6. Spicy Ratatouille Baked Eggs – Third Wave Cafe, Prahran
With eggplant, zucchini, red capsicum, tomatoes, herbs, smoky baked beef brisket, and two free range eggs. Need I say more? Drool.
7. Saucy Glazed Lamb Ribs with a side of pickles – Big Boy BBQ, Caulfield South and Hardware Lane
As above and totally mout watering. They also have coconut sorbet if you're feeling in the mood for dessert!
8. Eggnet – Longrain, Melbourne
This meal is one of my top 10 favourites in Melbourne, paleo or not. The description of filled eggnet with pork, prawns, peanuts, caramelised coconut and cucumber relish totally does not do it justice. It's semi-pricy at $31, but whenever we've gone in as two diners, they've modified their shared menu for us, meaning we got a rather large eggnet for just $20!
9. Beef Balls with Green Pesto Salsa Verde sitting on Italian Beans, with a side of Wagyu Jerky – The Meatball & Wine Bar, Richmond
While there are a lot of options (choose your own ball, sauce and something for it to sit on), this combination was a definite winner with me! Their wagyu jerky, and orange and fennel salad with honey walnuts are delicious, too!
10. White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake – Yong Green Food, Fitzroy
I just couldn't leave out this baby. A winner within the vegan and raw eating circle, this delectable dessert is grain, sugar and dairy free.
11. Sesame Crusted Rare Tuna – The Deck, Brighton
This seafood dish is a standout. Served with a salad of seasonal beans, chives, crispy bacon, avocado, walnut roasted pumpkin wedges, and finished with zesty vinaigrette. Perfect!
Editor's Note: Keen to go Paleo? Check out our beginners guide.
Editor's note: In need of Paleo supplies? Read our list of the best Paleo shops in Melbourne!
Main Image Credit: Eat Drink Paleo