We all know there’s nothing better than a hearty Japanese feed. But too often, when presented with a bunch of delicious options, it can be overwhelming trying to pick just one. That’s why the bento box is so ingenious. Whether you’re keen for a quick lunch feed, or a luxury dining experience – there’s a bento box for everyone! Think smoked cod, teriyaki chicken, and fresh cut sashimi drools…yep, we’re just about ready to grab ourselves one. Here are our picks for Melbourne’s best bento boxes.
Wabi Sabi Garden
There’s nothing quite like an experience at Wabi Sabi Garden. And if that experience needs to be crammed in during your lunch hour, so be it. With three bento boxes to choose from, you can feast on the meat, seafood or vegetarian options. But better yet – they also do take away dinner bento box options! You can pick from grilled black cod, duck breast, thinly sliced wagyu beef, or panko crumbed salmon. Sounds pretty majestic for a bento box, huh?
South Melbourne and Fitzroy
A fusion of Taiwanese and Japanese cuisine, Peko Peko doesn’t have traditional bento boxes – but that doesn’t mean they’re any less delicious. Instead, you select yourself a ‘Big Eat’ (we recommend the pork chop addiction or fried chicken), and then add yourself some accompaniments! Peko Peko is known for its big, bold flavours. So we’re sure you won’t be underwhelmed.
Ichi Ichi Ku
Ichi Ichi Ku is known for serving up some of the freshest seafood and sashimi in Melbourne, all beside the gorgeous Botanical Gardens. Available for pick up or home delivery, you can grab yourself either the standard or the vegetarian bento to enjoy. We suggest heading down on a sunny afternoon and enjoying it in the gardens. Complete with delicious seasoned rice, fresh cut sashimi, and some other bento classics, we guarantee ultimate bento satisfaction.
Serving up Japanese inspired brekky, lunch and dinner, you can expect big things from Kuu Café’s Shikiri Bento Box. Available from 11am – 8pm, this special degustation style bento can be chosen with six or nine compartments. If you’re still feeling peckish after (which is doubtful considering its size) treat yo’self with their green tea ganache cake. We promise there’ll be no regrets after this South Melbourne feed.
A well-loved classic by Carnegie locals, Shyun’s futuristic system of ordering on iPads makes sure your bento box comes with the ultimate tech-savvy twist. The starting price for these lunch packs is just $5.50, and you can select whichever two or three side dishes tickle your fancy. If you’re feeling uber hungry, opt for the deluxe bento, which features teriyaki chicken, tempura, sushi rolls, and grilled salmon. You’ll thank us for this one.
Ah Don Don, the ultimate classic for a cheap and quick Japanese eat. If you’re keen to snag a lighting fast bento on your lunch break, this is your go-to. For just $9.40, their dondon box comes with teriyaki chicken, sukiyaki beef, salad and rice. Talk about value for money! And did we mention that the serving sizes are absolutely huge?!
We all know that Nobu is the holy grail of Japanese food, and has well and truly established a Japanese dynasty across the world. That’s why their bento boxes are really something special. Say goodbye to your standard hot dish and sides, Nobu is taking bento next level. There are five drool-worthy bentos to choose from, each featuring indulgent delights like seafood ceviche, black cod miso, soft shell crab in spicy ponzu…need we go on? They even have a vegetarian bento for our vego mates. If you feel like upping your bento experience, be sure to feast on one at Nobu.
Tucked away on bustling Glenferrie Road, Samurai is perhaps one of the most underrated venues in Hawthorn. This place has two bento boxes up for grabs – the Samurai and the Sushi Bentos are available Monday to Friday only during lunch time, and it’s just too good a deal to miss out on. Complete with edamame, sashimi, seaweed salad and even soba noodles – you’ll demolish this feed in a matter of minutes.
Although most famous for its Japanese Tapas, En Izakaya also gives diners the izakaya experience in its lunchtime bento boxes. Pick from a garden, sea or paddock style bento box, served with freshly cooked rice, miso and salad. Enjoy miso infused eggplant, tuna sashimi, or crispy skin chicken. This ain’t no average lunch meal, folks.
Tokyo Deli – Ramen Monk
Initially a Japanese grocer, Tokyo Deli has made a name for itself in Elsternwick. With eight bento boxes to choose from, which start at just $10, it’s no wonder they meet the ultimate lunch hour rush. Pick from Japanese style fried chicken, grilled teriyaki salmon, or bread crumbed pork in miso sauce. Each epic box is served with the classic sides of rice, seaweed salad and pickles. And after you’re done, you can buy yourself some Japanese groceries and make your own at home!
Shira Nui is one of Melbourne’s most visited and adored spots for sushi. But did you know they have epic lunch dishes too? Although not explicitly called a bento box, their lunch dishes follow the same ideology of classic pickles, rice and miso soup sides. Pick from braised pork, pan fried chicken thigh, beef tataki or grilled eel. It’s pretty damn fancy for a lunch meal, but we have a feeling you’ll be back more than one!
Image Credit: Ichi Ichi Ku via facebook