There’s something about bringing your own booze to a restaurant that makes it okay to order an entrée AND dessert, even though you’ve actually paid for the wine and also have to fork out extra for corkage. But we’re not here to analyse the inner workings of the human mind. We’re here to help you out with a list of Melbourne’s best BYO restaurants. And they’re not all cheap-and-cheerful Asian joints (although a few of our favourites do score a mention). So read on and get ready to eat, drink and be merry!
You might feel a bit awkward when you arrive at fine Italian restaurant Scopri toting a bottle of wine, but not only is this practice permitted, it is actively encouraged. If you’ve been saving a particularly fancy drop for a special occasion, bring it to Scopri and trust their staff to decant and serve your wine in the most appropriate glassware. This Carlton institution is famous for their rustic yet refined Italian cuisine and their house-made pasta has to be tasted to be believed. For something more substantial, order the veal ossobucco or the capretto rustico. Bellissimo!
You can’t call yourself a Melburnian until you’ve scoffed 18 dumplings at Shanghai Village and washed them down with a glass of cheap plonk from the bottle-o up the road. China Town can be hard to navigate, but Shanghai Village will be discernable for its red door and the huge queue snaking up Little Bourke Street. Steamed or fried, vegetarian or not, you’ll find a tasty little morsel to suit your needs for a super-quick (and super-economical!) meal before a night out on the town.
Jim’s Greek Tavern
Melbourne is said to have the largest Greek population of any city in the world (outside Greece of course) which means we have access to some seriously good tsatziki, taramasalata, saganaki and loukoumades. You’ll find all these (and so much more) at Jim’s Greek Tavern which is one of Melbourne’s best BYO restaurants. There’s no menu, so tell the waiter what you’re hankering for and Jim’s will deliver.
Porgie + Mr Jones
Beloved by Hawthorn locals for its breakfast and lunch offering, Porgie + Mr Jones also opens for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights, giving guests the option of bringing a bottle of wine along with them. With a rabbit warren of dining spaces gently lit by candles, this Melbourne restaurant is just crying out for a romantic evening. We were delighted to find a good old-fashioned chicken Kiev on the dinner menu, which comes served with minted peas and cardamom and honey-roasted heirloom carrots. And for dessert, we gave into temptation and ordered the salted caramel ice-cream sandwich, which is just as scrumptious as it sounds.
Before you get too excited, no, you cannot bring your own booze to Chin Chin. Chin Chin’s, however, (note the apostrophe S) is another matter. For some of Melbourne’s best south-east Asian cuisine with the added bonus of BYO, look no further than this cute eatery on Rathdowne Street. Famous for their dim sum, Chin Chin’s also cooks up a mean red duck curry, and the rockling fillets with sweet sake are off the chain. And unlike Chin Chin, you can do this cool new thing where you pick up the phone, call them and ask them to save you a table, so you don’t have to wait for hours past your dinnertime before you get fed #hangry.
Specialising in pre-theatre dinners and late-night suppers, France-Soir takes orders until midnight seven days a week. If that wasn’t reason enough to love this South Yarra favourite, they are also one of Melbourne’s best BYO restaurants. Serving classic French dishes, drop by for some tasty escargots (yes, that’s snails) or duckling à l’orange. With butchers paper covering the tablecloths and plats du jour scrawled each day across the mirrors, France-Soir offers diners a chance to spend a charming evening in Paris without the airfare.
Nyala African Restaurant
If you’re not really sure what African cuisine is, you’re in good hands at Nyala. Featuring traditional food from the likes of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania, Fitzroy locals love this Melbourne restaurant for their generous banquets, offering diners a bite of everything for a seriously reasonable price. And best of all, you can BYO! For a taste sensation, try the kuku na nazi (Kenyan chicken and coconut curry) or the abeba gomen (deep-fried cauliflower, allllright).
Every Monday, you can turn up to Ladro, bring a bottle of wine, pay five bucks, and they’ll donate the proceeds to charity. Everyone’s a winner! BYO is also offered at their Gertrude Street outpost over the rest of the week for $15 corkage. Famous for their authentic wood-fired pizza, you could probably order something from the main section of Ladro’s menu, but we’ve never ventured that far. How could we when the Badabing (pork sausage, provolone, oregano, basil and chilli) is always calling our name?
Want more of Melbourne’s best BYO restaurants? Search ‘BYO’ in The Directory!
Image credit: Ladro