Melbourne’s Best Salads for Summer

By Hannah Valmadre
13th Jan 2015

We are well and truly in the swing of summer, and this calls for a foodie switch from the comforting to the refreshing. Is there a better way to top up your tank during the warmer months than with a wholesome and satisfying summer salad? We think not. Here are our picks of Melbourne’s best salads for summer—crunch on. 


Dr Morse in Abbotsford have their finger on the sweet, summer pulse, and are serving up some deliciously refreshing salads to prove it! We’re loving the flavour combination of the Shaved Zucchini and Mint Salad with spiced chickpeas, eggplant and radish yoghurt dressing. What’s more, it’s gluten free, vego and vegan friendly! If you want something a tad more hearty (but still good for your heart), get your paws on their House Smoked Ocean Trout Salad, with frisée, candied walnuts, chives, horseradish labne and beetroot relish. If only every diet tasted this good!


The healthy and clever folk at Il Fornaio pick seasonal produce to construct their menu, ensuring the ingredients they use will be at their best. Dishing up some of the best salads in Melbourne town, leaf eaters and spoilt for choice. The Urban Caveman Salad is full of zingy and fresh produce, using farm-direct spring greens, zucchini flower, quick pickled beetroot, radish, turnips, baby carrots, and a cold pressed carrot vinaigrette to top it all off. For a bit of protein, add sous vide chicken breast. For those who love Il Fornaio’s playfully named foodie offerings, they also have a Gwyneth Paltrow Nutrient Salad on offer.


If it’s South East Asian flavours you’re craving in your summer salad, Thom Phat in Brunswick has the goods. Tom Phat also supports small quality producers, by sourcing from ethical and sustainable businesses. Our pick—the Viet Vermicelli Noodle Salad boasts basil, coriander, mint, lettuce, bean shoots, and stirfried lemongrass beef. If you want something a little smaller, try the Green Papaya Salad with drunken shrimp—it is as delicious as the name is humorous.


Our pick of the best Mexican-style salad in Melbourne is at Fonda, as it’s both sweet and refreshing. Grilled chicken is accompanied by quinoa, black beans, coriander, fresh corn, sweet potato, mint, peas and lemon vinaigrette. This salad is so bang on that it is the only one on offer in the menu—who needs an alternative when you’ve got this killer combination?


In one of Melbourne’s most unassuming little laneways is one of our favourite CBD lunch spots, Chuckle Deli. They have three salads that rotate daily, from Enoki Mushroom Salad to Zuchhini Ribbon Salad, and a killer Smoked Chicken and Fennel Salad. For something a little out of the ordinary, try their Kisir Salad, which contains bulgur wheat, seared tomatoes, parsley, onions, pomegranates and pomegranate molasses. Kind of like tabouleh, but better.


The fare at The Wesley Anne is a cut above your average bar or pub meal, and in summer the beer garden out the back is a wonderful place to set yourself up for a balmy evening. The menu here doesn’t specifically focus on one style of food, so therefore there is often something to please everyone. For a Japanese-style salad that will fill you up and cool you down, try the Soba Noodle & Marinated Tofu Salad with coriander, pickled ginger and miso dressing. Mondays are two-for-one for these little numbers, so start your week right by heading to Northcote for one of Melbourne’s best salads.


Now you wouldn’t be the first person to equate a Russian-influenced bar with wintery cuisine, but before you dive for the pierogis may we make a more summer-appropriate suggestion? Borsch, Vodka & Tears' Beetroot and Fetta Salad comes with roast beets, marinated fetta, cucumber, leaves, dill, and balsamic. If you are looking to throw back some vodka while visiting, we would probably recommend getting another Przekazki (small dish for sharing) or two. Other than that, all we can say is Na zdrowie!


Greeting us with its iridescent neon sign on the way in, Tonka is always a welcome experience. If you’re keen to try a salad influenced by modern Indian cuisine, get your claws into the Spanner Crab Salad with puffed rice, green papaya, peanuts, coriander and green chilli. Afterwards you can proceed to try some of their larger dishes, or grab a drink at the excellent Tonka Bar. Either way, you’re winning.


The Standard Hotel is an unbeatable pub grub treasure tucked away in the backstreets of Fitzroy, but it’s not just about the burgers and parmas here, folks. The Calamari Salad is a brilliant alternative to some of their heavier (albeit delicious offerings). It includes pan fried calamari with crispy egg noodles, pickled ginger, orange, coriander, red onion, mixed lettuce and a soy and wasabi dressing. This dish is best enjoyed in their massive beer garden.


You are pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to dining options down Flinders Lane, but in terms of a zesty fresh summer salad, we’re going to settle on Terra Rossa. The Italian cuisine here is excellent for those who plan to spend hours over lunch grazing, or a quick bite before a show at the Swiss Club. We love the Huon Salmon Salad, with grapefruit, fennel, lemon and olive oil. Simple, fresh ingredients thrown together to create the summer salad of our dreams.

Image Credit: Gotuje, Bo Lubi

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