Salmon – it's the best kind of exception to every rule. From the friends that declare that they “don’t like fish - but will have smoked salmon”, to seafood haters with a soft spot for crispy skin nestled on top of a perfectly poached pink fish, this list is for when you can’t get enough salmon in your life. But who can, really?
Here are Melbourne’s best salmon dishes for salmon lovers (aka: everyone).
Smoked salmon on dark rye at Townhouse
One of Toorak’s favourite local hotspots, the Townhouse’s smoked salmon on dark rye with poached eggs, avocado and hollandaise can win any brunch aficionado over. Combining some of our favourite brekkie options (eggs, avo, hollandaise AND salmon) into one giant celebration on a plate, swing by Townhouse next time salmon is a brunch prerequisite. Which we figure, if you're reading this, is more often than not.
Pan-fried salmon lunch special at Cibi
Given that Japan invented one of the best ways to eat salmon (sashimi-style), you’d expect one of Melbourne's best modern Japanese cafes to know what they’re working with. Nestled in the backstreets of Collingwood, Cibi’s lunch special with pan-fried salmon, grated daikon, tamari and yuzu juice, brown rice and an extravagant list of vegetables that would take an hour to type out here (just trust us, there’s a lot), this is one of the healthiest, salmon-centric dishes in Melbourne.
NY Lox at Manchester Press
Described as a “mountain of smoked salmon”, served stuffed in a fluffy bagel with cream cheese, dill and baby capers, you can’t possibly go astray with this classic combo. And, we can vouch for the mountain-ness of salmon. Even we thought Manchester Press was being (almost) excessive in their portion, before we remembered that there is no such thing as too much smoked salmon. Give us a kilo and watch the magic happen.
Tea smoked salmon salad at Chez Dre
TEA AND FISH? Well, if anyone can pull it off it’s the French-inspired team at Chez Dre. And pull it off they do…pull it out of the water that is (ho ho ho). Served with turnip, pickled carrot, cucumber and ponzu vinaigrette, this light, perfectly balanced brunch lets the salmon shine in all its pink-y glory. We may or may not have developed some issues that we're now working through with salmon therapy.
Any sashimi at Shira Nui
Glen Waverley might be a surprise here, but hidden away from the bustling main street, Shira Nui is dishing out some of the freshest sashimi in Melbourne - and how could we create this list without sushi? Like the majority of other restaurants in the area, Shira Nui’s interior isn’t much to look at – with mismatched timber chairs and the occasional faded poster pinned to the walls - but the skilfully cut sashimi more than makes up for any lack of frills. That is, if weekend lines are anything to go by.
Citrus cured salmon at Lucky Penny
Citrus cured salmon with potato pea salad, cucumber, herbs and poached eggs – I dare you to think of a better start to the day, fellow salmon-head. This rustic-style South Yarra café features open-brick, white washed walls and dark timber tones, making Lucky Penny the perfect backdrop to your good morning plate of salmon-y joy.
Nori taco at Mr Miyagi
Mr Miyagi’s Insta-famous Nori taco filled with grilled salmon belly, sushi rice, spicy napa cabbage, Japanese mayo and chilli oil is undoubtedly one of the greatest salmon creations ever. EVER. Crunchy, tangy, spicy and just a touch sweet, the Nori taco sits with more than a little pride as one of Melbourne’s best salmon dishes. Pair a pair with a cheeky cocktail for the perfect weekday dinner.
Beetroot cured salmon at Cafe Lafayette
If you’ve been looking for a truly unique bayside cafe that also answers your salmon cravings, then pop into Cafe Lafayette for their gluten free beetroot cured salmon with organic quinoa, avocado, chili, corn and brown rice salad, poached eggs, feta and herbs. Try saying that list of awesome ingredients twice... Or maybe just eat it twice? Don't judge us.
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Image credit: Cafe Lafayette by Jenna Fahey White for Urban List