Most of my visitors come to Melbourne to shop or attend an event like the tennis, theatre or Spring Racing Carnival. Often they want to grab a quick dinner following a long day of shopping, or a quick bite before their theatre show. I’ve chosen five fab cheap eats (below) that are mostly located in the CBD – my back yard. Again, we are so spoilt for choice in Melbourne, but here’s a selection of restaurants that offer an exciting dining experience with bang for your buck.
39+ Pizza & Degustation Bar
Image via Broadsheet
+ 39 is a busy little restaurant located in Lt Bourke St. The menu is a wonderful combination of delicious antipasti, pizza, pasta and sweets. The wine list consists of Australian and international wines. (We enjoyed a lovely Soave from Veneto in northeast Italy). The service is friendly and prompt. You are tucked in quite snuggly with your fellow diners and there is a buzz and a humm across the restaurant as hungry diners enjoy their meals.+39 Pizza & Degustation Bar
362 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
Cookie has it all – cocktail bar, eating house and beer hall. It’s located on the first floor of 252 Swanston St (look for the red door), in the Curtin House building. The eating house menu is Asian-inspired and consists of small, medium and large dishes. The beer hall serves a great little bistro menu which includes yummy tidbits such as betel leaf salad wih smoked fish, chicken & roasted coconut or drunken prawns with garlic, coriander & Mekong whiskey. If it’s not too busy, try and grab a table on the tiny balconies along Swanston St. Tip for visitors: be ready to join the crowds during Friday and Saturday night.Cookie 1st floor, 252 Swanston St, Melbourne Tel: (03) 9663 7660 .
The Vege Bar is always humming. The menu is extensive and offers exotic curries and tagines, gourmet pizzas and risottos, pasta and pizza using (where possible) organic and biodynamic ingredients. The Vege Bar is located just outside of the city in Brunswick St, Fitzroy where you’ll find plenty of pubs and bars to entertain you after dinner.Vege Bar 380 Brunswick St. Fitzroy Tel: 9417 6935 .
Image: The Weekly Review
Located in the picturesque Paris end of Collins St, you’ll find Mamasita tucked away upstairs in the old record salon. Mamasita offers authentic, modern Mexican food. It’s one of Melbourne’s hottest restaurants at the moment so my one tip for visitors is to take an early lunch (12pm) or early dinner (6pm). The queues are infamous. Try de Pascado taco (fish taco) and elotes callejeros (street style corn) – they are sensational!Mamasita Level 1, 11 Collins St, Melbourne Tel: (03) 9650 3821 (for bookings 8-10 guests only ) .
Image via Candid Cuisine
S;icy Fish is one of my favourite cheap eats in Chinatown. The restaurant serves Szechuan and Shanghai-style Chinese food. Their signature dish ‘spicy fish’ is quite spicy hot but so delicious. The restaurant is BYO and there is a Vintage Cellars located right next door. The service is quite speedy so if you have to wait for table, you don’t really end up waiting too long. We usually pop into the bottle shop and grab a bottle of wine whilst we are waiting.Spicy Fish 209 Lt Bourke St. Melbourne Tel: (03) 9639 1885 . The My Melbourne Series is a collection of articles about my experiences in Melbourne. It’s intended as a guide for visitors who are looking for tips on where to eat, shop, dine or drink in this beautiful city that I call home.
Next in the My Melbourne Series: Five Fab Melbourne Bars