1. Luxembourg, St Kilda: Treading the line between casual and slick, Luxembourg combines classic European dishes with contemporary flair. The menu features a selection of shareable snacks, raw dishes and offal dishes that rotate, with larger, more traditional dishes also on the cards. A place as good as this one, with this much chef cred, is definitely worth your while.
2. Ocha, Hawthorn: Despite its fancy furnishings and exquisite food, this Japanese restaurant has a humble ethos and modest origins. Owners Michelle Rogerson and Yasu Yoshida started their business way back in 1994 and since they have held to the importance of family, friends and good food. Here, dining is all about the joy of socialising that comes with eating out.
3. Circa, The Prince, St Kilda: Melbourne's storied Circa has a strong focus on food, wine, design and art. Food comes first at Circa and they’re not mucking about. Together, Head Chef Ashly Hicks and Melbourne Pub Group Executive Chef Stephen Burke have created a visionary menu; season eating with a spirit of fun and exploration.
4. Punch Lane, CBD: Positioned at the top end of Bourke Street, this Melbourne treasure has been a Melbourne institution for years, welcoming good food and wine lovers into it’s cosy, intimate European setting night after night. With warm and welcoming service, this old world city bistro knows how to impress.
5. Mr Mason, CBD: With its industrial-style décor, extensive wine selection and French-inspired seasonal menu, Mr Mason is a welcome addition to the law precinct in the city, ideal for business lunches, after work drinks and dinners with friends. Choose from the boutique wine list and create your own DIY degustation; matching each course to its complementary wine.
6. Mercato @ Daylesford, Bendigo: Mercato is set in an opulent restored heritage building, showing off the architecture of the mid-1800s. It's elegant interior and exquisite, locally sourced menu offer a fine-dining experience for any occasion. The menu changes four times a year, and includes the addition of a new degustation menu with each season.
7. Saint Urban, Richmond: Beautiful arched windows, worn woods and handmade blue tiles make up the interior of this small fifty seater dining area that’s warm, inviting and easily a place that you could stay for hours. It’s a place where people can catch up over a glass of wine, a plate of cheese or charcuterie in the afternoon or share a slow-braised lamb shoulder and a bottle of red for dinner.
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