Photo: Adam Calaitzis/Shutterstock

8 Most Underrated Restaurants in Melbourne

by Tommy Walker Jun 4, 2015

1. Supper Club

This place isn’t really a restaurant-restaurant, it is more of a Tapas bar with drinks, and you have to know where it is to find it. No signs or obvious entrance, going in is through a big heavy library like door which then tunnels upstairs. It’s one of them ‘unknown’ places in Melbourne that you just come across and revel in how cool you feel when you’ve found it. So what happens when you finally make it to the rooftop bit? A great view of Parliament House, especially at night.

What to order:

Man, you could order the whole ‘Around the Table’ options here. They are so tempting. Go for the Duck Liver Parfait. Perfect for some tasty tapas snacks whilst socializing. Probably the most popular choice but that’s for good reason. The smoked salmon with crème fraiche is rich. More for a sunny day with some lighter drinks.

2. Kalamaki Greek Street Food

Whilst all the other tourists are enjoying Melbourne and coming in their flocks directly down Hardware Lane from Little Bourke and Lonsdale streets respectively, Kalamaki goes unnoticed. It almost is dismissed as being for cheap due to its title of ‘Greek Street Food.” While all the action of Hardware Lane goes on with the spruikers and musicians, Kalamaki hides away waiting for its customers to come to them.

What to order:

Go for the lamb, more juicy than the chicken option, although both are sloppy yummy. Fries come with this pita dish wrap, but hell add some sides inside too. Haloumi cheese is a must. You may have had Greek Salad before, but these salads are sexy, tasty and real authentic Greek Salads. Make sure you get enough Feta in your small or large scoop, but definitely add some yogurt sauce to the mix.

Enjoy that!

3. Grill Steak Seafood

Locals, tourists, backpackers, suits, everyone goes here. You get more than what you pay for. The hosts are mad yet funny, and the live musicians are pretty good. It’s like eating in Europe, it’s buzzing and always busy. Weekends are electric. Beauty for pre-food and drinks before heading out.

What to order:

Go all out and fill your boots by ordering entrees, Scotch Fillet or Kangaroo. A trio of dips maybe shared with some Scallops with your company. Breeze through that with some Shiraz wine. If you want lighter dishes go for some Grilled Calamari, not fried. The Pumpkin and Spinach Ravioli is surprisingly satisfying. Wagyu Burger is killer for lunch and on specials.

4. Smith & Daughters

Vegan place with wall-to-wall art that gives a relaxed, communal vibe that takes you away from fast-paced restaurant energies.

What to order:

Plant based “Blood” sausage is killer! There is a dish called Gambas Al Arillo, which consists of garlic looking like prawns, that is mixed with vegetable protein and strains of tofu. The texture has similarities with the rubbery quench that real garlic prawns give, also with a Spanish fusion of tastes and dressing. It’s like Vegetarian Tapas.

5. Oriental Spoon

Korean BBQ slightly off the radar. If this place were in St Kilda or Brunswick, it would be have more of a name than it already has. It isn’t all fancy; it’s plain and simple, and in Melbourne that’s sometimes refreshing.

What to order:

The Cheese Bul Dak will blow your head off with spices and flavour if that’s your style, make sure drinks are at the ready though to cool down the kick! The Pork Gulogi: fresh bean sprouts that numb the sauce-orientated pork pieces.

6. Patee Thai Restaurant

Appearances can be deceiving. Being in and around Chapel Street, you have more than your fair share of restaurants to check out, so it’s easy to see why this restaurant would be missed. But walking into this place is just like a Thai restaurant in Bangkok, including those awesome comfy floor cushions.

What to order:

The Massaman Curries are probably the first thing people look at. For something different, go for the Duck Leg in Dark Soy and Five Spices. Tom Yam Soup is the real thing.

7. Pho Flinders Cafe

Tucked under the Flinders Street Station, the location is really just out there. $9 for Pho. Big portions for little cost. Watching the world go by at the bottom tip of Melbourne CBD is pretty unique, as most people want to be looking from top, over the city, to bottom. Here, you are flat down, looking through and up.

What to order:

PHO!! Isn’t that obvious? Beef is awesome here, with its tenderness making bites easier. Add some hot sauce compliments the souped-up bean sprouts with their refreshing cool taste.

8. Vineyard Restaurant

This place isn’t just for the hoards of backpackers living in St. Kilda, it has some really cool and new Australian cuisine dishes. St. Kilda beach is in view, and Acland Street is where it peels off from. The staff is talented, and the beer options are massive.

What to order:

If you are just heading out for a quick snack before hitting St. Kilda beach then smash some Fresh Oysters back with a couple of local beers like a Carlton or Boags. The burgers are swell, either mini wagyus or the Classic Vineyard Burger. Plenty of taste, decent prices, always worth a go.

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