I actually prefer informal bistros to trendy restaurants. Bistros are basically small restaurants. They are modest and humble in comparison to their uptight counterparts. The menu at a bistro restaurant is often minimal and the price is affordable.You will often find French classics on a bistro menu; think of dishes such as cassoulet, steak frites, beef bourguignon, bouillabaisse and ratatouille. But Melbourne bistro restaurants are somewhat different to the bistro restaurants found on the streets of Paris, namely because of our multicultural society, which has resulted in the creation of unique fusion dishes.
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The bistro restaurant was built for all to enjoy. They are casual and relaxed and there are a number of bistro restaurants to discover in Melbourne. Here at Weekend Notes we have already reviewed a handful of Melbourne's bistro restaurants, including Lina's Bistro A Vin, La Luna Bistro and Bistro 309, but now, with your help, we want to create a listing, that highlights only the very best bistro restaurants in Melbourne.
I'll start this listing with a selection of Melbourne's most popular bistro restaurants.
Bistro Gitan is one particular Melbourne hotspot. Located in South Yarra, this family friendly bistro restaurant has a delicious French inspired bistro menu. Some of the highlights on the menu include a croque monsieur with gypsy ham and saucisse de Morteau or the croque madame with blue swimmer crab. Escargot which garlic butter is also available as well as char-grilled scotch fillet or porterhouse with fries. For dessert choose the gaufre (waffles) or the fromage blanc, which is served with cream, sugar and seasonal fruit. There is also an extensive wine listing, so you are sure to find the perfect wine to compliment your chosen meal.
Lupino Bar & Bistro, as you can guess from the name, is not French, rather it is an Italian bistro restaurant. Located in the Melbourne CBD, Lupino Bar & Bistro is another great spot, where you can relax and enjoy a classic Italian meal. You can try one of their classic pizzas, or opt for a lamb shank, served with salsicce, polenta and peas. Other mains include veal risotto with porcini, chicken and garlic tortellini, chicken saltimbocca and crumbed veal scaloppine. If you love Italian cuisine, you are sure to enjoy Lupino Bar & Bistro.
Moulin Noir European Bistro is a great spot for French cuisine. Located in Port Melbourne, this bistro restaurant has a small menu, but all the bistro favourites are there; croque monsieur, grilled polenta, chicken baguette, pork belly sandwich, goat's cheese tart, pommes frites and steak specials are served on Friday nights with a complimentary glass of house wine.
Federici Bistro is another top Melbourne CBD bistro and it is conveniently located at the Princess Theatre. The bistro menu includes both French and Italian influences; dishes include wagyu beef burger, club sandwich, duck rillettes, Sicilian crispy calamari fritti, confit garlic prawns and the soup of the day. Again, it is somewhat simple cuisine, done well. Plus the wine list is extensive, so you are sure to find a wine, cocktail, beer or perhaps even a champagne to complete your meal. Melbourne is home to many more great bistro restaurant, so if you know of a wonderful bistro in Melbourne, please leave a comment.