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Southbank Restaurants For All Occasions

Home > Melbourne > Dinner | Nightlife | Restaurants | Lists
by Ali Hawkins (subscribe)
I'm keen to share things that I've done with others - I love learning about culture and history, I know the importance of great service, good quality products and positive experiences. I love to experience life's opportunities. I live in Melbourne.
Published June 1st 2014
Dinner with Friends
The best places for a good quality, but relaxed dinner with friends are Ludlow, World and Bistro Guillaume.

At Ludlow, the food is very good, the atmosphere is social and the service is very friendly. Their wine list is not extensive but there's a good range. On a cool night it's nice to sit inside near their gas heaters or on the outdoor patio where the heaters make the seating quite comfortable even when a cool breeze comes off the river. There's often live music nearby.

Ludlow, entree, Tasting Plate
Ludlow entree - Tasting Plate


World is more like a pub but with better food. There's live music here on a Sunday evening (and possibly other nights too). It's ideal for a summer evening - their outdoor seating is sheltered from weather and they can adjust their awning to shade the setting sun.

Bistro Guillaume is my favourite of these three - the quintessential French bistro - service staff speak with thick French accents, the food is rustic and lovely and there's a nice relaxed air here. It's a popular one for good reason. Very good food, nice fresh ingredients and it's great.

Aspraragus, Bistro Guillaume, Southbank
Aspraragus side dish at Bistro Guillaume


First Date
Any of the three restaurants above would be fine for a first date, but also try Pure South, Mr Hive and The Deck.

At Pure South there's no outdoor seating, the patio is completely enclosed and well lit and the indoor area is lit nicely too. There is a good quality menu and wine list here. They source all their produce locally or from Tasmania. Very nice service here if you want to impress.

Mr Hive is in the Crown Metropol Hotel on the first floor, but it's much much better than any old hotel restaurant. When you're there you don't really feel like you're in a hotel. It can be a little hard to find, so meet your date elsewhere and make your way to the hotel foyer together, head up the spiral stairs to the bar and restaurant. Or approach the restaurant on the same level over the pedestrian bridge from Crown. The view along Clarendon Street is a good talking point and the food and wine list is good.

If you choose The Deck, be sure they actually seat you on the outdoor deck, where the view of the Melbourne skyline is spectacular. Don't accept a table in their "front" area, which is like sitting in the entrance. Not nice and would be awkward for chatting with people going past all the time.

Melbourne skyline
Fabulous Melbourne skyline
Source: miamembaca.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/melbourne_skyline-1.jpg

Romantic Dinner
Got to Atlantic - it's too dark for a first date, but is lovely for dinner with someone you know well. The restaurant is vast, but you don't really have a sense of it as the acoustics for talking are great. The skyline view is stunning, the food is good and the service staff are excellent. They are particularly good at desserts and treats here, which is lovely for a romantic evening. The Strawberry Shortcake is beautifully presented with macarons, strawberries and ice cream. A dessert Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich is great too. It's a very enjoyable place.

Special Occcasion
Along with Atlantic (above), you could try Rockpool - this is excellent. Don't be fooled by its name - it's not actually a seafood restaurant, it specialises in meat ... go figure. But anyway, it's good for a romantic dinner too. Although it's a fairly large restaurant, but service is very attentive with a whole team of service staff to see to your every need. The food here is very high quality, the menu has today's date on it too, so of your there for a milestone, it's a nice keepsake.

Southbank Melbourne
Southbank Melbourne
Source: iconmasonry.com/cgi/southbank-melbourne


Dinner After the Cricket or Football
The Meat and Wine Company is a good bet for a meal when people are still pumped after watching sport. If you walk from either Docklands or the MCG ground, the distance is enough to build your appetite, but not tire you out. Here, you'll get a bustling and big area with lots if options for seating, depending what you need. They have lots of meat options, of course, with good burgers, steaks, salads and desserts. You can linger over a few drinks or eat and go on to somewhere else.

Othello is smaller and informal too - here you can arrive and most likely get a table without much wait. You'll enjoy good authentic Greek food. It doesn't take long and it's tasty. The usual souvlaki and spanakopita is here, with octopus dishes, grilled chicken salad and good fish dishes too. It's a reliable place where groups would have a good meal and a good time.

Cervo has a good range on the menu - you'll get pasta, pizza, mains, good antipasto and nice Italian food. It's right on the Yarra with a great outlook and it's popular. The food is good and eating while you watch the diverse world go by is fun.

Solo
Of course, any of the restaurants I've already mentioned are great no matter whether you plan to dine alone or with others. I've done both and always enjoy these places. However, if you just want a quick, no nonsense meal over the newspaper, your work or your iPad, then try La Camera or Il Primo Posto.

At La Camera, you can sit for as long as you like, either inside or out and enjoy a good range of light or main sized meals. They don't take long and the service is good, the food is reliable and good.

At [B]Il Primo Posto[/B ]the emphasis is on Italian, but there are other cuisines available too here, so quite a good choice. Again, the service is good and they won't bother you or try to hurry you along.

Il Primo Posto, Greek Salad, Southbank
Greek Salad at Il Primo Posto
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When: Anytime
Where: Southbank, Melbourne
Cost: Varies
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