Get The Best Of Melbourne’s Eats With This Handy Guide
Melbournites are serious about their tucker. From hole-in-the-wall cafés down laneways, to five-star restaurants. The standards across the board are higher than anywhere I’ve found elsewhere in my travels. Now I am not a foody by any stretch but from one traveler to another - here are my picks of Melbourne’s eats.
Best Chain Joint: Grill'd
Sometimes you just need to grab something on the go, and with burgers that taste like the ones your mum use to make Grill'd is my pick of the fast food category.
I popped into the Grill'd in Melbourne central and ordered a crispy bacon and cheese burger. The price was reasonable, the food arrived promptly and the friendly server took the time to check we were ok and bring us extra relish. The food is simple, a burger and fries but with great ingredients. Thick cut fries seasoned with salt and rosemary, burgers with handmade patties and buns. I would place Grill'd right up there with the best fast food experiences I have ever had.
Price- 7.5/10 At $12 for a burger not including fries and a drink the price is very reasonable. It’s not in the same league as Mac’s rock bottom prices but you get actual food for your money.
Deliciousness- 8.5/10 High level of nom nom simple and delicious.
Ingredients- 9/10 I was definitely impressed with the standard of ingredients and non plastic approach to fast food.
Service-8/10 The service was great considering this was a fast food restaurant. The staff was friendly and they dealt well with the volume of customers.
Atmosphere-6/10 This is not to say that there was anything wrong with the atmosphere, however as a typical fast food grab-your-own-table style joint there was nothing to set it apart in design or comfort.
Best Under $10: Fugazza
Tucked away down one of Melbourne many lane ways, Fugazza is one of the office crowds better kept lunch secrets.
Fugazza is a tiny hole in the wall lunch bar down Equitable Place, serving a range of toasted focaccia and flat bread sandwiches and delicious soup of the day. I grabbed a bowl of beef and barley soup and half a toasted focaccia stuffed with sausage, a wholesome and filling lunch with all of those good homemade flavors.
Price-9.5/10 Only cause I’m one of those annoying people who never give a ten. A filling and healthy lunch in the middle of downtown for $10 is about as good as it gets.
Deliciousness- 7/10 It was definitely a yummy meal, They feature a different soup of the day every day so it’s a lucky dip which flavor you get.
Ingredients-8/10 Melbourne came through again on its fresh ingredients and homemade flavors.
Service-6/10 The lady behind the counter was friendly and prompt, though this is not a to-the-table kind of restaurant.
Atmosphere- 6/10 Tiny tables down winding laneways are popular in down town Melbourne. Our sage green tables were cute and great for people watching, though I doubt I would feel the same way in winter.
Worst Chain Joint: The Pancake Parlor
I’m a simple girl, I like things that don’t pretend to be something they are not. The Pancake Parlor missed the boat for me on pretty much every front.
I was looking forward to my visit to The Pancake parlor in Ringwood. The deliciously tacky interior of copper surrounds and the moving steam punk helicopter hanging from the ceiling spoke of happy family’s stuffing themselves with stacks of pancakes; unfortunately I was to be disappointed. The somewhat aloof staff member pointed out that I couldn’t order from the special list as it was a public holiday (no I didn’t know Melbourne cup was a public holiday my bad) forcing me to rethink our order. When I wanted to order there were no servers in sight but at other times up to four different servers approached the table to ask if I was ready to order. The wait was long, punctuated by lights dipping while the fake helicopter attached to the ceiling wound up with a clatter of moving parts. My food when it came consisted of two skinny crepes three potato wedges and a green salad, followed by one sweet crepe and a single scoop of ice cream was NOT worth the $60 (yup that’s $60 for three crepes) I stopped on the way home for Hungry Jacks enough said.
Price-3.5/10 $60 for three crepes... ahhh, NO!
Deliciousness-6/10 I had no problem with the taste of the food. I did not feel it was gourmet enough to justify the price.
Ingredients-5/10 It wasn’t that the ingredients were bad, just that there were not enough of them.
Service-4/10 The servers were not unfriendly, however they failed to explain what was on offer, obviously didn’t have assigned tables and generally made me feel like I should have been more grateful to be there.
Atmosphere-4/10 I was not offended by the tacky interior; it was the clash between the appearance of a family restaurant and basic food with the price and attitude of the servers that got to me. The Pancake Parlor needs to decide what it wants to be and stick to it.
Best Burger: The Merrywell restaurant and bar
The Merrywell on the edge of crown casino in down town Melbourne has won Melbourne’s best burger award the last two years running, I couldn’t resist finding out what all the fuss was about.
Turns out the fuss was about really incredible burgers! The bustling interior is a bit eclectic and the wait a little long but it was all worth it for the best burger I have ever eaten in my life! The friendly server convinced me to try their special, The American Burger, essentially their award winning Merrywell burger with barbeque sauce and pork belly. When I say with pork belly I mean in addition to the handmade burger patty there is another layer of pork the size of my hand, delicious tender pork and crispy crackling, I was in heaven. So despite lower points in several categories The Merrywell wins because you simply have to try this burger to understand just how good it is.
Price- 5/10 At $25 for a burger and fries it is at the top of what I want to pay, however considering the quality I still think It's worth the splurge.
Deliciousness- 9.99/10 Out of the approximately 660 burgers I have eaten in my life time this was the best, it doesn’t get much more recommended than that.
Ingredients-9/10 Quality, quantity and preparation win, win, win.
Service-6/10 Staff were friendly but the restaurant was packed with waits for both tables and food.
Atmosphere-6/10 The interior is eclectic and busy but the lack of seating was more than made up for by the green spaces fronting the Yarra river, two steps from the front door. Grab you burger and have a picnic outside instead.
This is not by any means all of Melbourne’s culinary delights, let alone my recommendations but this post is getting a little lengthy so come by next week for more nummy Melbourne finds part two.