I got so excited about the food in Melbourne that I couldn’t fit it all in one blog post. So here it is - the second half of my by travelers for travelers food recommendations. You can find the first past here.
Best Pub Tucker: Tooborac Hotel and Brewery
The Tooborac wins awards for its pies and beer and it’s easy to see why with its authentic country atmosphere.
To be fair this historical pub is an hour out from down town Melbourne, located a scenic drive northeast towards Heathcote. This authentic Aussie pub is known for its craft beer and gourmet pies. Stepping inside The Tooborac with its blue stone walls is like stepping back in history. Friendly staff seated us in the cozy dining room. They were happy to recommend a craft beer to go with our food. I sampled both a lamb & shiraz and a beef & beer pie both of which were impressive with a flaky pastry pie top over a ramekin of delicious meat and gravy. The food was filling and tasty and the atmosphere 100% cozy Aussie pub. This is a great little outing for anyone who wants to get away from the city for a few hours.
Price-7/10 For $25 you get a pie and a huge plate packed with thick fries and salad. Obviously, this isn’t competing with a gas station pie warmer. For the quality and quantity of food, this is right up there.
Deliciousness-8/10 There is no doubt that these are seriously superior pies. I started with a lamb and Shiraz and while delicious, found the gravy almost too sweet for my taste. The beer and beef however, hit the nail right on the head.
Ingredients-8/10 Fresh and bountiful, the meal was a lovely take on pub tucker.
Service-7/10 The server was lovely and friendly, though I believe on the day we were there someone was off sick so things were a little rushed.
Atmosphere-9/10 A historic pub with a back garden area from which you can admire the countryside. A truly lovely place to grab a bite and get away from the rat race for an afternoon.
Best Ethnic: +39 Pizzeria
I love pizza, both traditional and with all the toppings, but this Italian style Pizzeria has the others beat -hands down.
There is ethnic food available in Melbourne from every corner of the globe, I chose pizza of all those options because it was the best damn pizza I'd ever eaten. (I know Melbourne now has my Best Ever vote for two different things, this is impressive in itself.) A friend and I shared a long late Italian style lunch down Little Bourke Street where we consumed two huge pizzas between us. On her recommendation, we ordered a spicy salami pizza and a Tartufata; an Italian style pizza with mushrooms, parmesan and truffle oil. I can’t describe how happy truffle oil makes my mouth! If you’re in Melbourne and want to splash out on a little treat for your taste buds without all the fuss of a five star sit down restaurant this is the place to go.
Price-7/10 Pizzas for $19-$27 we are not talking bargain basement take away but for the quality of nums this is still quite a deal. (Also helps if you share instead of eating a whole huge pizza yourself)
Deliciousness-9/10 I am in love with the Tartufata mushroom and truffle oil pizza, if fungi aren't your thing they have some other damn fine options as well.
Ingredients-9/10 The quality of the ingredients was outstanding; the pizzas were generous in size and clearly made from scratch.
Service-7.5/10 Servers were friendly enough, very authentically Italian. You wait a little longer for service and food than in your neighborhood pizza place but it’s all part of the made from scratch Italian time feel of the place.
Atmosphere-7/10 Despite the very high quality food, this restaurant isn’t pretending to be anything it’s not. Simple chairs and tables are not particularly romantic but the giant tins of tomatoes and olives give a nice Italian touch.
Most Aussie Experience: The Pie Shed
There aren’t many things more Aussie than a pie, and The Pie Shed has about every option imaginable.
The Pie Shed out in Bayswater is definitely an essential visit for anyone who wants to try a real Australian experience. With a huge range of savory and sweet pies on offer I decided to try the most Aussie sounding options - Crocodile, Kangaroo and an “Aussie pie” (steak pie with an egg in it) It’s always a treat to try something a bit different but the Kangaroo was definitely my favorite. Combined with the kitschy signs, checkered tablecloths and fresh daisies on the tables this is no frills Aussie nums at their best.
Price-9/10 At around $6-8 a pie this is about as good a value for money as it gets. Something that its popularity with the locals attests to.
Deliciousness-7.5/10 These pies are definitely tasty, though not truly gourmet. There are so many options that there is something for everyone.
Ingredients-6/10 There is certainly a lot of variety available and the pies cannot be anything other than handmade. I would have liked a little more meat in my Crocodile pie however.
Service- 7.5/10 Friendly staff chatted with locals as they heated our pies.
Atmosphere-7.5/10 This is a cute kitschy Australian restaurant, whether you are grabbing a quick lunch in or going through the drive through. It’s a little slice of authentic Australia. The only thing that would have improved the experience for me was to have the tables wiped of pie crumbs.
So there you have it - everything from best burger to best Aussie experience all with the typically high Melbourne standard and a low traveler’s price tag. Next time you’re in Melbourne drop by and try some of these tasty eats or if you have your own favorites in Melbourne leave me some recommendations in the comments section on my main blog page.