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Melbourne Restaurants


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Hey all,

I'm new to Melbourne, hailing from NYC. I'm only here for about four months and was wondering your opinions on your favorite cheap eats around the city. I noticed a bunch of threads on Melbourne top restaurants, but nothing regarding everyday meals.

It's hard to classify "cheap eats" sometimes so I'm guessing a max of ~$17 per meal (not including drink).

I'm living in Melbourne Central and as much as I enjoy Asian food, I am starting to get sick of it. Any ideas of places around here, and other parts of the city?

Thanks!

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You are right Melbourne lacks of every day restaurants something like in other countries is called minutas or minutes just a set menu to eat for office and blue collar workers.

To me the best places are still pubs no the up market ones but just average corner pub even though they are a dying bread some still survive and going through changes but set meals are still on for about the quoted price and plentiful of tucker

Can't recommend a singular one but you just have to dare try a few.

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There are places that are cheap and not Asian. Have you seen the Cheap eats Guide?

In the CBD you could try Piadina Slowfood Rear 57 Lonsdale Street.

Also Check out Lentil as Anything where there are no prices on the menu - you simply pay what you want.

ST KILDA 41 Blessington st. (corner Acland st & Barkley st)

Melways Ref: 58 B11

open hours: 7days, 12-10pm every day

ABBOTSFORD CONVENT 1 St Heliers st. (NR Collingwood Children's Farm)

Melways Ref: 44 G5

Open hours:9am-9.30pm every day

BRUNSWICK @ the spot, 133 Sydney rd, Brunswick (junction with Union st)

Open 5pm - 10pm monday - Thursday, Friday - Sunday 12pm - 10pm

Lentil Africa 328 Victoria Street, Brunswick VIC 3056

Opening hours: 6pm - Late everyday

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Being an occasional tourist to Melbourne myself, I can recommend the following:

- Pellegrini's, 66 Bourke St, around $12 a main course. Hearty pastas and good coffee. Dessert around $4-5, so it makes your budget. Someone told me they charge you based on how you look (the better you look the cheaper), but I can't confirm the veracity of such vicious rumours.

- Piadina Slowfood, 57 Lonsdale St, around $10 for a decent bowl of stew or slow-cooked something else and piadina. It's only open on weekdays as it's slap-bang in the heart of the corporate district.

- Further on Beandork's post, there's a lively branch of everyone's favourite La Porchetta (I think it's located in a pub) just down the street from the QVM; terrifyingly large serves that will scare the kids from around $9 a main course.

Hope that helps.

Julian's Eating - Tales of Food and Drink
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- Pellegrini's, 66 Bourke St, around $12 a main course.  Hearty pastas and good coffee.  Dessert around $4-5, so it makes your budget.  Someone told me they charge you based on how you look (the better you look the cheaper), but I can't confirm the veracity of such vicious rumours.

A few years ago, I took a couple of friends from Sydney to Pelligrini's for dinner. We all had the same thing - they got charged $15 each, I got charged $10. :cool: Oh, and I'm not particulary good look either. :biggrin:

The Italian Waiters Club (Meyers Place) is also cheap and they have good food. The Cellar Bar (part of the Florentino) is also surprisingly good value. You can also take a 10 minute tram ride up to Brunswick Street in Fitzroy and go to Mario's. I'm also a fan of Arcadia on Gertrude Street. If you fancy a 20 minute walk from the city, there's Tiamo on Lygon Street in Carlton.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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Thanks guys - those suggestions definitely help.

I haven't done as much exploring as I have wanted to (been so hot here!!), but here are some places I've been going to...

On the Asian front I find myself repeatedly at BBQ Chinese Restaurant (how blunt) on Swanston/Lonsdale. I'm a big fan of roast duck and they do it well for cheap ~7.50. It's also right next to my building, so it's come quite in handy.

I was having a craving for New York pizza and I checked out an an article The Age put out in 2005 about pizza. I went over to Fitzroy for lunch and went to Bimbo Deluxe. It's a cute, sort of trendy looking, bar (or pub, I can't tell the distinction between the two well yet) and had a decent pie. Nothing like New York, of course, but it somewhat satisfied my craving. It was a bit disappointing, but oh well. The crust, although cooked quite crisp, lacked any real flavor. I got their plain margarita - I think I need to get some toppings next time I go. They have dinner specials Sunday-Thursday nights $4 ANY pizza i.e. unlimited toppings. It's between some specific hours that I cannot recall (they do stop serving pizza at 2.30AM), but I don't remember the hours being particularly restrictive.

I took my requisite tourist trip to Queen Victoria Market (which I loved), and tried out Cafe Verona in their food court. I got a plate of meat ravioli in a bolognese sauce which was surprisingly very satisfying. At first I thought it wasn't going to be enough food (they put it in a small bowl), but I ended up not being able to finish it. That with a bottle of water I think was about $11. I could be off a bit. Definitely some good stuff though.

I guess I'll add some posts as I explore Melbourne :rolleyes:

Tomatom: The Age is coming out with their 2007 edition next week, so I'm holding out until then.

Edited by NYCviaRachel (log)
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Must confess I have not been to Pellegrini's for many years not since early 1990 strngely enough its name is exactly the name of one of Argentina patriots Carlos Pellegrini so the mane is very familiar to me.

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I was having a craving for New York pizza and I checked out an

New York pizza? What makes a pizza a New York pizza?

Anyway, try i Carusi for pizza.

Another thing you could try is going up to La Parisienne Pates on Lygon Street in Carlton. Buy some of their takeaway or a mixture of pates, cured meats etc., and take it home for dinner.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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Thanks for the suggestions. I'll definitely check it out.

New York pizza? What makes a pizza a New York pizza?

Well I should rephrase that: good New York pizza.

Your average slice joint in New York is totally satisfactory - just a quick cheap eat you can eat on the street.

Good New York pizza is this:

387487290_f599df5995.jpg

187593114_c62e8ee19b.jpg

The first is a fresh mozzarella slice from Joe's Pizza (with a bite taken out of it). Sweet sauce, flavorful thin crust, and some great cheese.

The second is from Patsy's Pizza in Spanish Harlem. Paper-thin crust, out of this world sauce and cheese.

If you actually care enough, there's this site that's really good at documenting NY pizza:

http://www.sliceny.com

I find a lot of street pizza here is like foccacia bread back home - not really pizza.

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Umm lemme see...I dispute that NY pizza is different even in NYC so there is not unique style yes I grant you that is thin and but not my favourite by a mile and a half.

There was a Fiztroy street pizza joint called NY Pizza something something but went into receivership in less than a year. I have no idea what standard of pizza they offered but looked overpriced compared to the other joints around.

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I think that you must be looking for dinner rather than lunch, because during the day there are little restaurants and cafes every 10th step. In the evening it's different, and little laneways which seem empty and dark during the day suddenly come to life with small dinner-only restaurants. When the Cheap Eats book comes out next week, I think you will find it very inspiring - there will be about 200 restaurants within walking distance of where you live. Most every day eating restaurants are to be found in the south eastern part of the city centre.

Unlike Piazzola, I dislike eating in most pubs, but there are a few goodies worth making a trip to - Hotel Lincoln on Cardigan St in Carlton comes to mind. It's just a short tram/walk trip away.

It's been a while since I was in NY but I can certainly understand your craving for pizza. Excellent thin crust pizza is (was?) to be found at Mr Wolf in St Kilda http://www.mrwolf.com.au/ and Ladro in Fitzroy, but it's been over a year since I stepped foot in either. I hope they are still in existance. If they are, beware the noise level on busy nights.

Please forget trying to find New York pizza here in Australia. Things are different here, from the flour / ovens/ cheese etc to the preferences of the locals.

Good luck!

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Things are different here, from the flour / ovens/ cheese etc to the preferences of the locals.

Believe me I understand. I was no way complaining about it, just musing about a selfish craving ;)

I'm definitely going to get the guide when it comes out and, yes, dinner seems to be the main issue. I'm surprised so many of the cafes close early. You would think a lot of the university students would hound them at night. Even drunks trying to satisfy some late night cravings.

I dispute that NY pizza is different even in NYC so there is not unique style

To put it more simply, NY style pizza is crisp thin crust pizza on large triangular slices. It's certainly not Domino's.

There's a good eGullet thread on some of the more famous/best places in NYC found here:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=35551&st=0

Edited by NYCviaRachel (log)
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Things are different here, from the flour / ovens/ cheese etc to the preferences of the locals.

Believe me I understand. I was no way complaining about it, just musing about a selfish craving ;)

I'm definitely going to get the guide when it comes out and, yes, dinner seems to be the main issue. I'm surprised so many of the cafes close early. You would think a lot of the university students would hound them at night. Even drunks trying to satisfy some late night cravings.

I dispute that NY pizza is different even in NYC so there is not unique style

To put it more simply, NY style pizza is crisp thin crust pizza on large triangular slices. It's certainly not Domino's.

There's a good eGullet thread on some of the more famous/best places in NYC found here:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=35551&st=0

Well I know few things about food anyway and I also happen to know NY style pizza too but have no crave for it. However I agree It would not be a bad idea if there are few pizzerias around serving this style of pizza but late night cravings are dangerous :biggrin:

Regarding Melbourne, well yes it is a very cosmopolitan city and you will find a huge assortment of cooking styles just about from everywhere in the world. But it is not NYC and we have much different ethnic populations, style and tastes as well anyway. Melbourne has come a long way since thirty years ago where pubs close at 6pm and that was just about all entertainment except for some Chinatown restaurants made a night out in the city. Melbourne has come a long way from those days.

Think of the food you get here that you would not find in NYC.

One thing though and because hospitality industry is relatively very new in Australia thus local rentals, wages and working conditions are relatively high compared to other cities in the world and this is reflected in current prices. As far a real restaurant and bar competition is concerned it has not really taken effect only a relatively handful have been jockying for positionsi in the market but for most price is not a priority issue not yet anyway as you have probably noticed price is not a real issue for most people when it comes to food just wonder round the food markets see what people ask and buy. Melbournians are not yet as price sensitive as other cities in the world are mainly because the industry fuels itself with so called food fashion, fads or discoveries and interest rates remain low at least for the time being.

Where I originally came from to Melbourne the industry established itself around early 1800s or more or less mirrored NYC and many bars, pizzerias, cafes and restaurants (if my memory serves me well in the sixties) never close or only close briefly for two hours(for a big clean up and wash the floors) they have shift workers and you can have a formal dinner at 3 or 4 am and bars will be full at any hour of the early morning.

Edited by piazzola (log)
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The closest you'll find to Joe's (do you mean the one at 23rd and Lex?) are probably the names mentioned, especially I Carusi or Ladro; I think I Carusi has opened in St. Kilda, and I've heard Mr. Wolf is also in that vein. Still, it's not exactly the same, and in some ways is superior, depending on your tastes...much less oily and greasy, for a start. One thing you won't find is (or rather, I certainly haven't) is any worthwhile pizza to just grab by the slice. It's pretty much come in, sit down, order a whole pie... Maybe a entreprenuerial activity for you?

The point about the different ethnic make-up of Melbourne, compared to NYC is excellent, and will give you a real taste of something different to NY. Cafe Zum Zum, or Rumi in north carlton/fitzroy are good value and great food, and something I never saw in 15 years in New York: Middle-Eastern food that does more than start at schwarma and end at falafel. For that matter, forego those comparatively upmarket spots, and stroll up Sydney Road in Brunswick trying everything you find: turkish pizzas, spiced flatbreads, dozens of different dips, salads and tastes, haloumi cheese pies... revelatory.

For range, quality and value of inexpensive, quick casual food, I think you'll find Melbourne does it better and easier than New York.

enjoy your time it's a great city

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Must agree with you kangarool

Iike to stroll along some of these streets and walk casually into one of these joints have not been disappointed yet although must confess the Turkish pizza is not my cup of tea.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm a little bit slow to join this thread...... but as a Melbourne girl now living elswhere, I have a few places I could recommend:

- I support the others who recommended Piadina Slowfood (CBD) Lentil as Anything (St Kilda).

Other Cheap Eats would be:

- KL Cafe (St Kilda - yes, this is Asian, but it's a nice change from typical Chinese and the food is very yummy)

- Gurkha's : this is a Nepalese restaurant group. There's a "Gurkha's Express" in the city, and "Gurkha's Brasserie" on Lygon St, St Kilda.

- Nudel Bar, Bourke St CBD. Trendy and tasty, with amazing desserts. Highly recommended, and they even do takeaway. The servings are HUGE, so the pricier dishes would serve 2 people.

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Thanks for the tips! I'll definitely check out Nudel Bar.

I finally tried Ladro in Fitzroy and thought it was great. I took a friend from Adelaide and she said it was the best pizza she's ever had.

I also tried Grill'd in St. Kilda and wasn't impressed. The meat was flavorless and tasted almost like a garden burger.

Sunday I went to Jungle Bar on Centre Place and loved it. Nice lively atmosphere with some yummy bagels. Their menus are in those Little Golden Books that I used to read as a kid - I thought it was a nice touch.

Last night my friend dragged me to Degraves Espresso Bar and thought it was pretty eh. I think it's one of those places that capitalizes on its premier location than its food.

-----

Oh, and earlier we were talking about Pelligrini's random pricing. I went there by myself and was charged $13 just for a pasta and tap water. I went again with a friend and was initially charged $32 for the two of us (we both had a pasta and a granitas), then a worker nudged the the guy who charged us and said in front of us, "Boy those were pretty small dishes, I'd say its about $30."

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We have left the UK and are now based here - lovely city! Except for the fact that my doggie is in quarantine, all is well...

I have been reading past threads regarding food and shopping in Melbourne -

Victoria Maret is great, as is Prahran Market - also saw some big seafood/butcher stores around Dandenong (don't ask)

What's the update on Mexican food and ingredients? Is that Aztec place still by the airport? Los Amates? I saw a Mexican along Toorak Road that boasts Agassi as a customer... classic TexMex menu, but any good?

How is the chile growing going?

Any Argentine restaurants around?

Brazilian?

Is France Soir still good? It's just around the corner...

Soooo many questions...

www.nutropical.com

~Borojo~

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Welcome back to Melbourne!

also saw some big seafood/butcher stores around Dandenong (don't ask)

Dandenong or Springvale? It sounds like you saw those huge Vietnamese butchers and seafood stores.

Is France Soir still good? It's just around the corner...

France Soir is still very good. I had a great evening the last time I was there.

But there's plenty of choice when it comes to French food.....Aux Batifolles, Bistro Thierry, Libertine, L'Oustal, and Les Boucheries Parisiennes are a few places that spring to mind.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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Thanks for your response Daniel.

I did see the huge ones in Springvale, but I also saw a couple also on a little pedestrianised street next to a big mall in Dandenong - funky area!

I saw Aux Batifolles today wile driving around - will have to go try...

www.nutropical.com

~Borojo~

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Thanks for the tips!  I'll definitely check out Nudel Bar.

...

Last night my friend dragged me to Degraves Espresso Bar and thought it was pretty eh.  I think it's one of those places that capitalizes on its premier location than its food. 

-----

Oh, and earlier we were talking about Pelligrini's random pricing.

As always and everywhere, a lot of the 'classic' places have reputation and perhaps atmosphere, but the food...

* I think Nudel Bar is overrated - it is easy to come away having eaten a large but not particularly remarkable meal. The cakes, however, are often great - worth remembering as it's very hard to find good cake in the CBD!

* Pellegrini's is atmosphere. The food is unremarkable (actually, never tried the cakes :unsure: ), while the coffee is ok. The decaf was horrendous (one tasting).

* Degraves Espresso Bar - sigh. Ok coffee. Overrated panini. Noisy. Perhaps the modern Pellegrini's - more in-reputation/location than anything else.

-- lamington a.k.a. Duncan Markham

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - collaborative book reviews about all things food and wine

Syrup & Tang - candid commentary and flavourful fancies

"It's healthy. It's cake. It's chocolate cake."

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