Dining out in summer calls for relaxed alfresco settings, fresh tangy ingredients, and plenty of laughter with friends. It’s about keeping things light and not too overindulgent, rooftop get togethers, salads, seafood and refreshing cocktails. It’s fun, exciting, and full of vibrant colour.
Now it’s winter, diners want something a little different. No one wants to sit down to a pina colada and papaya salad when the temperature outdoors is failing to hit double digits. People prefer cosy fires and snug settings to alfresco dining and rooftop bars. Now, it’s all about rich flavours, roast potatoes, braised veggies and slow cooked tender meats in true Euro-style comfort. It’s about red wine, indulgence and a little bit of spice to heat things up. And with so many winter-friendly partners of the Good Food Gift Card, we know just where to go in Melbourne…
Serving up a blend of traditional Sri Lankan spices fused with taste sensations from around the world, Araliya provides an inviting, warm, and sophisticated scene. The textural elements of the wall panels, curtains, leather banquettes and ottomans, combined with a sleek and modern bar offers instant comfort from the chill outside. Tummies are quickly warmed with dishes such as Araliya Chicken (chicken filled with pistachio in an incredible secret spice mixture), and crusted fish with savoury notes of tamarind, gambooge and crushed black pepper.
Located at the Paris end of Little Collins street, Burma Lane brings a distinct Asian flair to modern Australian dining. Celebrating seasonal fare and local produce, meals are designed to bring comfort from the weather outdoors, and a hand-sourced wine list and sensational selection of cocktails are matched. “Seasons of Change” is the ceiling artwork created by Melbourne street artist Mike Eleven, and it really does set the scene of an evolving and exciting multicultural food hub.
A Melbourne icon, Caterina’s has been warming local bellies in winter for two tasty decades. Led by Caterina Borsato of the Regional Italian Cuisine television series, it’s sophisticated Italian food at its best and is well loved by businesspeople and foodies alike. Enjoyed “espresso style” or long and lengthy, dining at Caterina’s is a great experience.
Located in one of the busiest and most dynamic culinary precincts, Coda offers a relaxed approach to dining that’s well loved by the locals and all who walk down the basement stairs. Whatever the occasion, the scene is buzzing and the flavours strong. It’s little wonder that it’s maintained its one hat rating since opening its doors in 2009. Our winter pick? You’ve got to try the roasted yellow duck curry with a side of selected chilli.
Set in Montefiore House, a stunning Victorian terrace, Epocha is a step back to wholesome, indulgent food that nourishes your soul and its homely feel offers the ultimate in winter comfort. A motto that states “everybody deserves to be looked after” means you’ll always receive award-winning service, and Epocha’s love of a good Sunday roast will have you coming back time and time again.
As you’d expect from the name, The Local is a Melbourne pub that epitomises everything a ‘local’ should be. Homely, warm, friendly and generous, it’s all about feel-good pub meals, daily chef specials, and tasty homemade desserts. It’s a Melbourne pub that makes you feel like you’re in your own dining room, yet situated on a pristine bayside location. Enjoy favourites like beer battered fish and chips and chicken parma, and finish with a chocolate and walnut brownie.
With a menu that serves up only what’s lovingly made in-house, Hotel Lincoln is a pub with a bit of panache. Dishes like Korean fried quail served with spicy mayo sit alongside veal tartare served with whipped cod roe, cheese and charcuterie. On those extra chilly days you’ll love pork and apple sausages or salmon with pennel puree, and for those who love a beer or wine, there’s plenty to choose from. Imagine your favourite pub with a whole lot of additional flair thrown in.
Smack bang in the middle of Little Collins Street and Collins Street, Syracuse is framed by one of the city’s favourite tree-lined pedestrian thoroughfares. Ornate archways, soaring ceilings and curving chandeliers set the scene, and antique furniture paired with soft lighting lends a romantic and welcoming air. Known for its great selection of wine, bottles are displayed in every nook and cranny, making you red wine warm without even taking a sip. If the wine doesn’t do it for you, the risotto, osso bucco or beef rump cap will.
Established in 1853, The Duke is within easy walking distance of Federation Square, Flinders Street Station and the MCG. A true Melbourne icon, it’s one of the city’s oldest licensed pubs and it’s home to a friendly and warming atmosphere. The food is casual yet delicious and includes delights such as fried chicken in hot sauce and angry onion rings with buffalo sauce. 22 beers are available on tap and if that’s not enough, there’s another 50 bottled beers to choose from. The Duke really does cater to every taste.
Whether you’re nipping out for a quick bite or you’re looking forward to a good catch up with friends, The Exchange Hotel is a great place to be. Occupying a prime position on Bay Street in Port Melbourne, it’s a stylish venue with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Start with an espresso martini to warm your insides and add a hay roasted chicken supreme with truffle ash, braised leeks and caramelised parsnips. Alternatively, check out the weekly specials – there’s a different one every night (except Saturdays).