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What Is Melbourne’s Expensive Food?

Melbourne's upper class has been spending hundreds of dollars on a single meal, and that's not including drinks, while the rest of us have been slumming it with a six-pack of chicky nugs at the drive-thru of an outer-suburb Hungry Jacks. To level the playing field, we've researched the best restaurants in the city to provide you with a list of the best places to eat when someone offers to treat you to dinner for your birthday.

Work, family, and trying to present an impeccable (yet approachable) online persona can cause life to get away from us. We often idealise weekend trips to the country or another state or country, but rarely consider what's right in our own backyard. Your hometown, however, may take you by surprise if you give it a chance.

We are #blessed (not ironically) with world-class restaurants on every corner because Melbourne is a cultural melting pot and the final destination for many creative enterprises. Although these dining outings may seem extravagant, they are actually more cost-effective than taking a weekend trip and offer the best (and tastiest) way to experience luxury in our wonderful city.

Grey Goose is one of the highest-end vodkas on the market, and because of this, we've teamed up with them to provide you with the finest amenities and services in your city. It's time to start crossing off these dining and drinking adventures.

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Top Melbourne's Expensive Food

Is it your pay day, a dinner party, or maybe you just want to treat yourself after a long week of work? Occasionally, you have a valid reason to lavishly pamper yourself.

In light of the current climate, we have compiled a list of the best food currently available for delivery in Melbourne, from the "I'm fabulous and I know it" to the "I'm so extravagant, I don't even care" categories.

Minamishima

In tenth place, we have the casual and inexpensive Minimishima, a Japanese restaurant where the omakase (chef's selection of dishes) costs just $150 per person. If you want to drink Sake and wine with your meal and pretend that $90 isn't the price of nine McChicken meals, you can.

The omakase menu at Minamishima is for those who are ready to spend a lot of money (and who are prepared to give up on ever enjoying sushi rolls from a shopping mall again).

Omakase means "chef's choice," so you can rest assured that you'll be in good hands with chef Koichi Minamishima as he presents you with 15 of Melbourne's finest sushi selections.

Estelle By Scott Pickett

Are you feeling up for some fine dining in Northcote? Then you have to drop by (a.k.a book six weeks in advance) Estelle by Scott Pickett. Their seasonal seven-course tasting menu includes smoked wallaby and black rice, veal sweetbreads, fermented truffle and lemonade fruit. And the whole experience will only set you back $160.

Press Club

Owned and run by Masterchef-host-come-blacklisted-soccer-fan George Calombaris, Press Club offers Greek eating experiences ranging from a two-course lunch to an eight-course dinner. But, this article is the only one we care about. Featuring lamb magiritsa, potato kleftiko, octopus and crumpet on its menu, this $180 dinner is an absolute steal. Even with its additional $110 'beverage journey'.

A Three-Course Meal At The Town Mouse

The Town Mouse inhabits a dark little corner of Carlton away from the hustle and bustle of Lygon Street, but within the chic, the tiled interior is a warm venue bursting with character. 

The protein-heavy menu can cater to you whether you're just feeling peckish or grappling with the hunger of a bear — but we recommend going the whole hog with three courses. The wine list is perfectly matched, and the dessert menu in itself is worth a trip — as are the oysters with Chardonnay sorbet.

Entrecôte

When you think of fancy haute cuisine, what do you imagine? Yep – it has got to be French. French food makes it onto our list of most expensive Melbourne dishes via Entrecôte, which offers a traditional version of the caviar tasting experience. 

For $144.90, you get blinis, crème fraiche, shallots, baby capers and sieved egg – as well as that all-important pot of Yasa sturgeon caviar.

Ezard

You haven't lived [in poverty] until you've had the eight-course tasting menu at Ezard. Featuring Japanese inspired oyster shooters, steamed scallop dumplings, twice-cooked pork belly and a dark chocolate sphere, you'll be throwing your $180 at the waiter to try it, especially for the $120 wine pairing option.

Private Dining At Sake

Sake offers a banquet-style dining experience in their Hamer Hall restaurant, overlooking the Yarra. 

The set menu will walk you through the Japanese classics for which Sake is renowned, plus a few more you might not be game enough to try if given a choice. Expect the freshest seafood alongside umami flavours galore.

The arts precinct keeps getting better when it comes to dining out. Sake Restaurant & Bar has set up shop downstairs at Hamer Hall. Sake has finally brought its sharing philosophy, extensive cocktail list, and beautiful interior south, starting in Sydney and Brisbane.

Found along the riverside, Sake made a smart move installing floor-to-ceiling windows on one side. Interior design house Luchetti Krelle has utilised the whole space beautifully. Inside, there are small booths perfect for intimate dinners, a string of bar seating perfect for watching the action and outdoor seats just asking for summer to hurry up.

The Set Menu At Ides

Peter Gunn's new project Ides started as a pop-up and only transitioned to a permanent venue in Collingwood earlier this year. The ethos behind Ides is experimentation. 

On Sundays, you can get right into the spirit with their experimental rotating tasting menu or go for the more traditional six-course offering throughout the week. It's well-priced luxury at $110.

The team behind Peter Gunn's new restaurant IDES must be organised. Or lucky. Or both. The ambitious new venue has slated its opening to coincide with the Ides of March — and while it was a disastrous time for Caesar, we suspect it'll be rather advantageous for the ex-Attica chef.

Gunn, who's spent the last five years as a sous chef under the legendary Ben Shewry at Attica, is striking out on his own with his new Collingwood restaurant with seating for just 36 lucky guests. But it's not exactly a big risk for him, as Melburnians have been keen on what he's got since 2013. 

Gunn's already put in the leg work for IDES via his monthly pop-up dinners at Persillade that he organised while working in the kitchen at Attica (kind of makes you feel guilty about lazily ordering takeaway, doesn't it?). They were booked out months in advance, and we get the feeling the permanent restaurant will be just as busy.

Interestingly, the menu will retain the spontaneity of the pop-ups with unplanned dishes until the last moment, which Gunn believes injects energy into the menu. 

The package clocks in at six dishes for $110 (wine pairing will be available for a little more moolah), which is extraordinarily good value for a degustation menu designed and made by one of Melbourne's — and. Perhaps, the world's — best young chefs. So get on it now before it books up until the year 3000 because you know it will.

Flower Drum

Flower Drum in the CBD is sixth on our list with its Chef's Six Course Signature Banquet. This exxy dinner includes baked crab shell, blue cod in spicy salt, Peking duck and grain-fed eye filet with Sichuan sauce, to name four of them. 

A dinner like this at the Flower Drum will set you back a whopping $200 per person, $75 for matching wines and $40 if you want to upgrade your beef main to Blackmore's Wagyu porterhouse (why the hell not, right?).

Lûmé

lume

As featured on Josh Thomas' Please Like Me, Lûmé is an expense-sorry, sensory experience like no other. Its menu option, The Road, offers their most' immersive and considered' experience and includes fourteen friggin' dishes. 

Nothing tastes as it seems or could have the healing properties its price tag suggests, but the whole thing comes in at $210, so it better be bloody good.

Lûmé is an establishment that needs no introduction. So, if you haven't considered a Lûmé degustation to celebrate a special occasion, hand over those dollar bills and do so now — you won't regret it. 

You can choose between three degustation options ranging from 4 courses to 16, but the big daddy here is The Road, a 14 to 16-course journey through culinary enlightenment. It'll set you back $170 per person (and another $120 each for BEVs) — but you'll then be able to let the experts take you on a journey that's part art, part culinary and fully life-changing.

It's been three and a half years since Lûmé first crashed into our food scene, with head chef and co-owner Shaun Quade's wildly inventive fare quickly making a name for the South Melbourne fine diner.

Now, as Quade gears up to kick-start his next culinary venture, he's given the whole place a spruce-up and handed over the all-important kitchen reins to the mentee and celebrated young gun John Rivera. He recently won the San Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year, as well as the Gault & 

Millau Young Talent of the Year in 2017.

The first thing he's done is make the menu smaller; Lûmé's signature $210 14-course degustation has been replaced with the option of three slightly more approachable offerings: three courses for $100, five courses for $140 and seven courses for $170). To that end, you can expect an all-new menu, delivering Rivera's interpretation of modern Australian fare — but still with that Lûmé edge. 

Dive into thoughtful and unexpected creations like the calamari matched to coconut, cucumber and chrysanthemum; melaleuca-smoked duck with leatherwood honey and cherries; and shiitakes with oyster and charred kombu.

Brae

Next time you've come down with a bad case of the 'offensively rich', take a trip to Brae in Birregurra when you can blow all your money on one dinner. 

Each day the set menu is decided by what's ripe and in bloom in their on-site organic fruit and vegetable garden (classic), so you never quite know what you're in for. Except for the bill, that'll be $240 plus $145 for wine.

The Seven-Course Tasting Menu At Estelle By Scott Pickett

The menu at Scott Pickett's fine dining room of Estelle is Australian in more ways than one. The seven-course tasting menu — which features smoked wallaby alongside a medley of Aussie seafood — is served up but packs in big flavour. 

The northside restaurant is beautifully (and monochromatically) decorated to tick all your luxury dining experience boxes.

Vue De Monde

It's the ritziest dinner of your life, and you've been counting down the 180 days since you made your reservation six months ago at a fancy restaurant in the Central Business District. Here, you can indulge in Vue de Monde's chef's tasting menu, which consists of no less than sixteen courses.

Gumnuts, lamingtons, poached pears, emu eggs, rusty wire oysters, and beer bread are just a few of the more exotic dishes you can find here.

It's pretty obvious, but here we go. If, however, your idea of luxury is dining atop one of the city's tallest buildings while being served some of the city's finest cuisine by one of the city's best chefs, then Vue de Monde is the place for you. The restaurant, perched on the 55th floor, is the pinnacle of fine dining in Melbourne, and the dish pictured above is just the beginning of what they have to offer.

Although the $230–$275 per person tasting menu is quite pricey, it is an unforgettable experience that will leave you completely focused on the meal in front of you (including, hopefully, the bill at the end of the night).

Attica

Over in little Ripponlea lies an extravagant eatery and award-winning restaurant, Attica. Here we recommend the Extended Tasting Menu with aged Santa Claus melon, smashed avo on toast, chewy carrots, wattleseed damper and whipped emu egg with quandong. All ten courses will set you back a measly $260, plus an additional $185 for wine.

The Tasting Menu At Nora

When you step into your Nora degustation, discard any preconceived notions you have about Thai food. Chef and owner Sarin Rojanametin's approach to cooking and degustations are refreshingly playful, taking you on a journey through his childhood favourites. 

He describes the Nora experience as "punch in the face, dance in the mouth flavours of Thailand", so you know you're set for a wild ride.

Runaway Cupcakes

Not everything expensive has to be serious and savoury. Runaway Cupcakes can serve up sweet treats by the dozen, perfect for special occasions or even the office Christmas party. 

Get a box of 36 full-size cupcakes to access the most cake possible, with flavours ranging from matcha green tea and white raspberry chocolate to devil's food-cake Nutella and salted caramel. For $145, this works out at just over $4 per soft and fluffy cupcake. How could you resist?

Dinner By Heston

For a dining experience that'll cost you three cars and an inner-city townhouse, you can't go past the Chef's Ten Course Table Menu at Dinner by Heston. 

Here you'll be treated to a myriad of overpriced goodies, including hay smoked kingfish, roast quail and the famous plum meat fruit. Sure, it may taste alright, but it can't be of better value than eighteen tandoori chicken Crust pizzas??

Sit At The Chef's Table At Dinner By Heston

A visit to Dinner by Heston is a visit you will remember for a long time. The menu of Blumenthal's Crown restaurant is inspired by classic British gastronomy, so while it's not exactly vegetarian-friendly, it certainly is educational as it walks you through a history of dinner and dessert dishes. 

You can dine à la carte or spend your entire paycheck on a seat at the chef's table, where Executive Chef Ashley Palmer-Watts will serve up your food himself, and you'll get your sommelier. 

It's perhaps a little less luxurious than dining at The Fat Duck, but that doesn't make it any less worthy of a visit.

The Degustation At Cutler & Co.

A visit to Cutler & Co., an understated but essential Melbourne restaurant, will not disappoint. Gertrude Street's sophisticated hole-in-the-wall offers delectable dishes (that look more like art than food, mind you) and a carefully curated drinks list.

For an additional $80–$130, matched wagers can be added to your order of six courses, totalling $150. And after dinner, you can get a digestive at their sister restaurant Marion, which is right next door.

Luxury restaurants aren't meant to be frequented on a regular basis. When you're celebrating a special event with your closest friends and family, you want to be surrounded by beautiful decor and have a dining experience that leaves a lasting impression on your mind as well as your stomach. Cutler & Co. consistently receives praise as one of the best restaurants in the United States.

Cutler & Co. manages to stay on the cutting edge of both new and old culinary trends simultaneously. Located in a converted metalworks factory, the interior strikes a balance between minimalism and opulence with the help of wicker lighting and plush fabrics. The restaurant's open kitchen welcomes customers at the front door, where the action is. But if you want to know how Cutler & Co. came to be about chef Andrew McConnell's love of fresh vegetables and fruits, you can start here.

The highly adaptable dining room is perfect for formal business meals, casual get-togethers with friends, leisurely lunches, and elaborate tasting menus. Diners can see, hear, and speak to one another without interrupting their own meals, thanks to the thoughtful design of the space. The event is also bolstered by the impeccable service provided by the wait staff, who anticipate your every need down to the return of your coat when you leave.

These dishes are both beautiful and delicious. The dishes are presented in the most elaborate ways possible. The visual dissection continues as you dissect the complex flavours, such as the shaved fennel and cabbage salad that is less daunting than it first appears.

To sample the full range of flavours that Cutler & Co. has to offer and to see the restaurant at its finest, we suggest making Sunday lunch a tradition. You can relax and enjoy the afternoon with the set menu, which costs $75 (plus $50 for a wine pairing). Make a reservation, as there is limited seating.

The Cutler & Co. experience is beyond description; it is faultless, indulgent, and majestic. Instead, you won't believe how good this restaurant is until you try it yourself.

Hibachi Japanese Grill

Traditional Japanese cuisine is the stuff of legends. Finely sliced fish – prepared by chefs with years of training – has an undeniable appeal and charisma. When you want to impress, go for Hibachi's Premium Banquet. 

It's a collection of the catch of the day sashimi, mixed fresh tempura, miso, steamed rice, dessert, and a couple of special extras. You'll also find Patagonian Toothfish simmered in an aromatic soy broth and – finally – a Wagyu sirloin steak cooked to order. For $179.60, you and a pal can dine like royalty.

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Richmond Oysters

Caviar and sushi were higher up the list, so that you might be sensing a pattern here. So what's the only seafood more luxurious and exclusive than those? Easy – oysters. Richmond Oysters specialise in more than just their namesake, though, and their Deluxe Platter is a celebration of all things oceanic

Oysters, sashimi, calamari, soft shell crab and smoked trout rillettes all vie for the spotlight. But the whole lobster mornay takes centre stage here. And for $350, this seafood spectacular could be yours to appreciate and devour.

Dutchess

Nothing compares to a tender steak. Dutchess's mightiest cut of meat comes from Ballan, Victoria, where the Sher family raise premium Wagyu cattle. 

They're fed grain for 450 days before being transformed into luxury cuts of steak. While the rump is also available, the rib eye steak is sure to hit that sweet spot – though you might have to share it with a friend, seeing as it weighs in at 1kg and $110.

FAQs About Melbourne's Expensive Food

Unfortunately, Melbourne can also be very expensive for international travellers. This is because the strength of the Australian dollar has been volatile in the past few years. In early 2010 it approached record levels against the USD and the Euro so that things will be particularly expensive for most people until that changes.

While meal prices in Melbourne can vary, Melbourne's average cost of food is AU$37 per day. Based on the spending habits of previous travellers, when dining out, an average meal in Melbourne should cost around AU$15 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner.

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