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Which Are Common Food Places In Southbank, Melbourne?

In Melbourne, Southbank is considered a treasure for good reason. As a result of the diverse population, a wide variety of ethnic cuisines can be found in the area (sort of like Melbourne, in a nutshell).

Here, you can dine in style while taking in picturesque views of the city skyline reflected in the Yarra River. Because of this, we have compiled a list of the best restaurants in Southbank that you absolutely must visit.

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Food Places In Southbank Melbourne

How long has it been since you went to Southbank? There is a wide variety of dining options, from upscale to casual, budget to high-end, along the riverfront boulevard.

With its convenient location in the middle of Melbourne, Southbank is a great place to stop for a bite to eat on the way to the Arts Centre, Crown, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Federation Square, or Flinders Street Station.

Rockpool Bar & Grill

If restaurant years could be measured like dog years, Rockpool would have settled into a comfortable if unexciting middle age, more 'nice' than 'knockout'. But not only has clubbish, masculine steak den seen off so many other restaurants that once glittered on the Crown promenade before fading away, but it had also maintained – even surpassed – the standards that sent the town a twitter when it opened in 2007.

You could say it's surfed the produce-driven zeitgeist – being the original Mr Produce-Driven, whose menu-adorning quote about serving only the finest produce isn't a cynical bit of PR spin. Rockpool is best-known for its beef – dry-aged, grass-fed, wood-grilled, reliably sensational – but the lengthy menu tips the balance favouring a seafood obsession.

The 'four raw tastes of the sea', a signature dish that debuted with the restaurant, remains a gob-smacking quartet: kingfish dressed in a smoked oyster; ocean trout with mild harissa; tuna with a flicker of ginger and coriander; scampi ceviche. The tuna's under seasoning aside, and it's a powerful statement about the beauty of top ingredients handled with minimal fuss.

There's linguini, slithery strands of hand-cut silk in pasta form, with sweet outbreaks of spanner crab and an Asian-accented slosh of chilli-spiked prawn oil. And fat nubbles of scampi tail nestled into a creamy blanket of soft polenta with pine mushrooms and sage, bringing a taste of the season. Simultaneously comforting and sensational. There are red meat options to be found under the 10' main plates' (the menu totals 34 items before you get to the dry-aged, grass-fed steaks – and the corned Wagyu silverside with onion soubise and pearl barley did put up a good argument). 

But a Rockpool steak is non-negotiable, and if you're heading in that direction, it's only correct and proper to hit the 17 side dishes, from crunchy onion rings the size of small Frisbees to the caramelised potato-and-cabbage gratin. You'll go into a food coma, but it's a happy one.

It's a Crown restaurant, so a wide swathe of humanity is represented at the broad, dimly-lit tables in the expense-account surroundings. 

However, Rockpool will exist in the rarified realm of 'special occasion' restaurants to the average diner. So you're paying for the perfection of the product, for the brilliance of its treatment, for the dining room's sartorial swagger, for the seamlessness of the service. Crown can be a bit of a punt, but Rockpool remains one helluva sure bet.

Dinner by Heston 

Here is a hint for those anxious to eat at Dinner. More people want to eat dinner at Dinner than at lunch. So it's worth trying to call just before serving to see if anyone has cancelled: apparently, some people dare stand up to the Sultan of Snail (porridge, that is), and you might capitalise on their loss.

Move briskly through the entrance tunnel with the bespoke scent of leather, damp moss and wood towards the smart, plush, hushed, Bates Smart-designed dining room, all autumnal colours and luxurious textures. They'll ask if you want a drink at the bar, where 'historical' cocktails are the order of the day (the verdict on the gin and verjuice Mint Rickey, circa 1880: as refreshing as a cool breeze on a summer's day). History is the hook here, although it's easy to ignore it. 

Dishes are gleaned from as far back as 1300, churned through Blumenthal's modern chef brain. So you could think of it as gastronomic past meeting gastronomic futurism. Or simply as an upscale restaurant with a cool backstory. The London version of Dinner (vital statistics: opened in 2011, currently number seven on the World's Best Restaurant hip-list) is dripping in accolades, and from Time Out's experience, the Melbourne iteration should be no different. 

You probably won't see the man himself, but chief Blumenthal lieutenant Ashley Palmer-Watts is in the house, and many of the dishes have been transplanted more or less intact. There's the now-iconic meat fruit – a perfect chicken liver parfait, as rich and airy-light as a socialite, dolled up in a shell of mandarin jelly to resemble nothing so much as a – yes – mandarin.

Salmagundi (fun fact: originally a throw-everything-together salad, or a 17th-century solution for leftovers) is perfect pinkish chicken oysters and wickedly caramelised skin, horseradish cream and braised artichoke stem with pickled walnuts lending a pleasingly astringent kick. Frumenty is another dish from way back when (1390, to be exact) that looks very now: a Jules Verne under-sea vision of grilled octopus and crisp sea succulents swimming in a smoky sea broth with dabs of lovage emulsion and a base of spelt for an earthy chew. The open kitchen with its gazillion dollars worth of high-tech cooking equipment also features a spit roast pulley system modelled on the one in Henry VIII's royal court. 

It seems an awful lot of effort to caramelise pineapple, but practicality has never really been Blumenthal's concern; and the tipsy cake the pineapple serves is a lovely thing, the love child of pudding and scone with a brandy-driven basting sauce. 

Add it to the lengthy list of Dinner must-haves, a list so long that one visit probably will not suffice. Its Fat Duck precursor was a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of place, with its surfeit of food and ideas. Instead, dinner is the easy-going younger sibling, the kind of place you could head back to again and again, price and bookings permitting.

The Merrywell Bar And Dining

Much loved local chefs (of Huxtaburger) are now behind the menus at the Crown's flash diner, the Merrywell. The old Americana menu has made way for a share-focused menu, taking cues from across the globe. 

Get a group together and order a spread of Mexican tuna tartare with tequila guacamole and cucumber; wood-grilled local king prawns with macadamia hummus; and charred broccolini with stracciatella, balsamic and truffled pecorino. 

As always, the Merrywell still boasts panoramic views of the glowing Melbourne CBD. If you're still after burgers, head to Merrywell's devoted burger bar, where you can order up 100 per cent grass-fed beef patties from noon every day. 

Nobu

nobu restaurants

Experience Japanese fine dining that stays true to the cuisine's origins while bringing something very elegant and new to the table.

Nobu understands that simplicity is sometimes the best, and this is truly exemplified through their iconic Hiramasa Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno, Tuna Tataki with Ponzu dressing, or their Beef Tataki with Ponzu and Garlic Chips.

The Merrywell  

The Merrywell is a Southbank classic. This all American diner-inspired burger joint offers great burgs, shakes, sandwiches, rings, as well as a plethora of other non-burger, inspired things.

The vibe downstairs is comfortable and cafe-style, while the upstairs level is transformed into a casual night time bar setting. One little stand out would have to be the killer milkshakes; they look like they were taken out of a 1950's diner commercial.

San Antone By Bludso's BBQ

Slow-cooked meat lovers in Melbourne may have thought they had finally had enough, but a newcomer has arrived and they're worth knowing about. He moved his family's barbeque business from Texas to Los Angeles, opening eateries in Compton and West Hollywood. Therefore, Bludso's BBQ has become one of the city's most well-known smokehouses, particularly for its brisket, which is smoked for up to 14 hours at a "slow and low" temperature.

San Antone by Bludso's BBQ at Crown Melbourne uses natural charcoal and wood from Texas to replicate the original flavours of its namesake restaurant. Pick from menu items like smoked beef brisket, pulled pork, and sticky pork spare ribs. Order a lot of the sides, including the seasoned house fries, potato salad, and macaroni and cheese.

Rosetta

A fight has broken out in Melbourne. One camp uses restaurants like Chin Chin and Baby Pizza as evidence that "fine dining is dead," while on the other side of the debate, Southbank resident Neil Perry has opened Rosetta, a swanky new Italian restaurant that appears to have been created solely for the purpose of proving Lucas wrong. Floor-to-ceiling windows ripple down one side, chandeliers protrude from the dome ceiling, and an embarrassment of marble (there's an empty quarry somewhere cursing Perry's name) combine to create a breathtakingly theatrical space.

Opera plays in the background as a more upscale crowd dines on the lamp-lit Terrazza (which, to be honest, is not this restaurant's crowning glory). Club Med instead of chic Mediterranean.

Rosetta may not have any hipster neon or placemats, but the food is still very approachable. As opposed to some of Grossi Florentino's other works, this one is not overly fussy. While a linen napkin is included with the burger, the chef recommends using your fingers instead. The things he doesn't put on his plate are just as well-known as the ones he does.

He took Melbourne's yum cha to the next level and has done the same thing at Rosetta. Di Stasio better watch out, because G.A. SPerry has arrived in town, and this time he brought Italian with him. Twiggly grissini breadsticks and a few olives will get you started at the bar, where you should probably spend most of your time.

All the bartenders who were laid off when Perry's cocktail lounge, the Waiting Room, shut down have found refuge here. They are reducing the level of formality, providing easy access to the excellent Australian and Italian wine list, and suggesting cocktails. Birra is an Italian aperitif drink made by mixing beer with bitter liqueurs like Cynar and Aperol and citrous juices like orange and lemon.

Like silken tofu, fresh ricotta crumbles when prodded with a piece of grilled, buttered toast. A firm, freshly roasted, peeled tomato carries the nuance with its toasty char and concentrated sweetness. To demonstrate the power of high-quality spicy olive oil, try this recipe for poached tuna, flaked and served over a bed of nutty farro and those little green Padron peppers (roasted and mild unless you cop the firebrand - there's always one).

The pasta is the main attraction. Spaghetti made in-house with semolina, 00 flour, and water evokes soba noodles; the strands are strong and springy, entangling precious pieces of prawn and pistachios. The Nicola potatoes give the gnocchi a distinct sweetness, and the pillows are a rich, deep yellow. While it might be a bit too sweet and rich for a lighter sauce, it pairs wonderfully with the salty, meaty, and oily richness of soft octopus braised with olives.

Bistro Guillaume

Bistro Guillaume genuinely stays true to its name – it's all class. This French-style bistro offers a plat du jour daily. It showcases a delicious menu ranging from traditional baguettes with onion soup to more luxuriously prepared dishes such as the delicious beef bourguignon.

 

You can be sure of a good night out whether you're looking to eat with a group of friends or searching for that suitable setting for a special occasion.

Meat Wine & Co

Meat Wine & Co is an all-rounder. With just a great steak and a wide selection of wine, what's not to love?

The Rib-Eye, the most luxurious of all steak cuts, is the softest, most buttery thing you will ever put in your mouth. This is paired beautifully with the rich peppercorn or mushroom sauce. Meat Wine & Co's Mac & Cheese is also stupidly good; made of rigatoni, charred cauliflower, Monterey Jack, Parmesan, truffle, and a panko crust—this one will blow you away.

Spice Temple

It's not your typical yum cha. Instead, the soundtrack dips between hip hop and indie singers, and there's not a trolley in sight. Which, if you crave the rattling chaos of places like Tai Pan, you may find disappointing. But if you seek the silken dumpling, skin translucent yet firm, filled with a giving mixture of juicy prawn and a slight crunch of garlic and ginger, you're in the right seat. Albeit a seat you can't see – Spice Temple is the land that lighting design forgot.

Still, the banquettes feel comfortable, and the dark tables are spot-lit enough to highlight neatly crimped trios of juicy prawn and scallop ($9) and plump chive dumplings ($7), flavours so well balanced we don't even notice that the traditional chilli paste booster is MIA.

There are no pork siu mai dumplings - those little wontons wrapped dumplings of pork and prawn with faces open to the sky, or mango pancakes, but take a moment to get over it because the alternative gear Perry has constructed with head chef Jason Margaritis is worth investigating. Like the sliders ($9). made for a sandwich, and here, mini brioche buns are filled with roasted pork belly, salty crackling, chilli and coriander, a rogue entry from the Sydney Spice Temple bar menu. We rate them over the steamed pork buns ($11), which are a little dense and elastic in the dough, although the honey-sweet barbecued pork filling is the best we've found in a char siu bao.

Chilled slivers of tea-smoked duck ($19) with a rich vein of fat running down the side are worth a double-order, as is a dish of savoury egg custard topped with sweet chunks of crab meat and a throat tingling pool of chilli-garlic XO sauce. 

There's messy finger action like little beef ribs in black bean and olive sauce (interesting concept, but unrelentingly salty) and the show-off's best friend – sticky chilli-coated chicken's feet. They're mentally challenging but worth it for fans of ultra braised meat.

 Dessert is traditional – warm egg tarts and creamy pots of mango pudding, topped with a nutty crunch of sesame praline. You've got the full Temple bar on your side too, plus pots of blooming teas. But we're all about the house-made sodas. Try the ginger beer ($12), spicy and savoury with fresh ginger juice.

There's an integrity to the dishes at Spice Temple in every sense of the word. The produce is sustainable, and there's a clarity of flavour unmatched by any other 'cha house in town. In Perry's words, "it's a sophisticated yum cha experience where you can get a glass of wine and still only spend $35 to $50 ahead." Which, surely, is worth braving the dark for.

Rockpool Bar & Grill

Another killer on our list is Rockpool Bar & Grill. With Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, Rockpool has made a name for itself for its uncompromising selection of premium sourced beef from Australia's best producers.

The wine selection is also outstanding, showcasing a range of different wines from multiple vineyards, featuring large and small producers. The venue offers a luxurious yet relaxed environment where you can savour your meal with wine in hand.

Red Emperor

Red Emperor is traditional Chinese cuisine brought into a modern setting.

This restaurant has been around for more than 23 years, but it has still found a way to remain relevant.

Indulge in your Yum-Cha cravings, which run throughout the day, or settle into a delightful a la carte meal for dinner. The restaurant also features an alfresco terrace that overlooks the Yarra River.

Hopscotch

Hopscotch is Melbourne's favourite urban beer bar.

They're pouring 36 different flavours from the tap (yes, did say 36), an extensive cocktail and wine menu, and the best bar food around. So whether you're pale, stout, dark, lager, Kolsch, wheat… they have them all. 

And if you're overwhelmed with all the choices, tasting paddles are available for you to select four beers that will tickle your fancy.

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Sake Restaurant & Bar

Saké is the modern Japanese restaurant from the Rockpool Dining Group, and it is known for its sake bombs and teriyaki burger balls. It's the second eatery to open in Hamer Hall, and while you may remember us praising neighbouring Trocadero for its lack of a Southbank vibe, we didn't feel like Saké did as good a job of escaping its association with the area's typical tourists.

Designed by the same team responsible for Sydney's Momofuku Seiobo, it's a beautiful balance of polished concrete and red and honey-toned woods, draped in swaths of embroidered kimono fabrics, and partially illuminated by a cherry tree dripping with fairy light blossoms. Whether you're inside or out on the terrace, you'll have a great view of the river. The PR team may have overstated the beauty of the river's milky stretch, but the darkness and city lights do a great job of hiding any flaws.

Chef Rose Ang (formerly of Nobu) brings a lighthearted, ostentatious touch to the Japanese cuisine served at Sake. Instead of using traditional dumpling wrappers, these tender prawns are encased in a nest of rice noodles. Simultaneously, slices of transparent kingfish are enlivened with good rounds of jalapeo pepper, a hefty punch of soy, and yuzu juice, that fragrant, sour Japanese citrous fruit. The sugar-rimmed shots of saké are entertaining, but the delicate fish flavours are overpowered by the crisp tacos stuffed with minced salmon and tuna and napped with fresh tomato salsa.

It's also a good idea to have a drink here. The focus is on the sake and shochu (a spirit made from rice, barley, or sweet potatoes). If you mix them into a Japanese martini and then proceed to down a few of those sake bombs, you can do some serious harm in a short amount of time (beer and a shot). Add some bar food for weight, like salty edamame and crispy karaage fried chicken, and you'll be set.

Unexpectedly, after a month on the job, our waiters still can't give us any more information about the dishes than what's listed on the menu. There needs to be a more capable leader on the dance floor if they are going to charge full price for the sake. However, there are some enjoyable dishes and respectable beverages to be had here. So, it's not a terrible choice if you're on your way to Hamer.

FAQs About Food In Southbank Melbourne

Pure South Dining is a modern, special occasion restaurant in Southbank with iconic views on the Yarra river with a stunning Melbourne CBD backdrop. The cuisine draws inspiration from farmers, fishers and artisan producers of King Island, Flinders Island & Tasmania.

The Merrywell is a Southbank classic. This all American diner-inspired burger joint offers great burgs, shakes, sandwiches, rings, as well as a plethora of other non-burger, inspired things. The vibe downstairs is comfortable and cafe-style, while the upstairs level is transformed into a casual night time bar setting.

The Best Restaurants in Southbank, Melbourne (VIC) 1 Coventry Pantry, P.J.O'Brien's Irish Pub Melbourne , La Camera Southgate, Red Emperor,Rockpool Bar & Grill Melbourne, The Meat & Wine Co Southbank, Criniti's Southbank, Munich Brauhaus South Wharf, Ludlow Bar & Dining Room,Baci More items.

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