10 Best Date Places in Melbourne


Whether it’s your 1 year anniversary, a first date or a tinder meet-up, we’ve compiled a list of Melbourne’s top 10 ‘date-worthy’ restaurants (in no particular order) for a night that’s guaranteed to be a success! You can thank us later.

 

ZHOU ZHOU BAR

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Located above a yum cha and tea specialist, Zhou Zhou bar is Oriental Tea House’s cooler older brother. Described as Oriental’s ‘drinking den’, the upstairs lounge is everything a bar should be; intimate, welcoming and host to an impressive beer list (with over 50 craft ales). With a relaxed ambience, a steady stream of live music, and a dumpling-heavy offering of ‘bar-snacks’, Zhou Zhou bar is perfect for a quick pre-dinner drink, or a night of fun, laughter and Japanese whiskey.

SELLING POINT: Get to know someone over beer and dumplings among a live DJ, in a small, yet stylish, modern bar.
BOOKINGS RECOMMENDED: No.
PH: 9826 0769
455 Chapel St South Yarra VIC 3141

 

MR MIYAGI

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Not to be confused with Daniel LaRusso’s skilled martial arts mentor, Mr. Miyagi is Windsor’s answer to modern Japanese dining. There’s a reason the restaurant has, on average, a one-hour wait time for a table on any given night (and it’s not just because of the fish tacos). This place is cool. From the funky, yet stylish, design to the vibrant atmosphere, from their take on traditional Japanese food to their cocktail selections and frosé’s, Mr.Miyagi is well worth any wait time. On the upside? Customers are offered a seat at the bar while they wait, so there’s no hanging around outside – or desperately looking for a place to kill time- while you wait for a call. Tucked away at the back of the restaurant, it gives you the perfect opportunity to talk to your date over a drink or two, in a quieter, more intimate space.

SELLING POINT: While the restaurant itself gets quite busy and crowded, aside from a few spots along the bar, most of the seating is not communal, ensuring a still relatively intimate night. Mr. Miyagi also wins points for a fun atmosphere, lively music and modern menu of share plates and drinks. Mr. M says #bringadate.

BOOKINGS RECOMMENDED: Mr.Miyagi sadly does not take bookings for parties under 6 persons. Hot tip? Get in before 7pm.

PH: 9529 5999
99 Chapel Street Windsor VIC 3181

 

 SAIGON SALLY

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It’s Hannoi Hannah’s “slightly more mature yet promiscuous older sister”and it’s amazing. From the team behind Hannah and the equally popular, Tokyo Tina, comes Saigon Sally, a hidden gem, tucked away next to a laneway of hanging sneakers (they’ve probably popped up on your Instagram feed at some point) and colourful graffiti. The wait staff are friendly, charismatic and know the menu well. The dishes are fresh, flavoursome and perfect for sharing; think kingfish ceviche on a betel leaf, rare wagyu strips with pomegranate or the grilled quail served with sticky rice and lemongrass. The atmosphere is fun, yet classy, daring, yet sophisticated. And, while the restaurant does get busy, wait times often aren’t too long, with an option to wait at the bar. The only downside? There is no downside.

 SELLING POINT: Tucked away in a laneway off Chapel Street, leave Windsor behind for the night, as you and your date explore the flavours of Vietnam.
BOOKINGS RECOMMENDED: Yes.
PH:9533 2342
2 Duke Street Windsor VIC 3181

 

LE BON TON

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A restaurant, cocktail bar and absinthe saloon all rolled into one, Le Bon Ton is all about celebrating the good times. And who better to do that with than a significant – or potentially significant- other! Located in Collingwood, Le Bon Ton specialises in US-style grills, bringing the flavours of New Orleans to Melbourne. On Friday and Saturday nights the venue is bustling with customers, with the oyster and champagne room a date-night favourite among patrons, and the casual dining space channelling serious American pub-style vibes. The best way to sum it up? Casual fine dining. The food is traditional American BBQ offerings;  think pit-smoked meats, classic American cheeseburgers, freshly shucked oysters and sides of chilli cheese fries and mozzarella sticks. There is a large list of drought beers and ciders available, keeping in tune with the overall vibe of Le Bon Ton, and an even more extensive list of cocktails, for those with a sweeter taste. Inspiration for their dishes comes from multiple regions of the American South, from New Mexico to Alabama. However don’t let the menu confuse you into thinking this is the place to go for a cheap, fast-food date. Le Bon Ton is anything but.

  SELLING POINT: A classy American style pub with a beer menu to match, a courtyard, and relaxed ambience that will have you and your date reminiscing your evening for weeks after.
BOOKINGS RECOMMENDED: No.
PH: 9476 4341
51 Gipps Street Collingwood VIC 3066

 

 ICHI NI

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Ichi Ni can be summed up in one word; lively. With stunning bay views, an assortment of colourful share plates and sake jugs, it’s hard not to love this St.Kilda restaurant. It’s modern dining, but with a traditional twist (which is evident in both the design, and the dishes. Think tuna tataki; lightly seared tuna with soy, yuzu and shallot dressing on shreeded daikon or tofu croquettes, fried tofu and parmesan cheese croquettes served with pineapple sauce). Dining options range from stylish booths to sitting at the open kitchen and sushi bar, where dinner comes with a side of entertainment, as you watch the chefs in action.  Bar seats for two, please!

SELLING POINT: Bayside views as you enjoy a candlelight dinner. What could be more romantic?
BOOKINGS RECOMMENDED: Unfortuantely, Ichi Ni does not take bookings. Instead, it’s recommended you and your date get in early!
PH: 9534 1212
12 The Esplanade St Kilda VIC 3182

 

BOTHERAMBO

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Right in the midst of Richmond’s Swan Street’s competitive, 24/7 action, Botherambo is a force to be reckoned with. Whilst not the first of its kind – South East Asian food is definitely not unheard of in this animated suburb- it is unlike any other. Exposed brick walls, hanging plants, a neon tiger greeting you upon entry, and the hustle and bustle of this in-demand restaurant all lend to the feeling you’ve just stepped into a jungle of sorts; you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve left Richmond behind entirely. Queues are inevitable, especially during peak times, however customers are invited to pass the time in Botherambo’s vibrant holding bar, where conversation flows over cocktails of pineapple rum and lychee or classic Thai beers. The flavoursome Thai-Viet menu is built around sharing, with a ‘feed me’ option available for the indecisive, perfect for newcomers who wish to sample as many dishes as possible, or, even more so, for an intimate dinner between two. Menu standouts include the cured hirmaska kingfish, with nouc cham, radish, young coconut and herbs, the fried squid with swipes of Kewpie and chilli sauce and the red duck curry, with snake bean, sweet potato, green peppercorns and chilli, for those with a larger appetite.

SELLING POINT: Linger over dinner and drinks rather than eat and run at this unique yet elegant Richmond eatery.
BOOKINGS RECOMMENDED: No.
PH: 9428 9730
65 Swan Street Richmond VIC 3121

 

 FONDA

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‘Fonda’ in Mexico, refers to a local house with an open kitchen, and that is exactly the vision the team behind the Melbourne restaurants have brought to life. Founded in 2011, Fonda is warm, friendly, welcoming and bursting with energy. The perfect first date place, any nerves will disappear the moment you step into this lively, casual, Mexican restaurant. It’s motto? Good food served quickly. And boy, do they deliver. Think Mexican street food but with an elegant twist; all food is fresh and made from scratch, in-house, daily. Market fish tacos can be enjoyed with a pale ale, a grilled chicken quesadilla with a frozen watermelon margarita or classic tortilla crisps can be shared over a cheeky vino. With locations all over Melbourne – including Collingwood, chadstone, knox, hawthorn and flinders lane- there’s sure to be one close to either you or your date, so there’s no excuse not to go!    

 SELLING POINT: Fonda rooftops! Fonda’s Chapel Street addition, Fonda Windsor, comes with a rooftop and all and what’s better yet, is not everyone seems to have clued onto the fact yet. And If there’s one thing Melbournians love without a doubt, it’s rooftops. Besides the picturesque views it boasts, the relaxed yet lively atmosphere is its major selling point. With it’s own bar and table service, what better way to impress your date than with a visit to one of Chapel Street’s most eligible rooftops?
BOOKINGS RECOMMENDED: No.
Multiple locations across Melbourne.
www.fondamexican.com.au

 

 CORTE

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An Argentinian restaurant located in the heart of Port Melbourne, Corte is seriously underrated. While nestled among the midst of Bay Street’s action, the converted former-church remains relatively hidden thanks to a garden courtyard that creates a more intimate atmosphere. Dinner is had under soft candlelight- think grilled baby pink snapper, served with spicy pepper sauce, smoked chicken terrine with braised leeks and aerated chocolate pudding for dessert, served with sweet berries and vanilla cream- while an impressive drinks menu, of classic South American tequilas and rums, will have you calling for second rounds and leave you tempted to stay all night. The interior is designed to make you feel warm and cozy, the staff are friendly and attentive and live music plays in the background all night. What are you waiting for?

 SELLING POINT: Live music, garden courtyard, sangria and fresh Argentinian food- need I say more?
BOOKINGS RECOMMENDED: No.
PH: 9649 7697
115 Bay Street Port Melbourne  VIC 3207

 

TRUE SOUTH

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Another Argentinian restaurant, True South specialises in handcrafted beer and modern Argentinian food with Italian and Spanish influences. Located in Black Rock, watch the sun set over the beach as you dine on ‘las raciones’ (or bigger tapas, to share) such as the ceviche de salmon, marinated atlantic salmon with mango and sweet corn or the pescado frito en abodo, Argentinian marinated flathead tails with avocado and tomato, paired with True South’s signature cider on house-made beers. Formerly a mechanic’s garage, you would never guess the restaurants humbling beginnings; the service is fast and the wait staff are knowledgeable, while the restaurant itself is vibrant and inviting.  For those with dietary requirements, gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options are also available, to ensure nobody misses out. Modern and elegant, True South is adored by locals.

 SELLING POINT: Fresh, Argentinian inspired cuisine followed by a romantic evening walk on the beach. It’s like a scene straight out of a movie! Or a line from a tinder bio.
BOOKINGS RECOMMENDED: Yes.
PH: 9589 3194
298 Beach Road Black Rock VIC 3193.

 

 

BOMBA

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A Spanish tapas and restaurant bar in the heart of Melbourne? It’s almost impossible not to have a good time. Home to one of Melbourne’s most enviable rooftop bars, it’s easy to see why, since opening it’s doors in 2017, Bomba has been a crowd favourite. Enjoy a local tap beer, while you and your date take in the stunning views of Melbourne’s CBD on a warm Summer’s night, perfect for a pre, or post-dinner drink, or this weeks ‘Sunday session’.  Bookings are recommended if you don’t want to wait for a table – although this provides the perfect excuse to head upstairs to the bar- and the menu proudly displays many authentic Spanish dishes, such as a castlan arooz paella, a tapas menu of cheesy manchego croquettes and sizzling grilled octopus, and montaditos (tapas-sized rolls of bread) of chargrilled eggplant with sheep’s milk labneh. The space is light-filled and modern, cozy and warm and the wine list is predominately Spanish. Want a holiday with your S/O but are strapped for cash? Escape to Spain for the night at this funky Spanish workers bar!

SELLING POINT: With a rooftop upstairs, take in the sights of Melbourne, with a drink in one hand, and a date in the other.
BOOKINGS RECOMMENDED: Yes.
PH: 9077 0451
703 Lonsdale Street Melbourne VIC 3000

 

 Words by: Natalee Erceg.


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