For the Foodie
1. Grossi Florentino
Some things never get old, only sharper and more refined. Celeb chef Guy Grossi's flagship Melbourne restaurant, Grossi Florentino is a measure of perfect contrasts. While embracing quintessential Italian hospitality, Florentino exudes adventure, wit and innovation. Start with the antipasti and don't stop 'til you're winding down with the semifreddo. And don't even talk about the wine list, it'll just make you weep. Two hats from The Age Good Food Guide and two stars from the Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide says it all.
80 Bourke Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000
2. Vue de monde
When you've got three hats from The Age Good Food Guide and you sit at number six in the Australian Gourmet Traveller restaurant awards, you'd think there wouldn't be much left to strive for. Not so for Shannon Bennett. Always working to perfect and innovate, Vue de monde's reputation for creative cuisine matches their lofty position on level 55 of the Rialto tower.
Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000
There are few places more aptly named than Andrew McConnell's Asian eating sensation, which goes well beyond the parameters of normal with its hotpot of mouthwateringly divine Chinese, Japanese and Korean morsels. Sake is serious while the cocktails are fun, and the fit-out has just the right amount of neon to be, well, above-average. Even supernormal. It's super popular too, with a hat from the The Age Good Food Guide and star in the Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide.
180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000
4. Chin Chin
This Thai diner has a cool but unfussy vibe. The menu is mostly sharable and you can order wine by the carafe from the 'Wine Guy'. Crispy school prawns and suckling pig pancakes make great lazy afternoon drinking food. The air zings with spices and buzzes with conversation. Look out for fun touches like vintage propaganda posters and a Vietnamese cyclo by the door.
125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000
(Source: Visit Victoria)
• Royal Mail Hotel (www.royalmail.com.au)
• 5 Brae Restaurant, 4285 Cape Otway Rd, Birregurra VIC 3242, Australia (www.braerestaurant.com)
• Brunetti, Myer Melbourne Level, 3/314-336 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia (www.brunetti.com.au)