“Their tom yum soup is really good and I usually get the fresh fish ceviche – it has lovely bright flavors that really wake up your palate before a meal. They also have a wide range of noodles which are perfect for lunch.
Recommended by: Alejandro Saravia, Daughters of Farmers
When Saravia and her team end a long day, they head to Lonsdale Street for some late-night Chinese at Ling Nan.
Open until 2.30am on Saturdays, this is where you’ll find Melbourne’s hungriest hospital workers.
“We arrive around 11:30 p.m. or midnight for supper,” says Saravia. “We often end up setting tables with other hospitality professionals who eat there.”
Ling Nan’s signature dish is XO pippies, but Saravia is also prone to marinated duck tongue and crispy Chinese donuts.
“They have seafood tanks, so you can choose lobster, crab or fresh fish,” he says. “It’s great flavors with honest service.”
The Carlton Wine Room
Recommended by: Stuart McVeigh, Longrain, Chancery Lane and Matilda
When he’s not on “dad” or “chef” duty, McVeigh takes his wife to the Carlton Wine Room for a guaranteed good time.
“I would eat there every day of the week if I could,” he says. “It’s relaxed, unpretentious, delicious and full of flavor and you can graze or go as big as you want.”
He lists tripe, Roman style, as one of his most memorable dishes, but more recently stracciatella with marinated mushrooms, chive oil and potato focaccia has influenced his palette.
“It was just outstanding – it’s a great product and well executed,” he says. “The bread was fantastic and it has the perfect amount of acid. They also have great wines by the glass, so I’ll chat with the staff and find out what they recommend.
Recommended by: Kar Loong Yee, Silks Melbourne
When the last customers have left Silks for the night, this head chef and his colleagues will settle down in the Longsong bar for a well-deserved nightcap.
“They only use charcoal in their cooking, which takes me back to my childhood in Malaysia, where my parents always used charcoal for cooking,” says Yee.
“I like simple foods, so I order the crispy chicken wings, which go very well with a beer.
Di Stasio Citta
Recommended by: Ian Curley, Kirk’s Wine Bar
When you have a busy bar to manage and a busy family life, an evening cannot be left to chance. That’s why Ian Curley continues to book Di Stasio, 20 years after he met his now wife, Simone Bamford, on a blind date there.
“Now that they’ve opened their branch in Citta, it’s bigger, better, brighter. It’s very romantic for us,” he said.
With classics like the incredibly well-prepared lasagna and bolognese, Curley is only too happy to sit down and enjoy the excellent service.
“They are ‘career hospos’ here, so you can rest assured that if they recommend a glass of wine, that’s the way to go.”
Head to the city for Melbourne’s most iconic eateries, from backstreet eateries and gourmet pop-ups, to rooftop bars and street markets. To visit whatson.melbourne.vic.gov.au or follow @whatsonmelb on instagram and Facebook.