• Blake Wilde

My Top 5 Melbourne Dinner Date Venues

It's no secret Melbourne is the hospitality heartbeat of Australia. We take our epicurean pleasure seriously, serving it straight up, with a generous dash of frivolity.


All of these venues are intimate, atmospheric, and idyllic settings for us to get know each other as we share a delicious meal. Though, don't forget to save room for dessert...


I have somehow managed to sneak 6 restaurants into my top 5 list. I make no apologies; I simply couldn't help myself!


Cellar Bar & Grossi Florentino


Cellar Bar; a quintessentially Italian bar where 'anything goes'.


Pasta reigns supreme and is accentuated by the warmth of genuine hospitality. Inside, the atmosphere is cosy, electric and vibrant.


When outdoor dining is available, it is relaxed and casual. It is the ideal setting to enjoy an aperol spritz in the sun, before indulging in dish after dish of perfectly executed regional classics.


For a more refined experience, we may head up the stairs to Florentino, where traditional Italian dishes are given a luxurious and contemporary twist.


I recommend the Gran Tour (tasting menu). It is the perfect way to sample the very best of the chef's offerings. Paired with their extensive wine list of lesser known Italian varietals and highlighting local producers, you truly cannot go wrong.


Gimlet at Cavendish House - currently taking bookings for November 5th onwards


European decadence in a heritage listed building; Gimlet is an experience to be remembered. Their offerings are both considered and varied, with an À La Carte and seasonal tasting menu available.


While the tasting menu is exceptional, it's the À La Carte dishes that speak to my soul.


Featuring the very best of the seasons vegetables, meats and seafood straight from the wood fired grill, it is simplicity at its most sophisticated. We may even opt for their caviar service as an elegant way to begin our evening of celebration.


For the lover of a tipple, Gimlet's Chicago style bar provides a selection of expertly crafted classic cocktails, in addition to their original creations.


It is all tied together with the seamless service that has become synonymous with Andrew McConell's establishments. A little slice of luxury, simply waiting for us to enjoy it.


Bar Lourinhã


Bar Lourinhã has been serving Melbourne tapas and good times for the last 15 years, and shows no signs of slowing down.


Gently casting the soft glow of its interior onto Little Collins Street, it is a venue that oozes Mediterranean warmth and generosity. Striking the perfect balance between relaxed and lively, Bar Lourinhã buzzes with the hum of jovial diners and welcoming waitstaff.


The menu flows from small tapas, larger raciones, into cheeses and culminating with a handful of dolce (sweets).


The wine list is thoughtfully curated, with a selection that is predominantly Spanish, also featuring Italian, French and local varietals for us to explore together.


Kisumé - currently taking bookings for November 5th onwards


Kisumé offers refined Japanese tailored to a Melbourne palette, in order to showcase the best quality local, seasonal produce.


Its interior is sleek and minimal, providing the perfect setting to allow the dishes to speak for themselves. Their tasting menu is exemplary, ranging from classic sashimi and nigiri plates to top grade wagyu. I highly recommend we select the winter truffle addition when available.


Consistently delivering on all levels, Kisumé is a firm favourite of both myself and my delectable duo partner Victoria Montague's. Hint hint.


Ready to whet your appetite? Get in touch to arrange our dinner date.