When it comes to wining and dining your significant other, Melbourne presents no shortage of options for the lovestruck. Beautiful spaces, mood-setting ambience and breathtaking views get things off to a perfect start, before the dishes even begin to arrive. Next time you’re planning a date night to remember, consider our picks for the most romantic restaurants in Melbourne – these amorous spots are guaranteed to get you in the mood.
Many a wearied office worker making the 5pm trundle to Parliament Station has peered longingly into the warm glow of Bar Lourinha. Here, couples share both conversation and plates of tapas, alternating murmurs and laughter with bottarga butter-drenched mussels and zucchini flower fritters. Intimate, buzzy and decorated with all sorts of conversation-starting bric-a-brac, it’s the perfect place for both a first date or milestone anniversary.
37 Little Collins St, Melbourne
Impress your date by taking things to the next level – the 89th level to be exact – with a degustation on top of the Eureka Tower. Devour butter poached prawns and some of Victoria’s best regional wines, whilst soaking up the sunset and dramatic 360˚ views. There’s a reason this restaurant is high territory for anniversaries and proposals.
Level 89, Eureka Tower, 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank
Cosy and casual yet effortlessly sophisticated, a reservation at Osteria Ilaria instantly signals good taste and serious intentions. Modern Italian plates like paccheri pasta with crystal bay prawns and sorrel and rhubarb semifreddo with rye and coffee will have you sighing with pleasure, while their list of ace European wines will buy you more date time after the last dish is cleared.
367 Little Bourke St, Melbourne
Whether you choose to sink into a booth, cosy up at the bar or settle by the fireplace, Neptune is full of mood-setting vibes. From the warm lights and dark woods to the lush pan-Euro eats: think whipped roe and bottarga scooped with squid ink crackers and twirls of spanner crab linguine, plus Negronis on tap to really get the conversation flowing.
212 High St, Windsor
Romantic by name, romantic by nature. Deep red leather booths, heart-shaped tables, low lights and natural wines set the scene – they’ve got the formula for date night down pat. Better yet, they serve Napoli-style pizzas and snacks until 4am on Fridays and Saturdays, so you can keep your lover’s company deep into the night.
52/54 Lygon St, Brunswick East
Epocha may physically be within the walls of a cosy 1800s Victorian terrace, but its spirit is far away in the regions of rural France. Start with a glass of sparkling before locking eyes over confit duck with caramelised fennel grapes and strawberry mille-feuille. The intimate, homey feel of the restaurant lends itself to easygoing romance, and the antiques-filled Hannah’s Bar is just upstairs.
49 Rathdowne St, Carlton
Inspired by the glamorous mid-century brasseries of New York, this upscale restaurant oozes old-school romance. Flowers, white tablecloths, gold chandeliers and live jazz set the mood for luxurious dining: think spanner crab crumpets, caviar service and côte de boeuf, while expert bar staff mix classic cocktails and pour precious European wines.
45 Collins St, Melbourne
Bond over a shared love of good food and wine at this classy Fitzroy French bistro. While the fitout may be modern, the menu is full of classics like chicken liver parfait and mussels marinères. End the meal on a sweet note with crème brûlée and head to nearby Smith St for drinks. Unlike the name suggests, Hell of the North will take you straight to seventh heaven.
135 Greeves St, Fitzroy
Whether it’s dinner out on the terrace with sweeping ocean vistas, or a cosy drink nestled beside the fireplace, Donovan’s delivers romance via comfort, and has been doing so for over 20 years. There’s even a section on the menu called “dishes for two”, which includes a showstopping slow-roasted lamb shoulder with creamy polenta, cipiollini onions, baby carrots, tomatoes and herbed yoghurt.
40 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda
Hidden down a laneway and under street level, you and your date will feel stowed away from the rest of the world. Dark wood, dim lights and a smart split layout afford a layer of privacy, while the modern European and Asian menu is full of bright and fresh flavours. Begin with the classic aphrodisiac of oysters shucked to order, dressed in soy mirin and ginger.
141 Flinders Ln, Melbourne