The revival of tapas style dining over the last few years has cemented Melbourne’s obsession with small plate dining. Sharing is caring after all, and patrons have finally realised the fun and variety that Europeans and Asians have known for years. Here are the top 10 places in Melbourne for tapas style dining :
1. Movida Chain ( Movida Bar de Tapas, Movida Next Door, Movida Aqui )
Melbourne’s darling tapas chain – owner Frank Camorra has translated Spanish cuisine for the Melbournian crowds for the last 10 years. The success of the original Movida has led to the opening of ‘ Movida Aqui’ and the more casual ‘ Movida Next Door’. Dishes are plated to perfection and I can’t count the number of memorable dishes I have tasted at this alleyway icon. Choose from individual tapa or larger raciones plates.
Stand out dish: Air-dried Wagyu w/ Poached Organic Egg and Truffle Foam (AMAZINGG)
2. San Telmo
Argentinian Parilla grill is star of the show at San Telmo. The Latin American inspired menu is heavily centred on meat, with a few curveballs such as Peruvian ceviche and a selection of tasty side dishes. All steak dishes arrive with a serving of chimichurri and salsa – a perfect acidic accompaniment.
Stand out dish : Hanger Steak w/ Chimichurri
3. Cumulus Inc
A Flinders Lane staple, Cumulus Inc with its minimal decor, buzzing atmosphere and open kitchen dining is an enjoyable premise to dine. Andrew McConnell – the man behind Cumulus Inc is the same Chef behind the equally successful Cutler & Co and Golden Fields. (No Bookings)
Stand Out Dish: Wagyu Bresaola w/ Terragon
Despite having been opened for so long, queues still stretch out the door at this Mexican eatery. Word of advice, arrive early for a more pleasant experience, otherwise expect a 1-2 hour queue. Dishes are centred on zesty, fresh, bold flavours, that so many of us have come to love about Mexican cuisine. (No Bookings)
Stand Out Dish: Street Style Chargrilled Corn w/ quesa, chipotle mayo & lime
Replacing ‘ The Aylesbury’, Bomba is a recently opened tapas bar, hustling and bustling with inner city crowds. The rooftop bar with a glittering view of Melbourne’s skyscrapers is sublime on a summer evening. Coupled with the delicious spanish rooted menu, this surely is an inner city heaven.
Stand Out Dish: Chocolate Croquettes in Vanilla custard
6. Bohemian Bar & Restaurant
Walking along the Yarra at night is admittedly romantic. Southwharf is one of those unfortunate beautiful areas of Melbourne that is quieter than deserved. The Bohemian is an underrated restaurant serving a range of Spanish influenced tapas. I have a soft spot for anything Potato, but the Potato Cubes with soft poached gooey quail egg and scattered truffle was a definitive winner.
Stand Out Dish: Potato Cubes w/ Quail egg, Truffle & Parmesan
7. Portello Rosso
Portello Rosso, like all famous Melbourne institutions, is tucked within a laneway. The Chef’s selection is a great option if you are overwhelmed with the choices of tapas. It was also great value for money, receiving 8 dishes at $45 per head.
Stand Out Dish: Mussels w/ Green, Red Chillies and Tomato
8. Bar Lourinha
A cosy little tapas bar tucked behind Collins St, Bar Lourinha is the perfect destination for intimate dining and complex cocktails. The menu is constantly changing with a multitude of European influences. Great place for a date ; )
Stand Out Dish: Braised Suckling Goat w/ Roast Potato
9. The Moat
The Moat is hidden within the corner basement of the State Library and Wheeler Center. Cosy and elegant, the underground feeling creates an intimate setting for Mediterranean influenced tapas with the calm tranquility of its classical library inspired decor. Dishes are beautifully plated.
Stand Out Dish: Mojito cured ocean trout w/ red soft poached egg, finger lime caviar and Valencia orange jelly
10. Dig- A- Pony
Surprise West-side entrant, Dig- A- Pony has food worthy to contend with its CBD competitors. Housed within a beautiful old Yarraville hotel, dishes were detail oriented and flavoursome.
Stand Out Dish: Blue Swimmer Crab w/ Avocado salsa on Toasted Corn Bread
Notable mentions: Syracuse (CBD), Money Order Office (CBD), Naked for Satan (Fitzroy), Henry & The Fox (CBD), Terra Rossa Restaurant Bar (CBD), El Burro (Williamstown)
* Note: This list excludes Asian style Tapas (List coming soon!)
Do you agree with this list or have other suggestions ? Comment below : )