Melbourne’s Best Valentine’s Day Restaurants 2017.

10 Feb Melbourne’s Best Valentine’s Day Restaurants 2017.

Valentine’s Day. What’s Grub Got To Do With It? Everything.


Valentine’s Day is coming in hot and we know you need some tips on what Melbourne restaurants to celebrate the special day at. Together with eight of Melbourne’s best chefs, we’re listing their picks for the best Valentine’s Day venues in Melbourne. And we’ve got something for every type of couple. Feeling lux? Need to say sorry? Or straight to the bar? No matter what type of couple you are, Hood Food Guide has got you.

Read on below for our suggestions for the best restaurants in Melbourne to spend your Valentine’s Day.


1. Feeling Extra Lux? Be Andrew McConnell + Jesse Gerner and roll to MINIMISHIMA.

Andrew McConnell:  “It’s perfect for dinner for two. It’s best to sit up at the bar so you can see Chef Koichi Minamishima in action – he’s mesmerising to watch. His beautifully understated Japanese restaurant serves the best sushi in Melbourne.”

Jesse Gerner: You’ve got 25 years of sushi skills right in front of you as you eat. You’ve gotta sit at the bar and watch these guys cut fish up, it’s pretty next level. Seeing aged tuna belly that’s a nine score wagyu is crazy. You’d definitely impress me if you took me here on Valentine’s Day.”

THE DISH: Sit up at the bar and order the 15 course Omakase menu. Every dish in the 15 are the go-to.

Just the Tip: It’s out in Richmond so don’t drive – get public transport (trams roll straight down Bridge Rd) or jump in an Uber.



Minimishima Instagram (no profile though)

4 Lord St, Richmond VIC 3121

(03) 9429 5180

2. You’re in the dog house? Do FLOWER DRUM like Guy Grossi.

Guy Grossi: “You can impress your guest and spoil them with culinary delicacies. The atmosphere and plates the Flower Drum team deliver make every occasion feel like a special one, especially on Valentine’s Day.”

THE DISH: “Anything will satisfy, but don’t skip the duck.”

Just the Tip: It’s smack bang in the middle of the CBD, so hit up a bar close by to loosen up a little before. Romeo Lane is a nice feel and the cocktails look great. Afterwards, roll across the road on Bourke Street to the new rooftop bar, Good Heavens, or make your way over to Madame Brussels on Collins Street.


Flower Drum

Flower Drum Instagram

17 Market Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000

(03) 9662 3655

3. Serious food, not-so-serious vibe? Be like Karen Batson and do BAR LIBERTY.

Karen Batson: Bar Liberty’s a great place to perch up at the bar with someone on Valentine’s Day. Slowly graze your way through the menu and let the staff guide you to match the food with beer or wine. When the sun goes down the bar gets much dimmer and more seductive, an important transition to make whenever there’s booze involved.”

THE DISH: Salt & Pepper Vegetables.

Just the Tip: Make a booking ASAP for their Valentine’s Day special: Seven shared dishes + Glass of Sparkling for $75 pp. You’re on Johnston St with trams on both Brunswick and Smith Streets, so use them or Uber – don’t drive. Bar Liberty is the kind of place you want to stay at, so if you’re a venue-hopper, start somewhere else close by for one before making your way to Casey, Manu, Michael and Banjo’s place. We suggest Bad Frankie if you want to support Aussie spirits and classic venues, Rum Diary or Black Pearl.

Bar Liberty is Melbourne's best date spot by Karen Batson For Hood Food Guide's What's Good Wednesday

Bar Liberty  

Bar Liberty Instagram

234 Johnston Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065

4. You’re loved up, fool. Treat them to ESP – Estelle by Scott Pickett, just like Jason Lui would.

Jason Lui: “A beautiful room, very intimate, standout food and top quality service. A great place to enjoy each other’s company and forget everyone else. Scotty really knows what he’s doing. What else do you need on Valentine’s Day?” 

THE DISH: “The Truffle Risotto is outstanding.”

Just the Tip: Get off your god damn phone at the dinner table. ESP is pretty nice, so a nice balance up for the evening after dinner and a glass would be to roll a few doors up to Joe’s Shoe Store. It’s close to the best bar vibe you’ll find in Melbourne on Valentine’s Day. Go get lost in a booth in the corner.


ESP – Estelle, by Scott Pickett

ESP Instagram

245 High St, Northcote VIC 3070

(03) 9489 4609

5. Straight to the bar? Take Daniel Wilson’s advice and go to JOE TAYLOR BAR.

Daniel Wilson: “Their range of spirits is insane, the bartenders are great, and they’re open ‘til 1am every night of the week. When the drinks are this good, Valentine’s Day is always better.”

THE DRINK: “Negroni – served with one big block of ice. For a nibble, have a taste of the Duck Liver Parfait or any Cheese off the small menu.”

Just the Tip: You’re in North Melbourne. If making your way back to the city together, go through Flagstaff Gardens for a nice break from the concrete jungle. If you’re staying in North Melbourne, you’ve got Auction Rooms for breakfast, too.


Joe Taylor Bar

Joe Taylor Instagram

6. For the Fine Felines: THE ESTELLE BISTRO in Northcote like Jesse Gerner

Jesse Gerner: Whether you’re dining inside amongst the dark wood paneling, brass fixtures and sultry vibes, or out back in garden with plenty of natural lighting and white linen cloths on the tables, you’re bound to get a great dining experience. 

THE DISH: For Valentine’s Day, the Estelle will start you off with a glass of Laurent Perrier champagne then ply you with a five course chef’s tasting menu, all for the sophisticated price of $120 pp.

Just the Tip: Sitting at the bar at any great restaurant is the secret, even on a date. Although if you want to drown in the eyes of the bird-of-prey across from you, there are plenty of tables for two. And is The Estelle breaking the bank? Pay for the reservation in advance so when you’re ordering cocktails, martinis and bottles of Dom (then returning it), it doesn’t hurt as much.

Estelle Bistro is Jesse Gerner's best Valentine's Day Restaurant in Melbourne for Hood Food Guide

The Estelle

The Estelle Instagram

342 High Street, Northcote, VIC 3070

03 9489 4609

7. You want to see how the other half dine. Do EMBLA, like Matt Lane.

Matt Lane: “Wines you don’t find in many other places and a sublime selection of small plates. There are no rules to follow. You can come in, have a drink, add a snack or create a whole meal.”

THE DISH: Half Roast Chicken, if you can make it past the wine list.

Just The Tip: Take your time here – we wouldn’t make too many plans afterwards.



Embla Instagram

122 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000

(03) 9654 5923

8. You love the finer things in life. Do OTER like Scott Pickett.

Scott Pickett: Flo Gerardin aka ‘Chef on Fire’ presents a wonderful balance of casual French bistronomy with a Japanese twist. There’s an open kitchen with a couple tables creating a fun, buzzing atmosphere – that’s Valentine’s Day. It’s almost like a French teppanyaki bar.”

THE DISH: Go anything Offal.

Just The Tip: Make a reservation. Now. And you’re on Flinders Lane – roll through to Go Go Bar beneath Chin Chin Restaurant – it’s the vibe you want after dining at Oter.

Oter is Melbourne's Best Valentine's Day venue according to Scott Pickett for Hood Food Guide


Oter Instagram

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