Melbourne Food and Wine Festival: Restaurant Express – Luxe for Less

Summer may have left us but there are plenty of things to look forward to in autumn like the footy, the leaves turning amber hued and the much-anticipated Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. The Restaurant Express is just one of the hundreds of festival events that you can choose from.
For the uninitiated, Restaurant Express allows you to experience some of the best restaurants in Melbourne for only $40. Enjoy a two-course lunch menu, a glass of Victorian wine and a tea or coffee for just two ‘salmons’!

Here are just some of the city restaurants that are participating, make sure you check their site for all participating restaurants:

Taxi Kitchen – This is Taxi in Federation Square, but not as you know it. Highly labour-intensive dishes are out and hearty and rustic Asian fusion dishes are in.

Taxi Kitchen

Taxi Kitchen

The Atlantic – Prides itself on itself on its ‘ocean to plate’ philosophy by buying their sustainable seafood from the best local producers.
Fatto Bar & Cantina – This casual, rustic approach to Italian dining sits well amongst some of the best views of Melbourne, along the Yarra river.
San Telmo – Argentinians know their meat and this is one of the best places to experience meat cooked parilla-style. Don’t hold back on the chimmichurri!
Grossi Florentino Grill – Part of the ‘triad’ of iconic Italian restaurants run by the Grossi family, the Grill pares down the formality of the Dining room upstairs for simple Italian food served with flair.
Grossi Florentino Grill

Grossi Florentino Grill

Hare & Grace – Renowned Australian chef, Raymond Capaldi was one of the first to bring molecular gastronomy to the Melbourne food scene. Find European classics done in a ‘traderne’ style (a fusion of traditional and modern approaches).
Mamasita – this popular Mexican restaurant has a line of people permanently outside its doors because of its authentic tacos and no-bookings policy*. Jump the queue with Restaurant Express and make a booking to sample their cuisine.
No 35 – 35 floors up in Hotel Sofitel, experience some of the best panoramas of Melbourne and their modern Australian cuisine. Make sure you visit the toilets on your visit – for a loo with a view!
Pei Modern – Sydneysider chef, Mark Best takes traditional Italian and French gastronomic heavyweight classics and gives these dishes a lighter and toned-down approach. ‘Bistronomy’ has arrived in Melbourne!
Nobu – well-known for its association with actor, Robert De Niro (co-founder), Nobu doesn’t need to trade on celebrity due to its consistently innovative approach to Japanese cuisine.


The Restaurant Express runs until 16 March, click here to see what else the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival has to offer.  What’s your favourite city restaurant and why?
*Mamasita has recently changed its policy and now takes lunch bookings from Mondays to Fridays only.