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Memorable Meals
Melbourne has been a magnet for immigrants from around the world ever since the gold rush of the 1850s, and the city's vibrant restaurant scene clearly reflects this deep-seated ethnic diversity. Value for money is another hallmark of Melbourne dining, and along with the city's fashionable big-ticket restaurants, you'll find plenty of quality cuisine available at surprisingly affordable prices
 The Botanical 
A few years back, The Botanical, a longstanding Melbourne watering hole facing the southern edge of the Royal Botanical Garden, was reborn as a more upscale dining and drinking establishment where former Park Hyatt chef Paul Wilson dishes up seasonal modern brasserie fare. "The Bot," as many locals know it, serves breakfast lunch and dinner in a stylish and contemporary dining room, with two separate bars and a wine shop all under one roof.
Information: The Botanical, +61-3-9820-7888
 Grossi Florentino 
At Grossi Florentino, a grand old Melbourne institution that dates back to the early 1900s, patrons can choose between the ornate upstairs dining room and the somewhat less formal grill room on the ground floor. Either way you'll enjoy scrumptious traditional Italian fare and impeccable service, with a nice selection of Australian and European wines. For a more casual meal, try the affordable cellar bar downstairs.
Information: Grossi Florentino, +61-3-9662-1811
 Vue de Monde 
Rising culinary star Shannon Bennett made waves at the turn of this century when he opened his signature restaurant, Vue de Monde, in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton. Five years later he relocated to Normanby Chambers, a restored 19th-century legal office on Little Collins Street in the central business district, where he continues to dazzle patrons with boldly inventive French fare. Five- to 14-course set menus are tailored for each table.
Information: Vue de Monde, +61-3-9691-3888
Jacques Reymond, a native of Burgundy, presents a tantalizing selection of small-plate dishes at his eponymous restaurant, housed in a converted Victorian mansion in the suburb of Prahran east of Albert Park. The food is fundamentally French, but with unmistakable Asian and Australian influences and an appealing modern flair.
Information: Jacques Reymond, +61-3-9525-2178
Acclaimed chef Teage Ezard's cutting-edge cookery seems right at home in the strictly modern confines of the Adelphi Hotel on Flinders Lane, among the city's more prominent examples of contemporary architecture. The menu at this intimate basement-level dining room makes good use of local produce, meats and seafood, with strong Asian influences from China and Thailand.
Information: Ezard's, +61-3-9639-6811
For a panoramic view overlooking central Melbourne, book a window seat at Cafe La on the 35th floor of the Sofitel Melbourne, which is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The two- and three-course set menus at lunchtime are a particularly good value, or go at twilight to take in the sunset and city lights.
Information: Cafe La, +61-3-9653-7744
 Koko 
Koko, a showy Japanese restaurant on level three of the Crown Towers casino and entertainment complex, offers an equally spectacular view of the Melbourne skyline overlooking the Yarra River at Southbank. The big, theatrical dining room has a koi pond in the middle and a striking interior by renowned restaurant designer Tony Chi. The menu features a broad range of a la carte selections along with a choice of teppanyaki set menus
Information: Koko, +61-3-9292-6886
 Flower Drum 
Some aficionados rank Flower Drum, a perennially popular Cantonese dining room in Melbourne's Chinatown, among the world's truly great Chinese restaurants, and critics routinely rate it as one of Australia's top dining experiences. Book well in advance if you want to judge for yourself, and if you go, encourage your waiter to recommend off-the-menu dishes based on seasonal produce and the freshest local seafood.
Information: , +61-3-9662-3655
 Circa 
Circa, a modern Australian restaurant at the uncompromisingly hip Prince Hotel in St. Kilda, is open all day, but the cozy dining room is at its romantic best in the late afternoon and evening as the lights go on along the waterfront. Chef Andrew McConnell's sophisticated kitchen offers diners a choice of a la carte dishes and seasonal prix fixe tasting menus with optional wine pairing.
Information: Circa, +61-3-9536-1122
Donovan's, another St. Kilda favorite, has a much homier atmosphere, with bay views from a refurbished 1920s-era beach pavilion with an open kitchen and comfy couches set around a big rustic fireplace. The wide-ranging Continental menu emphasizes fresh seafood and contemporary Italian-Mediterranean fare, along with barbecued meats and American-style fried chicken.
Information: Donovan's, +61-3-9534-8221
Sharing the beach with Donovan's, the Stokehouse is another popular St. Kilda restaurant in a repurposed 1920s beach pavilion. The restaurant has a casual and somewhat noisy space on the ground floor, but for a special meal it's best to book a table at the more elegant upstairs dining room, which offers lovely bay views and a well-regarded modern Mediterranean menu.
Information: The Stokehouse, +61-3-9525-5555