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Melbourne - mid range dinner

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I'm trying to figure out a good spot for a Sunday night dinner with two coworkers in Melbourne (we'll be down from Sydney). While we're on a business trip, it isn't really an all out expense account sort of company culture, and we won't have clients - just ourselves and no bosses - so don't want to go all out. However, I've been tasked with finding a "nice" restaurant in Melbourne. I think mains in the $30s would be a comfortable range. There's just 3 of us:

- one woman who I think is generally not very adventurous in eating habits but is impressed by "fancy" places (e.g. before a client lunch at Quay, she said "we're going to one of those places where I can't pronounce anything on the menu...should be great...as long I don't get something too weird")
- one guy who will eat anything and everything, not into fussy
- me, a San Francisco transplant into good food and smart use of quality ingredients and still in sticker shock at Australian restaurant prices

When i was in Melbourne a few months ago, I dined solo at Movida Next Door, and thought most of the food was quitegood but did have a hard time swallowing the price for some of the items. $5 for a croqueta (approx) feels steep when you compare to Spain!

I am struggling to see where to go since so many Melbourne standouts seem to be just degustations, and I don't think that's the way to go for us. Any help would be much appreciated!

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  1. Cumulus.. only problem is you can't book.

    4 Replies
    1. re: kersizm

      Wow - fast response! Thanks. I meant to mention Cumulus looked like a good option, and I was surprised it fit the price based on recs here. Good news, I guess. What is the wait like on Sunday evenings?

      Also - how is the food at the Little Creatures brew pub? Nothing to write home about? I like their beers and so does guy coworker.

      1. re: selectiveomnivore

        Nah, nothing to write home about. The best beer ranges are at Josie Bones, where the food is offal based, and Mrs Parmas, a parma specialist. So probably not suitable.

        If you fancy Asian, then Chin Chin is another sunday possibility.

        1. re: mr_gimlet

          Cookie is mid-priced great thai with a massive beer list!

          1. re: kersizm

            Ooh, good call. Beer DeLuxe in FedSq is a brilliant beer list as well, but I haven't eaten there.

    2. Ilona Staller fits your criteria, if you're willing to travel to Balaclava
      http://www.ilonastaller.com.au

      1. France Soir is a vibey french restaurant in south yarra.

        Mains around $35
        http://www.france-soir.com.au/