Try these new Restaurant Express venues

Photo: Half Acre

If you’re the one always rounding up friends and family to check out your latest restaurant discovery, have we got good news for you. Restaurant Express supported by OpenTable is back in 2019 as part of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, and there’s a whole swag of new restaurants to check out that are offering the $40 lunch deal. That’s right: $40 for two courses and a matched Victorian beer or wine (or soft drink). Not that you needed an excuse to check out a new restaurant in Melbourne, right?

Supernormal Canteen

Have you met Supernormal's younger sister? Located in St Kilda, Supernormal Canteen is a more relaxed and cosy dining experience that’s perfectly suited to its ‘hood. With a smoking yakitori grill taking centre stage, Canteen has a menu packed with exclusive items as well as Supernormal favourites. And yes, the lobster roll has come south-side. Praise be.

Available lunch, Friday and Sunday, 8-24 March

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Iki-Jime is the place to go in Melbourne’s CBD when you’re looking for a dedicated seafood restaurant. By Shannon Bennett’s Vue Group, Iki-Jime is devoted to the highest standards of quality, delivering a highly seasonal menu of sustainable and ethically caught seafood combined with native Australian ingredients and touches of nostalgia.

Available lunch, Tuesday-Saturday, 8-24 March

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Pier Farm

Befitting its location on Hobsons Bay, this breezy restaurant focuses on delivering the best sea-to-plate dining experience. Treating seafood as simply as possible, Pier Farm’s dishes are a mix of Mediterranean and modern Australian. Throw in sunshine, nautical décor and sounds of the Bay and the picture is well and truly complete.

Available lunch, Tuesday-Friday, 8-24 March

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Half Acre

Named after the size of the land it sits on, Half Acre is an all-day bar and eatery in South Melbourne offering a variety of small and large dishes, from wood-fired pizza to vegetables. What unites many of them is that they’re cooked over coals on the restaurant’s fireplace. Settle into the seamless indoor-outdoor design, order a few plates to share with friends and embrace the laidback attitude of Half Acre.

Available lunch, Tuesday-Thursday, 8-24 March

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Asado Bar y Grill

Serving up modern Argentinian staples from the open fire pit and parrilla grill, Asado Bar y Grill doubles-down on the atmosphere by adding a side of flamboyant South American flair. And while beef is naturally front and centre, there’s room on the menu for cuttlefish straight from the grill, Western Plains pork cooked on the asado and high-quality conservas.

Available lunch, Monday-Thursday, 8-24 March

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Asado Bar y Grill

Bang Bang Rifle Club

Set in a park-fronted oasis in the heart of Elsternwick, Bang Bang serves a menu rich with Vietnamese, Thai and Laotian flavours with a big dose of charm. Housed in a red brick building that was once home to Caulfield Rifle Club, Bang Bang brings relaxed South-east Asian dining to the neighbourhood in a refreshing blend of old and new.

Available lunch, 7 days, 8-24 March

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You could struggle to keep your eyes on the prize at this uniquely designed waterfront restaurant. Pilgrim’s indoor-outdoor design, nautical-inspired windows and distinctive wooden beams make the most of its Yarra River location and the views of the Melbourne boat houses. The menu and drinks, meanwhile, shine a light on Australia’s many talented producers and growers. Call it an all-Australian affair.

Available lunch, 7 days, 8-24 March

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Handmade pasta? Tick. Wood-fired oven? You bet. Suckling pig? Naturally. Neil Perry’s elegant Italian diner handles all the cuisine’s benchmark dishes with aplomb as well as adding a few local twists to showcase the best of Australia’s seafood, beef, duck and more. What else would you expect from one of Australia’s most eminent chefs?

Available lunch, Tuesday-Friday, 8-24 March

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Bar Saracen

From the team behind Rumi comes this self-described restaurant ‘of Middle Eastern appearance’. Bar Saracen aims to represent the complexity of the region’s cuisines but isn’t afraid to put a twist on the classics. The borek is stuffed with n’duja, egg and cheese, while the lamb kofte is enhanced by pistachios and served with Turkish cacik. Rock on.

Available lunch, Tuesday-Friday, 8-24 March

Book via phone - 03 8639 0265

Dishes at Bar Saracen

Garden Restaurant

Located at the centre of NGV International, Garden Restaurant offers a tranquil setting for pre-, post- or mid-exhibition refreshments. With huge windows looking on to the Grollo Equiset Garden, the restaurant brings the outdoors in, with a menu featuring ingredients from the kitchen garden handled deftly in dishes like roast duck breast with radicchio and hazelnut, or lemon verbena panna cotta with strawberry and lemon myrtle.

Available lunch, Monday-Friday, 8-24 March

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Gippsland local Jaci Hicken opened Jacican to share her knowledge and passion for cooking. Running classes, private events and, previously, a café, Hicken showcases what’s in season, using produce from her kitchen garden to make preserves, cakes and more. This will be a rare chance to drop into Jacican and taste what it’s all about.

Available lunch, Wednesday-Sunday, 20-24 March

Book via phone - 03 5668 2475

Elichi Restaurant

The latest restaurant from the Babu Ji team, Elichi is bringing inventive Indian cooking to the beachside suburb of Black Rock. Using ingredients unusual to Indian cuisine, like truffles in naan bread or native Australian greens with the tandoori chicken, Elichi puts a fresh new spin on much-loved dishes.

Available lunch, Friday-Sunday, 8-24 March

Book via phone - 03 9589 3241

The Moat

Cosy and quaint, this bar and eatery tucked underneath Melbourne’s State Library is ground-zero for Melbourne’s literary community. Enjoy European-leaning food and a globetrotting selection of wine in the cosy dining room featuring 19th-century bluestone walls or retire to the courtyard below street level. Book-worms will feel right at home.

Available lunch, Monday-Friday, 8-24 March

Book via phone - 03 9094 7820

Alexandra Hotel

Old and new combine in this heritage pub in north-east Victoria, where the team are passionate about telling the story of local producers and creating a memorable dining experience. Think old-world charm infused with fresh style, just two hours from Melbourne.

Available lunch, Thursday-Sunday, 8-24 March

Book via phone - 03 5772 1014

Lello Pasta Bar

If carbs aren’t your thing, look away now. This restaurant lives up to its name, with a menu of handmade gnocchi, ravioli, maccheroni and more. The emphasis is on handmade, every time, and it shows, as the recent inclusion in the Delicious Hot 100 shows. Bellissimo.

Available lunch, Monday-Friday, 8-24 March.

Book now

Pasta at Lello Bar

Steer Dining Room

At Steer Dining Room, steak is serious business. Working with premium beef including Australian wagyu, black angus and Hereford, the team at Steer present all manner of meaty dishes with a subtle Asian influence. Steak not your thing? They’ve got you covered with the likes of steamed snapper, confit pork belly and more.

Available lunch, Wednesday-Friday, 8-24 March

Book via phone - 03 9040 1188

Jason’s Restaurant at Bradford Estate Winery

Headed for the Dandenongs? Make a pitstop at Jason’s Restaurant for modern cuisine which draws on a variety of international influences. Set within three acres of manicured gardens with views of Port Phillip Bay, Jason's outdoor deck is the best seat in the house.  And why not linger a while for a wine tasting at the cellar door?

Available lunch, Wednesday-Sunday, 8-24 March

Book via phone - 03 5944 4710

See the full list of restaurants participating in Restaurant Express supported by OpenTable and get booking now to secure your table.