The Starting Five of 2013

Call it what you want, the best, the most impressive, the most highly rated. I’m a big basketball fan, so I’ll just call these my ‘starting five’.

The value equation is important to me, and is why you don’t see heavy hitters such as Attica on this list as it can be unreasonable to dine there even more than once a year.  Ultimately, to me, these are the five places I’d take somebody from out of town, so if you’ve yet to try these spots, take some notes, because you’re about to get schooled.

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Bowery to Williamsburg

Philly Cheesesteak, fried chicken sandwiches, pulled pork po’ boys, and we haven’t even gotten past their ever rotating list of daily specials.  Bowery to Williamsburg serves up an amazing take on American food that is all too often thought of as just fried chicken and McDonalds. Instead, Bowery gives you lox bagels filled with smoked salmon and beetroot salsa, Melbourne’s best Reuben sandwich, peanut butter hot chocolates, Mexican Colas, and did I mention they do mac and cheese as a side dish? 

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Tuck Shop Takeaway

Old school food, done in a new school fashion. Just like how you remember the burger and chips at your school tuck shop being “like the best thing ever”, Tuck Shop Takeaway blows away all preconceptions of what you think an amazing burger is nowadays and then some.  Presenting probably my favrouite burger of Melbourne, Tuck Shop Takeaway is a must-visit for some old-school feels.

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Hell of the North

The only restaurant on the list that’s catered exclusively to dinner and drinks, Hell of the North presents an interesting European inspired menu that’s designed to be shared that could be easily labelled with a higher asking price. But where it somehow shines even brighter is in its service and atmosphere; with its impressive interior lighting, stone plates and impeccable food presentation, it’s definitely a place for impressing a date.  Dark, mysterious, and hidden by a big yellow door, if this is what dining in hell is like, then I’m all for it.

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Rockwell & Sons

So there might be a bit of a trend going on here…burgers, American food…well regardless of this, Rockwell & Sons delivers on both fronts, delivering a Double Pattie Smash burger that’s an amazing rendition of the classic Big Mac, organic fried chicken on Wednesdays (make sure you book!), whole soft shell crab sandwiches (what Americans typically call burgers), rib sandwiches, and an amazing breakfast menu. Along with a relaxed atmosphere, it’s perfect for a night with a group of friends, or a casual drink that turns into some serious eats.

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Saint Crispin

The hype is real, Saint Crispin is a serious winner in the fine dining category. Sharp service, intimate atmosphere, and a menu that is both creative and elegant, Saint Crispin delivers an amazing experience in spades.  All you need to decide is whether you’d be happy with two courses, three courses, or to indulge yourself with the chefs’ seven-course tasting menu. Make sure you book ahead!

I’m sure I’ve left some of your favourites off the list, let us know on Facebook!

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