In Food + Drink

Seven Of The Best Spots In Melbourne For Solo Dining

Stylish, vibrant and filled to the brim with culture, Melbourne is one of Australia’s favourite city break destinations. It’s also one of the country’s main business hubs and a popular conference destination, so inevitably many often finding themselves in town flying solo.

But solo travel shouldn’t see you banished to your hotel room, dining on room service. Instead, you should be heading out to these welcoming establishments and embracing solo dining with confidence. After all, with plenty of buzzy restaurants, bar seating, open plan kitchens and people-watching opportunities, Melbourne is one of the best cities for it.

We’ve rounded up the best spots for solo dining in Melbourne.

Cumulus Inc

Cumulus Inc is a lively social hub in the Flinders Lane arts precinct blurs the boundaries between bar, café and restaurant with a welcoming space for all-day dining.

With soaring ceilings and simple, timeless design the light-filled space is a joy at any time of the day. The open kitchen gives a no-holds-barred view into the world of a busy kitchen and bar-side dining allows you to watch the organised, disciplined and busy kitchen in full flight.

While the menu is designed for sharing, the team happily prepare half sizes of menu items and half servings of wine too, allowing solo diners the opportunity to taste more on the menu like their impressive charcuterie selection and tuna tartare with crushed pea and goat’s curd expertly sliced before our eyes.

Embla

Embla is a small wine bar in the city; a friendly place to perch at the bar and banter with the staff. While Embla doesn’t take bookings in the evenings, a solo diner will likely be able to slide onto a bar stool even on a bustling night. Embla is so much more than a wine bar, given the excellence of the food, which bows down to the element of fire with a wood-fired oven fuelling the menu.

Solo diners can order a selection of small plates such as the outstanding chicken rillettes with peas, rocket and pine nuts and soak up the atmosphere of the dark, moody and rustic wine bar.

Movida

The original Movida ignited Melbourne’s obsession with tapas and small plates, located in the iconic street art laneway of Hosier Lane. This convivial space offers half bottles and an impressive wine list by the glass, which means you can even indulge in a glass of Ruinart by the glass.

Take a front row seat at the bar and order classics such as the hand-filleted Cantabrian Artisan Anchovy on Crouton with Smoked Tomato Sorbet that can be served for one. During our dining experience, we were joined at the bar by a couple playing travel backgammon, a novel way to while away the day.

Supernormal

Uber popular Supernormal is the ultimate restaurant for solo dining, with a cool, understated fit-out and an open kitchen; there’s plenty of people watching and action in the kitchen to keep you entertained here. Inspired by Asian eating experiences the menu of classic dishes such as dumplings, and their famous lobster roll can be modified as half or individual serves (and half the price) for solo diners.

Even their cult classic Peanut butter parfait with salted caramel and soft chocolate can be presented as a petite serve for one. Bar side dining makes for easy chats with the chefs or fellow diners.

Hazel

solo dining

Just along the lane from Supernormal, check out new kid on the block Hazel.

A refined, pared-back eatery that stretches over two floors, with a cool, calm colour scheme of soft and neutral colours and minimalist style. The concise menu includes a section “on toast” with toppings served on oven-grilled sourdough, ideal for a quick bite.

Lucy Liu

solo dining

Accessed through the red light laneway of Oliver Lane, neon-lit Lucy Liu is a sexy little number, serving Asian street food in a buzzy but relaxed setting. Once again, take a seat at the bar and dine from the small bites and tastes section of the menu with a side of dumplings and buns.

The fresh betel leaf with kingfish & tuna, chive, soy and ginger can be delivered for one, and the Peking duck dumplings will leave you satisfied.

Lord Lygon

Flying solo?

Then choose a hotel designed with your needs in mind with compact rooms and communal spaces to work and play, such as Zagame’s House. Located on Lygon St, you’re surrounded by Italian eateries, but it’s hard to go past onsite bar Lord Lygon with its neighbourhood vibes and killer wine list. Choose from the little bites menu or indulge in the signature baked Camembert infused with garlic & thyme with toasted Turkish bread and make friends with your neighbour.

There’s no need to be lonely in a city like Melbourne, embrace your sense of adventure and explore the dining hot spots in this vibrant city.

(Lead images: Lord Lygon / supplied, all other images: supplied by venues)

Published 04 December, 2019