You might go to Prahran in the hope of sniffing out a sale on Chapel Street, but once you catch a whiff of these six restaurants, shopping will be a distant memory. From Italian to French and Chinese, Prahran has a number of casual and refined culinary experiences. Whether you’re after a Vegemite Bloody Mary, escargots, or a pizza named after Jennifer Lopez, Prahran is the place to go for your next brunch, lunch or dinner with friends.
Bistro, Restaurant, French, $$$
Established by Sylvain and Tiffany Bernard, Chez Olivier is a quaint slice of France in the centre of Greville Street Village, Prahran. Serving traditional bistro dishes from the Grenoble region of the Alps, the menu at Chez Olivier is accompanied by an international selection of wines. From escargots à la bourguignonne (snails in butter) to camembert rôti (baked camembert) to vegetarian shepherd’s pie ratatouille and homemade pork terrine with pistachios, every meal has a certain je ne sais quoi. Open for lunch or dinner, Chez Olivier may just be the most authentic French restaurant in Melbourne.
Smart yet casual, Asian-fusion yet familiar The Smith is a restaurant and bar where the service is prompt, and the meals don’t disappoint. What was once an old pub on the Windsor end of Prahran, has been transformed by Michael Lambie and Scott Borg into a stylish eatery that is open for both lunch and dinner. Meals are moderately priced and include the finger-licking favourites Flinders Island lamb ribs with cumin, sesame, chili and Kewpie mayo, Asian steak tartare with nahm prik, peanuts and cassava crackers, and the coconut panna cotta with pineapple salsa and ginger crunch.
Previously known as Ladro Greville, Ladro TAP is a sustainable pizza joint that loves its beer and knows that any good wood-fire pizza is best washed down with a glass of amber ale. Boasting 15 beer and rumoured to make the best pizza in Prahran, Ladro TAP has gained a loyal following and even offers pizza-making classes to children ages four to 14. The pizzas at Ladro TAP are innovative without being radical and all are available with gluten-free bases. Old favourites such as The Margherita are listed next to new combinations, including The JLO with speck, and the Badabing. You can also pimp your pizza with a list of extra toppings.
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Restaurant, Australian, $$$
After acquiring the restaurant formerly known as Jacques Reymond in January 2014, chefs and co-owners Thomas Woods and Hayden McFarland opened Woodland House. Offering diners a multi-course dégustation menu dictated by seasonal produce, the restaurant celebrates contemporary cuisine. Snippets of the menu include potato cavatelli with mushroom, sweetbreads and raw milk manchego, spanner crab with celery juice, scallop and daikon, and the kangaroo tail consomme, with abalone, sea cucumber and melon. Woodland House is open for lunch and dinner and on Sundays guests can enjoy the Chef’s selection set menu.
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Make no mistake about it, Oscar Cooper is a super café that is one part booze and one part all-day breakfast. Paul Butera and Jason Barone previously worked at Richmond’s The Collective Bar and have brought their unique brand of hangover food to Oscar Cooper. From their damn fine jaffles to their AM Bloody Mary with a dollop of Vegemite, the menu is as diverse as it is yummy. For breakfast try their spiced banana and coconut loaf with honeycomb and whipped cinnamon butter, blueberry and ricotta hotcakes with lemon curd, or for lunch go for the wagyu burger with istra bacon, cheddar, salad, pickles, secret sauce and fries.
With a menu inspired by alleyway eateries in Shanghai and riverside home-cooked meals in Zhouzhuang, David Zhou’s Chinese restaurant breaks convention by not bothering with mains and entrées. Order dishes from your place-mat which doubles as menu – such as spiced oolong tea quail eggs with bean curd and wolf berries, chicken and chestnuts and ‘one bite’ soft shell river prawns – and watch as moments later you meals are delivered in record time.