Tables outside restaurants in Lygon Street, Melbourne.

Wintry weather calls for hearty menus as this collection of stalwart Melbourne diners reveals. Match your destination with your mood and be sure to book in before August 11, for some of the best value eating in town – with 50 per cent off food, thanks the TheFork Festival.

Alibi Urban Gastropub, Melbourne

Alibi Urban Gastropub, Melbourne

Playing to its name, and its position in Little Bourke St in the heart of Melbourne’s legal precinct, Alibi’s a la carte menu is wittily divided into courtroom references. The menu includes dishes such as Please Stand (Charred pork neck skewers, Salt cod croquettes); Opening Statements (Crisp local squid with romesco; Ham hock terrine); Probable Cause (Lamb shoulder with cauliflower and young carrots; Prawn and chorizo fusilli) and The Plaintiff has Chops (280g Gippsland grass fed porterhouse; Roasted free-range chicken with lemon and thyme). Open for weekday breakfasts and lunch as well as dinner daily, it caters to those who enjoy casual communal dining or more formal signature plates. Meanwhile the Express Lunch menu is a midweek bargain.

Book here.

Mezzo, Melbourne

Mezzo, Melbourne

Italian classics draw the diners at Mezzo, with dishes such as polpette, house made gnocchi, and slow-cooked beef cheek among the star attractions. It’s also renowned for its traditional pizza available in two sizes. Located a stone’s throw from the famous Princess Theatre, Mezzo’s pre-theatre menu – a shared grazing selection, eggplant parmigiana and calamari salad – is deservedly popular.

Book here.

White Oaks Saloon Bar and Dining, Prahran

White Oaks Saloon Bar and Dining, Prahran

Renowned for its killer cocktails, Prahran’s neon-lit White Oaks Saloon is slathered in the flavours (and soundtracks) of the American deep south. From a greatest hit southern USA menu, tuck into Sweet southern BBQ baby back ribs, Louisiana crab cakes with New Orleans remoulade, Southern fried green tomato sliders, Cajun dish tacos and more. Bring your attitude and appetite in equal measure.

Book here.

Estivo, Kew

Estivo, Kew

Bringing Italian-inspired sophistication to suburban Kew, Estivo is a popular neighbourhood gem, serving seasonally changing menu of colourful, flavourful dishes. Highlights of its a la carte menu include Spinach and ricotta cannelloni, Risotto of confit duck, mushroom and spinach, Aged black Angus beef mignon, wrapped in bacon with beetroot jam and golden confit chat potatoes, and 12-hour braised lamb neck with wild mushroom and mascarpone, wrapped in a puff pastry pouch.  

Book here.

Barolo, Camberwell

Barolo, Camberwell

A neighbourhood favourite in Camberwell, Barolo offers a menu of smaller and larger dishes as well as classic pizzas. Kick off your Barolo journey with an epic antipasto board, designed to be shared, and follow with hearty dishes such as Gnocchi gorgonzola, Garlic prawns and the signature Chicken Maryland cacciatore.

Book here.

Henry and the Fox, Melbourne

Henry and the Fox, Melbourne

Whether you’re after breakfast, lunch dinner or drinks, or weekend brunch, Henry and the Fox aims to please, with menus that focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients and plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. Come for breakfast or brunch to enjoy Halloumi and sweet potato waffle with avocado, poached egg, dukkah and sweet chilli aioli or Eggs royale with beetroot cured salmon and sautéed spinach. Step in for lunch or dinner and choose from a wide-ranging menu featuring sandwiches and burgers, salads, pasta, risotto, and meats from the grill. Weekend boozy brunches are especially popular. There are Nordic influences throughout the venue and the covered beer garden is always the place to be.

Book here.