Well, for cuisine preference as long as I don't see ants and smoke coming out of my dish, I'm good (that kinda food, y'know). I don't have much of a preference for types of restaurants. Price, max 150, maybe 200. For area, as long as it's no more than an hour from the CBD I'll be alright.
That narrows it down to only a few hundred must-try places...
Every Melburnian should try Chin-Chin in the CBD. They don't take bookings, so if you get there after 6:30pm, expect at least a one hour wait. The 'feed me' option is the way to go.
Either before (if you have a 1+ hr wait), or after, head to Eau de Vie for cocktails. It's hidden in an alleyway, no signage, no windows, look it up before you go. Try the Elysee Montmarte, it's so good.
Afterwards, either Messina for ice cream, or Brunetti just as an experience.
If you’re talking a about the CBD, I can highly recommend Kisume (Japanese restaurant on Little Collins).
Pidapipo (DeGraves) has amazing gelato (hazelnut is awesome).
The satay at mamak (malaysian at Lonsdale St) is pretty great.
I’m loving Miznon (Israeli at Hardware Lane) at the moment.
Rice paper scissors is great and also in Hardware Lane.
++Chin Chin (if you can get in)
I’ve been doing a big line on ramen places recently, but that’s not really flashy (damn tasty though).
A number of my favourite places didn’t make it through covid lockdown 3, but there’s some interesting ones opening up.
Botswana Butcher (steak on Flinders Lane) was surprisingly great, specifically big shout out to their wagyu hanger steak.
That’s off the top of my head, but hopefully that throws a few options into the mix.