There’s something special about the feeling of nestling yourself into the booth of a diner. Maybe it’s the squeak of the vinyl as you shuffle awkwardly along it, or the rich smells of our favourite comfort foods wafting thickly through the air. Perhaps it’s the neon glow of a jukebox catching your eye from your periphery, enticing you with a curated offering of 70s rock ‘n’ roll hits from Joan Jett to Bowie to The Eagles. The very nature of a diner is that it offers the best of eating out. They are a perfect coalescence of enticing and comfortable — never performative. Their charm lies in the fact that they could care less about being highbrow.
As winter draws closer, it seems like all we want to do is perch ourselves in a corner booth at our nearest diner to spend a winter evening amongst friends — and Melbourne is the perfect place to do just that. In between the Melbourne op-shopping, or gallery hopping, cosy yourself into a booth or perch yourself at the bar of one of our favourite Melbourne diners.
A new addition to the CBD, Operator Diner has that classic, retro feel that doesn’t come around too often on our shores. We’re talking all-day breakfast menus, fluffy, syrupy buttermilk pancakes, and mugs of piping hot filter coffee.
Easey’s is a classic diner with a spectacular twist. Enjoy the usual fare of burgers and beers five stories up, inside of a train carriage perched atop a Collingwood rooftop.
Spice things up with an Italo-disco vibe at Connie’s in the city. It’s less Grease and more Saturday Night Fever, disco ball and all. Head for an after-work aperitivo hour, and pair it with a meatball sub or homemade deep dish pizza.
Evie’s is an inclusive space in every sense of the word. Entering this vegan-friendly diner located in Fitzroy is like stepping into 1980s New York City. It’s bold, bright and regularly hosts some of the city’s most iconic drag queens.
If you’ll let us include this diner-adjacent, 70s-inspired log cabin on the list, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. It’s dog-friendly, open late and offers a short but punchy menu of burgers, nachos, friend chicken and loaded fries. So, perch yourself next to their double-sided stone fireplace this winter and order yourself a cocktail jug.
If you, like us, find yourself craving a syrupy short stack past 10pm, then there’s only one place to subside those cravings. Pancake Parlour flips up sweet and savoury pancakes and crepes until late every night of the week, alongside a rounded-out menu of favourites (like your classic bacon and eggs). There are more than 10 locations across Melbourne, so they’re never too far from reach.
For more than 20 years Soda Rock Diner has been serving up the quintessential 1950s diner experience. Get your hands on old-fashioned thick shakes, cherry cokes by the glass and American-style hotdogs with all the trimmings. Your booth even has its own jukebox, so you can queue up your favourite tune.
A jewel in the crown of Melbourne’s unpretentious food scene is Hector’s Deli. With several locations across inner-city Melbourne, there’s no excuse to not treat your tastebuds to one of their lavish signature sandwiches.
The sister restaurant to Fitzroy’s Neighbourhood Wine bar, Old Palm Liquor is an elevated take on the humble diner, serving up a more eclectic mix of dishes. With a jazz-infused soundtrack and an impressive 300 bottle wine list, it’s an idyllic spot for a pork chop, bombe Alaska or oyster shooters.
The late-night meat-storage, cafe and takeaway spot plays on the tropes of the American diner with their checkerboard floors and well-worn facade. Here you’ll find everything from Coney Island chilli dogs to yakitori-style gizzards, livers and ox tongue. They’ve got classic milk bun burgers if that’s more your speed too.
Article originally posted on https://www.russh.com/best-melbourne-diners/