One of Melbourne’s best restaurants is on a sleepy, mostly residential street in Yarraville. Chef and owner Julian Hills opened Navi in 2018, combining European cooking techniques with native Australian ingredients.
But a booking at the fine diner isn’t easy to come by. Luckily, you can increase your chances of getting in via Navi Bar – the more casual 18-seat bar adjoining Navi’s dining room. Walk-ins are encouraged from Wednesday to Friday, while the more coveted Saturday spots call for a booking.
You can’t order the restaurant’s set menus in the bar area. Instead, there’s a rotating selection of small snacks with Hills’ same focus on technique, flavour, detail and indigenous ingredients. You might get salt-and-vinegar fish skins or “ducklava” with tamarillo. The restaurant’s signature savoury black-garlic macarons and house-made sourdough also make appearances.
Behind the bar, cocktails are made with lacto-ferments, infusions, shrubs and bitters. The drinks program continues Hills’s long-time philosophy of minimising waste, with the kitchen and bar sharing ingredients and produce. Take a seat at the dark timber bar and watch the team at work, or slide into the leather banquette and enjoy snacks on moody marble tables.
Gift the experience of Australia's
best restaurants, cafes and bars