Book a Restaurant Express Lunch

Updated October 25th, 2018


Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is back with another huge program for 2018. More than 300 events are planned and Restaurant Express, supported by OpenTable, is one of the highlights.

Between March 16 and 25, 80 of the city's best restaurants are offering two courses of lunch and a glass of matched wine for $40. It's easy to take advantage of this incredible deal – just book a restaurant with us below, making sure to specify a lunchtime slot (12pm–3pm) between Monday and Thursday.

Restaurant Express menus and terms and conditions are available on the MFWF site.

  • You can choose your own adventure at Bomba. Come for tapas and imported Spanish wines at the restaurant downstairs, or escape to the fifth-floor rooftop for cocktails and DJs every weekend. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

  • The flavours at celebrity chef Shane Delia’s opulent Maha are familiar, but they’re assembled with more finesse than your average Middle Eastern restaurant. Vibrant mezze, a must-have lamb shoulder and an affordable wine list make this a winner for group dining.

  • A Greek- and English-inspired restaurant inside an 1880s terrace building. There are share plates of crudo, housemade bread and market seafood; and the Euro wine list. There’s capacity for up to 120 people, plus the option to hire the grand and rustic space for functions.

  • White-jacketed waiters delivering discreet, attentive service and a consistently excellent menu have made Rinaldo Di Stasio's intimate dining room a pilgrimage for lovers of fine Italian food. The seasonal set menu is an excellent way to dive in.

  • There aren’t many Melbourne restaurants left where they’ll open the door for you, pull out your chair and fold a napkin on your lap. Impeccable service is a fine backdrop to a three-course meal of traditional Italian decadence.

    Book a Table
  • This wine-slinging laneway bar was one of Melbourne’s first. Since 1994, it’s developed a loyal following for its expansive wine list, reliable service and Euro-leaning share plates (including an off-menu Portuguese fish stew).

  • The menu here isn't especially authentic – e.g. fried chicken ribs with chipotle mayo – but it's not thoughtless fusion, either. Visit for creative spins on quesadillas, "tlayudas" (Mexican pizza, in effect) and achiote chicken.

  • Classic-but-contemporary dishes from Melbourne’s French-cuisine master.

  • Bangpop might be set along the Birrarung, but it’s set on recreating the atmosphere at Bangkok’s lively street hawker stands. A standout dish is the sweet and spicy barramundi with lychee, pineapple and cherry tomato.

  • Asian fusion from morning through to night.

  • Hawker-style food from the chef behind now-closed institution Ezard. Order the famous son-in-law eggs – a fun mix of textural elements that has its roots in Malay and Thai street food – and red duck curry.

  • Pastuso brings Peruvian flair with a menu of ceviche, grilled meat and plenty of pisco. The dining room is a riot of colour, but we say grab a seat at the marble-clad bar and take in all the action, Pisco Sour in hand.

  • An Argentinean restaurant and wine bar that features a traditional parrilla barbeque.

  • North Melbourne’s paragon of Italian fine dining.

  • Taking cues from the trattorias of northern Italy, Emilia has you covered for all occasions. Do a casual lunch of tagliatelle alla bolognaise, or come later for a degustation featuring main dishes inspired by Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. It all comes together in a rustic, timber-clad space.

    Book a Table
  • The Southgate fine diner is built on its relationships with suppliers in Tasmania.

  • A dependable brasserie serving French classics to the suited and booted.

  • The tables at Bottega spill out onto the footpath much like they would in Rome or Florence, luring in passers-by with an energetic atmosphere. Mains usually feature produce from owner Denis Lucey’s farm, while an expertly curated wine list offers around 150 bottles from both Australia and Italy.

  • A slick city bar by the man that brought us Gin Palace, Bar Ampere and Madame Brussels.

  • A modern take on a not-so-familiar cuisine – Armenian.

  • Dine on the best of Bangkok, Taipei and Shanghai in the glow of red neon.

    Book a Table
  • A contender for the best steaks in the west. This pub has long had a singular focus on great beef, and you’ll find every size and cut imaginable starring on a broad menu with French influences. In winter, the beer garden turns polar with igloos (geodesic dome tents) for private bookings.

  • This spacious gastropub serves honest and elevated pub food alongside sharp cocktails. Go for its excellent oysters, gooey burrata, hulking burgers and juicy steaks.