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Poodle Bar & Bistro
This double-decker spot is full of cosy nooks. Sink into a leather banquette or one of the gold velvet couches and order zhooshed-up hotel classics (thinly sliced beetroot-dill cured trout, pan-roasted chicken topped with truffle) from a former Cumulus Inc and Marion chef.
After retiring, John Mitchell started growing and making wine as a hobby. Things quickly grew out of hand. Now, Montalto encompasses seven vineyards and more than 30 acres of vines. As a retirement project, it’s unquestionably a failure: Mitchell and his wife Wendy are busier than ever. By every other metric though, Montalto is a resounding success – it’s one of Red Hill’s must-visits.
Stillwater at Crittenden Estate
Crittenden, the vineyard upon which Stillwater restaurant is situated, is renowned for its chardonnays and pinot noirs (but also does cracking sparkling and Spanish wines). It’s a good match for Stillwater, which offers up a confident, well-rounded menu that combines winery restaurant favourites with more esoteric dishes (such as house-made beetroot pasta).
There were many Mexican restaurants before this one, but owners Nick Peters and Matt Lane were the first restaurateurs to bring a faithful representation of Mexican food to Melbourne. This "hot babe" has been around since 2010, and there are still queues on the stairs for its elotes (grilled corn) and flavoursome tacos.
Los Hermanos Mexican Taqueria
Half restaurant, half bar and always a party. Owner Bruno Carreto was born in Mexico and did a stint in a taqueria there before opening Los Hermanos. As you'd expect, the tacos and gorditas are the real deal. Don't forget to choose a tequila or mezcal from the blackboard.
Venue number two from the Mamasita crew introduces a careful element of kitsch but loses none of the attention to detail that made its older sibling such a hit. Take a seat at the bar, order a frosty Michelada and snack on some huitalacoche (corn fungus) tacos. Even if you've been to Mexico, you won't find the experience lacking.
Naked In The Sky
This is the place where you bring anyone visiting Melbourne from out of town. So why do people brave the crowds, the uncertainty about actually getting a seat and the uncomfortably small elevator? Because this Fitzroy classic has some truly gobsmacking panaromic views of our city.