Mon-Thu 7am-11pm, Fri-Sat 7.30am-midnight, Sun 7.30am-11pm
There are few Melbourne experiences more Melburnian than shouldering through the narrow doors of The European on a cold afternoon. The long, wood-lined "carriage on the Orient Express" feel of the bustling room, stocked with smart staff, a hissing coffee machine and Portuguese tarts on the curved bar has instant appeal. Same goes for the muscular one-page menu of European classics. Accompany something from the impressive Old-World wine list with appetisers of baccalà and fennel arancini or a mousse-like ham-hock terrine layered with parsley. Pan-friend gnocchi arrives with broccolini, broad beans and Photoshop-green herb oil against torn mozzarella. Beef stands out, especially a chateaubriand for two, and a lighter protein in the form of a Catalan fish stew, with sweet leeks, lentils and just the right amount of broth. Coffee lovers should finish with espresso panna cotta trifle, complete with surprise pop rocks.