Food News

Our favourite date spots around Australia

Where to head for old-school romance, wow-factor views or low-key fun on the 364 days of the year that aren’t Valentine’s Day.

Bar Di Stasio, Melbourne

Julian Kingma


Bar Di Stasio**

If you’re the type of person who likes your night to run like clockwork, Bar Di Stasio is about as smooth as they come. The younger addition to St Kilda institution Café Di Stasio shares the original’s habit of keeping things ticking over nicely (put that down to 25-plus years of “Italianality”), but the efficiency doesn’t come at the sake of personality. Snacks are bold, waiters are old-school and the room is ripe for people watching. For real ambience, steal away to the curtained booth down the back that’s just the right size for two. (Maybe three if you’re really intimate.)

31 Fitzroy St, St Kilda, Vic, (03) 9525 3999,


Sean’s Panaroma**

Between the Bondi beachside setting, Sean Moran’s disarmingly honest food and Beverley Wood’s easy charm on the floor, the magic happens. Possibly a bit too wonderful for a first date – save it for declarations of true love, undying fidelity, or broaching the topic of advanced procedures in the boudoir.

270 Campbell Pde, Bondi Beach, NSW, (02) 9365 4924,


Botanic Gardens Restaurant

Get that “escape to the country” feeling without leaving the city at Botanic Gardens Restaurant, where chef Paul Baker’s menus change with what’s picked from the garden just metres from your table. Lemon myrtle, nettles, plums and more turn up in unique dishes that remind you why fine-dining isn’t dead. White tablecloths and delicate plating dial up the romance, while Mother Vine is within meandering distance for all your nightcap needs.

Plane Tree Dr, Adelaide, SA, (08) 8223 3526,


La Lune Wine Co

Moodily lit, this Parisian-style laneway wine bar is a study in playing it cool. Swing by after a late afternoon visit to nearby GOMA, let staff recommend something by the glass, then see where the night takes you. Route A might involve upgrading to one of the magnums on offer and progressing to the menu proper, where pork collar is paired with kimchi and oyster mushrooms, while the alternative includes a bar hop through nearby CBD streets or along the waterfront to soak up river views.

3/109 Melbourne St, South Brisbane, Qld, (07) 3255 0010,



Chrysanthemum soft-serve, Asian Bolognese, pork belly bao – XO trades in fun with a capital “F”. From the enthusiastic staff and the line-up of sake and whisky to the tracks on the playlist and the understated cool of the room, the crew here can’t put a foot wrong. Here’s hoping your own moves are just as smooth.

16 Iluka St, Narrabundah, ACT, (02) 6295 9696,



Old-world glamour, comforting classics and things that scream “drink me” – welcome to Ettie’s, a Europhile’s dream in the centre of Hobart. On weeknights, the action happens upstairs where dishes such as roast chicken, chicken liver parfait and lemon tart feel right at home in the bistro-style surrounds. Come the weekend, it’s straight to the basement for cocktails, flattering lighting and Elton John tunes played by the local piano man.

100 Elizabeth St, Hobart, Tas, (03) 6231 1165,


Canteen Pizza

If it’s Instagram-worthy romance you’re after, all roads lead to Cottesloe Beach at sunset. And once you’re there, it’s just a stone’s throw to some of the best pizza in town. Red-and-white tablecloths are cute or kitsch, depending on your view, but there’s no denying the kitchen’s talent for blistered pizze topped with everything from Shark Bay prawns and zucchini cream to ‘nduja, burrata and San Marzano tomatoes. Great wine, a lengthy Spritz menu and walk-in seats prove that Italians do it better.

110 Marine Pde, Cottesloe, WA, (08) 6555 7766,

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