Melbourne is widely known and recognised as home to one of the largest Greek communities in the world, as well as being the city with the largest Greek-speaking population outside of Greece. It’s no wonder so many Greeks (and non-Greeks) come to visit this Australian city any chance they get to experience a little piece of Greece!
The start of 2020 saw large crowds flock to Melbourne, the city that hosts some of the biggest events in Australia and most of them all within the first quarter of the new year. January kicked off with the Australian Open Tennis where droves of Greeks from near and far came out to show their support for Greek players Stefanos Tsitsipas and Australian-Greek Nick Kyrgios.
The next epic event in the city this month is The Antipodes - Lonsdale St Greek Festival which takes place on Saturday, February 29 and Sunday, March 1, Melbourne’s biggest street parties and longest-running Greek festivals in its 33rd year celebrating Hellenic culture. Then there’s the family fun favourite carnival; the iconic Moomba Festival March 6-9 along the city’s Yarra River. Following just a week later will see racing car enthusiasts from all around the world arrive in Melbourne for the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix held at Albert Park between March 12-15. Loads of international tourists, attendees, spectators, and locals will be out and about during these events enjoying the party atmosphere that has continued on since the ‘Oz Open’ and has had Melbourne buzzing.
To experience traditional Greek cuisine within close proximity of city festivals, the Grand Prix race track and hotels of accommodation in the area we’ve selected some of Melbourne's inner-city’s best.
Here are our top picks for the ultimate Greek food feast
Serving grilled meat with salads and sides, Skewer’d is the ‘Greek way to Meat’. Whether you’re salivating for lamb, chicken or pork, the meat is cooked to perfection, straight off the spit to the grill to amplify the flavours. The food is presented with a modern-take on wooden chopping boards but there’s nothing modern about it! Traditional taste is guaranteed with whatever you order from the selection off the menu including wraps to mixed platters. Beer and wine are available at this casual eatery and your choice of dining inside, outside or takeaway.
Greeting all customers with a warm welcome, big smiles and friendly service are no extra charge! Credit to Skewer’d’s owner Angelos at the helm who has become infamous with his regulars and locals making everyone feel that Greek hospitality that Greece is synonymous for.
In our opinion, this is Melbourne’s best for your souvlaki and gyro fix.
A: 151 Bay St, Port Melbourne – Mon-Sun 11:30am-9pm (Fri-Mon until 9:30pm)
This warm and welcoming restaurant specialises in traditional Greek cuisine. It prides itself on providing patrons with authentic Greek dishes using only high-quality ingredients and sourcing daily fresh seafood and meat. Traditional cooking methods are adhered to for succulence that can only be achieved by the use of a flaming charcoal grill. Seafood is their specialty and you can’t go past an all-time favourite Greek dish consisting of fish, Horta (spinach) and lemonates patates (oven-roasted lemon and olive oil marinated potatoes), lemon and olive oil is the key ingredient to this dish that will have you dipping and drenching your bread into every last drop. Dessert time is a treat with an array of Greek sweets to choose from that are made daily in the restaurant’s kitchen; the Ekmek is to die for!
Lemnos Taverna has been around since the late 1970’s, having changed ownership in 1999 and now decades later still standing the test of time. It’s safe to say they have nailed the method to success and without comprising high-level standards of professionalism or altering traditional recipes of Greek cuisine, it is a testament to its longevity.
This restaurant has also had Greek touring artists dine-in; such as Panos Kiamos!
A: 445 High St, Prahran – Mon-Sun 5:30pm-11pm
Blu Spoon Greek Yoghurt
A hidden gem in the heart of popular and busy bayside suburb Port Melbourne, you will find a Greek yoghurt concept store with an innovative modern twist. Authentic thick and creamy Greek strained yoghurt that’s been handed down three generations is made daily with locally sourced natural ingredients. With choices of frozen or fresh yoghurt, ice-cream or yiayia’s specialties, there’s something for everyone of all ages. A large choice of toppings ranging from nuts, honey and fresh fruits for healthier options or to curb the sweet tooth cravings, lollies, chocolate and sprinkles to name a few. There’s a wide range of toppings, too many to name but no limit to how few or many you can add and know the sugar and fat percentage in the yoghurt is so low, you can feel a little less guilty loading up on toppings! There’s also a variety of yiayia’s homemade Greek treats to indulge in or combine with ice-cream or yoghurt, create your own unique specialty.
A fun colourful experience to be had at this modern sleek store, with seating available inside and outside or take-away but we warn you at busy times and those warm balmy Summer nights could have you queuing up but so well worth the short wait. This is a favourite shop amongst young and old, a must-go-to while you’re in town.
A: 175 Bay St, Port Melbourne – Tues-Fri 12pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 11am-10pm
Located in the Prahran Market this delightful (take-away) shop has a mouth-watering selection of traditional Greek dishes and sweets. Including moussaka, yemista, dolmades, dips, cakes, salads, and other Greek specialty grocery products. The Spanikopita is a recommended must-try and weekends are popular for delicious loukoukmades. Pop in and see Kathy and her team who will gladly help you select and put together a mixture of all the best on offer to take away with you. Customers keep returning to Sweet Greek as there is really no other Greek concept shop like it, offering such scrumptious meals staying true to authentic Greek traditional cooking. Kathy’s shop is one of the most popular and busiest in the Prahran Market and many recognise Kathy Tsaples from her appearances on television cooking shows and her highly successful cooking books. Treat yourself to a visit to Sweet Greek and don’t forget to get some koulouria or paximathia (Greek dry biscuits) to have with your coffee the next morning!
A: 167 Commercial Rd, Prahran – Tues & Thur-Sat 7am-5pm, Sun 10am-3pm (Closed Monday’s & Wednesday’s)
Feel like a Greek coffee or frappe? Look no further than Kudos Cafe, a much-welcomed addition to Bay St where locals are loving this Greek coffee shop. The Greek portion of food, desserts, and coffee are all authentic and traditional. Locals have made this their favourite café on the strip that offers superb fresh food and coffee. Taking a new spin on breakfast with a Greek twist has introduced bayside residents to a taste of Grecian flavours. Greek coffee, variety of frappes, pita’s (tiropita/spanakopita, cheese & spinach filo pastries) and sweets like Baklava are all available along with regular coffee and café-style food such as muffins, salads, and rolls. Customer’s rave about the friendly attentive staff and service which makes the experience all that more enjoyable. The shop's interior is trendy yet cozy so you can enjoy sitting indoors but you also have the choice of sitting outdoors and being amongst Bay St’s exciting atmosphere. Kudos Cafe is the brainchild of its neighbouring Greek souvlaki shop Skewer’d’s owner, Angelos Tachmatzidis.
A: 155 Bay St, Port Melbourne – Mon-Thur 7am-3pm, Fri 7am-6pm, Sat-Sun 8am-6pm
*Photo Credits – Taken from each’s social media accounts