Saturday, January 4, 2020

Welcome to Dine, Wine and Meet

Though we have dined and wined away around many countries throughout the world we do find some of the best eating places in our own backyard. The Mornington Peninsula and Southern Victoria region holds the best restaurants, cafes, wineries and meeting places we have ever come across. We are critical where we eat and are only loyal to those places which satisfy us on a number of levels.
Some areas we are “fussy” about are: food quality, ambiance, service, choice in both food and beverage, differentiation and verve. We still look for other new and exciting eateries to add to our list. Some of these places will be in other regions, not just Southern Victoria.

It is our intent to Blog the better places we frequent and the new places we find so that you may also try something new (or stay away from) the restaurants we visit. If we say it is good it is because we eat there and frequent that place. If you follow us to the restaurants we recommend, you too should come away pleased, and content and want to go back for more. Let us guide your craving for fine food, good wine/beer and sensational meeting places.

NOTE: Click on the highlighted text like this-> The Mornington Peninsula to go to the Web site.
Revisit: This is a short follow-up report about a revisit to the resturuant under comment.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Ristorante Fra' Crudi & Cotti - Polignano A Mare, Puglia, Italy

Stumple on a gem, plan the best meal out ever, toss a coin and land it on a map. You may still pick a "dud" restaurant. Our finding of this knockout little eatery in the Puglia region of Itally is even more bazar than any of the above. We had booked a $260 a head (three of us) restaurant in the same region (two courses no wine) which hung above a raging ocean on the night. Due to the gale which was blowing and the excessive price, we jumped ship.

The Puglia maffia (they really were) shuttled us back to our parked car 15minutes drive away. BUT on the way and near our car we noticed and really top looking restaurant. You now have three starved (but still wealthy) individuals. Ristorante Fra' Crudi & Cotti welcomed us with warmth, relaxed decor, fresh fish and sweet wine.

Lest's get this out of the way now. In the region, go there. Why? Best fish meal, pasta meal and just bloody anything meal you will have at a better cafe price. Good service, relaxed environment, absolutely the best fresh fish served any way you want, great sides (bullshit, excelled sides) top wines and it won't dint the wallet.

They have the fish selection, on display, out on ice. Pick you swimmer, tell them how you want it, take a whole fish or they will fillet it and enjoy with sides. If you get the feel we three had a great nights dining you're right. We may never return but you may get the opertunity, take it!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Gradska Kavana Arsenal Restuarant - Dubrovnik, Croatia

One of the biggest restaurants in the old city Dubrovnik is the Arsenal Restuarant . It spans from two large outdoor eating area inside the old city through to a number of huge inner sections to large outdoor undercover eating area port side. The port side has a spectacular view of the port and small craft reaching into the hills to the side. Dine here and you feel like a movie star in an exclusive Monaco Michelin star restaurant.

What you get is Mediterranean style fine dinning with a view to kill for. Absolutely professional service from informative, highly experienced staff and fine food to live for. Not only is the food fine dinning quality and presentation but good qualities for the big eaters amongst us. My wife said the best meal she has ever had. Now that's a bold statement considering we have both eaten at Michelin star quality (chefs hats in Australua) restaurants.

The number of table and bar staff, seating staff and mangers is a sight in itself. From the moment you enter from either of the two main entrances you are looked after with care and responsibility. All staff are there to ensure you have a great dinning experience. The food menu is not extensive but there is plenty of choices for all. A good wine list and beers to chose from. Both the house whites and reds were very good.

In Dubrovnik you must eat here. It maybe a little pricey compared to other good restaurants but when you add up what you get, even in just food quality alone, it is value for money. You may find yourself confessing; "best meal I have ever had". It's that good.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Trax Cafe -Bonbeach, Vic.

Not a bad place to drop in for lunch or dinner with a friend. Or maybe just drinks and nibbles. Food is OK cafe quality so if you are critical about food, move on. There are some good beers on tap and a host of food selections. The wine menu should satisfy most and then there are spirits.

Staff  at Trax are warm and friendly, parking is available but pick your time to visit. Décor is modern\hip\smart. A big front window will provide people watching over drinks or coffee. I went for lunch so no live bands and chatting was easy. I understand when bands are on it gets loud. Depending on what you want pick your time. A romantic lunch or dinner? - why not but pick the quiet times. A bonus is Trax are right opposite the Bonbeach station. Intend to drink? then take the train.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

L'Auberge French Cafe - Lilydale, Victoria

Sometimes you just have to stumble on a restaurant to find something really special. Drive down any main street of any city or country town and an array of cafes and restaurants will clearly come into view. Drive down some back streets, only a block or two back, to sometimes stumble on a culinary gem. Well I let the internet do the stumbling for me. I wanted to find a fine little café or restaurant in the Yarra Valley region. I wanted a drive, dine and eat. Fortunately, electronically, I stumbled onto L'Auberge.

Off the main drag of Lilydale lays a quaint little church built in 1888. Over the years this classic building has been a few different restaurants and has been used for other purposes. Thank God for now it is a great little French Café. Inertia still displays a lot of how this building was back when it was a working church. There is ground and mezzanine floors and you can dine on either. Through winter a massive fireplace. For us we finished our drinks on the couch in front of the fire.

Food is French of course with some good selections. French onion soup heads up the menu with vegan and vegetarian options. Not for me, French Algerian sausage on my plate, merci! Both my wife and myself thought the food delicious and meals I saw going out looked equally as inviting. The wine selection is limited but enough and the sparkly and Merlot I had were good. The meals are of good size and there is a selection of sweets and cakes for afters or just cake and coffee. Coffee was also good.

My biggest complaint with most restaurants is choice and volume of music. French café - French music, Spanish café - Spanish music. But how many, even fine dining establishments, play loud rock\pop from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Please! Not here, classical music filled the air though it may have been just at touch too  loud.

Want to take the wife or lady friend out for a romantic lunch after a drive in the country. This is the place to do it. Its nice and quiet with good service, easy and free parking and pleasant, relax décor and surrounds. Small period rooms are open for hire for special occasions. I have already marked in my diary when to return and this time with friends. Bon appetit!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Sunny Boy Beach Club - Mordialloc, Victoria

This little place use to be called Sails. Well not any more. It is a far cry from the fine dinning of Sails. Does that make it bad? No but it certainly makes it different. "Different" is the key word. Sunny Boy Beach Club is more of a "club" than a fine restaurant. Once more does that make it bad. No.

As you are aware I rarely mention what I have ordered. I'm not a food critic but a restaurant reviewer. Of course it is a big part of eating out but there are many other factors which must be considered for a good time out. I have to mention their hamburger. The Wagyu burger. This bad boy was "BAD". Yep, bad a good way. I have not stopped raving about it since I ate it. I did get negative comments about some of the other meals. Think "pub food" and you won't be disappointed.

There are lots of boutique beers on tap, try a few, what I tried I liked. There is some unusual seating on packing crates and then again there are everyday tables and chairs. The places is very "Friday night\Saturday afternoon". Get my drift. Casual, noisy and relaxed, this may well suit you, for us it was just a little irritating. Thank God for the burger and beer. As typical up this way you will pay for parking and depending on when you visit you may struggle to get close parking. Do not get a parking fine, it may be the dearest meal you have ever had.

Sette Bello - Glen Waverly, Victoria

After picking up the new car for the wife and spending way too much time in the car yard, it was time for a serious meal. Passing Sette Bello was too much of a temptation to pass-up. We love Italian. It was a little quiet on the restaurant so service was on the ball. We ordered a drink and selected from the menu. The food was hot, on time and delicious. Just what we wanted after the excitement of replacing our 2002 Astra.

Wine selection is good, décor is modern if not a little industrial, service professional (that's a god thing) and a little cold. BUT we are here to eat and eat we did. Big serves, good value for money and on time plus easy parking. No reason not to go back.