Restaurant dining is the sort of thing that you do on special occasions, but also any time you want something to eat and you don’t mind spending a little bit of time and perhaps a bit of money to do it. You might want to make a reservation in advance, and perhaps make sure that your clothes are clean before you go, but then again, the service at these places is so great they’ll probably make you feel right at home even if you’re in rags.


The AmbeliIf we had to use one word to describe the Ambeli, it would probably be “sublime”. Everything there is exquisite, from the fantastic wait staff, to the incredibly detailed food to the expensive hand soap and moisturiser in the ladies’ room. But back to the Ambeli. Their bread plate contains breadsticks with squid ink kneaded in so they take on the appearance of gnarled tree branches – so pretty! Food is Mediterranean-inspired, and we recommend the duck in cherry sauce. The cheeses are French and ludicrously stinky. You’ll spend a lot of money, but you’ll be treated like kings and queens.

The Ambeli: 18 Majoribanks St

Duke Carvell’s

Hair of the duke that bit youThe Bresolins’ kitchen is spread as wide as the Ottoman Empire in this delightful Cuba Quarter restaurant. Dishes are small so you can order a jumble of them, tapas style, and range from fluffy gnocchi to flaming cheese, through tangines and back to sausage. The wine list is studded with exotica, the cocktails are perhaps a little too delicious, and this place buzzes.

Duke Carvell’s: 6 Swan Lane (Off Cuba)


floriditasElegant Victorian-esque decor mixed with a casual vibe makes Floriditas a favourite place on Cuba Street. Their menu changes regularly to take advantage of fresh produce, their baking is so legendary that they’ve produced a cookbook, and they never charge surcharges on public holidays. Floriditas does simple food, and does it very well.

Floriditas: 161 Cuba St

Shinobi Sushi Lounge

Shinobi Sushi Lounge - photo by James Ogle Photography

Shinobi deserves its fine reputation for superior sushi and a sneaky sake. Master Jeremy-San was obviously well schooled in the mysteries of Japanese cuisine in the time he spent in Japan.  The atmosphere and food are friendly, approachable and fresh with a natural authenticity that doesn’t need to overdo it with Japanese decor.

Jeremy has a range and grasp of Japanese food that makes him and his team confident enough to take on the challenge of 18 course kaiseki each season, experimenting with local ingredients and adapting Japanese dishes.

This young restaurant has managed to edge out Kazu in popularity, which is a small miracle of sorts.


Shinobi Sushi Lounge: 43 Vivian St

Ortega Fish Shack

Don’t let the “shack” bit fool you: this place does seriously good food, and is not restricted to fish. Ortega combines rich European-inspired flavours raffish seaside decor and a wide-ranging wine list, but is just as good for a post-work tipple of pastis or manzanilla.

Ortega Fish Shack: 16 Majoribanks St