Gazi http://www.gazirestaurant.com.au 2 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
Tucked away at the bottom of Exhibition Street is vibrant, terracotta-lined canteen boasting some of Melbourne's best Greek street food. The brainchild of everybody's favourite MasterChef judge, George Calombaris, Gazi is a fun, casual restaurant with menu made up of creative but simple Greek food, or "Hellenic dirty food" as Calombaris would say. There's everything from dips to souvas to wood fired meats, along with a tempting dessert menu and an impressive cocktail list. I went to Gazi for the first time a couple of weeks ago for a quick and casual dinner before a fashion week runway show. Greek food usually wouldn't be at the top of my list when choosing a restaurant; that was until I tried the food at Gazi. It was just as good as all the rave reviews said it would be and I dare say it has completely changed my opinion of Greek food. The dips were exquisite, the seafood was fresh and perfectly enhanced with tradional Greek flavours, and the souvas were simple but delicious. And then there was the dessert... We ordered the 'pavlova' and what came out was a huge orb of meringue, which, once cracked open, revealed a delicious stack of sorbet, fruit and cream. It was rather impressive. I didn't try the cocktails on this particular evening, but I hear they're as good as the food so I'll definitely be sampling some next time! (Check out the menu for yourself!) Although the food is top-shelf, Gazi is actually surprisingly cheap. Dinner for two and a glass of wine each only racked up a bill of around $100! Another great thing about Gazi is you can actually book a table, which is quite rare in the Melbourne dining scene. They also reserve a bunch of tables for walk-ins so as not to rule out those spontaneous Friday evening drinks and dinners. Overall, I'd give Gazi 4.5 out of 5 with a definite return visit on the cards soon.