Whenever something monumental happens in my life, be it good or bad, I turn to comfort food classics. There’s just something about a warm and familiar dish that puts a bubbly feeling in your stomach. For me, it’s Middle Eastern food- the sights, sounds, and smells of a Middle Eastern restaurant take me back to better days and remind me of true peace. Regardless of what culinary tradition you call home, these restaurants offer delicious comfort food that’s sure to soothe and excite you during even the rockiest of times.
- Dukkah Restaurant
Dukkah is my home away from home. One of my favouriteMiddle Eastern restaurants ever, stepping foot in this pleasant and energetic restaurant instantly sets me at peace. Their menu is full of home-cooked Middle Eastern food recipes passed down through generations and garnished with contemporary twists (highlights are the chicken shawarma tagine, a perfectly balanced melt-in-your-mouth meat dish where every bite feels like a fresh yet comforting blast from the past.) The smell of their namesake dukkah dip, an aromatic blend of spices, is possibly the best thing on Earth, and definitely worth the trip!
- Hector’s Deli
Tuna melts are a childhood classic many of us can remember eating. I wasn’t always the hugest fan as a child due, now these are a staple whenever I’m looking for a taste of home. This cute sandwich shop in Richmond features the best tuna melt I’ve had in ages. The bread’s my favourite part– rye heaped in butterand toasted just right. Devouring one of these with a warm drink after a long day is the very definition of comfort food.
- Bar Di Stasio
Warm spaghetti is another comfort classic from my youth, and Bar Di Stasio provides a familiar but refreshing take on the classic pasta that leaves me content every time. Elegant, open, and blaring classic opera hits, I’m happy to sit with a book for a single glass of something red and a simple bowl of spaghetti. Here the spaghetti is always perfectly al dente, tomato liquor, chili, and cured pork gracing my plate as well. It’s a true treat every time.
- Gelateria Primavera
Ice cream made up most of my university diet, and for good reason. Who among us doesn’t crave a bowl of something sweet after a long day? Gelateria Primavera classes up this standard comfort staple with a rotating mix of milk-based gelati and dairy-free sorbets, featuring premium local ingredients that are daily churned into fresh and vibrant flavours. Whether you’re a purist who prefers vanilla or chocolate or are daring enough to test out matchaflavours, you’re sure to find something comforting and yummy here.
A Sydney classic that just opened its first location in Melbourne, Mary’s deserves a mention simply for its take-no-bull attitude and down to earth food. The restaurant is known for pairing great burgers with grungy vibes and even better booze, which may qualify as a comfort dish in and of itself. Mary’s fun rock’n’roll atmosphere draws me in and relaxes me every time I visit, but their fried chicken is the real star of the show. Putting back a bucket of Mary’s drumsticks is dangerously easy, especially when paired with their killer cocktails.
- Frankie’s Tortas and Tacos
A staple of the Mexican-Australian food scene, this trailer is my favourite hole-in-the-wall joint for delightfully authentic tacos that warm me up after a long and hard day. Their true superstar, however, are their tortas.If you’ve never tried a torta before, you’re in luck! Think grilled cheese but on a bread roll packed with traditional taco fillings and a meat of your choice. Is your mouth watering yet? Though the tortas steal the show, the tacos are definitely a great choice as well, especially when paired with the house special, horchata. Nothing like a little taco/torta therapy to lighten your load, right?
Pasta, and Italian food in general, is another comfort staple that is absolutely essential after a long day. This restaurant evokes a classic Italian atmosphere. White and red checkered tablecloths and waiters dressed in classy black vests gives visitors a tiny slice of Italy right here in Melbourne. The menu is home to many rockstar dishes, but locals know to head straight for Mario’s pasta. Made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, this is the type of pasta that cures colds, bad moods, and just about any other malady under the sun.
- Pizza D’Asporto
Located in Yarraville, this charming Italian restaurant offers a fairly authentic Italian experience for decent prices. Their focaccia starters are popular as an entre, but they make this list because of their phenomenaltakeaway pizza. Nothing screams comfort like a box of pizza, a pair of warm pajamas, and your favorite movie, right?Pizza D’Asportois consistently clean and boasts polite and well-trained staff, and their constant stream of guests proves both their enduring popularity and their high-quality pizzas.