The One Melbourne Restaurant Luke Mangan Visits Every Trip

Best Melbourne restaurants Luke Mangan

Luke Mangan is an Australian chef and restauranteur with a career spanning over three decades. His Sydney venues include Luc-San in Potts Point, Glass Brasserie inside the Hilton Sydney and Luke’s Kitchen at Kimpton Margot Hotel.

Despite what Mangan’s strong presence on the Sydney restaurant scene would have you believe, he’s originally from Melbourne and it sounds like he has plans to expand his offering there, too.

“Watch this space, sometime this year something exciting may be happening,” Mangan says. “I think Melbourne’s got that very European feel to it, where Sydney, we have that multicultural, Asian influence on our food,” he says.

The restaurant he drops into on every visit? Grossi Florentino, an Italian restaurant with seating that spills onto Bourke Street. The restaurant opened in 1928 under the name Florentino. In 1999, it became Grossi Florentino after the Grossi family took it over. Mangan calls its current chef-owner Guy Grossi one of Australia’s most passionate chefs.

Best melbourne restaurants Grossi Florentino
Image: Grossi Florentino

“Upstairs is that formal, old-school in a good way, traditional Italian restaurant,” Mangan says. “And I also the grill downstairs. It’s a bit simpler. A bit more fun. And I like sitting out on Bourke Street with the trams and all that there.”

Another favourite Melbourne restaurant of Mangan’s is the recently renovated Stokehouse in St Kilda, which he says has one of the best venue atmospheres in the city. The food is always on-point and meals are served with a side of sea views.

“I also love the Flowerdrum,” Mangan says. “It’s a bit of a tradition for our family. We used to go there quite a lot — my mother, grandmother and brothers. So, it has a special meaning to us. It’s beautiful food in an older-style setting.”

best melbourne restaurants gimlet
Image: Gimlet

Other Melbourne restaurant favourites of Mangan are Grill Americano on Flinders Lane, where he says he loves to sit at the bar counter and watch the chefs cook, and Gimlet. Housed in Cavendish House, a 1920s building on Russell Street and Flinders Lane, the restaurant has chef Andrew McConnell at its helm, with a menu featuring snacks and oysters to start and shared mains of wood-fired meats and seafood.

“I sit at the bar counter and order a gimlet and look at the specials,” Mangan says. “I just love the steaks, but you’ve gotta have a gimlet in hand.”

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