10 Affordable Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas That Don’t Suck

Originally published on Hussh.

Don’t bust your hard-earned cash on a banquet. What’s so romantic about that?

Love is subjective. Who says you need to go busting your money on a banquet that you have no control over, just to prove to your other half you love them? What’s so romantic about being told what to eat? Take the reigns we say!

Melbourne’s dining institutions are lush with affordable options to make this Valentine’s Day one to remember. Here are our top 10 food experiences:

Dine outside at 400 Gradi East

Eastland’s Town Square is a winner for casual dining experiences. One of the restaurants gracing the complex is 400 Gradi East, brought to Ringwood by Johnny Di Francesco– the Melbourne boy who took out the title of ‘Best Pizza Margherita’ at the 2014 World Pizza Championships held in Parma, Italy. Given Melbourne’s heat is going to die down by Valentine’s Day (we hope), we suggest you sit outside.

Hit St Kilda beach with some fish and chips from Paper Fish 

Paper Fish is a fish and chips kiosk part of the reborn Stokehouse which burned down in 2014. Fish comes in the forms of fritto misto– a combination of fried fish served in a cone; and kingfish wings sprinkled with togarashi (a Japanese spice mix). Grab whatever entices you the most and plonk yourself on the boardwalk for a stunning sunset.

Cheese and booze flights at Milk the Cow

Milk the Cow is all about championing cheese, and does so through its cheese and booze flights– wooden boards with three to four types of cheese, paired with different liquors. You can go beer and cheese; wine and cheese; cider and cheese; whisky and cheese; even sake and cheese. And take it from us, you’ll be terribly full. The priciest flight board sits at $35.

$1 pinxtos at Naked for Satan

There’s something naturally romantic about Spanish cuisine, and Naked for Satan brings the best of the pinxtos world to Melbourne. Among a dimly lit, wine bottle-walled setting, pick up some $1 pinxtos with your other half and dig in. They may be topped combinations like artichoke and gouda; cauliflower and garlic prawn; or octopus and chickpea.

Dig into some Korean fried chicken at Oppa Kitchen 

Love means you love all of someone. Even how ugly they look while chowing down some fried chicken. Speaking of, Swanston Street’s Oppa Kitchen has some of the best in the city. Tong dak is Korean fried chicken, and at Oppa Kitchen it comes three ways– based in original Korean spices; with soy and garlic; or sweet and spicy form, which for many, encapsulates what their relationship is. Get eight pieces for $11– bargain.

Rooftop views and nibbles at Siglo

There’s nothing romantic about Parliament during the day. But when night comes around, it transforms into a gloriously lit up sight. You can treat yourself to this view at Siglo, The European’s rooftop bar. Pair your poison of choice with some deliciously addictive polenta chips or chevap sausage rolls for an affordable evening.

Dine at the bar at Pellegrini’s 

One of the oldest dining institutions in Melbourne still hosts one of the best dining experiences out there. Pellegrini’s has remained the same for decades. Grab a $20 plate of pasta and you’ll also get a side of already buttered bread– seriously, which restaurant still butters bread for its diners in Melbourne? You can slurp on a glass of watermelon granita with your lover, be inspired by the Italian chatting waiters, all while keeping your savings in tact.

Stock up on $3 tacos at Beach Burrito

It’s amazing how stuffed shells of bread can bring people so much joy. Luckily, Valentine’s Day falls on Beach Burrito’s tightass Tuesday, meaning diners can clutch a chicken, beef, halloumi, chickpea or salmon taco, for $3!

$1 oysters The Panama Dining Room

Planning to stock up on aphrodisiacs this Valentine’s Day? Let us help you out with your strategic pursuits. The Panama Dining Room has a $1 oyster happy hour from 6.00pm – 7.00pm. Enjoy them in a refurbished warehouse setting before picking up some cheeky Messina, which temptingly sits next door.

Eat it all at Welcome to Thornbury

The food schedule at Welcome to Thornbury on Valentine’s Day looks awfully enticing. The food truck park will host Mr Burger, Moroccan powerhouse Argan and Brazilian food truck Copa. For indecisive diners, this is the place to visit.

Lead image credit: Siglo Instagram.

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