You can’t argue with a parma as thick as your fist enveloped by basil-spiked Napoli and a shaggy coat of golden crumbs. Not when it comes with beer-battered chips and the option to additionally batter yourself with the 20 craft brews on tap. St Kilda East.
You could go for the spit-roasted chicken at Andrew McConnell’s fancied-up pub-bistro, but we’re all about the pie. Juicy prawns and hefty flakes of smoked trout and rock ling backstroke through béchamel in a ramekin topped with a golden, flaky pastry lid. Fitzroy.
The bogan burger, our favourite of the Napier’s uniformly huge food, is a steak sandwich with the lot. And we mean everything: from cheese and bacon to pineapple and egg with a chicken schnitzel thrown in for good measure. En garde, arteries! Fitzroy.
The folks at Cornish Arms make a mean vegan parma but the Fox’s awesome arm-sized burrito exploding with spiced beans, cheese and salad could turn even a hardened meat fiend. Collingwood.
Everything is good here, from aged steaks to the soup and sanga special. But nothing beats this (seasonally offered) 650-gram Cape Grim rib eye, wrapped in ham, mushroom duxelle, herb crêpes and golden pastry. It serves two. Footscray.
Things get pretty serious in the restaurant proper, but we like dining in the front bar where you’ll get counter classics done right. Go a duo of flathead fillets in crisp crumb jackets with thick golden chips and a fresh hillock of ’slaw. North Melbourne.
It’s stuffed with hipsters, but on Sundays this pretty, fire-warmed pub is filled with the sweet scent of a roast. What’s cookin’ varies but your beast is always served in cast-iron pots with all the sauces and sides you can handle. Collingwood.
Hit this breezy bayside pub for revivals of ’80s culinary classics like Coronation chicken vol-au-vents. It’s not always on the menu but we love the trifle: Madeira-soaked sponge fingers layered with bananas and strawberries, plenty of English custard and whipped cream. Port Melbourne.
Steaks at the Vine
We love a $12 steak as much as the next cheapskate, but when you want to raise those iron levels with a gigantic, juicy fat-marbled rib eye you can’t go past the Vine in Collingwood. It’s more expensive, but it’s also a month’s worth of meat in one meal. Collingwood.
Chef Paul Wilson does all the English pub classics, including a bread and butter pud worth crossing town for. It’s a skillet of golden-crusted, custard-soaked bread with a fat scoop of vanilla ice cream and a jug of hot apricot sauce. Middle Park.