Need to seduce a first date, or stoke the dulling embers of your relationship? Time Out asked some of Melbourne’s most rampant daters* where they go to turn on the charm

MAN WITH A PLAN SAYS:

Anada – it’s dark, there’s tapas, and plenty of close physical contact possible on the stools. Gill’s Diner has good boozy cocktails. Yu-U (137 Flinders Ln, Melbourne) is a basement seduction dungeon. It’s all about side-by-side seating at the yakitori bar: steal her chicken hearts on skewers. Menulog – let’s just stay in on the couch and get physical.

Taco Truck is trendy, and good for raunchy trysts in various locations. The European is great when you want a steak tartare and to impress her with your pretentiousness at 2.30am. Hooked on Chapel Street has ‘healthy’ fast food and oysters, which do live up to their reputation, if you know what I mean.

HORATIO VAN WINKLESNATCH SAYS:

My best romantic meal? We christened the toilets in Disco Beans (238 High St, Northcote) in Northcote, so perhaps sharing a tempeh salad in a space like a student house is seriously romantic. Having said that, I really do like to take someone to a great cheap eats place. As long as it’s good, it proves that you’re in the know, without looking like a pretentious knob. I think throwing down a lot of cash or dousing a date in umpteen cocktails screams that you’re compensating for something.

Raffles (68-70 Johnston St, Collingwood) in Collingwood is a favourite. It’s a place with genuine South East Asian food and genuine South East Asian toilets. The roti murtabak are spectacular. In the bad date stakes, I took a girl out and we ended up at the Carlton Club. She got ID’d. Turned out she was 19. Conclusion – if you want to stay blissfully ignorant, avoid venues with door staff.

COWGIRL PEACHES DELUXE SAYS:

People often demand to know why I’m still single. I get asked out a lot. I do good dates. But I also habitually like to show off my ‘special skills’ like rapping, and abs that won’t quit no matter how hard I demand you punch me – which may be a factor. I learnt the hard way that a good choice of venue can determine whether or not you make it to dessert. If you’re a nervous dater, here’s my advice: Osteria la Passione and the Commoner are cute as a button, romantic and have feed-me menus (Italian and mod-Brit fare respectively, where they just serve you what they feel like), leaving your decision-making faculties free to focus on good conversation choices. You’re more likely to keep your voice at a sexy level at elegant bistro Pei Modern, and if your date eats the tripe fingers, they’re a keeper. Bar Lourinha has great tapas (the kingfish pancetta is still kicking it), great European wine and you conveniently have to sit on top of each other. Instead of suggesting arm wrestling, prove you’re hard (under flattering soft lighting) by smashing whisky and pig trotter fritters at the beautiful knick-knack- filled Woods of Windsor. Test for long-haul love potential by tucking in your bib at GAMI Chicken and Beer and consuming your weight in bird and brew. Save your break-up dates for Golden Dragon yum cha, where everyone’s already screaming.

ALFONSO DIGBERT LEBRAE SAYS:

You should always go somewhere noisy with fast service. That way, if it’s awesome you can get out of there fast... and if it’s painful you can do the same thing. I go to Shanghai Dumpling House. Every time. Which I can do, because there’s no risk that they’ll remember me.


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