380 Lygon St., Carlton
On nights when only dinner and a movie will do, hit up Cinema Nova. The independent theater skews indie in its screening choices as much as possible, but Hollywood’s latest and greatest are regularly screened, too. Cinema Nova amps up the usual movie experience with plush, extra-roomy velvet seats to curl up in, a stellar wine list to sip on, and a gorgeous dining terrace with epic cheese boards to fuel the post-movie digest.
297 Lygon St., Carlton
Melbourne loves a wine bar. Agostino leans heavily into the whites, reds, and rosatos of Italy with a lengthy by-the-glass and coravin list. The long bar is also a stellar spot for a fresh peach Bellini and plate of Parmigiano rubble ready to dip in lustrous chestnut honey. That’s the beauty of Agostino (marble counters, creamy padded walls, and terrazzo-style flooring aside): Patrons showing up for a single glass at the bar are as welcome as parties settling in for a full three courses. There’s no pressure and absolutely no pretension. Instead, the focus is on really special wines, handmade pasta swirled with shellfish, slow-cooked ragu, and personable service from the white-denim-clad servers.
Carlton Wine Room
172-174 Faraday St., Carlton
Carlton Wine Room has read oenophiles’ minds and built what is honestly the perfect space—wine bar downstairs, restaurant upstairs. Every glass of biodynamic Beaujolais and bite of scallop tostada—served on delicate, hand-painted porcelain plates— is so, so good here, you’ll definitely be back—and so will we. Images courtesy of Kristoffer Paulsen.