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The Recreation

A Fitzroy North wine bar, bottle shop and bistro doing considered comfort food.
By Libby Curran
November 01, 2023
By Libby Curran
November 01, 2023

At a time when much of Melbourne's food-related buzz is reserved for the boundary-pushing contemporary, The Recreation is a refreshing nod to the old-school.

It's a wine bar, bottle shop and bistro, all wrapped up in one delightful package and helmed by the expert trio of chef Steven Nelson (ex-Bistro Gitan and Jacques Reymond), sommelier Mark Protheroe, and FOH gun Joe Durrant (both ex-Grossi Florentino).

The Recreation - restaurant Melbourne

To one side, the bar space of any wine lover's dreams boasts a huge communal table and a jam-packed wall of bottles, carefully plucked from all over. There's something here for every budget and palate, whether you're dropping in for after-work sips, or grabbing a take-home treat.

Next door, the dining room is an instant charmer, with its rustic mix of timber and exposed brick, and affably crisp service. The kitchen's plating up modern iterations of some classic French flavours, with just the right amount of cleverness shining through. It's comfort food with a sophisticated edge — a study in beautifully executed, classic Euro flavours.

The Recreation - restaurant Melbourne

And, just as that hefty retail collection alludes to, the wine list here is brimming with gold, and the waitstaff know how to help you get the most out of it — whether that involves amping up your meal with a 2007 Meursault 1er Cru Charmes from the cellar, or ambling through the global range of pouring wines.

There's even the option of bringing along a special bottle of something from home for a $20 corkage fee.

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