discover experiential dining - unusual, exciting and downright different places that are guaranteed to impress your date.
a nice steak dinner, parma and chips or bowl of pasta is never a bad idea - but sometimes it doesn't quite cut it for a special date. when you really want to wow your date, or just mix it up and try something a bit different for date night, try exploring beyond your local pubs and restaurants and discover the world of experiential dining.
when people think of experiential dining, they often think first about the price tag; after all, the phrase has been used by high-end restaurants for years to offer 'something more' than just food on a plate. while there are some astonishing dining experiences offered by Michelin-starred, chef-hatted wonders, you can get an equally delicious, equally exciting experience for under $20 each. there's a dining experience for every occasion and budget - especially when you book with Boop: the going-on-dates app and take advantage of our curated list of the city's best date spots offering exclusive deals & discounts!
pictured: Shujinko Ramen Bar (Melbourne CBD)
you can't go wrong with a hearty bowl of ramen. rich, fragrant broth; soft, chewy noodles; melt-in-your-mouth pork and the perfect onsen egg. top this off with some bamboo, seaweed, and perhaps a bit of corn and you'll find yourself slurping up every last drop, despite your full stomach! not only is ramen the perfect comfort/late night/uni student food, but most purveyors also serve up the good stuff in quaint little Japan-esque ramen bars, complete with flags, stools and Tokyo-vibes. impress your date with your understanding of the politely-yelled 'Irasshaimase!” ("Welcome to the business") as you both take a quick & inexpensive trip to the land of the rising sun.
pictured: Hwaro Korean BBQ (CBD), Bornga Korean BBQ (Melbourne CBD)
lovers (of meat) will fall head over heels for this one - classic Korean BBQ. enter the sleek, slightly smoky room and at once your nostrils will be assaulted with the succulent smells of barbecue meat, happily sizzling away on individual grills. if you're not quite a Masterchef, worry not - the friendly staff are usually on hand to help you identify when a flame is up a little high, or a particular piece is ready to be devoured. we recommend double dating it up on this one so you can try as much as possible.
pictured: Splatters Cheese Train (Geelong), Milk the Cow (St Kilda)
ah, cheese. is there anything greater? for an extra classy date experience, try your local cheese cellar - especially if they do matching wine, whisky or beer flights. from creamy bries and camemberts to salty manchego and halloumi - there's no feta way to ask your date - with you brie mine?
PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES
pictured: magic charters (Melbourne CBD), Colonial Tramcar Restaurant (Melbourne CBD), Silver Clipper Dinner Flight (Avalon Airport)
this one's reserved for when you REALLY want to impress that date. try taking them on an adventure dinner, where the meal is accompanied by scenic views around the city, seas or skies. just be sure to check they don't get motion sickness first!
pictured: Burwood Teppanyaki (Burwood), Ginza Teppanyaki (CBD)
for a flamin' good time, Teppanyaki is the way to go. named for the metal plate on which the food is prepared, Teppanyaki is top-quality food with an interactive show as the expert chefs chop, fry and often set fire to your meal, before throwing it at you - literally. enjoy several courses of meats, vegetables and rice all prepared right in front of you as well as the look of awe and admiration on your date's face when you manage to catch the chef-tossed meat in your mouth.
pictured: Sushi Jiro (Doncaster), Tetsujin (CBD)
let's be honest - you're never too old to get excited by the never-ending carousel of sushi delights - especially at the places that have actual trains to deliver fresh-prepared-to-order plates! for some casual elegance, introduce your date to the world of sushi train, allowing you to sample one of every flavour of nigiri, uramaki, gunkan, maki, sashimi, hand roll under the sun. there's plenty of options from the freshest seafood, to fried chicken, gyoza, udon noodles and even nori tacos.
pictured: Stalactites (CBD), Berlin Bar (CBD), Pink the restaurant (CBD)
sometimes you just want to go somewhere with a little wow factor. from themed restaurants to hidden bars to unique decor - discover somewhere a little different that will provide an endless source of conversation throughout the night. bonus points if it's your date's first time there 💕