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“Fianlly, a good Italian restaurant in Melbourne” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Society

Society
23 Bourke Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia
+61 3 9639 2544
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Ranked #424 of 2,869 Restaurants in Melbourne
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
Terni
Level Contributor
18 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Fianlly, a good Italian restaurant in Melbourne”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2013

Being an Italian, I am rather fussy when it comes to Italian restaurants abroad, but Society was excellent: innovative Italian cuisine done right... my only gripe was that portions were too small.
By the way, the food was matched by great service and a stylish atmosphere: distinctively Italian, but without stereotypes.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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125 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    55
    43
    16
    7
    4
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
78 reviews
58 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“The best service matched perfectly with a great meal”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2013

We walked in on a cold rainy Thursday night, without a booking....but were given a warm welcome by an exceptional maitre'd and a happy group of staff.

The service in this place is exceptional. They are attentive without being intrusive. Have a little humour, without stepping over any boundaries. This place is full of hospitality professionals.

And the food!

We chose a selection of entres to share and our waiter asked the kitchen to plate it up as a tasting platter for us. We had some perfectly (I'll be using that word a lot to describe Society) cooked salt and pepper calamari, a little pate, and a 'money bag' mozzarella with tomato. Just delightful.

Our mains were again perfect. Sous vide barramundi (barra will never taste this good again) and a selection of pork (cheek, neck and belly). The only criticism would be that there was a little too much beetroot with the pork dish.....but everything else was perfect.

We shared a coffee creme brulee for desert, which was creamy, coffee, silky - just perfection.

They make you feel special at Society and the decor is old worlde upmarket restaurant. If you want to make an evening memorable for all the right reasons.....go to Society.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
101 reviews
50 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Nicely finessed modern Italian in a decadent 1920s atmosphere”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2013

Society takes its name from the Italian Society Club which moved to this site at 23 Bourke Street in 1932 after first opening in Little Bourke Street. In its earlier incarnation, Society features in one of Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher novels, Raisins and Almonds, set in 1928. I'm not sure if the current restaurant was used as a location for the television episode, but with its 1920s decor, gleaming bar, chandeliers and billowing tasselled curtains, it could have been. In 1928, Phyrne is such a Society regular she leaves it to the Italian waiter to decide her order. He brings a bottle of "wicker-clad chianti", fettucine puttanesca, mullet with steamed celery and boiled potatoes and, to finish, zabaglione and cafe negro.

We left it to the Italian waiter too, and had the five course degustation menu - $60 or $95 with matching wines. Highlights were the seared ricotta with blistered tomatoes, basil puree and dry olives; the zucchini flowers on a porcini cream; the rabbit fillet wrapped around a pork and fennel sausage, sliced and served with glazed and pureed black and orange carrots; the slow-cooked lamb shoulder with bean purée and, to finish, the yoghurt panna cotta with macerated strawberries, balsamic gel and chocolate pebbles. Yes, all five courses were very good. The thing about degustation menus is that you try dishes you wouldn't normally order, and in the case of the yoghurt panna cotta, they're outstanding.

Overall, the food was nicely finessed and excellent value, service good but a bit inconsistent (attentive one minute, neglecting to describe the wine the next, bringing a complimentary dessert wine at the end) and the decadent 1920s atmosphere outstanding.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
“Worth it just for the service but the food is sensational!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2013 via mobile

What a great experience and the food was fantastic!!!

3 adults and 1 kid.

Alex is a character and made the whole dinning experience. Best waiter I have had that looked after everything.

The food was amazing and cheap, worked out for drinks, mains, desert and coffee to $44 a head.

I will be back just for the service but the food is 110%

Make sure to have a good note to tip, he works hard in service but adds character free of charge :-)

  • Visited August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geelong, Australia
Level Contributor
96 reviews
59 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Wanted to stay longer but...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2013 via mobile

Stumbled across Society whilst waiting to go to High Tea elsewhere. Happy I did, the cocktail was divine, service was great! My friends and I will be back for a meal next time.

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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