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Where to take good company for a bite to eat

It’s human nature to want to connect with others -- and what better time to cosy up than in the winter? Here are the perfect places to get comfy and lost in conversation.

Image source: 
Holly Hawkins

Farouk's Olive in High Street, Thornbury, is a secret I’ve been keeping for a while. The quaint jazz bar is possibly the richest experience I’ve had in Melbourne for some time -- and it’s not hard to miss as the venue actually resembles an olive. Admittedly, that could go horribly wrong, but instead, Farouk’s Olive creates awe for all who pass. Look for an olive green venue, with red draped curtains resting among arched windows, and an actual olive as signage. Their interior is all jazz. Think red walls, green floors, and a sparkly bar. The venue is best known for their cocktails — the perfect accompaniment to the sweet sounds of jazz. Call me cliche, but my favourite cocktail here is the dirty martini, which uses gin or vodka, with vermouth and olive juice, garnished with olives of course. Be sure to check their Facebook for what events they have on each week. 

The Final Step on Murphy Street, South Yarra, shares the same feels as a jazz bar — quaint, cosy and intimate — although swap the cocktails for coffee, as the venue is a cafe. Sit on their wooden crates along the street, at their wooden communal table within, or on their piano which is open for company. Like the venue, I keep it classic; black coffee with toast and a pastry. The Final Step is the perfect venue to enjoy pleasurable conversation within. 

Massi Restaurant is my favourite Italian restaurant in Melbourne, and it sits cosily between stores at the top end of Collin Street — the most European part of CBD. Joseph Vargetto — owner of former Oyster and still Mister Bianco — encapsulates everything a true Italian chef should be; passionate, loving and inspiring. As soon as you walk in, you'll feel the venues warmth. Sit in a leather booth with another, and order prosecco to start. Follow this with basil pesto arancini, and pumpkin ravioli for main. Massi Restaurant is a very special outing, and should only be enjoyed with someone worth sharing such moments with.