Dining along Chapel Street
Let’s face it, parts of Chapel Street can get a bit rough around the edges. Lonely Planet says it’s ‘fashion obsessed, body conscious and party loving’ and that sounds about right. On the flipside, some of Melbourne’s most exciting dining happens around here. Below are our picks for accessible dining on this famously infamous strip.
We arrived at Mr Myagi around 5:45pm on an average weekday and were promptly seated with a view towards the action – it quickly become obvious this place was a highly efficient & choreographed. The front of house team switched and swapped as needed and the cooks where effortlessly preparing & plating.
The restaurant is medium-sized and the entry is a long, sloped timber floor – there’s a good amount of space in high traffic areas. There’s slight Japanese touches in a contemporary space comprised of exposed brick, concrete flooring, booths and mixed seating. The low seats are positioned closest to the entry – there’s bar seating towards front and tall wooden stools at the Yuki’s at the back. Bring friends and cover a table with dumplings, nori, tempura and tofu.
99 Chapel St, Windsor VIC 3181
(03) 9529 5999
The Prahran Hotel
The Upton road entrance is ramped and opens into the light filled space in this one-time boozer. The refit has incorporated traditional art deco motifs in the front bar that create the feel of a gentleman’s club – there are bits of nostalgia; oil paintings, brass fittings and classic bentwood chairs.
The middle courtyard houses a Chinese Elm and various potted plants. Nearby are the circular booths (pipes) – if you can transfer this a good spot to perch and dine but don’t forget to order first.
The food is refined pub fare with a burger & parma at one end and the pork knuckle and lamb shoulder at the other. Carnivores bring your appetite. There are wheelchair friendly tables and chairs around the front bar whereas it’s predominantly tall stools at the back (apart from the pipes). (Thanks Mikaela)
82 High St, Prahran VIC 3181
03 9529 2168
If you’ve ever been to a hawker market in Singapore or Malaysia – this place is not much like that. The menu might be inspired by a hawker market but the space and service are a world away. (Firstly, there’s no flimsy plastic seats or pesky insects.)
This well-known member of the ChinChin family is in a massive space by Windsor standards. High seating runs along the bar and there’s a few counter height tables and chairs – the rest is bentwood chairs with 3 soft seated booths – good news for wheelchair users.
There is a cheap and cheerful visual aesthetic with big colourful backlit signs and exposed brick and concrete floor. Stir frys, noodles, curries, rice dishes and satays feature prominently - expect high quality south Asian share plates.
98 Chapel St, Windsor VIC 3181
(03) 8560 0090
Wilson and Market
A late breakfast bought us to Wilson & Market (W&M) after grocery shooing at the Prahran Market. The dining area is spacious with flexible table arrangements & it’s a polished atmosphere. There’s a refined dining area adopting a less-is-more approach. The entire space is wheelchair-friendly with floorboards, very few high stools and good room around tables and thoroughfares. For wheelchair users, the public restrooms are located outside the restaurant. During the day, this isn’t an issue but dinner reservations should mention a wheelchair user is in the party – so the toilets can be/remain unlocked. (We like the music coming from the kitchen - well-volumed 90’s easy listening.)
163 Commercial Rd, Prahran VIC 3181
(03) 9804 7530
For a small restaurant Tokyo Tina has made a name for itself - a friend has been raving about this 2-year-old restaurant for… well 2 years. The atmosphere inside is petite and personal in a dilapidated and manga-cool space.
Alex is handy behind the bar and Mark will help you with a table. Wheelchair users should get in early or be prepared to wait inside or nearby at busier times. (Wonderland and 56 Bricks are both close & wheelchair-friendly.)
Past the slightly tricky thin double doors out the back are the best options for wheelies. There’s a karaoke room too if (when?) you’re feeling adventurous.
66A Chapel St, Windsor VIC 3181
(03) 9525 2774
Visiting both the Brunswick and Windsor Fondas (Fondi?) we found the front of house excellent – helpful, generous and knowledgeable. What’s more, both venues are completely accessible with spacious layouts, lots of low seating and of course, an accessible WC.
Fonda apparently refers the practice of opening up the family home to the public as a restaurant. The spaces are light and fun – think colour block murals and light timber throughout - the opposite of a dark, dusty cantina. The menu is bold and options are bright and tasty and considered – vegan & vegetarians have some fine options here.
There’s a full bar and late license so you can make the most of the (rare) accessible seating on the footpath.
144 Chapel St, Windsor, VIC 3181
03 9521 2660
A Kitchen Bar is how Speakeasy describes itself and from the outside it looks more bar than kitchen. Inside there are smart chairs and tables looking onto Chapel street or venture further and a courtyard opens up. Sadly, the best wheelchair tables are on an elevated platform. However, there are low bench tables here for dining and drinking. The sky opens up once the retractable roof is pulled aside so this is a good spot for sunny days & warmer nights. There is room here for dinner and drinks and the bathroom is fully accessible. There’s a taxi rank directly out the front too which could be convenient.
359 Chapel Street, South Yarra VIC 3141
(03) 9824 0770
A minimal & thoughtful logo and the minimal & thoughtful interior - Abacus is spacious, refined and sophisticated without being pretentious. Two corners of the building open onto Chapel Street and Elizabeth Street so you can have a very comfortable Chapel street experience. There’s beautiful lush green foliage offset the concrete and timber – this layout is inspired.
Benches out the front, comfortable tables inside – the majority are low and accessible. The food was sublime and staff were attentive and accommodating. Roll in for coffee or do a delightful dinner. They have a late license too for after dinner drinks.
383 Chapel St, South Yarra VIC 3141
(03) 9824 1026
As with most wheelchair busy dining experiences – things can get crowded and before long you’ve spent 10 minutes navel gazing (not yours) or struggling to be seen at the bar. Get in early or book, play the disabled card and get your friends to do the drinks run.