by James Ridenour
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Rubira’s @ Swallows

Located in Port Melbourne this gem of a find should be your first destination for some of the freshest seafood in Melbourne.  This is where the in the know of Melbourne come for seafood.   John Rubira has been in the seafood game for 30 years and he has the connections that afford him first pick at the seafood markets in Melbourne.  John routinely gets up at 2am to venture out to the fish markets ensuring his patrons are afforded the highest level of quality and choice at his restaurant.

Rubira’s @ Swallows is located off the beaten track in Port Melbourne in the old Swallows Hotel.  This historic pub has been transformed into a charming dining room complete with tavern bar and fireplace.  The history of the building has not been lost in its renovation making an evening at Rubira’s a true Melbourne experience.   The menu is offered on chalk boards located around the dining room and your seafood choices are seemingly endless.  I was dining with a Kiwi friend of mine who gleefully pronounced that this was the only place in Melbourne that he could get quality New Zealand whitebait.  Rubira’s selections also include every kind of imaginable fish, crustaceans and molluscs severed to order, pan fried, egg washed, beer battered, blackened cajun (oh yes this is a must try for those who love spice!), grilled or Japanese breadcrumbs.

One of the great features of the menu is the fresh cooked crayfish which is a must try for crayfish lovers and I think Rubira’s offer the best fish and chips in Melbourne.  The smokey seafood chowder, Morton Bay bugs and chilli prawns were all standouts.

The restaurant features a good selection of beer on tap as well as bottled beers.  It also has a very good wine list which is also well priced.  The service is family style, which is friendly, enjoyable and relaxed.  There are no airs and graces here, just the freshest seafood priced to provide great value.  My tip is to give Rubira’s a try, its worth the trek!  Make no mistake though, the restaurant is not so much of a secret that you don’t have to book.  You will find the restaurant busy any night of the week.  Rubira’s offers lunch from Sunday to Friday and dinner from Monday to Saturday.  All selections are served at very reasonable market prices.

Rubira’s @ Swallows is located at 192 Station Street, Port Melbourne and can be contacted on 03 9646 2746.  Make sure you say hi to John for me!

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