For those unfamiliar with this wildly popular dish, it's not a bowl of Facebook pokes, it's a delicious mix of cubed raw fish, seaweed salad, veggies, and rice (pronounced "poh-kay"). 

I had my first poké bowl at Turtle Bay in The North Shore Hawaii in 2015. At the time, I wasn't sure if I'd like the idea of raw tuna in a bowl, but now I can't get enough of it! Even though I wasn't introduced to poké in Australia, fortunately Melbourne's foodies have lifted their game and brought this authentic Hawaiian dish down under.

Below are a few of the Melbourne poké places I've tried and love in my hometown. Give them a go—they're all different and yummy in their own way!

1. Poké Me: Hawthorn & South Yarra

vegetable, salad
Lucy Jepson

Poke Me began in South Yarra and has since grown, to Hawthorn and UberEats. I give their bowls the #1 spot for Melbourne poké because of their variety, quantity and flavour. I was so shocked when I could order unlimited toppings!

The base options are also great - I either get half of the Green Base (Broccoli, Kale and Quinoa) and half Green Tea Soba Noodles w/ Sesame Mayo or the Purple mixed Grain Rice. I loaded up on all of the veggies, ginger, seasonings and highly recommend the wasabi mayo sauce on the side!

I LOVE that Poké Me's take away bags are cardboard, their bowls are recyclable and their cutlery is wooden! The only plastic leaving their store is the lid for the top of the bowl and the sauces... if only we could find an alternative to this plastic lid, we would be well on our way to certifying this hotspot as an Ocean Friendly Restaurant . Here's an idea: bring your own reusable bowl and see if they take it.

2. Stepping Stone, South Yarra

salmon, sauce, tuna, salad
Lucy Jepson

A very close second is the "Breakfast Poké" from Stepping Stone Café, tucked behind Chapel Street. This old home has been transformed into a funky foodie house where endless snapchat and Instagram stories are posted thanks to their impressive exterior and decadent food presentation.

I ordered my food out of their front window and sat on the verandah in the sun! This was a different sort of poké to the many I have tried, there was an egg, sweet potato, cabbage, tempura kale, edamame, ginger, seaweed salad and salmon. Again check their take away bowls and forks... wooden!

3. Pokéd, Collins Street

meat, herb, salad, broccoli, vegetable, soup
Lucy Jepson

Pokéd was one of the first places I tried poké in Melbourne. I ordered 20 bowls for my birthday "Summer Sesh" last year and they were a perfect fresh and healthy dinner for us all. I loved how they had vegetarian and vegan options for my friends, and the portions were so generous! They also have chicken as an option if raw fish is still freaking you out. It has made my top five poké bowls in Melbourne as it was the start of my poké obsession down under.

4. Hello Sailor, Hawthorn

Lucy Jepson

A few weeks ago I visit this local cafe of mine and saw they had poké on the menu, so of course I had to try it. It is labelled the "Faro Poke Bowl" with fresh cured tuna, pickled beets, salted edamame, cucumber, avocado, dried shallots and furikake.

The best thing about this was the simplicity and lightness of the dish. However, I am one that loves their poké loaded with ingredients and I do think this dish was lacking some very important poké staples—where's the seaweed salad and ginger!? It is always a gamble ordering poké from a sit down cafe as you cant quickly ask them to add more of one thing or less of another, you gotta get what you're given!

5. Legacy, Camberwell

This cafe is known for its aesthetically pleasing food and Insta-famous models, but not for its poké. I loved this dish, it had a real authentic almost Japanese-style vibe with the sauce and the presentation. The shichimi chili sauce was perfect and the egg included was a nice surprise.

So there are my top five poké bowls in Melbourne. Now it's your turn to poke your head in to one of these Melbourne joints and indulge in an exploration and explosion of taste.