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If you have read the blog over the past two years, you know I LOVE food. In fact, it is one of my favourite parts of travel. When I went to Singapore last year for 5 days, I knew I had 15 meals to enjoy there and we definitely made the most of each meal.
Luckily we have spent the last two years living in one of the best foodie cities around, Melbourne. Melbourne knows how to do food! Although I would have loved to eat out many meals a week, we do have three kids and we are on a budget. But we still managed to eat our way through Melbourne, and today I am going to share my picks for where to eat in Melbourne. Melbourne has wonderful food throughout its neighborhoods, but most of my suggestions are located in the CBD, convenient for visitors to the city.
You might think eating out in Melbourne is expensive. However, what I love about Melbourne food is how accessible it is and when you factor in that the price includes tax and tip and that they use super fresh Aussie ingredients, it is very reasonable. In addition to serving up awesome tasty food in Melbourne, every dish is served looking like art on a plate.
Vegetarians and vegans are well catered for and while there are lots of wonderful veg and vegan restaurants, most restaurants have good vegetarian options. Another plus is that serving sizes are much more reasonable than what you get with North America’s jumbo-size servings.
Where to Eat in Melbourne:
If I had to pick my favourite part of the Melbourne food scene, it would definitely be the awesome cafe culture. You will find only a few Starbucks in Melbourne because the independent coffee shops rule the city. Tucked away in every corner, in every neighborhood is an unassuming, but stellar cafe. On weekends, going to your local cafe for breakfast or brunch is a regular affair. If you are looking at where to eat in Melbourne, you don’t have to look far to find a great cafe.
Breakfast staples like “smashed avo on toast” and “eggs Benedict” are taken up a notch with the addition of dukkah, Persian feta and micro-greens. Tasty, healthy and artfully presented, we love trying out each cafe’s signature dishes. Of course Melbourne is also well-known for its coffee and coffee drinkers are serious about their brew. Here are some of our favourites:
Higher Ground, 650 Little Bourke St – classic hipster cafe in a beautiful building
The Grain Store, 517 Flinders Lane – great food, friendly service and always busy
The Journal Cafe, 253 Flinders Lane – housed within the City Library, this cozy cafe appeals to students…and anyone!
International Food in Melbourne
Melbourne is an incredibly diverse, cosmopolitan city that offers up delicious food from all around the world. Some of Melbourne’s best value food is at its international restaurants .
Laksa King, 6-12 Pin Oak Cres, Flemington – our favourite restaurant in Melbourne, they make the best vegetarian laksa (cash only, prepare to queue)
Cinnamon’s, 530 Little Collins St – incredible Sri Lankan rice and curry, this lunch-time only spot is super authentic and tasty (cash only)
Dumplings – Melbourne has a vibrant Chinese community and you don’t have to look hard to find delicious dumplings. Our favourites are Shanghai Street (342 Little Bourke St) and Taiwanese super-star Din Tai Fung (287 Lonsdale St).
Horn Please, 167 St. George’s Rd, Fitzroy North – inventive Indian cuisine with a fun serve-yourself craft beer fridge.
Vietnamese – for tasty and friendly-on-the-wallet Vietnamese food, have your pick of restaurants along Victoria Street in Richmond. This is the real deal little Saigon with authentic pho, banh mi and more. We seem to try a different place every time we go! Vegetarians and vegans are catered to at Fina’s Vegetarian Cafe and Loving Hut.
Melbourne Laneway Dining
Melbourne’s narrow, hipster laneways are popular with tourists and locals alike. There is nothing like eating outside al fresco watching the world go by, especially when the food is Melbourne food!
Degraves Street – the southern part of Degraves offers up outdoor restaurants with lots of atmosphere, but it is the cheap eats north of Flinders Lane where tourists blend with the lunch-time local crowd. Grab a baguette and head to the river for a picnic or sit and enjoy the dumplings along this picturesque strip.
Hopetoun Tea Room, Block Arcade, 282 Collins St – established in 1892 this gorgeous heritage tea room serves amazing cakes. Be prepared to queue – it is popular!
Laneway Greens, 242 Flinders Lane – we love the super healthy salads at this lunch-time staple. Grab it to go and head to Fed Square to enjoy the sunshine.
Queen Victoria Market Food
While we love a visit to the historic Queen Victoria market to stock up on fresh produce, we love the opportunity to snack on delicious foods. These are our favourites:
- The Borek Shop – located in the deli section, this place is such a gem! Delicious spinach and cheese borek for $3.50 – it doesn’t get better than this! This is some of the best food in Melbourne!
- American Donut Kitchen – you can’t miss this vintage bus pumping out hot jam-filled donuts in the centre of the market
- Sugar Cane Juice – my kids go crazy for this juice that is squeezed from the sugar cane right in front of you (centre outdoor area of the market)
- Wednesday night food market – awesome street food from around the world
From the restaurants with the most buzz, to the quintessential Melbourne staple, the parma, you haven’t eaten in Melbourne until you have eaten at these places.
Lygon Street Italian – Melbourne’s Little Italy has some tourist traps, but you can still get delicious Italian staples on this lovely tree-lined street. Try the University Cafe for home-style Italian fare.
MoVida, 1 Hosier Lane – they brought Spanish tapas to Melbourne and the food is divine. MoVida is definitely one of the best restaurants in Melbourne. (reservations can be hard to get)
ChinChin, 125 Flinders Lane – Melbourne’s most successful restaurant, the hype hasn’t faded at this Thai eatery. You need to queue to get a reservation for later in the evening.
Long Grain, 40-44 Little Bourke St – another upmarket Southeast Asian superstar with chic atmosphere and great food to match.
Parma – A Melbourne staple, restaurants compete for the best chicken parma. Pop into any pub or choose your parma at Mrs. Parma’s (19-25 Little Bourke St)
Since Melbourne loves beautiful food, it is no surprise that they do wonderful freakshakes. These larger-than-life shakes are sugar overload but oh so much fun for kids and adults alike. We are big fans of the freakshakes at Three One 2 One in Richmond, which also serves tasty burgers. Another great option is the Naughty Boy Cafe in Princes Hill.
Summer Drinks and Dining in Melbourne
The Arbory – located on the Yarra river behind Flinders Station, this is the perfect place to meet up for drinks and a meal while enjoying Melbourne sunshine. ‘
Ponyfish Bar – located on an island in the Yarra, accessible by bridge, this place is always packed.
Floating Popup Restaurants on the Yarra – the Arbory has one and there are a few others that provide a great scene in summer.
St Kilda – head to the beach at St Kilda and enjoy the restaurant scene along Acland Street. Don’t forget to enjoy the sweets at Acland Street’s famous cake shops. Alternatively dine right by the beach as you watch the sunset.
Looking for more on Melbourne?
- The Best Things to do in Melbourne with Kids
- Awesome Campsites Near Melbourne
- Great Ocean Road Highlights
- Our Favourites on the Mornington Peninsula
- Phillip Island: More Than Penguins
What are your favourite eats in Melbourne? Let me know in the comments so I can check them out!
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