Food in Melbourne? You’ve got absolutely no shortage of that. These are the places we feel most confident in recommending to you for your next trip to Melbourne, or for even those who’re in Melbourne but have no idea! If it’s good and we feel it, you’ll see it in here. We suggest you bookmark this and check back whenever you need to.
Tuck Shop Take Away, 273 Hawthorn Rd, Caulfield North, +61 431 406 580 (see map)
Oh my god. This place is great, just really great. It’s a nostalgia trip back to your high school tuck shop except waaaaaaay more advanced! Think perfect beef burgers, great handcut fries with paper-cup condiments. Thick shake? how about some Red Skin, Musk Sticks, and Milko flavoured ones, oh and soft serve(!) Ahhhhhh, this is so awesome. Get in early to avoid disappointment as it sells out on the reg, this is WELL worth the trip to Caulfield North. Really good coffee too. (Check the menu here).
Le Bon Ton, 51 Gipps Street, Collingwood, +61 3 9416 4341 (see map)
What was once the dodgy ‘ole Glasshouse Hotel on Gipps Street that was frequented by lesbians and cross-dressers is now under the rule of Southern USA food brothers Will and Mick Balleau (of Juicy J’s Crab Shack) and Chingon. They’ve very successfully converted the old pub into a perfect New Orleans-slash-Texas smokehouse with a near perfect oyster/cocktail bar. And you know what’s awesome? They’ve got a 24 hour licence (Friday – Saturday open til 6am.) Styled and influenced by the French influenced New Orleans period, this place is all class and smoked meat platters. You need to hit this up as a first point of call!
Earl’s Canteen, Collins Place, 45 Collins St, 7:00am – 4:00pm, Monday to Friday +61 3 9663 8445 (see map)
Great little sandwich and salad canteen serving up sit-in and take away lunches by the bag-load. Get the roast pork, lamb sandwich, or the meatball sambo and you will be pretty happy with yourself. An easy quick lunch if that’s what you’re down for.
La Condesa Taco, 234 Johnston St, Fitzroy (see map)
Collingwood back street, pokey little taco shack off Johnston Street, it’s just tacos and Mexican mixed soft drinks. Simple, doesn’t hurt your brain to think about, it’s cheap and it tastes legit. Check the menu on their facebook page.
Chingon, 413 Swan St, Richmond +61 3 9429 5695 (see map)
A stunning rooftop, incredible outfit and brilliant tacos – in fact probably the best. They’re as real as they get outside of Mexico. There’s 6 tacos to choose from, that’s it, but that’d all you need. Check out the Taco Truck as well.
Paco’s Tacos, Level 1 Courtyard, 500 Bourke Street (see map)
Upstairs from the budding little food hub of 500 Bourke’s courtyard, these tacos are by the Movida mob so you know they’re going to be good, right? Yeah. Great outside area to lap up that lunchtime sun with some beers. Don’t feel like Tacos? Go to Movida. Easy.
Sparrow’s Philly Cheesesteaks at Catfish Bar, 30-32 Gertrude St, Fitzroy (see map)
Thinly sliced meats with all the juices, heaps of that fucked up cheese on a soft bun. It’s a like a drunk man’s wet dream, but in your mouth. (Sounds sus, but it’s really heaps good.) Pair it with a beer and or a hungover bloody mary, it’s custom made for drinking. It’s never going to be the same as the ones you get in it’s hometown, but this is not a bad substitute for the famed Philly Cheese Steak sambo.
Sezar, 6 Melbourne place, Melbourne, +61 3 9663 9882 (see map)
This new Armenian joint is all up in Melbourne’s mouthes, and if you don’t know what Armenian food is about? Think charcoal BBQ Middle Eastern with a bit of Mediterranean flavours thrown in for good measure, ie. felafel, tabouli, charcoal meats, breads like pide and dips with pickled things. Fuckin yum! It’s all Grandmother’s home style Armenian recipes adapted to a modern restaurant vibe. And it’s just that, a vibe! Definitely hit this up.
Bowery to Williamsburg, 16 Oliver Lane, off Flinders Lane, CBD (see map)
When it comes to getting a stacked pastrami or a decent corned beef sandwich in Australia, nothing even comes close to it’s New York roots. The meat is never the same, always lacking that epic flavour and salt content, no spice rind and no smokey flavours. Pissweak Australia, piss. Weak. Not here! This is a stack of meat with all the trimmings served on rye with cheese with a pickle and pretzels. Whatever you get here, you will be grinning like a little happy idiot. Awesome. Also get in a combo and get it with cheesy mac. Meatball sub is sick too!
Sweet Water Inn, 60 Bray St, South Yarra +61 487 916 082 (see map)
What do they do at Sweet Water Inn? STRAYAN FOOD! Featuring the food of Shannon Martinez (from South & Gasometer), not many places do Australian food like this, it’s like the bogan food classics with a update into the year 2014, which they call fair dinkum Aussie grub. It’s as if Huey is in the kitchen whispering sweet nothings into Shannon’s ear. We’re talkin rump steaks, redefined sausage rolls, fish and chips, THAT smoked chicken (which is so goddamn good – all pictured here.) We love it, it’s got a real outback vibe without being tacky. You can say it’s very, very legit. (Same vibe as Mary’s here in Sydney.) Also, they have a big menu catering to vegetarians and vegans, they’ve cracked the code and imitated the textures and flavour of real meat.
Hot Star Fried Chicken, 429 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne & 231 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Split a big piece of chicken with a m8, (FYI: eat a whole one and you’ll regret it), the Taiwanese call this chicken fried steak. It’s $8, and super good.
Mesa Verde, Level 6 Curtin House, 252 Swanston St, Melbourne (See map)
Take a hike up those 6 flights of stairs (Please do not ever fuck with that nightmare elevator!) and you’ll earn yourself a really authentic Mexican feed where you can treat yourself to some pretty full on mezcal tequilas, tacos and things you’re more likely to eat in Mexico than the competition in Australia. This is upmarket Mexican, kind of like Mamasita. It’s good to see establishments straying away from the tex-mex (safe) style Mexican food, and importing the good stuff. Also, the boys and girls from P.A.M store styled the interior, which is pretty cool.
Gumbo Kitchen, 295 Smith St, Collingwood (See map)
What was and still is the Gumbo truck, is now a bricks and mortar store on Smith street, Collingwood. This is about as good as it gets from New Orleans in Melbourne (with the exception of Crab Shack – See below), expect some legit gumbo shrimp, crayfish Po’Boys and seafood soulfood. This is GOOD. CHEAP. FOOD… And you need to hit that! It’s highly advised that you follow them on Facebook to see where the truck is serving it’s Southern delights!
Jimmy Grants, 113 St David Street, Fitzroy (See map)
Souvlaki is no new thing, but it’s not been done by George Columbaris, the Greek god’s son, until now. Call it fancy, call it urbanised, call it whatever you want, it’s really goddamn good. This is not your drunken dirty microphone full of delicious fat dripping lamb kebab at 3am, this is some proper Greek stuff that shares the quality of George’s other quality establishments sans fine dining setting. Just wooden benches, tables and a selection of Greek beers to wash it down with. Good.
Acland St Cantina, 2 Acland Street, Melbourne +61 3 9536 1175 (see map)
This isn’t just another Mexican restaurant. This is a one stop shop for Mexican food fans. It’s in the old cocktail bar underneath the Prince of Wales Hotel which has some great food in the diner for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A huge range of Tequilas, a Mexican supermarket and take away food.
Di Stasio, 31 Fitzroy St, St Kilda +61 3 9525 3999 (see map)
Apart from having the best door handles in the history of ever, Di Stasio is a cool, classic, old-school Italian restaurant with a great selection of art in the room and pasta to drop dead for. You’d be stoked to have a Di Stasio course dinner on death row.
Miss Katies Crab Shack, Public Bar, 238 Victoria Street, North Melbourne. Monday-Friday 5-9pm – Sat-Sunday 12-9pm (see map)
Once Juicy Jay’s Crab Shack, is now Miss Katies Crab Shack. Nothing has changed, it’s still the Louisiana style fried chicken, crabs and southern inspired noms. OOF! Gimme.
Bar Di Stasio, 31 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda +61 3 9525 3999 (see map)
Right next door to Di Stasio, you can order from a bar menu as well as the menu from the main restaurant next door. The design of the bar is super slick! Well worth your time and money.
Zumbo Patisserie, 12-14 Claremont Street, South Yarra (see map)
Zumbo opened his new store in Melbourne a lil while ago and it’s a great space and its his first venture in Melbourne. He had a popup store at The Cullen for a month before the launch to promote the store. You know what zumbo is about, need we tell you again?
Moon Underwater, 211 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy +61 3 9417 7700 (see map)
This place is amazing. Im sure you have heard of it? Named after a George Orwell essay, this is anything but a cool story. Andrew McConnell and Josh Murphy will serve you up 4 immaculately presented dishes as a set menu for $75, check out the menu here (as it changes often). It’s a must. You must.
Cumulus Up, Level 1, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne (see map)
New upstairs dining at Cumulus Inc. (Go there for breakfast! ie. well before 11:30am) It’s more laid back than downstairs, you can expect a solid wine list full of French, Italian and Spanish legends. This is not just a wine bar though, get adventurous on the menu and you’ll find some mouth-watering dishes.
Tonka, 20 Duckboard Place, Melbourne +61 3 9650 3155 (see map)
Melbourne is having a modern Indian food thing at the the moment, the best of which is Tonka. Seriously good. Run by the guys behind Coda (Adam D’Sylva and Kate and Mykal Bartholomew), so you know. It’s real good. (Read what Good Food Australia had to say about it.)
Hu-Tong, 14-16 Market Lane, Melbourne and Shop 1, 162 Commercial road, Prahran (in the Cullen Hotel)
Can’t get a seat at Flower Drum? Go straight to Hu-Tong and order yourself a big steamer full of Xiao Long Bao, some chilli won-tons and some eggplant and duck pancake. We shit you not, you will be impressed.
Cookie, 1/252 Swanston St, Melbourne +61 3 9663 7660
This place never stops. An extensive menu of modern Asian food accompanied by great music, beer, and cocktails. Cookie is a must.
Movida, 1 Hosier Lane, Melbourne +61 3 9663 3038
One of Melbourne’s institutions. The traditional Spanish inspired food is quite heavy but you can walk it off afterwards on Hosier lane and check out some world famous rap drawings in the alley.
Cutler & Co Dining Room and Bar, 55-57 Gertrude St, Fitzroy +61 3 9419 4888
Andrew McConnell is a gem – one of the smartest chefs in Oz. Just trust us and go. The desserts are simply incredible.
Rockpool Bar and Grill, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank +61 3 8648 1900
Melbourne’s first true international hotel restaurant! Good for business lunches or grab a burger in the bar (dat burger!)
Bar Lourinha, 37 Little Collins St, Melbourne +61 3 9663 7890
Great tapas and selection of European wines. Small, light, fresh meals. This place is a joy! (Try the Padron peppers – pictured, 1 in 8 will blow your head off.)
The European, 161 Spring St, Melbourne +61 3 9654 0811
Outstanding at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They’re open till 3am so drop in for a midnight snack and then have a drink upstairs at the Supper Club. The Cotaletta of pork with Italian coleslaw is a the best.
Pellegrini’s, 66 Bourke St, Melbourne +61 3 9662 1885 (pic via The Selby)
A small, very old-school Italian espresso and pasta bar. Order a plate of pasta or the lasagna and wash it down with a watermelon granita. The perfect drop-in place for a quick, easy, delicious lunch, old school Melbourne right here!
Press club, 72 Flinders Street, Melbourne, +61 3 9677 9677
The finest quality modern Greek food with the twist you would expect from George Colombaris. Whether it’s a business lunch or a one on one with a loved one, you will leave the Press Club feeling triumphantly pleased with what you have just eaten. With an new renovation, this place is as good as it ever was, just better than before.
Chin chin, 125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne +61 3 8663 2000
Thai food + great music + great bar, you do the math. You don’t need to be a genius to work this one out, just go. It’s a guaranteed good time.
Ciccolina, 130 Acland Street, St Kilda +61 3 9525 3333
Superbly simple Italian food, made just how it should be. Everything you’d expect from fine Italian dining and a great place for a date. No bookings taken so get in early-ish to avoid disappointment. Try the infused lime oil blue-fin tuna or the spaghettini tossed with spinach, chilli and oil.
Newmarket hotel, 157 Fitzroy St, St Kilda, +61 3 9525 4488
What was once Schnitz’n’Tits (<– click for more info) establishment, the Newmarket was once the dirtiest of the dirty sitting happily on the once bustling with shady biz; Inkerman street. It’s a beautifully styled gastro-pub with a world class Portugese/Spanish/Mexican influenced menu.
Golden Fields, 157 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, +61 3 9525 4488
Andrew McDonnell again, reinforcing his solid list of must hit eats in Melbourne, this one has a Chinese, Korean and Japanese fusion, basically they’re awe inspiring creations that aren’t traditional Asian dishes. Get a whole bunch of plates and share the glory. The Lobster Roll; cold poached crayfish, a warm glazed brioche roll, cress, diced shallots and Japanese mayo is the king of all sandwiches.
Seamstress, 113 Lonsdale Street Melbourne +61 3 9663 6363
Formerly a 100 year old textile factory and Buddhist monastery, this place is huge – 4 levels huge. Cocktail bars at the bottom (the sweatshop) and top, with a sizeable restaurant in the middle. The ambience is good, as good as any Buddhist monastery should feel. The menu is a melting pot of Cantonese, Vietnamese and Thai flavours, all executed very, very well. Cocktails are thoroughly encouraged.
Il Bacaro, 168/170 Little Collins Street, Melbourne +61 3 9654 6778
Get romantic at this stunning little Italian eatery preferably, nestled up with a significant other and dive head first into the brilliant wine list. The Roman-style braised goat with peas, heirloom carrots, potato and truffled pecorino comes highly regarded by regulars and first-timers alike.
Osteria la Passione, 486 Bridge Road, Richmond +61 3 9428 2558
Honest, quiet, unassuming Italian food in the heart of Richmond, all praise to the produce.