My cousin is visiting Melbourne and I thought I would document some of my favourite places not just for now but for the future as well. Note that items with an asterix (*) require booking in advance. (yes, even some cocktail bars require bookings!) Most of these places are in or close to the CBD.
One of my favourite things about Melbourne is all the food, the below list is in no particular order my favourite food places in Melbourne.
Max on Hardware Lane – Hands down my favourite Italian restaurant of all time, this restaurant does al fresco dining in the middle of the bustling hardware lane. It’s not fancy Italian, it’s stick to your ribs Italian fare. I love the ambiance, the live music on weekends and the experience of being heckled by the touts on the way down the street. I normally don’t book, but if you have a large group would be best to book.
Tutto Bene* – Another great Italian place, on South Bank. They attract South Bank prices but I feel the view is worth it. The food is great and I very much like the risotto. They are a great option if you are Gluten intolerant.
Strong vegetarian contenders
Byblos* – An amazing Turkish place (book in advance to avoid disappointment). They will put in a spread you can’t believe. They offer fully vegetarian options that will leave meat eaters satisfied.
Vege bar* – if anyone in your party is vegetarian, go to Vege Bar during nice weather, sit in their couryard and enjoy so much great vegetarian food you will forget it’s vegetarian.
Maha* – If you want a vegetarian option but also a degustation, this place will blow you (and your wallet) out of the water, but the food is an experience.
Squires Loft, Docklands* – Squires Loft is a chain, but I have been eating at their Docklands establishment so regularly that I think they have my photo under the desk. Best steak in Melbourne, hands down, you won’t be disappointed.
Meat Maiden* – Meat meat meat. If you want to have meat sweats.
Blue Bonnet* – They do American style BBQ. I can taste it now.
Roule Galette – My favourite crepe place of all time. No need for a booking, just turn up and enjoy.
Bistrot d’Orsay* – Traditional French style food, good to book if you have a show at the Regent theatre nearby.
Uber Eats / Takeaways / Easy options
Lord of the fries – vegan but certainly not low carb
Southern Xross Kebabs – Good kebabs at a reasonable price
Sal’s Pizza – New York style pizza, the pepperoni wheels are an indulgence.
Gami Chicken – Korean crispy chicken coated in sauce, I like the sweet chilly.
Sparrow’s Philly Cheese steaks – Cheese steaks – need I say more?
Betty’s burgers – great burgers and milkshakes.
Vue de Monde* – fancy dining experience in Melbourne. They will do you a degustation that is world class, but they attract world class prices and have a world class waiting list.
Brunetti’s – Close to Roule Galette, the best pastry place in all of Melbourne, it’s a chain, but the store in the CBD is best.
Naked in the sky* – a rooftop restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining options, great tapas and a matching bar (naked for satan).
Milk the Cow – A little beyond the CBD in St. Kilda. They do nothing but cheese with matching wine, beer, cider or cocktails. Definitely worth a go!
Bars / Pubs
1806 – The birthdate of the cocktail, this place never ceases to delight. An intimate cocktail experience.
Eau de Viet* – A “hidden” bar with a nondescript door. They do showy cocktails and cocktail flights.
Bomba bar – a lovely open air rooftop bar. Great when it’s not busy.
Gin Palace – luxurious, and leisurely, more gin and gin cocktails than you can imagine
Urban Alley – A bit of a trek out of the city, but they do amazing craft beers that even I can drink.
Rum Diary – OMG, if you love rum you must go here. They have live music on weekends but catch them at a quiet time to get a rum tasting flight.
Melbourne is world renowned for its café culture, there are coffee shops in New York named after streets in Melbourne.
Manchester Press – They do loaded bagels and great coffee.
Seven Seeds – Great food and great coffee.
Cafe Lafayette – A cute little japanese cafe that does cute latte art and Japanese snacks
Krimper Cafe – Good food and coffee options
Brunetti’s – I mentioned them already but it’s worth mentioning them as they are a cafe as well.
Billy’s Central – A chain in a shopping centre, but some surprisingly good quality food and coffee.
Site seeing – in the heart of the city
All of these experiences are a stone’s throw from the city centre
Federation Square – Go here at least once, there’s so much going on here and there’s almost always something happening nearby.
Flinders Street Station – Don’t have to stay here long, but it’s across the road from Federation Square, so why not check it out?
St Paul’s Cathedral – Beautiful old church near Federation Square.
Hoosier Lane – world famous graffiti lane in Melbourne CBD.
Southbank – make sure you experience this during the day and also at night, go for a walk along the South Bank, have some food, check out the casino. At night time there is a fire display that happens along the walk every hour on the hour.
Eureka Tower – if you’re into tall buildings with a view of the city, this is definitely for you.
Arts Centre – A short walk (or 1 tram stop)from Flinders street station will get you to the arts centre which always has something fresh on display. Note that it’s technically outside the free tram zone.
River cruise – If you have never been to Melbourne, I recommend taking a cruise along the Yarra river, it’s a fun site seeing afternoon and can be educational.
Queen Victoria Markets – Might sound lame, but going to the queen vic markets can be a highlight for many travellers. It’s easy to get to from the CBD and well worth a look on the weekend.