Melbourne / Australia

Melbourne – Great places to eat and drink

Melbourne – Introduction

Melbourne has a rich history of food and wine. It has reaped the rewards of the waves of migration that have enriched the food landscape making it a world leader in areas such as pasta, phở, souvlaki, gyros, laksa, coffee and wine.

Melbourne also serves as one of our first ports of call as it is the inevitable first destination when we board a plane in Hobart.


Attica has been widely acknowledged as one of Australia’s very best restaurants and Ben Shewry as one of Australia’s very best chefs. The food is interesting, produce-driven and perfectly seasoned, the front-of-house service is engaging and professional and the wine list is one of the best in the country. 74 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea, 3185.


Now that we have been able to return to Melbourne, it was with great pleasure that we enjoyed a meal at Andrew McConnell’s latest venture, Gimlet at Cavendish House. This beautifully crafted space is a joy to be in. The site has been restored to its former glory with due deference to the history of the building.

The food and drinks here are wonderful and created with passion. We had a range of excellent dishes including a beautiful dish a sea perch and mussels on greens and a lovely, restorative risotto. Of course, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sample the caviar and blinis with appropriate condiments! We were also able to sample some rare wines here. 33 Russell St, Melbourne, 3000.


Embla is both a bar and a dining space where the food is based around expertly prepared small plates and the wine is a roadmap to the natural wines of the world with many of the emerging Australian superstars being featured alongside the more familiar European gems. The food is overseen by clever chef Dave Verheul and directing the front-of-house team is highly experienced co-owner Christian McCabe. 122 Russell St, Melbourne, 3000.


This is one of the newest venues in town, and our recent visit convinced us that it has a very bright future. The service is sharp, the cooking is clever and the wine list includes some rare and wonderful wines.

Dishes such as mussel in escabeche with aioli, chickpea panisse with parmesan and lemon (very Provence) and grilled ox tongue with pink eye potatoes (from Tasmania) were cooked with skill and passion. We accompanied these with a La Navine from Les Vignes de Babass. This beautiful Chenin Blanc is made by Sébastien Dervieux from old vines grown south of Angers in the Loire – a perfect wine for this food! 555 Nicholson St, North Carlton.


Bistra is a very new venue in Elgin St, Carlton with an interesting food menu and a very deep wine selection. Our first visit was highly enjoyable with great dishes (a chicken dish was exceptional) and a lovely Jura wine which matched to every dish we ordered. Service was also exemplary. We look forward to future visits.157 Elgin St, Carlton.

France Soir

France Soir in South Yarra, Mebourne is one of those excellent restaurants where we always feel comfortable. We have been enjoying the food and service here for literally decades. The service staff are helpful, humorous and highly efficient. The menu remains constant but the daily specials provide variety for the regulars.

There is a daily risotto, a fish dish, a rabbit dish and something done with chicken. We have so many favourite dishes here. The andouillettes that are served as an entrée are one of the best examples of the kind that you will find anywhere in the country. If you like tripe then try one of our favourite dishes – the entrée of tripe cooked in riesling. It is wonderful! The wine selection is one of Australia’s best. If you are into naturals then they have an excellent range for you to try. 11 Toorak Road, South Yarra, 3141.

Flower Drum

The Flower Drum is one of the best Cantonese restaurants in Australia with one of the best wine lists and also with some of the most professional service. We still have extremely fond memories of a dumpling that was stuffed with crab. It was smooth, silky and full of the flavour of this crustacean. The Peking duck is also very, very good. 17 Market Lane, Melbourne, 3000.

Tipo 00

Tipo 00 in Melbourne’s CBD is an important player in the Melbourne restaurant scene. The food is classic Italian, the vibe is exciting and the wine selection is clever, straddling the line between the classics and the needs of the hipster generation. The service is sharp, the food excellent and you can drop in any time for a snack. In the evenings reservations are not taken at the bar so it is relatively easy to secure a seat. 361 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, 3000.

Osteria Alaria

The twin to next door Tipo 00 with access to the same deep wine collection and similar, but different, menu items. We recently enjoyed a number of excellent dishes here including crunchy fingers of kargaroo, polenta, olive and leek, cacio e pepe risotto with pine mushrooms and nettles and a perfect Otway pork cutlet served with corn and purple broccolini. 367 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, 3000.

Hope St Radio

We just love this venue! Even though we were the oldest in the room by a long way, we were treated to a delicious meal accompanied by an amazing wine from natural producer Cantina Giardino (we had their Volpa Rosa). We have posted a detailed account of our experience at Hope St Radio on our Instagram account and also on this foodtourist Web site. 35 Johnston St, Collingwood, 3066.

Cumulus Inc

If you are in Melbourne on a weekend then Cumulus Inc is a perfect place for a very good breakfast or brunch. It is also open for dinner at night during the week and the food and wine selection is very good. It is also conveniently located at the top end of Flinders Lane. There is a great vibe here. 45 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000.

Public Wine Shop

Public Wine Shop is a very special place. The wine is personally selected by long time natural wine aficionado Campbell Burton and the food is also very good and made from excellent ingredients. Everything about this venue is special – the vibe, the space, the service, the food and most importantly the amazing wine selection, much of it imported by the owners Campbell and Charlotte. 179 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North, 3068.

Bar Liberty

Bar Liberty has added even more depth to foodie magnet Fitzroy. This pleasant venue is drawing industry figures and wine loving foodies to Johnston Street to enjoy the eclectic range of wines and other beverages and the excellent food. Think dishes such as pickled cucumber with smoked eel dip or Murray Cod with carrot butter and pine nuts. More recently, we have been thoroughly enjoying the Polish-influenced food of chef Zac which is some of the best food of this genre we have ever eaten. Make sure you try the potato dumplings – they are sensational!
It is quite close to the CBD so it is easy to catch an Uber or a tram up nearby Smith St to reach this charming venue. 234 Johnston Street, Fitzroy, 3065.

Old Palm Liquor

Old Palm Liquor is another venue for the owners of Neighbourhood Wine which is in the same area. Both of these venues offer great food, an amazing wine collection and well-chosen music on the turntable.

OPL is quite large with an area out the back and a semi-outside area that can cater for quite large groups. There is also a small and intimate bar and wine shop next door which is also worth exploring.

We go here to enjoy the depth of the natural wine experience – it is one of the largest collections of interesting producers in Australia. The food menu allows you to snack while enjoying a glass of wine or to eat an entire meal while enjoying a bottle or three. 133B Lygon St, Brunswick East, 3057.

Tipo 00 and Osteria Ilaria

The block between Elizabeth Street and Queen Street has some real gems for a quick snack or a longer meal accompanied by some serious wines. Tipo 00 and Osteria Ilaria are twin venues run by the same owners. At both places the Italian-inflected food is cooked with precision and skill and the wine offering is excellent. If the wines are not familiar to you simply put yourself in the hands of the sommelier and they will come up with a gem every time! 361 and 367 Little Bourke St, 3000.


If you haven’t heard of Chiaki then it is a place you need to make sure is high on your visiting list if you live outside Melbourne. If you live in Melbourne then you have a place for ongoing visits for either breakfast or lunch or just for coffee in between. This serious venue on the corner of Peel St and Wellington St in Collingwood serves seriously sensational food and great coffee selected from some of the best roasters in Japan and Australia.

Moon Mart

Not only does Melbourne have Chiaki for Japanese food, there is also Moon Mart for Korean food that is worth travelling for. When we fly to Melbourne a meal at Moon Mart is always on out itinerary. We love the congee (Tarakjuk) here and every dish is worthy of ordering as the chef/owner is just so talented! And the coffee is treated with respect here so you can be sure of the provenance of the beans. We order an espresso for the caffeine hit and then a pour over for the pleasure.

Lune Croissanterie

Just sometimes superlatives when we are writing about a place don’t seem quite right. Sometimes it can sound glib. Sometimes a superlative doesn’t quite capture the essence of what a venue is doing.

We have this problem with Lune Croissanterie because it represents a passion and a search for excellence that is difficult to capture in a few words.

It is one of the few places where you will find us lining up on a cold winter morning for an espresso and a perfectly made croissant where every single part of the manufacturing process has been thought through to the tiniest of details to ensure that the end product is as sublime as possible.

This takes dedication, determination and a deep understanding of the chemistry of the ingredients and the equipment that must be managed to get everything exactly right. Kate Reid thoroughly deserves every accolade that has come her way!

You will find this venue around the corner from the actual physical address. The strict address is Shop 16/161 Collins Street, however you will find the entrance (look for the queue) around the corner in Russell Street.


If you want to climb to the pinnacle of coffee providers you can do no better than to call into Disciple which is hidden away at 16 Black St in Brunswick. The coffee here is roasted on the premises and the equipment ranging from the roaster to the grinders and the espresso machine is the best that money can buy. Just don’t go here if you want a soy latte or any other exotic combo – this place just deals with coffee!


Marion is a comforting restaurant space on the red hot Gertrude Street dining strip in Fitzroy, Melbourne. Andrew McConnell has put weekend breakfast/brunch on the menu and it has become a regular fixture for us. On an early evening visit a simple dish of stunningly fresh scallops was an absolute stand-out. 53 Gertrude St, Fitzroy 3065.


Vinoshi occupies a beautiful corner location in Ivanhoe East in Melbourne’s suburbs. They have an amazing selection of wine here, so it is the perfect place to drop in for a glass of wine. The staff will make sure that the wine matches your preferences, as they try to cater for everyone. They also have a good selection of wines made by young, emerging winemakers from throughout Australia. The welcome here is warm and the staff know their stuff! 253 Lower Heidelberg Rd, Ivanhoe East VIC 3079.


Movida is our favourite tapas bar in Australia. It is a very professionally run establishment taking the food and wine very seriously but managing to maintain a relaxed, fun atmosphere. It is hidden away in a lane opposite the imposing Federation Square complex, this small bar and restaurant is an ideal place to while away a few hours sipping on some great wines and indulging in interesting and well-cooked food. 1 Hosier Lane, Melbourne 3000.


Supernormal is another Andrew McConnell restaurant and this one concentrates on Asian flavours particularly Japanese, Korean and Chinese food with a Japanese aesthetic. You can drop into the large, ground-floor canteen-like space for a drink and a snack or for an epic meal with wine and sake. 180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, 3000.

279 Cafe

279 Cafe is a wonderful venue serving very tasty Japanese food in pleasant surroundings. And there is an added bonus here. They are also passionate about coffee and do excellent pour-over coffee using beans from top farms in many countries including some that have been processed naturally. It is an excellent place for breakfast (coffee service starts at 7am and breakfast at 8:00am on week days and an hour later at the weekends) or lunch. 279 Victoria St, West Melbourne, 3003.

Napier Quarter

Napier Quarter is a jewel of a restaurant, hidden away in the quiet back streets of Fitzroy. It is the type of restaurant that everyone craves for in their local neighbourhood. The service is slick yet friendly, the food is delicious and servings are perfectly sized, the coffee is serious and the wine selection sees some emerging local stars featured alongside some international offerings. 359 Napier St, Fitzroy, 3065.


Piccolina creates excellent ice creams and sorbets that are worth seeking out – they have a number of Melbourne outlets. We tend to go to the outlet in Smith Street because we often pass through there on the way to visit our wine customers. The ice creams are always fresh and delicious. 296 Smith St, Collingwood plus a number of other outlets.

Very Good Falafel

Very Good Falafel is a bright, light space on Sydney Road in Brunswick where customers line up for very fresh falafel served in pita bread and hummus made from freshly-ground chick peas sourced from the family farm of Louisa Allan, one of the owners of the business. The food here is excellent. 629 Sydney Rd, Brunswick.


When we want a serious coffee in Melbourne and we have the time to walk to the “legal district” then we inevitably end up at the delightful and long-running Patricia.
Situated on a prominent corner in Little Bourke Street there is always a queue here, but the service and the processes are so good here that it rarely takes very long to be served.
And we find the coffee to be very good, especially now that they are in charge of their own roasting via the interesting Bureaux Collective (run by Tim Williams and Tim Varney).
They have good pastries and other light snacks here. Corner Little Bourke and Little William Streets Melbourne 3000.

Brother Baba Budan

Tucked in a small space in Little Bourke Street just a few steps from Elizabeth Street and very close to one of our favourite Melbourne restaurants (Tipo00) Brother Baba Budan is an offshoot from the very successful Seven Seeds venture, whose coffee we have been seeking out for many years.
We usually order their single origin of the day as it is always interesting and is sourced from their roastery in Carlton. Another thing we like about this venue is that it is open every day! 359 Little Bourke Street Melbourne 3000.


We have only just discovered this small gem on the corner of Exhibition St and Flinders St on the ground floor of a rather nice building that we also hadn’t taken much notice of. However, it is worth stopping by because the coffee is very good (it is roasted at the Bureaux Collective mentioned above) and the food is quite tasty as well. We really like the pastrami toastie which uses meat supplied by Meatsmith. They have a selection of beans on sale and they are not afraid of naturally processed beans! 1 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, 3000.

Maker and Monger – Melbourne Cheese Shop

Maker and Monger has the best selection of cheese in Melbourne. An added bonus is that they also make amazingly good cheese toasties which you can eat at one of their tables in front of the stall. We particularly like the Comte that they import as it is the very best produced by affineur Marcel Petite. Prahran Market, Stall 98/163 Commercial Rd, South Yarra, 3141.


Meatsmith is a specialty butcher and delicatessen as well as being a place where you can select from an interesting range of bottled wine to take away. The venue is a collaboration between restaurateur Andrew McConnell and butcher Troy Wheeler. 273 Smith St, Fitzroy, 3065.

Books for Cooks

Books for Cooks is a great bookshop with an impressive depth of cookbooks both new and vintage. We always enjoy our visits here and often find a treasure that is difficult to locate elsewhere. If you can’t find what you are searching for ask the staff here they are experts in their field. An added bonus is that the bookshop is located in the Queen Victoria Market complex, so you can also have a wander around the many stalls here. 115-121 Victoria St, Melbourne VIC 3000.

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