Where to eat in the Melbourne city centre? There are so many wonderful places to choose from I have trouble deciding after 12 years of living here so, for this post, I asked some Melbourne locals the question:
If you’re visiting Melbourne and you eat out only once, where would you go?
Judging by the answers you’re going to have to eat out more than once….
“What Melbourne does the best is probably it’s cafe scene and I would suggest Higher Ground in the city as a must-visit cafe for travellers. Great food, great decor and of course amazing coffee!”
One example from Higher Ground’s all day breakfast/lunch menu is a minced lamb fry up with miso eggplant, fried eggs, barberry smoked yoghurt, pine nut dukkah and sourdough – sounds good! During the day this is generally a turn up and queue café but you can book online for dinner.
Classic Melbourne institutions popped up in the answers a few times – restaurants producing consistently good food for 20, 30, even 44 years.
“The European is a Melbourne institution. Any time of day. Great coffee, great location.”
Positioned opposite the State Parliament building, The European is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7.30am until late.
“For a special lunch with a view of St Kilda beach, go to Donovans”
Alongside staples of steak, salmon blini and duck, Donovans’ old fashioned chicken pie is a favourite with regulars.
“If you’re looking for insanely busy and noisy with lots of famous people spotting, try France Soir in South Yarra.”
Authentic French bistro France Soir has been busy since the night it opened in 1986 and has one of the most extensive wine lists in the city.
“Flower Drum for yum cha.”
Flower Drum is an icon of Melbourne’s Chinatown, consistently serving delicious Cantonese food in its serene dining rooms for 44 years.
Asian fusion, modern Australian and European
“Melbourne is great for south east Asian fusion cuisine and I’m sure I won’t be the only one suggesting Longrain or Chin Chin as must-try restaurants!”
Longrain and Chin Chin are very popular. Bookings can only be made for groups of 6+ at Longrain and you’ll need to book well in advance. Chin Chin is a walk-in restaurant (well queue for two hours and then walk-in) – bookings can only be made for groups of 10+.
“I love Cumulus for modern Australian – especially the tuna tartare, chicken liver parfait or slow cooked lamb. In fact you could pick any restaurant run by chef Andrew McConnell and have a great dining experience.”
“I would recommend Lupino Bistro for modern Italian and a great wine list. They offer a good range of gluten-free options too – including gluten-free pasta.”
Lupino Bistro offers the ideal combination of relaxed dining, excellent Italian food and a wine list to match in its central Little Collins Street location.
“I do love Cecconi’s on Flinders Lane.”
With a sophisticated ambience and inviting decor, Cecconi’s chef creates modern Italian dishes from the restaurant’s home grown seasonal fruits and vegetables.
“Bistro SouSou is quite new but it is an authentic French brasserie in a cool area.”
Bistro SouSou in the cool area of Fitzroy serves a broad range of classic French brasserie dishes including moule-frites, steak au poivre and tarte tartin.
If you’re not keen to peruse a list, book a table at one the many restaurants on Flinders Lane, or one of the smaller lanes leading off it. Several of the restaurants mentioned above are on Flinders Lane (Cumulus, Supernormal, Om Nom, Cecconi’s and Chin Chin), but there’s also:
Coda for Vietnamese
Ezard for fine dining
Kisumé for Japanese
Lucy Liu for pan-Asian
Lupino for modern Italian
Maha for Middle Eastern
Tonka for Indian
And last but definitely not least….
Our resident foodie couldn’t choose just one restaurant and sent me a quick list off the top of his head. I’ve taken off a few of the restaurants above (to save repeats) leaving an excellent ‘Where to eat in Melbourne’ resource – whether you’re a visitor or a local wanting to find anything from a Singapore hawker soy chicken to high-end modern Australian.
That’s a total of 38 recommendations….looks like you might have to come back into Melbourne a few more times – enjoy!
More things to do in Melbourne