Melbourne could be considered a culinary heaven with a wide variety of food options within every few steps in the city. If you look across various blogs, you would notice that there are just so many recommended restaurants or cafes!
How we guided ourselves to satisfying our culinary requirements while in Melbourne is to refer to Zomato and Google reviews, and select based on distance from our current location and the menu.
Below is a list of places we have tried and would recommend, with most of the eateries located at Melbourne CBD – the area where we stayed.
#1: 8 Bit Burger
Hipster burger joint with excellent burgers that exceeded our expectations. Right smacked near Chinatown, the side tables and high benches at 8bit are great for munching burgers and people-watching.
8bit Burger: 231 Swanston Street, Melbourne 3000
#2: Father’s Office
A speakeasy bar right beside the State Library of Victoria, you might not expect much for dinner fare at a water hole. Nonetheless, food was delicious although the noise from the dinner area and boisterous bar crowd was too much to bear. The restaurant could consider some sound barrier or proofing for a better dining experience.
Father’s Office: 249 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000
#3: The Mint Bar & Restaurant
A bar right beside the old Royal Mint Building of Melbourne with an impressive beer garden, we were pleasantly surprised by our dinner- the chicken breast parmigiana was huge and excellent while every part of the pork belly dish was delicious. The dinner menu was limited but at least the standard was nicely maintained.
The Mint: 318 William St, Melbourne VIC 3000
#4: The Moat
Whilst it resembles an underground bar which is interesting enough to warrant a visit already, the interior of The Moat is old-school and vintage with dim, intimate lighting. Dinner menu was a tad limited as well, but boasted interesting Middle-Eastern and Asian fusion dishes.
The Moat: 176 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne 3000
#5: The Hardware Société
Ranked high up in various ratings and websites, I had to pay The Hardware Société a visit for brunch. By the time we arrived, there was already a crowd. Nonetheless, the wait wasn’t long and service was excellent. The café showcases a fusion of French and Spanish inspired cuisine with good quality coffee and hot chocolate. Baked eggs is a recommendation from many reviewers and mine came with scallops and jamon, an interesting addition to the traditional French dish.
The Hardware Société: 120 Hardware St, Melbourne VIC 3000
#6: Cumulus Inc
Another renowned eatery in Melbourne, I felt like I had to pay pilgrimage there to understand what the hype is about. This all-day restaurant is owned by famous chef and restauranteur Andrew McConnell, who has many famous projects under his helm.
We were lucky to score a seat by the bar but was told that we could have our dinner there. Service was very attentive and we were kept entertained by observing the service staff and bartender while waiting for our food.
Food was not bad, but portion was small. As the staff had indicated, their dishes are meant for sharing and it is recommended to begin from the starters progressively. We headed straight to the mains and whilst pleased with our order of Hapuku and Pork scotch dishes, we were a tad dissatisfied due to the smaller portions.
Cumulus Inc: 45 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
We went over to Docklands for the harbor view and sunset. It is a new neighbourhood cum marina reminiscent of Keppel Bay or Quayside Isle in Singapore.
The restaurant had a good waterfront view of the harbour and the broad dinner menu was generally priced reasonably. My Huli-Huli grilled chicken was tasty!
Cargo: 55A New Quay Promenade, Docklands VIC 3008
#8: Earthly Pleasures Café
Because we were hungry after we disembarked from the Puffy Billy train, we ended up brunching at Earthly Pleasures Café, tucked in a beautiful old stone building which was once the home of a doctor. With both indoor and outdoor seating, it served as a unique environment to retreat to nature and a good rest stop during a visit at the Dandenong.
Earthly Pleasures Cafe: 1627 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave, Victoria 3160, Australia
#9: Rupert and the Fig
Other than its cute name, this brunch place seems to be your neighbourhood café that is frequented by residents. There was nary a tourist and we enjoyed the laidback vibes of the café. Our “Rupert’s Big Brekkie” was pretty awesome too.
Rupert and the Fig: 300 Bay St, Brighton VIC 3186
Others that we would have liked to try if we had more time (and bigger stomach):
- Chin Chin: One of those regularly mentioned names that you have to give it a try. But I wasn’t sure about paying Aussie restaurant prices for Thai fusion food.
- Tipo 00: This Italian restaurant had very good ratings on Zomato and it would have been one of the places to go if we had spent more days in Melbourne city.
- The Boathouse: A friend’s suggestion as this restaurant is run by the co-host of MasterChef. The restaurant is 7km from the CBD, located at a tranquil park facing a river trail at Moonee Ponds.
- Dinner by Heston Blumenthal: The Heston Blumenthal name says it all.
- Hopetoun Tea Rooms: Passed by this elegant tea room at the Block Arcade and I wished I had the appetite to savour all those lovely cakes.