Melbourne’s thriving food scene attracts millions of visitors every year, but there’s more to the cool Aussie city than great coffee and brunches. Whether you’re seeking a Michelin-starred meal or street food to shout about, here are the must-visit restaurants in the city’s hippest areas.
Any Melburnian will tell you that Ezard is a must-visit restaurant. Owned by Teage Ezard, one of Australia’s most renowned chefs, the restaurant in CBD serves what many consider to be the best tasting menu in Australia. If you’d rather stick to the à la carte, confections such as the signature oyster shooter or mouthwatering pork hock are sure to impress.
One for those who don’t plan on venturing too far away from central Melbourne, David’s Hotpot serves up bubbling Sichuan broth with a variety of unusual dipping options – from tofu to ox penis. The experience of the restaurant is top notch, thanks to the kitsch atmosphere and passionate staff. Reservations are essential.
A German beerhall that seats an impressive 900 people, Munich Brauhaus is as much an event as it is a restaurant. That doesn’t mean the owners are scrimping on taste, though: the menu features suckling pig, sourced locally and then cooked over a charcoal spit before being sprinkled with cardamom and fennel salt. Plus, there’s strudel aplenty.
Fitzroy is undoubtedly Melbourne’s coolest neighbourhood – but among all the Instagram-worthy pop-ups are some reliable gems, including Neighbourhood Wine. The sustainable menu at the restaurant changes daily, but you can expect comforting dishes such as potato and ricotta gnocchi with goat’s cheese, or grilled octopus with fried purple potato – all served with excellent wine pairings, of course.
Meat-lovers: this one is for you. Macelleria literally translates as “butcher shop”, and customers browse the meat before selecting their cut and how they want it cooked. Owner Peter Zaidan aims to educate diners about meat, but even if you’re not up for a lesson, you can expect one of the best steaks of your life.
The ’70s decor in Gerald’s Bar adds to the homely vintage vibe of this well-loved restaurant and bar. It’s garnered such a following over the years that the owners have even expanded to the foodie paradise that is San Sebastian in Spain. The North Carlton offering, however, serves up daily seasonal dishes, or an excellent degustation menu, with drinks, for 60 Australian dollars. Book in advance.
What looks like a traditional Australian bottle-o (read: off-licence) turns out to be a treasure trove of great beer and cider in Moonee Ponds, along with some of the best pizza around. Cooked in an oven imported from Italy, Penny Young’s pizzas go down beautifully with a local bottle of ale or wine from the carefully curated list.
St Kilda is known for being the closest beach suburb to central Melbourne, but locals will tell you that Lezzet’s Anatolian Kitchen is just as good a reason to venture away from the CBD. A fragrant combination of traditional Turkish and modern Australian flavours, the banquet menus feature delicious meze, best enjoyed with one of the signature cocktails.
Modern Cambodian cuisine reigns supreme at Amok Restaurant on hip Chapel Street in Windsor. There’s a focus on local produce, with fruit and veg sourced from nearby markets and fish caught on the Australian coast. The quality shows – chef Woody Chet’s fragrant dishes such as the Cambodian duck curry won him Most Outstanding Apprentice Chef at the Australian Culinary Federation’s Fine Foods competition.
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Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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