Top 10 restaurants, breakfast spots & rooftop bars in Melbourne
Known as the food and wine capital of Australia, Melbourne has a long tradition of dining out and socialising in cafes and bars. It's all about enjoying good food, friendship and fun times as often as you possibly can. Known as the food and wine capital of Australia, Melbourne has a long tradition of dining out and socialising in cafes and bars. It's all about enjoying good food, friendship and fun times as often as you possibly can.
Generations ago, Italian, Greek and Chinese immigrants laid the foundations for a magnificent foodie lifestyle. Today the city is blessed with ethnic food zones like Lygon Street and Chinatown, restaurants that are dripping with awards, sky-high rooftop bars and bars where the snacks are as good as the cocktails. To get you started on your journey of the senses, here are some of the best places to eat and drink in Melbourne.
1. Simply the best
To experience Australia's top restaurant, book yourself a table at Attica in Melbourne. Chef and owner, Ben Showry offers award-winning innovative degustation menus that are celebrated around the world. Drawing on his childhood in New Zealand and adult life in Australia, he creates dishes that tantalise the senses and celebrate each ingredient’s flavour. Attica restaurant bookings open monthly for three months in advance.
2. Authentic Italian and more on Lygon
When it comes to top Melbourne eats, Lygon Street has a long been the go-to place for exceptional Italian cafes and restaurants. Today they're joined by highly recommended eateries serving the flavours of Greece, Israel, Japan and more. Head to 400 Gradi for pizza cooked for 90 seconds at 400 degrees. Heartattack and Vine serves divine Venetian tapas. For classic pizza, wine, pastries, sweet cakes and hot chocolate, slip into Brunetti. Hellenic Republic delivers a modern twist on Greek classics in a tavern setting. And for Israeli vegan and vegetarian delights with local craft beer, visit The Green Man's Arms.
3. A tour with a little of this and that
The Melbourne food scene is constantly evolving and there's a lot to explore. If you need some help with what to eat in Melbourne, Hidden Secrets Tours offer a highly-rated progressive degustation Melbourne walking tour that includes three tasting dishes at each of three restaurants. Every dish is matched with a wine and the restaurants have different cuisine styles. You'll not only discover some cool places to eat in Melbourne, you'll also get to meet restaurant staff to learn about the wines, food and history of each venue.
4. Shout a round from the rooftops
The best rooftop bars in Melbourne come in many flavours, but they all combine balmy summer nights with exceptional views. Join the well-preened vintage glamour at The Emerald Peacock or relax with some jazz at Transit Rooftop Bar near Federation Square. If the weather's a bit iffy, head to Loop Roof for cocktails, iced tea or a beer; it has a brilliant retractable awning system. Naked in the Sky at Naked for Satan is an informal Fitzroy favourite, offering Basque peasant food, a great drinks menu and all kinds of vodka cocktails.
5. Late-night bites
After-show and late-night appetites are well catered for at some of the late-night restaurants and top bars in Melbourne. Parisian industrial themed Bar Ampere is open until the wee hours with a non-stop kitchen serving delicious bites, gourmet burgers and more. Also open late, Arlechin is an intimate CBD bar with deliciously whimsical bar snacks and small plates, like midnight spaghetti. Other favourites include Ferdydurke, Go Go Bar, Trunk and the cheap Chinese food at Supper Inn.
6. Explore Chinatown
Authentic Chinese cuisine is as varied as China's ethnic regions, and Chinatown in Melbourne is the perfect place to explore this delicious diversity. High-end Cantonese dining can be enjoyed at Flower Drum. For divine soup dumplings, head to Din Tai Fung or HuTong. Shandong Mama specialises in cuisine from eastern China. Moving beyond Chinese cuisine, the Thai sharing plates at Longrain and authentic Japanese street food at Fukuryu Ramen are also highly reviewed.
7. Go Greek
Lonsdale Street is in the heart of the Greek quarter and home to a Melbourne institution, Stalactites. Open 24/7, this third-generation family-run restaurant is rated as one of the best places to eat Greek in Melbourne. Think herbed rice in vine leaves, delicious appetizer platters, traditional souvlaki (pita wraps), moussaka and marinated grilled meats. They also serve decadent deserts like baklava and galaktoboureko (creamy custard between crunchy filo pastry with syrup and cinnamon on top). Opa!
8. Breakfast delights
Breakfast cafes are part of the Melbourne way of life, so it's easy to find the best brunch and breakfast spots to kick-start your day. In the city, try Hardware Societe, Higher Ground or Cumulus Inc. If your breakfasts are mainly about the coffee, you'll get the ultimate caffeine fix from Proud Mary, Seven Seeds, St Ali or Industry Beans.
9. Simply Spanish
MoVida Melbourne is a famous award-winning restaurant that opened on the CBD edge in 2002 and two years later was so popular it had to move. Finding a new home in graffiti-covered Hosier Lane, MoVida continued to lead the growth of Spanish tapas-style dining in Melbourne. Today there's also a seafood and sherry off-shoot, MoVida Next Door, as well as the larger MoVida Aqui near the Supreme Court.
10. Pellegrini's Italian tradition
Looking for dishes like traditional Italian lasagne, spaghetti bolognese and cake served with sublime espresso in an original 1950s diner setting? Welcome to Pellegrini's, one of the more unique restaurants in Melbourne and a beloved icon that has thankfully remained unchanged for more than half a century. Located on a corner in Chinatown, this is Nonna's cooking at its best - hearty, delicious, comforting, affordable and refreshingly real.