Known for its cool city laneways, graffiti filled streetscapes, and rooftop bars, Melbourne is a haven for food obsessed travelers. There’s an elaborate sense of hospitality and food culture that stems from a history of immigrants setting down roots in the city, including people of Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Greek, French, Middle Eastern, Mexican, and North African descent.
Contemporary restaurants embrace innovation and creativity, and Melbourne boasts some of the top restaurants in the country. Wine bars run rampant and restaurateurs are moving away from the white tablecloth fine dining routine, so diners can get some of Melbourne’s best food experiences without spending a fortune. Let find out The Essential Melbourne Restaurants That You Must Visit below.
The Essential Melbourne Restaurants That You Must Visit
This family owned Lebanese bakery in Brunswick, a largely Middle Eastern neighborhood, has been going strong for more than 25 years. A favorite of students and locals alike, the place a veritable institution around these parts is as unfussy as it is sublime.
Prices start at 1.50 Australian dollars for just out of the oven za’atar pizza covered in thyme, oregano, sumac, sesame seeds, and olive oil, and don’t go over 15 Australian dollars for a generous chicken tawouk and falafel platter. In between, you’ll find a thick pie filled with hunks of haloumi, fresh tabbouleh, and ful medames. While you’re there, grab a bag of one of the freshly baked flatbreads to go.
All Are Welcome
After working as a pastry chef in Napa Valley’s three Michelin starred Restaurant at Meadowood, Boris Portnoy moved to Australia for a change of pace. His community focused bakery, All Are Welcome, is located in a converted Christian Science Reading Room in the hip neighborhood of Northcote.
Viennoiseries go way beyond the classic croissant expect to find bostock piled with fruit, gooey chocolate babka, and a fancy spin on the Georgian khachapuri. During the colder months, don’t pass up a slice of the medovnik, an impressive layer Slavic honey and buttercream cake.
In Melbourne, you can eat just as well during brunch as you can at dinner, maybe better and Babajan is proof. This place is tiny, but mighty. Chef owner Kirsty Chiaplias puts all her effort into making her soulful, Turkish inspired brunch fare from scratch. In the morning, the menemen a baked egg dish with spiced tomato sauce, and pistachio dukkah and the lahmacun flatbread topped with spiced ground lamb, tomato, pickled chile, onions, and parsley are favorites.
Later in the day, fish, salads, and hummus continue to satisfy. On a sunny day, get one of the sidewalk tables. Expect a wait; coffee and a house made pide or simit should ease the pangs.
Napier Quarter is the kind of place that will have you considering a move to the buzzy and leafy Fitzroy area. The tiny neighborhood gem transforms from an espresso bar in the morning to a wine bar in the afternoon. To match a mostly Australian wine list, chef Eileen Horsnell creates inspired dishes with carefully selected local ingredients like heirloom carrots and Bass Strait octopus. The rye toast with Spanish anchovies, boiled egg, and parsley has a legion of fans.
Carlton Wine Room
Wine bars are having a moment in Melbourne, and Carlton Wine Room is one of the best. Now led by a team of hospitality superstars vets of Marion, Cutler & Co., and Coda, this popular haunt has a comfortable dining room with banquettes upstairs and a lively bar downstairs.
The menu leans European, with dishes like duck and pork croquettes, tripe and cuttlefish gratin, and a classic rum baba. The revolving wine list satisfies both lovers of traditional drops and offbeat natural ones. Melbourne’s beloved arthouse Cinema Nova is just around the corner for a perfect date night pairing.
Melbourne loves a wine bar, but the rapscallion owners here call Bar Liberty an alcohol bar because they serve way more than their favorite wines, like the locally distilled aperitif Okar like Aperol, but better, sour beers, and a solid lineup of bourbons and rye.
Food is also important at Bar Liberty, and locals keep coming back for brilliant dishes like XO pippies with savory doughnuts, and burrata with black garlic and soured cucumber. This place is capital F fun and this plays through the drinks list, which includes quirky notes on wine throughout.