Treat your taste buds to a gourmet dining experience with our guide to the top places to eat in Melbourne. Editor Trudi Brewer shares her favourites.
Annam, 56 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, (03) 9654 6627.
This is one of our favourite Vietnamese restaurants in Melbourne, thanks to the delicious spicy snapper dumplings drizzled in sesame soy. Also worthy of note are the crispy school prawns with kaffir lime leaves and infused with lemongrass and chilli. My favourite dish, however, is the duck lettuce cups with sweet, crunchy water chestnuts. If you have room for dessert, try Annam’s signature waffle-coated salted caramel fried ice cream – it's next level! The décor reflects Melbourne’s industrial-style laneways, with a wall of multi-coloured mahjong tiles (a nod to the city’s graffiti), strings of fairy lights and an open kitchen where you can watch chef Jerry Mai and her team dish up the most delectable Asian-fusion cuisine. The heat and the smoke coming from the grill is designed to transport you to Southeast Asia – this is one dining experience you must book.
Starters from $12, mains, from $27, desserts from $12.
Alimentari, 251 Brunswick Street , Fitzroy, or 302-304 Smith Street Collingwood, (03) 9417 2267.
Not satisfied with just one visit to Alimentari deli and eatery; we went back not once but twice to this fabulous Collingwood store. Visit for a quick coffee, brunch, or to take out a delicious salad or sweet treat, or take your time to indulge in a big breakfast or long lunch before you hit the shops. It’s also the ideal spot to pick up the ingredients for an antipasto platter – the selection of cheeses and cold meats on offer is amazing. Delicious is an understatement!
Breakfast from $7.50, lunch from $7.
Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar, 66 Bourke Street, Melbourne, (03) 9662 1885.
This family-run Italian eatery is a 40-year-old Melbourne institution, famous for delicious and very generous servings of rustic, home-style pasta. Co-owner Sisto Malaspina, 74, was tragically killed just a few hundred metres from the bar in a terror attack in November 2018, but the family has continued his legacy of simple, hearty Italian food. The menu is small and straightforward and displayed on a board in the dining area. Choose from classic spaghetti Napolitana or a large slab of lasagne accompanied by a wedge of rustic white bread and butter, all washed down with a glass of lemon granita or espresso coffee (the restaurant does not serve wine). In winter, don’t miss the chance to warm up with a steaming bowl of minestrone. You can sit in the kitchen and watch waiters serve up the pasta or at the long bar with the other patrons and watch Melbournians pass by. One thing’s for sure, you won’t leave hungry!
Pasta dishes from $16.
361 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne.
If you want to carb-load, this is the place to visit. The sage tortellini, with a side of al dente asparagus, cannot be beaten. Or there’s pillowy gnocchi with porcini mushrooms and braised duck. Indulge in a glass of Tuscan red wine while you admire the restaurant’s décor: divine copper lights, an enormous white marble bench, sea green ceiling and geometric patterned concrete floor. While eating at Tipo 00 is on the cusp of fine dining, the vibe is super relaxed and the food a taste sensation.
Starters from $14, mains from $26, and dessert from $14.
Lazerpig, 9-11 Peel Street, Collingwood, (03) 9417 1177.
Who doesn’t love a slab of pizza and glass of vino? Well, if this is your must-have meal on holiday, you will love Lazerpig. Pizzas range from a simple Il Classico (fior di latte mozzarella and tomato on a sourdough base) to the gourmet Mary Had a Little Lamb (slow-cooked lamb on a garlic base with rosemary, feta and red onions). For those who like a bit of spice, there’s the Ronny J (pork and fennel sausage on a pepperonata base with roasted jalapeños, honey and parmesan). There is plenty on offer for vegetarians too. Broc Story is loaded with your daily dose of greens and accompanied by gooey mozzarella, pesto and ricotta. Our style director's fave, Up There Caprese, combined the freshest tomato, basil and mozzarella – simple but oh so good! Accompanied by a crisp pear or Euro salad, this is the place to go with a crowd for a fun, relaxed dining experience in the groovy suburb of Collingwood.
Pizza from $20, salads from $10.
389 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, (03) 9419 6624.
A brilliant venue for a night out with friends, when you walk into Rice Queen you are spoilt for choice on where to it, with a choice of bar-style tables or comfy booths. While it is a massive space, the hanging red lanterns give it an intimate vibe. You can’t go past the platter of seven spice Korean Fried Chicken wings or caramelised pork bites. The greens are divine and make sure you order a serve of tofu San Choy bau with sesame gyoza crisps. The menu lends itself for sharing, but you want to order individual portions of the Baby Banh Mi, complete with seaweed butter, cucumber, chilli and wasabi mayo. It's a must to have a cocktail and our choice was the Barberry (Cuervo tequila, mandarine liqueur, housemade jam, fresh lemon, and rhubarb bitters). Don’t forget to leave room for a shared plate of donut balls for dessert. At the end of the meal, you’ll happily roll out of Rice Queen into a sea of bars on Brunswick Street with just one thing on your mind – where to next?
Starters priced from, $9, mains from $16.
21 Bond Street, Melbourne, (3) 9629 5900
Melbourne’s Maha is an exceptional Middle Eastern dining experience – every dish on the menu is honestly beyond delicious. Choose from smoked eggplant-filled fried buns, or Chemen-cured hiramasa kingfish, with kewpie mayo and a side of hummus, sesame and preserved lemon butter. There are plenty of equally delicious vegan and vegetarian options on offer too. We indulged in the six-course lunch at $60 per person or $80 with wine match.
Mezze starters from $7, mains from $24.
2/157 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
Supernormal Canteen in St Kilda (the baby sister of Supernormal in Flinders Lane) offers cuisine that is influenced by some of Asia’s major culinary cities, including Tokyo, Shanghai, Seoul, and Hong Kong. The Korean fried chicken with pickled cabbage, kimchi and rice, is a must-have or enjoy BBQ-style octopus from the hibachi grill. For vegetarians, the grilled heirloom courgettes served with yoghurt, burnt butter, mint and aleppo pepper, is divine. For a long lunch or dinner à deux, this dining experience is not to be missed.
Shared plates from $15.
119 Rose Street, Fitzroy, and Shop 16, 161 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD.
After stumbling across Lune Croissanterie on Instagram I was obsessed with trying their luxe-y croissants on our trip to Melbourne. What I tasted after queuing for about 15 minutes (it’s well worth the wait) was as good, if not better, than the pastries I had in Paris a few years ago. They are the most exquisite, delicate (and, yes, calorific) pastries that have ever passed my lips. Each croissant is crafted in a climate-controlled lab, where layers of delicious buttery pastry are cut by hand to create a delicious, melt-in-your-mouth culinary experience. There’s an array of delicacies to choose from, including the traditional plain golden Croissant ($5.90), Ham & Gruyere cheese with seeded mustard ($9.10), and my favourite, the Lemon Curd Cruffin, ($7.20). This looks like a muffin but is made from that crisp, buttery pastry and is filled with tart lemon curd and sprinkled with citrus sugar. The twice-baked Almond Croissant ($9.20) is stuffed with almond frangipane and dressed with a sprinkling of crunchy, flaked almonds. For chocoholics, the Wagon Wheel ($13) is a pain au chocolat filled with biscuit frangipane, raspberry jam, and house-made marshmallow, topped with biscuit crumb, more sweet marshmallow, and then drizzled with extra chocolate – I’m guessing this one is designed for sharing. For a total blow-out, book in for a Lune Lab experience online and indulge in a three-course pastry feast with unlimited coffee – that will sort your craving, it did mine.
Lune croissants from $6 - $13.
48 Easey Street, (3) 9417 2250.
Not only can you sip swanky cocktails at a number of rooftop bars in Melbourne, you can also eat burgers in a train carriage perched five stories above the ground. According to Easey’s, this is the best burger experience you can have in Melbourne, and it’s certainly a celebration of what makes this city so dynamic: art, music, trains, people, fabulous food and brilliant bars. The selection of American-style burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches are best eaten with a side of chilli cheese chips, Reuben chips, or pizza chips (a selection of pizza toppings over fries - a new one on me!). As far as fast food goes, the menu is simple but super delicious. The super soft, sweet buns are well stacked with juicy patties, and you can even add heavenly melted cheese, bacon, and jalapenos ‘extras’. This food washed down with a glass of classic Melbourne Bitter, is casual dining at it's best. Easey’s is just that, an easy place to relax among the rooftops of one of Australia's most vibrant cities.
Burgers are priced from $12, sides from $7.