Melburnians are big fans of tapas, and like most scene-stealers in this city their favourite tapas bar is tucked away down a laneway. MoVida’s seasonal menu of creative tapas like anchovies topped with smoked tomato sorbet changes nightly.
1 Hosier Lane
Il Fornaio is a popular choice for that all-important weekend breakfast. Nab a pavement table at this busy bakery café, and try tomato and cheese melt on toasted olive bread, accompanied by one of Melbourne’s best caffè lattes.
2 Acland Street, St Kilda
Combine sightseeing, a tram ride and lunch or dinner aboard the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant, trundling along tree-lined boulevards to St Kilda. The tramcar is kitted out with Pullman-style curtains, lamps and white-covered dining tables, and local flavours like grilled kangaroo and macadamia chicken feature on the menu.
Melbourne pubs with leafy beer gardens are the favoured place to enjoy a drink in the warmer months. The outdoor tables at Riverland beneath Federation Square have more scenic views than your average Melbourne hotel, overlooking the Yarra River and the Arts Centre spire. Choose a beer on tap to sip with an antipasti platter or barbecue buffet.
Vaults 1–9 Federation Wharf
Just outside the city centre, Richmond’s Victoria Street is lined with Vietnamese restaurants and food shops, packed with all the ingredients you need to make your own pho soup at home. But with food this cheap and good, save yourself the bother and pop into a cheap and cheerful Vietnamese restaurant for a steaming-hot bowl with rice-paper rolls on the side.
One of the most glamorous top 10 food and drink things to do in Melbourne is cocktails and dim sum at Silk Road in the city. Crystal chandeliers hang from an ornate ceiling in the Venetian Room, where Silk Road’s opulent East meets West theme is overseen by Marco Polo and dragons.
425 Collins Street
If you’re wondering what makes modern Australian cuisine so special, you’ll find the answer at Rockpool. Prime local produce is teamed with wagyu steak and seafood, and the elegant decor has the special-occasion air of a gentleman’s club.
Crown Complex, Southbank
Winner of the world’s best cocktail list, 1806 is a classic Melbourne bar. It’s long, narrow and always crammed, graced by stacked shelves of obscurely labelled bottles. Cocktails range from newfangled “Now” mixes like the Thirst Extinguisher to “Then” gems, including a mean Sidecar.
169 Exhibition Street
At Press Club one of Melbourne’s hottest celebrity chefs gives the traditional Greek dishes of his childhood a modern twist. “Symposium” plates to share are popular with groups, but the yoghurt-roasted scotch fillet is a dish to savour.
72 Flinders Street
For 130 years Queen Victoria Market has been the Saturday-morning excursion to purchase fresh fruit and veggies for the weekend. Enjoy a coffee at a café, splurge on artisan cheeses and pick up a bottle of wine.
Corner Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, North Melbourne