International > Australia
Top Destinations in Australia

About Melbourne Food & wine

Food & wine

Experience Melbourne's mix of cultures in its myriad restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars. Whether you're after modern, traditional, exotic or homespun flavours - Melbourne's eclectic dining scene offers a startling array of the world's great cuisines, from popular favourites to the truly groundbreaking.
Share a drink while snacking on high end tapas in a laneway eatery, take on a Szechuan chilli dish in Chinatown, or break out of the CBD and discover the city's specialist eating destinations - Richmond for Vietnamese, Carlton's 'Little Italy', Fitzroy for Spanish and Brunswick for Lebanese.

Melbourne is the coffee capital of Australia. In the CBD, the cobblestoned laneways are filled with the aroma of espresso coming from a myriad of cafes. Further afield, Richmond, St Kilda, Fitzroy, South Melbourne and Prahran also offer great cafe strips, with a more laid-back feel.

Not many cities take their coffee as seriously as Melbourne does. Here, the bean and beverage are almost as sacred as footy, which is good news if you're in the mood for the perfect caffeine hit.

At the city's best cafes, professional baristas (whose coffee know-how has elevated to minor celebrity status) will happily talk beans and machines while carefully tending to your brew. And, not content to simply perfect the cafe creme, these caffeine gurus are riding the 'third wave' of coffee, at the crest of which are pourovers, syphons and clovers and cold-drip coffees. Next to an old-school Gaggia these new coffee machines look more like Beaker's lab equipment but promise a perfect drop.

Need your special single origin at home? Specialty roasters are springing up faster than ever and most of the best cafes sell their supplier's coffee, so it's easy to bag locally roasted beans to take home. Look out for local favourites Padre, Seven Seeds, St Ali, Five Senses and Di Bella.

Learn the lingo and find the best brews here:
Syphon: Water goes up contraption; coffee comes down thanks to vacuum wonderment. Clean coffee that highlights subtle characteristics.
Clover: Expensive machine gives spot-on, customised plunger-style coffee, preserving the characteristics.

Cold drip: A 12-24-hour drip-by-drip brewing process reduces bitterness. Drink cold.
Pourover: Finely ground coffee infused through a cone, giving you a clean drink.

Best breakfast spots
Variety is the Coco Pops to your Rice Bubbles, and you'll get the best get up and go after trying out a new breakfast spot.
The first meal of the day should be comforting. Reliable options include the enduring Birdman Eating, Min Lokal and Auction Rooms, as well as cityside Hardware Societe and Cumulus Inc.

If you're feeling adventurous, hit Victoria Street, Richmond for pho, or yum cha in Chinatown. Jump across the globe to Sonido for breakfast arepas. If modern Scottish cuisine qualifies as exotic, check out Marmalade and Soul.

This is Melbourne, so coffee needs its own mention. Your best cafe bets are those that prioritise the bean (often sourcing and roasting their own). Try Dead Man Espresso, Seven Seeds, Market Lane or a stand-up brew at Patricia.

As crisp days lead into cool nights, Melbourne pubs provide perfect sanctuary. Catch a band, shoot some pool, or settle by an open fire and feast on hearty fare.

Union Club Hotel
Slurp down some wine in the sunny beer garden, shoot some pool or soak up the DJ sounds. Pub nosh will tame those with an appetite.

Retreat Hotel
Funky, laidback and grungy, this pub attracts drinkers who share similar qualities. DJs and bands play at the back. The huge beer garden is a crowd magnet in summer.

The Standard Hotel
tandard by name but not by nature, this place doesn't subscribe to mediocrity when it comes to the duties behind precious, hallowed pub life. Far from being an average, run-of-the-mill Fitzroy local, the Standard raises the bar in terms of service, food and vibe.

Physically, it sports an unpretentious colonial feel and an enormous, renovated beer garden, punctuated with lush green foliage, a fish pond and a bubbling water feature. The beer garden wraps around the back of the pub, lit with coloured bulbs and is often filled to the brim with chatting clusters of 20, 30 and 40-somethings. This area also has a retractable roof, so drinkers can enjoy the sky setting or some coverage, depending on how the weather behaves.

Those with an appetite can call on the kitchen, which serve up staples such as classic steak sandwich or chicken parma and chips, as well as gourmet curiosities such as pepper-crusted kangaroo. The non-smoking dining area is typically filled with families and large jovial groups, and the bar itself is invariably lined with loyal, regular barflies perched on stools with their lips curled over the rims of pint glasses.

Edinburgh Castle
Fancy by name but not by nature, this unpretentious pub welcomes all, but is particularly popular with pool players wanting to shoot and sink their way to victory.
Write your comment now