Consistently voted Melbourne’s best, this Chinese restaurant was first opened in 1975. A combination of traditional Cantonese cooking, modern innovation and the finest ingredients has to make this one of the best Chinese restaurants in the world. Honestly! Wine list is also excellent. Main course around $A40
17 Market Street, City
OK, so the guide book will tell you that this strip isn't the same since the yuppies/students/wannabe cool people moved in, but it still offers a rainbow concoction of fine eateries, dusty booksellers, gelaterias and wacky florists. Add to that an unmanageable range of places to drink: you can't do it in a day, never mind a night.
Sesame seed and honeycomb ice-cream anyone? Head to the 'clinical' Trampoline for cheap, light and supersmooth gelato, or late lunch at Bimbo’s, where you can get pizza (I went for the vegan pumpkin and pine nut with soy cheese) and a beer for $5 - that's £2 - until 5pm. For dinner, Vegie Bar is a real find - even for the strictest carnivore, or try the Morrocan Soup Kitchen for some of the most amazing food you'll ever taste. There's no menu - not even a specials board, you're just told what's cooking. I ate like a queen for $15. It's on the far end of Brunswick Street, furthest from the city. It's busy, so you'll have time to check out some of the great bars nearby while you wait for a table.
Really, do spend a day here, there's more than enough to do and see. Explore the side-streets (especially Gertrude Street) and you really feel like you're seeing the city. Somehow you know that if you lived here you'd end up spending a lot of time on this strip. Just make sure you arrive hungry!
Brunswick Street is in Fitzroy, northeast of the CBD. Head towards the Melbourne Museum and you aren't far, otherwise take the tram: 112 runs the length of the street, or the 86 which crosses it at Gertrude Street
It's the most fantastic classic Italian espresso bar, and the perfect place to spend an hour or so - whether for a coffee at its long sleek bar, or for a bowl of steaming home-made pasta round the kitchen table, cooked in front of you by Italian mammas. Everybody who is anybody goes there.
Bourke Street, Melbourne (nearest station: Parliament) Open Mon-Sat 8am-11.30pm, Sun 12 Noon-8pm Tel 03 9662 1885 No URL but a review can be found here www.miettas.com/Australia/Victoria/Melbourne/PellegriniS.html
Block Arcade is an old shopping arcade tucked away in the inner part of Melbourne. It has been refurbished and all its 19th century fittings restored. It originally was a place to shop but these days also has the obligatory cluster of cafes (lots of them!)
Melbourne city centre, between Collins St and Little Collins St (a short walk from Flinders St station);
There is nothing like eating by the beach, but when the beach is St Kilda the only place to eat in Melbourne is The Stokehouse. Fab food, laid-back atmosphere and literally a hop, skip and a jump to the sea. What more could you want?
Just so you feel like you fit in, I'll give you a couple of tips. Lunch at The Stokehouse should be eaten downstairs in the Bistro because the buzz is better. Also, you are seated by a waiter, who takes your drink order then leaves you to contemplate the menu which is on a board by the kitchen. This is also where you order and pay and collect your cutlery. Sounds like a canteen but it is a brilliant system which works. You meals are then delivered to your table by the staff.
I'd skip the deserts at The Stokehouse and wander down Acland Street for the best ice-cream on the planet - 7 Apples. It is at the top of Acland Street on the right-hand side. I dream about this place.
30 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda; www.stokehouse.com.au/
Just out of Melbourne. The best place in Oz for seeing Australian wildlife. The Healsville Santuary. Worth seeing just for the Tasmanian devil. Afterwards walk down Victoria Street. Richmond for great Vietnamese cuisine.
The Portsea Hotel (aka the Portsea pub) has one of the best outlooks of any pub in the world. It’s a favourite of those who live in Portsea, as well as those visiting. Drives to the Mornington Peninsula end at the pub, motorcyclists arrange their rides to end at the pub. The views are awesome, and the food and service are very good. Eat in the restaurant or outside in the beer garden. They also offer accommodation.
3749 Point Nepean Rd (Nepean Hwy), Portsea. It’s on the right-hand (beach) side as you enter Portsea.
tel: (03) 59842213
I love breakfasts in Melbourne but some places are more special than others. My personal favourite is Mario's. The breakfast is second to none and the coffee is excellent and served the way it should be.
303 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy; Take tram No 11 which runs down Collins Street; Open: Sun-Wed 7am-Midnight, Thur-Sat 7am-1am
Melbourne is one of the few cities left in the world with its original tram network and we are lucky to have some of the original tram cars (modernized for safety and comfort) turned into high-class travelling restaurants. These dark burgundy coloured trams can be seen negotiating the roads of Melbourne at lunch times and dinner times daily.
They present a very high level of dining with the only restriction being the number of choices for each course (the kitchen and the cooking facilities on board are restricted in size obviously).
You travel behind tinted glass sightseeing Melbourne whilst enjoying your meal with a glass of wine. A booking is essential.
The trams leave and return to the terminus in South Melbourne opp. the western end of the Crown Casino, cnr Clarendon and Normandy Sts Southbank
Melbourne sits on a great bay and having a meal as the sun descends in the west across the water is a great dining experience. There are many places especially on the eastern side, from the bistros, pubs and restaurants of the peninsula towns of Portsea and Sorrento or Mornington to the elegant dining of Donovans at St Kilda, Sails on the Bay at Elwood, the restored Brighton Baths or Windows by the Bay at Mordialloc.
Closer to town at Port Melbourne, the London or Graham are not to be missed. Eat out at the St Kilda Pier or sit in the Espy and have a beer. The view from Number 1 Fitzroy St is worth cost of the dining experience.
South-east of the CBD... along the shoreline of Port Philip Bay
This is the best place to have breakfast in Melbourne, according to me. Take a seat at one of the old tables and choose from coffee, sandwiches or pastries. I spent two weeks in Melbourne and had a breakfast of French toast (brioche dipped in egg and fried), a mocha and fresh apple juice.
23 Degraves Street, opposite Flinders Street station.
Home of one of Australia’s best loved chefs and author of the classic cooking tome ‘The Cook’s Companion,’ Stephanie Alexander’s café is currently only opened for breakfast and lunch. You can also buy a huge range local and imported deli goods and hand-made local cheese from the adjoining larder and cheese shop. Main dishes around $A15.
48-50 Bridge Rd, Richmond www.rhcl.com.au
Great for lunch. Go to the deli section, order a pie, sandwich, coffee etc. They have Greek, Italian, Vietnamese - you name it. Then find a seat in the alley out back and they will bring it to you. It is a sunny spot if the weather is fine. Afterwards you could stock up on bargain souvenirs to take back home. There is often some kind of street theatre going on too. It is a lively, vibrant place and definitely should be included on a visit to Melbourne.
Don’t miss the selection of cake shops on Acland Street in the beach resort of St Kilda, only a short tram ride from the city centre but well worth a stroll - so many chocolate and cream delicious items in consecutive windows, you’ll want to try (and fail to finish) more than one.
Eclectic, brash, irritatingly bright and tasteless. That's just the pool table. Even better, if they are still running the bingo nights, you have to go. That's right, bingo. Just go, you will have an experience to savour. No guidebook mentions this place and I feel a little guilty about this hidden gem but surely nothing could ruin it.
605 Victoria Street, Abbotsford
The best of Melbourne can be eaten and drunk on a quiet block of Kerr Street in Fitzroy, between Brunswick and Smith Streets.
On the corner with Napier Street is Cafe Ici. Always crowded but without the lines-out-the-door like Bubka's on Brunswick Street, Ici's ideal for breakfast, brunch and, in the summer months, evening tapas. They run a special line in hot chocolate too, so be sure to check out the menu.
On the next corner of Kerr Street there's the marvellous Marquis of Lorne pub. Cosy, backstreet and quintessentially Fitzroy, the Marquis has a pool room downstairs, dedicated dining upstairs and a roaring open fire in the middle bar in the winter. All local beers and draught Guinness on tap. Why would you go anywhere else?
Kerr Street, Fitzroy, 3065; Take the 112 tram out of Collins Street. Get off at Johnston Street and walk down.
A great all-rounder to finish off a day at the beach or Luna Park, the 'Espy' is bit of a Melbourne institution with a reputation for giving up and coming bands their chance - AC/DC played here when they first started and just about every other famous Aussie band has followed suit. Sit outside on the terrace overlooking the bay or find one of the many shady corners inside to watch the colour acts on the small stage until the big shows start in the main hall. Like most Aussie bars this one also has a slew of pool tables at the back, and serves top-notch food at in-house restaurant The Espy Kitchen.
Lower Esplanade, St Kilda
Dining in Grossi Florentino's Tuscan mural room shows that special-occasion dining in Melbourne is alive and well. The dining room has high, decorated plaster ceilings, chandeliers, dark wood panelling and the murals. Service is a delight from the black dressed waiters with their long white aprons.
Guy Grossi's menu whatever the season is magnificient... and in our case we walked away with a copy of the book on the restaurant... autographed by Guy Grossi himself.
All in all, a memorable dining experience.
And a final note - all this from an establishment that has been there since the early 1900s, which makes it even more amazing!
Address: 80 Bourke St, City 3000
Phone: 9662 1811
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