Where to Eat and Drink in Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne’s dining scene is buzzing thanks to the city’s trademark creativity and multicultural mind-set. Here, the food is inspired, paying homage to the past while drawing from wide-ranging contemporary influences.

122 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Dark and dashing Embla is a wine bar with some serious culinary credibility. The decor at this saloon-like CBD spot is somewhat standard—exposed brick, dark wood, blackboards, and copper lights—but the extensive wine list is consciously more experimental, comprising obscure and unusual Australian vintages, plus cult international picks. Designed to pair with the wine, menu items change frequently to make the most of seasonal ingredients, but typically include refined options like rainbow trout with watercress and charred broccoli, and an elevated version of roast chicken.
647 Chapel St, South Yarra VIC 3141, Australia
This temple to sweets is the work of world-renowned confectioner Darren Purchese, who produces some of the most mouthwatering and magnificently beautiful cakes you’ll find anywhere. A long glass counter holds petits fours, tarts, and gâteaux that look almost too pretty to eat. The selection changes monthly to make the most of seasonal ingredients, but if they’re available, order the layered lamington and chocolate-caramel-and-tonka-bean éclair. Should you be celebrating something special, larger cakes and custom creations are also available.
215 Queen St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Caffe e Torta is a nice little place for breakfast or lunch, operated by a charming family. All four of us in our party enjoyed breakfast. I loved my poached eggs and smoked salmon. The cafe is located at the end of the Royal Arcade, at Little Bourke. Would highly recommend next time you are in Melbourne.
Queen St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Melbourne’s market culture is obviously very much alive and, in the case of Queen Victoria Market, has been since the 1870s.

Food stalls to try: Börek; Bratwurst Shop & Co.; American Doughnut Kitchen; Gozleme Turkish Café; Le Croissant des Halles; Pizza by Nature; La Cantina; Sushi Kissaten; Pide Bread Bakery; Spanish Donut Van.

This appeared in the May 2014 issue.
247 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Melbourne knows no bounds for its love of coffee, so it can be hard to choose where to get your caffeine fix. Dukes is one of the best, roasting their own ethically sourced beans, and its expert baristas will brew any style coffee you’d like, from a bold, rich latte to a crisp and clean filter coffee.
349 Little Bourke Street
This Melbourne institution sells a range of high-quality, long-lasting and practical luggage, from camera and laptop bags to backpacks and suitcases, made using heavy-duty materials like truck tarpaulin canvas, seat belts and deep-sea diving buckles. The messenger bags are a favorite, testament to the founder’s former career as a bicycle courier; you’ll see locals wearing them all around town.
16 Russell Pl, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Located in the East End of Melbourne is a creative cocktail bar called Bar Ampere. According to chef Victor Liong of Ho Lee Fook in Melbourne. “Bar Ampere is great for an aperitif or a night cap.”

Both the bar and kitchen are open until 3 a.m. each night, making it an excellent place to swing by for a late night drink and bite to eat. Don’t miss the steak sandwich with onion jam or the crispy ham and cheese croquettes. Though, of course, the drinks are the main reason we know you’ll be headed here.
66 Hunter St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
The most stunning dining room in celebrity chef Neil Perry’s restaurant empire has got to be Rockpool Bar & Grill in Sydney. Seated amid soaring green marble columns and Art Deco windows in a space designed by Emil Sodersten, diners can choose between the finest steaks, seafood, cocktails, and wines—more than 3,000 of them—that Australia has to offer. Dry-aged beef and sustainable fish are simple yet succulent, cooked over an open flame or in the wood-fired rotisserie. Start with the signature Four Raw Tastes of the Sea before savoring the Wagyu or Cape Grim steak, or opt for classy appetizers and cocktails in the candlelit bar, adorned with 2,682 hanging Riedel riesling glasses.
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
National Parks