11 Best Melbourne Foods You Must Try

soft shell crab burger hammer & tong melbourne

Melbourne is the hallmark of great coffee and home to some of the most inspirational cafes. Many have benchmarked the cafes in Melbourne to their own country’s; some were even inspired by them to set up their own. Without doubt, cafe-hopping has got to be one of the reasons why you are/ will be in Melbourne for. Even if you have no intention to cafe-hop, you will leave Melbourne a full convert.

Being such a bustling city, there is a plethora of eateries – from little local hideouts to upscale restaurants and franchise stores. Plethora is an understatement. In retrospect, I wish I had done the food research before stepping foot into Melbourne, but coming directly from our New Zealand trip, there simply was no time to. There is such an infinite number of food choices in Melbourne, that I feel faint every time it came to picking a place for lunch or dinner. So much so that I always had to turn to my trusty food guru, Jeannie.


Seeing that there’s no better person than Jeannie to recommend some of the tried and tested foods in Melbourne, we’ve come together to pick out 11 of Melbourne’s best food finds for any first-timer.

BRUNCH in Melbourne

1. The Hardware Societe

This French-inspired cafe is one of the bigger hits in Melbourne right now. Even with alfresco and indoor dining options, seats quickly fill up once doors are open.

the hardware societe melbourne

Upon stepping in, our moods were instantly lifted by the vibrant interior decoration. Wall plasters of butterflies and low-hanging fairy lights further enhance the atmosphere, making The Hardware Societe the perfect get-together cafe. What struck me most was how colourful the tea cups were, that I couldn’t help but order one cup for myself!

baked eggs the hardware societe melbourne

Their Baked Eggs dish (above) has been much raved, and you are given a choice of vegetable or chorizo sausage together with your eggs. Pictured above is the baked eggs-chorizo sausage combo.

the hardware societe melbourne

Ever seen a black burger? We haven’t, and since this queer squid ink Lobster Benedict dish stood out from the menu, we had to order it! It turned out to be interesting all right, at least aesthetically-wise.

The portions were debatable. While the Baked Eggs dish filled two hungry and cold stomaches heartily, the Lobster Benedict dish didn’t seem to do as well as the former.

120 Hardware St

Mon - Fri: 7.30am - 3pm
Sat - Sun: 8.30am - 2pm

2. Top Paddock

blueberry ricotta hotcake Top paddock melbourne

Who can resist an explosion of colours on their Blueberry & Ricotta Hotcake with berries, maple syrup, cream and seeds? While this cafe is further out of town in Richmond, this is why everyone would go through the complicated subway-bus route for.

If you haven’t tried such a hotcake before, be warned: it is very, VERY filling. Because it’s so dense, it fills you up quickly, as quickly as when you reach one-fifth of the cake. Even if you came on an empty stomach, I guarantee you can’t stomach more than half of it. As such, it’s best enjoyed with a group of friends. Many others have jumped on the hotcake bandwagon and replicated this dish (especially in Singapore!), but truth be told, here’s where it all began.

Top Paddock is a spacious compound, with plenty of natural light and greenery to cosy up in the cafe, whether you like it indoors or out. Apart from the hotcakes, they serve up decent cafe food too.

top paddock menu melbourne

658 Church St, Richmond

Mon-Fri: 7am - 4pm
Weekends: 8am -4pm

3. Operator 25

Operator 25 surprises with us with an Asian Fusion twist to classic cafe food, blending familiar cafe staples with Asian ingredients in a cohesive harmony. Their all day breakfast menu ranges from light-hearted breakfast tortillas filled with scrambled eggs, bacon, aged cheddar, herb oil, sweet corn and salsa, to heavy ones like the pressed lamb shoulder and belly.

operator 25 melbourne

Our favourites were the Japanese Open Omelette with smoked cod, infused with soy sauce, mirin, shitake mushrooms and topped with bonito flakes and fried enoki (above, background) and the BBQ Pork Benedict with crispy wanton skin (above, foreground).

Click here for Operator 25’s menu.

25 Wills St

Mon - Fri: 7am - 4pm
Sat - Sun: 9am - 4pm

4. Hammer and Tong

Located in the suburb of Fitzroy (where you can find lots of outlet shopping and hipster cafes, complete with artistic graffiti everywhere), it’s a great place to stop by for coffee and mid-day fuel.

soft shell crab burger hammer & tong melbourne

They are known for their innovative brunch dishes, like their Soft Shell Crab Burger (above) and their Breakfast Ramen. The Soft Shell Crab Burger got us wishing the crab was more meaty, while the Breakfast Ramen was refreshing and fulfilling with its large bowl portion.

hammer & tong menu melbourne

412 Brunswick St

Mon - Sun: 7am-4pm

5. Auction Rooms

A favourite amongst the locals for its affordable brunch prices, both their food and coffee are on par to be the cafe’s highlights.

auction rooms melbourne

Special mention goes to their corned beef brisket & potato hash with shredded cabbage & leek, poached eggs, grilled pita and Sriracha hollandaise (above). As strange as the dish sounds, their tastes were put together in the perfect blend.

Don’t miss their homemade beverages – an adventurous choice would be their Malted Hot Chocolate.

If you feel a tinge of longing for their coffee, don’t leave without snapping some of their coffee beans. Auction Rooms has an entire wall filled with a selection of these beans to buy off the rack, so pick your choice already!

Click here for Auction Rooms’ menu.

103-107 Errol St
Mon - Fri: 7am - 5pm         
Sat - Sun: 7.30am - 5pm

SNACKS in Melbourne

6. Queen Victoria Market

queen victoria market melbourne

Queen Victoria Market is the go-to market for all kinds of affordable shopping. It’s a huge outdoor market, with over 10 lanes of stalls selling anything and everything – from souvenirs, to apparels, leather products, toys, fruits, cheese, salami, wine and not to forget, real food. Be spoilt for choice by their wide selection of comfort food at extremely low prices.

Some food recommendations include the Borek, a Turkish version of a meat pie. Also, if you’re a sausage-lover, The Bratwurst Stall brings back the true goodness of German sausages.

Click here to download the map of Queen Victoria Market.

513 Elizabeth St

Tue, Thu: 8am - 2pm
Fri - Sat: 8am - 3pm
Sun: 9am - 4pm
Closed on Mondays and Wednesdays.

7. Manchester Press

Famous bagels? You got it. The bagels from Manchester Press are the perfect fuel for your next road trip. They have a wide selection of bagels, including open and closed variations, and also offer sweet ones in the breakfast section.

bagel manchester press melbourne

Our favourite is the salami with brie cheese bagel, a delectable mix of the two flavours, with the cranberry jam provided at the side to give a sweet finish to the bite.

Expect queues especially on weekends and at lunchtimes, because this trendy cafe is well-placed between offices and the university.

8 Rankins Lane

Mon - Fri: 7am - 5pm
Sat: 9am - 5pm

DINNER in Melbourne

8. Ying Thai 2

Ying Thai 2 is well-known among the Asians, for it stirs up authentic Thai flavours. With native Thai waiters attending to you, it’s easy to momentarily forget you’re in Australia!

Their Thai coconut rice has got to be the most unforgettable dish I’ve ever tried in my life, and might I say, I’m not exaggerating. The rice was so fragrant and incredibly sweet that you could eat the rice simply on its own.

Green Curry dishes, Pad Thai and chicken wrapped in pandan leaves were other popular choices at this outlet.

110 Lygon St

Tue - Sun: 12pm - 10pm
Closed on Mondays.

DESSERT in Melbourne

9. Pidapipo

Rumoured to serve the best gelatos in Melbourne, this gelato shop serves up an eclectic mix of flavours. Think avocado and lime, rose, coconut, ricotta and fig and Nutella swirl. Made from scratch daily, Pidapipo uses quality ingredients from around the world, such as pistachios from Sicily and hazelnuts from Piedmont.

Some queue for over 20 minutes just for a taste of it – surely that says something about their gelato?

299 Lygon St

Mon - Sun: 12pm - 11pm

10. Spring Street Grocer

While they serve eat-in or take-away sandwiches and bagels at their sandwich bar as well as organic fruits and vegetables, we are here for their gelato! If you’re missing out on the gelatos from Italy, you can have a taste of them here.

cheese the spring street grocer melbourne (Source)

Also, cheese-lovers, rejoice! They have their very own cheese cellar available for tasting, with a smorgasbord of different cheese selections available in Australia.

157 Spring St

Operating hours differ for their cheese cellar, sandwich bar, gelateria and
 grocer. Check website for more details.

COFFEE in Melbourne

11. Little Rogue

little rogue melbourne (Source)

Little Rogue is a small local coffee shop nestled unassumingly in a laneway on Drewery Lane. It hides so expertly at the back alley that you can only count on the locals to attest for their great coffee blends. If you manage to find it (it’s not easy, we admit), we promise it’ll be worth it!

Through the cute blue-framed door, local paintings are hung on this shop for sale. Because it’s such a tight space within the coffee shop, you’ll be leaving the shop having made a friend or two.

Their Matcha Green Tea Latte seems to be the hit, but don’t miss out on the classic coffee tastes too.

12 Drewery Lane

Mon - Fri: 7.30am - 6pm
Sat - Sun: 9am - 6pm


These 11 selections have got me all excited about food in Melbourne again! Are there any other fabulous food finds that I should be adding on to this list?


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24 Comment

  1. Candy says: Reply

    Maybe someday I can eat my way around this country.

    1. Australia has a really solid cafe culture. You can’t help but indulge in some of their finest foods and coffee!

  2. Bella says: Reply

    Wow everything looks so so good!!! My mouth is watering just looking at it all.


    1. I’m taking that as a compliment! 😛

  3. The food in Australia was so good! I was only in Melbourne for 3 days but loved everything I had.


    1. What were your highlights in Melbourne Kirsten? I was there for 3 days too. It honestly felt too short!

  4. Ashley says: Reply

    Yum! This all looks so good!

    1. It must be the pictures huh? 😛 Love the ambience of some of these cafes too!

  5. I am headed to Australia this September so this article couldn’t have been more perfect. Added a few of these to our itinerary 😉

    1. I’m glad you chanced upon this so timely! Have fun and I look forward to seeing your adventures there!

  6. Amy says: Reply

    You had me at cafe hopping! Those dishes look divine, not sure if I could order a burger that had anything to do with squid ink, but I’m all over the gelato!

    1. Another foodie too, aren’t you? 😉 It’ll be great if you have company, so you can all share the delicious foods that the cafes offer. It’s such a pain to narrow down the amazing food selections to just one!

  7. All of the food looks really good. I particularly like the dish from Top Paddock.

    1. Hell yeah! It’s very colourful and inviting, but the pancake was really dense. Definitely a dish for sharing!

  8. Tarah says: Reply

    Wow, some of those brunch spots look delicious!

    1. Hi Tarah! Hehe yeah! Have you tried any of these? 🙂

  9. Never had chorizo with my baked eggs, but actually sounds delicious! And love the butterfly wall too, never seen anything like that before.

  10. Queen Victoria Market looks pretty cute : )

  11. Oh I love Melbourne! The cafe scene there is awesome and so many places to choose for dinner, all the little alleyways, it’s so awesome! Can’t wait to go back again one day.

  12. Conor says: Reply

    Oh fantastic, had the pleasure of eating in Auctions Rooms when I was in Melbs, so cool to see it listed here 😀 Suuuuuch an awesome city!

  13. The baked eggs look fabulous! Oh, and anything from Operator 25. These are some wonderful looking dishes.

  14. This all looks amazing! I have a friend in Melbourne that I’ll pass this list along to!

  15. Rose says: Reply

    Goodness! These all look extremely delicious. I especially like the baked eggs dish. Thank you for sharing!

  16. […] from around the world, you can get virtually any cuisine you want here. To make things easier, Bel Around The World has come up with a guide to some of the best places to eat in Melbourne. I used to live in Fitzroy and definitely agree that you should try Hammer and Tong, as well the […]

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