The magic of Melbourne includes it’s multi-cultural diversity and that is why I can recommend a lot more than 5 great places to eat.
The city expanded rapidly in the mid-1800s due to a massive gold boom. People from far and wide settled and communities of one sort or another settled here. More recently the relaxation of the white-only immigration policy in the later half of the 20th Century also spurred a flood of diverse cultural settlement.
Melbourne city is now a flood of cafés and restaurants with something to please every budget and appetite.
China Town is based in the heart of the CBD (Central Business District) and is located in the eastern part of the CBD on Little Bourke Street. Whilst it runs across various blocks the heart of it can be found between Swanston Street and Russell Street. The decorations and buzz of the place will show that you’ve found the right spot.
Whilst heavily influenced by Chinese immigrants you may also discover other Asia type cuisine down this street, particularly if you like Thai food.
Did you know that Melbourne has the third highest Greek population of any city in the world, yes the world! Just to put that in perspective, Athens is no.1 and Melbourne is no. 3. So the Greek population here is larger than many cities in Greece itself.
Greek tradition is honoured and celebrated in the Greek Precinct. This runs parallel to China Town and is on Lonsdale Street. A keen eye will help you identify Greek designs in the pavement and along the road side.
There are plenty of traditional Greek restaurants so get ready for things to get meze.
Just north of the CBD lies Lygon Street, referred to by locals as “Little Italy”. This place is a buzz of activity at night so make sure you arrive early or book in advance. There is a wide selection of pizza and pasta houses which the Melbournese just love.
Just a few streets east of Little Italy lies the very popular Brunswick Street. In keeping with the European theme you’ll find Tapas bars in a place styled on Northern Spain’s famous Pinxtos bars.
I called into one of these Tapas bars on a Sunday evening and stayed for hours as there was live Spanish guitar music. I had a great time.
Melbourne city was transformed in the 1980s and 1990s when side streets were changed from delivery truck lanes to a hustle and bustle of street cafés, restaurants and entertainment venues. No place sums this up better than Hardware Lane. Located on the west side of the CBD between Bourke Street and Lonsdale Street.
Many cafés have outdoor seating and the place is rocking at night time. Music plays and the beer flows as the noise rises from conversation and laughter. This place is always sure to guarantee an atmosphere.
Just down from the CBD across the Yarra River is the Southbank Promenade. A long leisurely stroll along the waterfront will see you come across some high class hotels and restaurants plus plenty of examples of street theatre to entertain.
The restaurants are often priced in keeping with this affluent location however like most of Australia the seafood is divine.
Recently renovated the Docklands on the west side of the CBD is full of unique shops, award winning restaurants and stylish bars and cafés. It really is a great place to relax and watch the world go by as you dream of owning that fancy yacht moored right beside your table window. Don’t head there if you are short of time because you’ll want to stay for hours and crack open the wine.
There are many more fabulous places and food styles to be found. Melbourne is an eaters heaven.
You’ll find so many cuisines including Indian, Indonesian, Malay, Thai and Vietnamese as well as traditional Aussie food of pies or Chicken Parma. You never have to venture far in the city to find great food.
Eating, drinking and people watching is just part of the magic of Melbourne.
If you want to read more on my Magic of Melbourne series you can find some popular articles here: