The best cafes, restaurants, bars, shops and events in the Melbourne CBD.


  • The fiery Southeast Asian diner Melburnians and tourists have been queuing for since 2011. So why's it still such a hit after all these years? The service remains fast and efficient; the energy is always high; and Benjamin Cooper's food continues to nail that sweet spot between flavour, tradition and fun.

  • This bar and restaurant inside Curtin House is all about agave-based spirits – but the food's no afterthought. Baja-style rockling tacos, achiote chicken quesadillas and Mexican doughnuts with salted espresso dulce de leche all go dangerously well with a margarita or the spicy riff on a pina colada.

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  • Chris Lucas’s crown jewel on the top floor of Kisume presents one of the city’s most unique dining experiences.

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  • This is one of Melbourne's best Japanese restaurants. It's certainly its most ambitious. There's a New York-style sushi bar at street level, a pumping izakaya-style basement and an upstairs private dining room – Kuro – for intimate kaiseki-style meals.

  • There aren’t many Melbourne restaurants left where they’ll open the door for you, pull out your chair and fold a napkin on your lap. Impeccable service is a fine backdrop to a three-course meal of traditional Italian decadence.

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  • Starting in the 1940s as a place for migrant waiters to unwind after a shift, this Melbourne icon still serves reliably good pastas and desserts. There’s nothing fancy here – just good wine in glass tumblers, humble family-run hospitality, and a chalkboard menu of hearty Italian classics.


  • First-time operators draw on “mindful hospitality” to create a calm and minimalist spot in the former Rustica space. Come for slow-cooked Japanese curry and a strawberry shortcake with a “cloud-like” cream.

  • Welcome to matcha heaven, where cookies, chiffon cake, babka and more are all given a splash of green. There’s also ceremonial-grade matcha and ice-cream from Kori.

  • Look for the rabbits to find this small bakery, which nods to Korea’s many self-service cafes. Head in for dramatic pastries and theatrical drinks. Think “lava” pandoros, matcha-chocolate canelés and purple sweet potato lattes.

  • Legend has it Pellegrini’s was the recipient of Melbourne’s first espresso machine in ’54. Now a Bourke Street icon, its appeal is evident in the diverse clientele: office workers, theatregoers, students and tourists all chasing hearty pastas and watermelon granita.

  • A day-to-night bakehouse and brasserie serving sourdough and laminated pastries in the mornings, and refined dishes by an ex-Gimlet chef around lunch. It’s by the group behind Sunda and Aru.

  • This casual Korean eatery serves up lesser-known dishes like yukhoe bibimbap and mandu-guk. The menu runs the full gamut of flavours and textures, from fermented and fiery to crisp, cool and refreshing.


  • The rooftop bar at the Quincy Hotel on Flinders Street offers 360-degree views of Melbourne CBD, all the way to the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay. Come for cocktails and small plates inspired by the punchy flavours of Southeast Asia.

  • In a timber-panelled room that feels of another time, get ready for four types of Martini, a daily menu of shellfish on ice, and a stand-out crème caramel dessert.

  • Melbourne’s favourite floating bar is back, drawing inspiration from the vibrant colours of Mexico. Float by for tacos and tortillas, Margaritas every way, a pool area with double day beds, and plenty of open-air dancing.

  • This dark and moody spot celebrates a bygone era of late-night drinking and dining. Come for an inventive cocktail menu inspired by Beethoven’s fifth symphony, rare spirits and wild boar croquettes.

  • Spanish food served with genuine flair.

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  • This wine bar and music hub, in a heritage-listed theatre, feels like a hidden cave. Come for its lo-fi wines, DJs and fun vibes. The best part? The vintage Altec Landing sound system that once graced the Sydney Opera House.


  • Find Filipino flavours at this playful dessert spot in Chinatown. Its menu is projected onto the curved, sky-blue ceiling. And it has flavours like ube (purple yam), mango float and champorado (rice pudding) – in scoops, tubs or pillowy bread buns.

  • Around since 2010, this high-end shop sells some of the world’s most exclusive trainers and streetwear. The dramatic and futuristic space pushes the boundaries of retail design, and is complete with an in-house cafe.

  • Anthony Bourdain called the original in Sydney “the most beautiful butcher shop in the world”. Its Melbourne outpost has all the same opulence: dark-green marble floors, a wall of solid pink Himalayan salt blocks and vintage 1930s slicers.

  • Chic, hyperfunctional luggage and accessories in eye-catching colours are what you get at this minimalist store from the popular online brand.

  • A luxe vintage clothing shop in Melbourne's iconic Block Arcade. Here, you'll find an assortment of Australian and international vintage and designer garments – and the stories behind them, too.

  • Set inside the iconic Nicholas Building, this is one of Melbourne's most famous vintage shopping destinations. It's a treasure trove that calls for a good hour to hunt through its racks of mostly ’80s and ’90s denim, tees, dresses, overalls and more.