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

Restaurants

  • At this cool laneway diner, you’ll find many Southeast Asian flavours in thoughtful, nuanced, high-definition dishes. Creations like Sydney rock oysters with tomato sambar and moringa beans add an unmistakeable local accent.

  • 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.

  • The espresso machine stays on till late. But coffee’s not the prime focus at this all-day Lebanese eatery, where you can tuck into a selection of house-made hummus, cured kingfish with toum, snapper with spiced tahini, and more.

  • Book well in advance for this 10-seat omakase spot, which breaks all the right rules of Japanese cuisine. The nigiri-focused menu mixes in Italian and Malaysian flavours, and includes a rare omakase cocktail pairing.

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  • One of Melbourne’s oldest drinking spots, this old boozer has come a long way since 1853. Inside, enjoy hearty pub grub, curries and pasta – all surrounded by lush greenery and old bluestone walls.

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  • This sultry sibling to Sunda is every bit as stellar. The menu effortlessly blends Southeast Asian flavours, native Australian ingredients and ancient techniques.

  • An elegant all-day bar and restaurant in an iconic building.

  • 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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  • A team of season hospo pros, including ex-Lume and Sunda chef John Rivera, are behind this unadultered Filipino restaurant. Try elevated takes on Filipino mainstays including sisig, lechon and halo-halo.

  • This sky-high bar – adjoining Atria in The Ritz-Carlton – harks back to the days when hotel bars were at their most fashionable. The elegant 30-seat spot shakes up antique cocktails using 100-year-old spirits.

  • Two hospitality veterans are behind this small but mighty Greek diner. Order hard-to-find classics like sweetbreads and slow-cooked lamb. Plus, ultra-thick traditional Greek coffee, carafes of wines and beer.

  • A neon-lit Thai joint serving fun, modern twists on the country’s cuisine. Whether you’re here for bottomless brunch or a late-night snack, there are plenty of versatile spaces to drink and dine in. The mezzanine hosts DJs most nights of the week.

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  • Ceree shows that Filipino food is more than just adobo. Hit this homey cafe, restaurant and pantry for lesser-known Filipino dishes, like silog (garlic fried rice), batchoy (noodle soup)and banana-ketchup heavy spaghetti.

  • Andrew McConnell's all-day eating house combines the star chef's typically excellent food with smart interior design. While it's not his most famous venue these days, the polished service, considered wine list and inventive dishes at Cumulus Inc. are still worthy of celebration after all these years.

  • Beautifully executed Japanese (and other east Asian cuisines) by celebrated chef Andrew McConnell. Come for Melbourne's most famous lobster roll, steaming bowls of ramen at lunch, Korean-style barbequed meats and Shanghai dumplings.

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  • Andrew McConnell's signature flair is all over this grand bar and dining room, from the exacting service to the comforting European dishes. It’s named after the classic cocktail, and the calibre of drinks here speaks to that. You’ll find us at the marble bar, Gimlet in hand.

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  • If you’re after the gold standard for Cantonese cuisine in the city, look no further. Flower Drum’s been serving it since 1975. Its low-lit, seductive ambience and consistently impeccable service are reasons to visit alone.

  • One of the most renowned afternoon teas in Melbourne.

  • The restaurant responsible for igniting Melbourne's love for modern Spanish food.

  • At the W Melbourne’s in-house restaurant, Coda chef Adam D’Sylva draws on his Italian-Indian heritage. His globe-trotting menu includes luxed-up lasagna, pasta-less cacio e pepe (a surprising triumph), and spicy duck curry. Plus, an excellent roster of theatrical cocktails.

  • Tipo 00’s younger sibling stretches beyond the pasta bar concept with meat and seafood dishes straight out of a modern Italian osteria. An enormous cellar below stocks Italian necessities like wine and house-cured charcuterie.

  • Moving from Collingwood to the city has only taken this energetic Chinese restaurant to greater heights. Find the discreet entrance off Flinders Lane, then settle in for elegant, big-flavoured dishes drawing influence from all corners of China.

  • Here, owner-chef Mika Chae (a distant relative of chef Jung Eun Chae) draws inspiration from top Korean restaurants and modern Australian fare. Come for marron with garlic butter, or Korean hwae (a Jeju Island-style raw fish dish).

  • At this elegant 16-seat Japanese fine diner, which is inside a giant paper lantern in a Bourke Street basement, you'll find one of the best kaiseki – a traditional degustation-style multi-course meal – experiences in town.

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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.

  • Venetian elegance, New York energy and Melbourne nostalgia collide at restaurateur Chris Lucas’s lavish brasserie and grill. Settle into the grand dining room for charcoal-fired bistecca, show-stopping tiramisu, quintessentially Italian cocktails and lots of tableside theatrics.

  • Gothic vaulted ceilings, stained windows and solid granite columns define this grand brasserie, in the former Melbourne Stock Exchange. Order freshly-shucked oysters from the raw bar, top-grade beef and cheese from the roving trolley.

  • Vue de Monde translates to “worldview” in French – and that’s just what you’ll get at this celebrated fine diner. Perched 55 floors above the city on the Rialto Building’s former observation deck, it boasts an impressive 360-degree vista from Docklands to the Dandenongs.

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  • At this sprawling restaurant by Chris Lucas, there’s an experience for just about every taste. Grab a seat at the marble bar for cocktails, sit in the chandelier-lit dining room to try the luxe European menu, or book one of the striking private dining rooms.

  • Walk down the nondescript staircase and let your eyes adjust. There’s no natural light at this New York-inspired French bistro – that’s why it’s so easy to lose track of time here. It's also home to one of Melbourne's most famous late-night burgers.

  • An Italian eatery tapping into pasta obsessions such as cacio e pepe and seafood linguine, plus protein-heavy mains. It’s designed to feel like an Italian dinner party – so gather your crew and make for the all-seasons rooftop courtyard.

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  • A three-storey Italian joint geared for good times. Head to the first floor for a woodfired pizza feast, or up again to the public bar for lambrusco and pool. The rooftop is one of the city’s best spots to drink with a view.

  • This offshoot of CBD favourite Movida is just as noteworthy, with share-friendly Spanish plates and views out over Bourke Street. Come for refined tapas and paella alongside Spanish wines and cocktails.

  • The sister restaurant to popular Vietnamese-fusion joint Hochi Mama, offering a more traditional take on Vietnamese cuisine.

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  • Hit up this buzzy restaurant for hip-hop, Vietnamese street food and cocktails bedecked with fairy floss or fire. Order its steaming hot curries, seafood and Vietnamese classics, before finishing with pandan-laced desserts. Or bring a group and feast with the banquet.

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  • This sequel to one of Sydney’s top restaurants has the same magic, but with the distinctly Victorian spin. Descend into the smart basement for fire-driven European cuisine, plus a renowned charcuterie program.

  • The prefix for an international call to Italy is a fitting name for this tiny pizzeria (with big European energy). There’s enough pizza variety to satisfy any aficionado and an extensive antipasti selection, if you’re so inclined.

  • Bring a group and choose your adventure at this moody, red-lit Sichuan diner. Feast on all-you-can-eat hotpot cooked at your table. Or order go-to dishes like Sichuan lamb ribs, kung pao chicken and dan dan noodles.

  • A neon-lit Thai diner serving dishes rarely seen outside the country. Order punchy betel leaf wraps, caramelly mackerel and ant larvae soup. Plus, there are lo-fi Australian wines and disposable cameras to capture your night.

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  • This wine-slinging laneway bar was one of Melbourne’s first. Since 1994, it’s developed a loyal following for its expansive wine list, reliable service and Euro-leaning share plates (including an off-menu Portuguese fish stew).

  • You can choose your own adventure at Bomba. Come for tapas and imported Spanish wines at the restaurant downstairs, or escape to the fifth-floor rooftop for cocktails and DJs every weekend. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

  • A vibrant pan-Indian diner that’s proudly “unauthentic”. Sink into a plush booth for sweet-and-sour fried cauliflower, colourful thali and Tandoori-fired-pineapple cocktails before spilling out onto Chinatown after.

  • Longrain started in Sydney in ’95 and came to Melbourne a decade later. Since then, it’s been at the forefront of contemporary Thai dining here. Order a banquet and try favourites like caramelised pork belly and som tam salad.

  • Florentino’s downstairs sibling is a casual, Tuscan-inspired steakhouse powered by a Josper grill. Grill dials down the formality and grandeur, yet retains the mothership’s passion for outstanding produce and Italian values.

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  • Open till very late on weekends, this swish, marble-clad bar and diner is your first port of call at the five-storey Pacific House building. Come for Mediterranean-inspired plates and tapped cocktails before hitting the rooftop.

  • Led by a former Vue de Monde chef, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel’s glamorous 80th-storey restaurant eschews a set menu for the flexibility of à la carte. Come for vegetables cooked with love, a focused wine list, sharp cocktails and, of course, the views.

  • Hidden in a city carpark, this Thai street-food spot has become a cult Melbourne favourite. Brave the queues for aromatic boat noodles, spicy papaya salads, crying tiger (slow-cooked and grilled beef brisket), mixed Thai hotpot and more. Plus, BYO wines from the natural wine shop next door.

  • There were Mexican restaurants before Mamasita, but it was the first one to bring a faithful representation to Melbourne. The “hot babe” has been around since 2010, but its grilled corn and flavoursome tacos still attract queues.

  • At this lively taqueria from the team behind Superchido, confit beef-brisket and birria tacos arrive on your table in about four minutes, warm and crisp. It’s speedy service – just like in Mexico City.

  • Quincy Melbourne’s fun Southeast Asian diner is helmed by a former Chin Chin chef. Come for playful takes on traditional curries, stir fries and dim sum, served in a sleek dining room overlooking Flinders Lane.

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  • This lively cantina is all about home-style Mexican. Expect beef tacos exactly how they’re served in Mexico, prawn-and-chorizo tamales and a jiggly chocolate flan. Plus: eight different Margaritas and hard-to-find agave spirits.

  • Pastuso brings Peruvian flair with a menu of ceviche, grilled meat and plenty of pisco. The dining room is a riot of colour, but we say grab a seat at the marble-clad bar and take in all the action, Pisco Sour in hand.

  • The flavours at celebrity chef Shane Delia’s opulent Maha are familiar, but they’re assembled with more finesse than your average Middle Eastern restaurant. Vibrant mezze, a must-have lamb shoulder and an affordable wine list make this a winner for group dining.

  • This is the first Melbourne location for one of Hanoi’s most famous pho spots. Its signature is the “stir-fried up” rare beef, with lots of garlic in a steaming bowl of broth. There’s also beef brisket, poached chicken and a red-wine pho.

  • Pepe’s is a New York-inspired Italian restaurant. The space has all the terrazzo floors, plump leather booths and dim lighting you could ask for. So grab a Martini, take a seat in one of those booths and scan the menu. Clams Casino? Veal parmigiana? A hot-fudge sundae? It’s hard to go wrong.

  • Pizza from a co-founder of MoVida, Pei Modern and Lee Ho Fook.

  • This 25-seat restaurant is run by a husband-and-wife duo who met while working at Nobu. Order the signature hamburger curry udon, hibachi-grilled yakitori and salmon tartare alongside yuzu cocktails and sake.

  • This Indian diner walks the line between classic and contemporary. Enjoy extravagant dishes from Kerala in the south to Punjab in the north-west, set amongst luxe leather booths and gold ceiling lights. Its well-loved owner also runs Masti in Fitzroy and Eastern Spice in Geelong.

  • This grand Thai restaurant wears a few colourful hats. It aims to bring the street food cultures of Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai to one 200-seat space. Get pantry staples such as salted egg cakes and durian crisps, or grab a seat for charred pork skewers, tom yum soup, boat noodles and Thai beers.

  • Enter the cyberpunk facade to find Chris Lucas’s two-level Japanese diner. Watch chefs turn skewered meat over jumping flames, slurp your noodles and call it good manners (it is in Japan), and sip cocktails named after Tokyo’s neighbourhoods.

  • Head down the laneway next to the GPO for Thai barbeque, towers of beer and hard-to-find bar snacks such as deep-fried duck beaks. Cocktail buckets, live music and a midnight license keep the fun vibes going all night.

  • Luxury and tradition collide at Cecconi’s, where Venetian food is the star of the show. The kitchen grows its own herbs, fruit and vegetables to use across the board, be it a seasonal risotto or garlicky seafood linguine.

  • At this homely restaurant, find popular Thai dishes alongside lesser-known Phuket delicacies. Bring a group and order comforting dishes like pad thai and tom yum as well as specialties including snail coconut southern curry.

  • Hearty ramen for all tastes – from the traditional to the adventurous. Enjoy a classic tonkotsu or spicy ramen, or customise your bowl to an equally impressive vegan or vegetarian option. Chase it all down with a frosty Sapporo.

  • The first Australian location for the revered global ramen chain brings its signature tori paitan soup to Melbourne's CBD. Expect lines around the block for one of its 28 seats, and be rewarded inside with six different ramen options, snacks and sake pairings.

  • A sibling duo are behind this snug Cambodian restaurant, and they want to help Melburnians get better acquainted with dishes from their homeland. Visit for stir-fried “pin” noodles, fragrant rice-noodle soups and more, served until late.

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  • Shujinko is as close as you’ll get to Tokyo in Melbourne’s Chinatown. At this unpretentious noodle house, you can enjoy Tonkotsu-style ramen until late seven days a week. Some gyoza, beer and sake also come recommended.

  • Scott Pickett's take on a mod-French brasserie brings old-world European elegance to a heritage-listed CBD building. There's ritzy deep-green marble, dramatic arched windows and candelabras throughout. Start with black truffle and foie gras toasties, then move onto French-style gnocchi, and finish with a gin-and-raspberry baba.

  • Small, lively and theatrical, this barbeque-powered Thai restaurant is a top spot to try dishes from all over the country, paired with highly complementary beers, wines and cocktails.

  • You know the old-school, untouched-for-decades diners dotted all over the US? This CBD spot is a slick recreation of those retro relics. Go for syrupy pancake stacks, loaded brekkie muffins and filter coffee in classic diner mugs.

  • Indigenous ingredients and cuisine take centre table here – particularly those from Mer Island in the Torres Strait. Enjoy the share plates, which are inspired by chef-owner Nornie Bero’s childhood. Expect buckets of chargrilled prawns, fried crocodile and juicy charred emu. There are also impressive pantry fillers – including spices, sauces and teas – to take home.

  • The Isan street-food-inspired canteen attracts queues for its spicy and sour boat noodles, made from a 30-year-old family recipe, sweet pok pok noodles and traditional desserts.

  • A homely and humble lunchtime affair that spills over to dinner.

  • Descend the art deco staircase inside Melbourne's Le Meridien hotel to find a European restaurant imbued with the glamour of yesteryear. It's all about classic European fare, from a signature beef Wellington to bombe Alaska torched tableside.

  • A casual dining space with one of the finest views in Melbourne.

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  • There are nearly 100 ingredients to choose from at this hotpot joint, and you’ll never lose them in the broth again – just press a button and a hotpot lift will bring all your Wagyu, fish balls and veggies back to the surface.

  • A dependable brasserie serving French classics to the suited and booted.

  • Izakaya are Japanese bars where the eating is just as important as the drinking. That's true at this CBD favourite. There's a selection of drinking-friendly dishes that accompany the excellent sakes and Japanese-influenced cocktails.

  • Indian flavours are far too uncommon at the top-end of dining, an issue Tonka has been smartly redressing for years. The wine list is a cracker, but we're more partial to the smart cocktail menu and its wealth of refreshing, South Asian-inspired mixes.

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  • It’s tricky to pin down Coda’s flavour-punching dishes. Modern Asian? Euro-Vietnamese fusion? Pop in pre-theatre for some scallops and a glass of wine, or do your next special occasion here. Coda is supremely versatile, and one of Melbourne’s best.

  • There are still constant queues during the dinner rush at this buzzing Thai diner. The pay-off is some of Melbourne’s best (and spiciest) Thai food, including more than a dozen kinds of papaya salad, a crowd-pleasing tom yum with instant noodles and mookata, the signature hotpot-barbeque hybrid.

  • Soak up one of Thailand’s most-loved street foods at this laidback, family-run restaurant. It turns out nine versions of chicken rice, including the original with tender skin-on chicken, alongside fragrant rice, cucumber and tao jiew (fermented soybean sauce). Plus, find cold Thai beers, fun cocktails and Australian wines.

  • The sequel to Mr Ramen San's original flagship brings a condensed menu featuring all the hakata-style favourites. Order fast-served bowls of chashu-topped ramen in a silky 12-hour cooked pork broth, or a soup-less bowl of mazesoba ramen. Plus, free noodle top-ups and Japanese beers on tap. Kanpai.

  • A bastion of exemplary Hakata-style ramen in the city centre. Visit for house-made noodles, consistently excellent broths and a creation known simply as the “cocktail draft beer”. If you drink too many, do as the shop prescribes: keep calm, eat ramen.

  • An intimate omakase experience from a group behind Michelin-starred restaurants. Perch at the counter for nine theatrical courses or commandeer the eight-person private dining room. Dishes might include saltwater eel, green-tea soba noodles or decadent Wagyu and foie gras katsu – all expertly paired with Japanese sake.

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  • A late-trading Greek institution in the heart of the city. Since 1987, it's been serving traditional, uncomplicated food including fresh dips, chicken and lamb giros from the spit and a famous range of souvlaki that punters keep coming back for – regardless of the time of day (or night).

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  • While sibling restaurant Farmer’s Daughters is all about Gippsland, this sophisticated eatery brings the best of the entire state’s produce to Melbourne’s epicentre. Find an interactive ingredients table, a 3000-bottle “wine library” and a terrace with river views.

  • The entirely halal diner specialises in Gansu cuisine from northern China. In particular, deeply comforting Lanzhou beef noodle soups with a clear, consommé-like broth and hand-pulled wheat noodles available in nine different widths.

  • A Chinese institution, West Lake has weathered the test of Chinatown's high turnover rates for decades. There’s excellent all-day yum cha, then tasty classics like scallops in XO sauce and stir-fried vegetables until well past midnight. Late-night cravings? Satisfy them here.

  • This double-storey dumpling house is a Melbourne institution. Follow the vast red door to find its iconic pink walls and steaming hot plates of dumplings coming from the kitchen. There’s a sizeable menu of both fried and steamed dumplings, which you might order with Shanghai fried rice and Chinese broccoli drizzled in oyster sauce.

  • Cheap, delicious and fun, as all great malatang joints should be. Fill your golden pot with meat, tofu, noodles and vegetables from the self-serve fridge, then bathe your spoils in hot-and-sour Sichuan-style broth.

  • Next of kin to the popular South Yarra institution.

  • The Sydney favourite brings its famous roti to Melbourne.

  • A classy New York-inspired Italian restaurant complete with white tablecloths, private booths, and comforting Italo-American fare. Go for its for its slow-cooked octopus with cannellini beans; saucy, spicy vodka fusilli with breadcrumbs; or rainbow trout topped with buttery piccata sauce.

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  • A moody laneway pasta bar that well and truly covers the classics – think cacio e pepe pici and guanciale-studded carbonara. Yet it's by no means true to tradition, also serving bright-green seaweed pappardelle with abalone.

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  • This 160-seater used to be a hotpot spot, but now it's a grill-yourself Sichuan restaurant. Come for sizzling skewers, whole grilled cod and dozens of side dishes.

  • After all these years, moody Tipo 00 still attracts queues of people hoping for a taste of its simple yet meticulously assembled pastas. A couple of secondi and dolci also grace the menu, alongside salumi best enjoyed at the marble bar, spritz in hand. Make sure you arrive early – very early – if you don’t have a booking.

  • An Italian-influenced Argentinian spot from the team behind San Telmo and Pastuso. Expect meat and fish cooked over the asado firepit – a specialty here. The layout is a nod to a classic steakhouse, plus there are private rooms for special occasions.

  • Empty stomachs are a prerequisite at this upscale American barbeque joint. Go for the signature share platter, which might include hearty beef brisket, pork shoulder or pulled mushrooms. Pair it with the beer tasting of Australian and American lagers.

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  • Fast Michelin-star food without a hefty price tag. This global chain started in Singapore’s famed hawker canteens and continues to churn out high quality classics like char siu, roast pork and crispy skin roast duck.

  • Eyal Shani’s Israeli pita haven came to Melbourne, via Paris and Vienna.

  • A Michelin-star global dumpling chain that started as a roadside store in Taipei. Intricacy and precision undergird the specialties here (each xiao long bao is folded 18 times). Robots deliver a fast yet impressive menu that features kung pao chicken, wonton soup, noodles, bao and pan-fried seafood.

  • Its revered xiao long bao has drawn crowds since it opened in 2008. Other favourites include spicy wonton and pan-fried dumplings. A reliable classic for no-fuss, high quality dumplings.

  • Chequerboard floors and a meat cabinet create an authentic American diner experience at this fast-casual, hole-in-the-wall burger joint. The menu honours timeless American classics like the Reuben sandwich, chilli dog and cheeseburger. More adventurous carnivores might enjoy a black pudding and devilled egg burger.

  • The world-famous chain has been perfecting its ramen since 1985. It’s loved for its signature hakata ramen (a rich, creamy, pork bone broth with chewy noodles) while its tonkotsu akamaru shinaji ramen is made from a 25-year-old recipe.

  • You’ll find some of the best dumplings in town in an arcade off Chinatown. Don’t let the long line deter you. The staff at this stripped back, all-day Chinese diner keep the queues moving quickly. Shandong is known for its seafood so be sure to add a plate to the order.

  • Descend to the sprawling and busy basement for a menu that honours classic Thai street food. Bring a group and enjoy the share-plate menu that includes pad thai, whole fish soup, seafood platters, papaya salads and plates of barbequed meat. And enjoy the novelty of cat-faced robots serving your food.

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  • Owner Chee Wong quickly made his mother-in-law’s char kway teow (and the special sauce) a hot commodity. Choose one of the seven options of the popular Malaysian hawker dish (including original with prawns, and vegetarian) for a sumptuous midweek meal. No booking? No worries.

  • A bustling eatery tucked down a city arcade that's part of the growing Hu Tong dumpling empire. Ordering a double serve of xiao long bao (one won’t cut it) via touch screen never gets old here.

  • A high-end restaurant serving contemporary Chinese fare in a Melbourne laneway. Though many of these dishes aim to elevate tradition, there’s plenty of nostalgia to be found in xiao long bao and soft-shell crab.

  • Release your inner grill master – or leave the cooking to the pros – at this Sichuan barbeque spot. Your spread might include spicy pork ribs, squid tentacles and, for dessert, matcha tiramisu.

  • You can’t walk past the live seafood tank – one of the largest in the city – without doing a double-take. This Cantonese joint specialises in fresh seafood and seats up to 150 people. Aside from the seafood, the rest of the menu has the usual dim sum favourites. You might eat Peking duck pancakes, fried rice in an omelette pouch, and steamed buns decorated like piglets.

  • Two childhood friends are behind this breezy upstairs Italian spot, which pays homage to the neighbourhood eateries of their hometown with textbook pastas, cacio e pepe toasties and a daily dessert that’s best paired with house-made amaro.

  • A swish restaurant inside the Mövenpick Hotel exploring the future of Asian-Australian dining. Led by a former Longrain chef, it's serving Vegemite-glazed kangaroo skewers and Sri Lankan custard with native sorrel. And at the bar, Pandan Coladas and a rotating selection of street snacks.

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  • An authentic tapas experience.

  • Betty’s is inspired by a famous burger shack from Noosa, Queensland. And while it’s certainly not replicating that spot’s famously low prices, the no-frills burgers here are affordable and tasty. Don’t forget to order some hand-churned, frozen custard ice-cream.

  • Hilton Melbourne's restaurant is the kind of old school, glamorous day-to-night venue that makes dining out feel like an event. The modern Australian menu isn't shy about it's Italian influences – and the dining room alone is worth a visit.

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  • Set inside Chris Lucas’s fine diner, Society, this European-inspired brasserie retains the strong seafood focus of its sibling, but offers it in a more casual space primed for long lunches and late-night cocktails. Pull up at the bar for signature drinks and exceptional drops from Society’s peerless wine cellar.

  • A charming bar from the City Wine Shop team. There are few places in town that manage to balance new-world informality with old-world sophistication, but Kirk’s pulls it off with aplomb. Like the wine list, the European-influenced menu has something for everyone.

  • New York-style pizzas out front; one of Melbourne’s best-kept secrets out back. Once you’ve finished a slice or two, push past the black curtain at the end of the dining room to find a comfy, sitting-room-only bar specialising in classic cocktails.

  • An upmarket New Nordic restaurant occupying two levels of Collins Street’s Gothic 1880s Olderfleet building. Stop by when the sun is up for various smorrebrod, or Scandi open sandwiches. Later on, you’ll find standout savoury waffles, not-your-average beef tartare and other dishes where simplicity tempers innovation.

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  • Rosa Mitchell’s menu is a masterclass in simple and supremely effective Italian cooking. Forget luxe imported ingredients – her unpretentious eatery in the heart of the legal district is all about making local produce sing.

  • Like a fine Italian wine, Becco proves age is no barrier to quality. Focusing on the country as a whole rather than one specific region, the menu at this old-school eatery is a testament to the idea that – a lot of the time – simplicity is best.

  • The retro feel – complete with macramé and terracotta accents – is part of what makes this classic CBD bistro so great. But it’s the crowd-pleasing menu of pizza, pasta and secondi that keeps diners coming back for all manner of occasions.

  • At this CBD stalwart, you'll find old-school service, a lengthy wine list and plenty of classic Italian charm. Dishes here have a Venetian focus, and include a zucchini risotto plus a signature Moreton Bay bug spaghettini. For drinks, opt for a classic Bellini or a parmesan-infused Martini.

  • The tables at Bottega spill out onto the footpath much like they would in Rome or Florence, luring in passers-by with an energetic atmosphere. Mains usually feature produce from owner Denis Lucey’s farm, while an expertly curated wine list offers around 150 bottles from both Australia and Italy.

  • Taking cues from the trattorias of northern Italy, Emilia has you covered for all occasions. Do a casual lunch of tagliatelle alla bolognaise, or come later for a degustation featuring main dishes inspired by Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. It all comes together in a rustic, timber-clad space.

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  • Choose your own adventure at this cosy underground institution. If you fancy casual Italian dining, pull up a table in the cafeteria opposite the bar. For a more refined atmosphere, make your way to the dimly lit trattoria lined with bottles of vino.

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  • The CBD sequel to restaurateur Rinaldo Di Stasio's St Kilda institution goes just as heavy on the hand-made pastas. But it also throws high art into the mix, with video installations and dramatic artworks lining the walls of the restaurant’s brutalist, contemporary interior.

  • Pack into this compact laneway diner for fun, shareable Southeast Asian food and cocktails mixed with the likes of lemongrass and lychee.

  • An Argentinean restaurant and wine bar that features a traditional parrilla barbeque.

  • Situated on Hardware Lane is this outstanding player in the city’s vegan dining scene. The owner-chef riffs on nostalgic Sicilian dishes using plant-based ingredients, served in a converted 19th-century warehouse full of old-world charm.

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  • When it landed in New York, Eater magazine named it the best fried chicken in the city. Now, it's here. It's tender, crisp fried chicken made using a method perfected over nearly 40 years.

  • Fried chicken and beer, Korean style.

  • A burger joint lovingly recreating the best of US-style fast food.

  • Sitting behind a Victorian terrace frontage, this intimate Sri Lankan and South Indian restaurant employs old family recipes, but the menu isn’t strictly traditional. Find hoppers with goat’s curd and pomegranate pearls, dosas with bacon jam, and chai-infused Old Fashioned cocktails.

  • With 20 locations spread across Asia and Australia, this Hong Kong dumpling chain must be doing something right.

  • Offering no-nonsense Cantonese dining in the heart of the CBD, Ling Nan has been satisfying Melbourne’s late-night cravings for around three decades. New location, same must-order XO pippies.

  • Five storeys up, this compact open-air bar offers fruit-forward cocktails and punchy, barbeque-driven Thai food from downstairs sibling BKK. With glass balustrades and dual retractable awnings, it’s the perfect all-weather spot to enjoy city views.

  • A bona fide meat dungeon.

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  • The Garden State Hotel’s good-time Italian eatery takes its cues from the Amalfi coast. Pop in for cacio e pepe arancini, a retro dessert cart and – when you ring the doorbell – Negroni fountains delivered to your table.

  • This pared-back eatery from the Higher Ground, Top Paddock and Liminal team specialises in woodfired dishes that are unfussy, yet easily live up to the gold standard set by their other Melbourne venues.

  • An African beer and barbeque joint in the city.

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  • Dine on the best of Bangkok, Taipei and Shanghai in the glow of red neon.

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  • Tasia and Gracia Seger might be reality TV stars, but their Indonesian restaurant proves their talent is definitely not just for show.

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  • This dim, characterful basement serves a wide range of proper tacos until 3am every night of the week. Do you even need to know more? Okay: there are over 70 mezcals and 20 tequilas on the back bar.

  • This Shanghai-style restaurant’s recipe for xiao long bao has been passed down through the family for more than a century. Get the black truffle and pork version, plus pan-fried pork buns, chicken wontons in chilli-sesame oil and more.

  • The Next Hotel's in-house diner is run by former Saigon Sally, Tokyo Tina and Neptune chefs. The menu skews Italian – with stracciatella-stuffed oxheart tomatoes, crisp chicken-wing parmigiana and Campari-glazed roasted duck. There’s also an intimate barrel room producing aged Negronis and Martinis, and a grandiose cheese-and-charcuterie cabinet.

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  • This three-storey love letter to Gippsland and its produce is by Alejandro Saravia, the chef behind CBD classic Pastuso. There's a deli with house-made pastrami rolls; a suave restaurant with a focus on cooking with flames; and a greenhouse-like rooftop oasis.

  • The second location for a south-side favourite.

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  • Melbourne’s first organic gelato truck has a purist streak you can taste.

  • A spin-off of Rockpool’s famous burger, with high-quality beef for under $10.

  • Panini and handmade Italian sweets make this a sandwich shop worth seeking.

  • Sit at the omakase bar for robata-grilled marron with kombu butter; clam and miso soup; and fried rice amplified with Wagyu, shiitake and cod roe. All in a heritage-listed building full of original bluestone features and brooding black marble.

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  • American-style pizzas in a tiny, mostly takeaway shop.

  • Supper Inn is a BYO Melbourne institution. Just ask Melbourne’s top chefs.

  • A late-night diner slash steakhouse slash oyster bar featuring taxidermy and natural wines.

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  • Pancakes for dinner, bagels until 1am and batched cocktails. This old pokies venue is unrecognisable.

  • A sushi train bar and grill in Emporium.

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  • A Taiwanese eatery specialising in soup dumplings.

  • The most modest of Guy Grossi’s city restaurants.

  • Grossi Florentino's adjoining bar dedicated to the craft of aging and preserving fine meats.

  • This casual, colourful laneway diner transports you to the streets of India.

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  • Top-quality sushi and sashimi since 1981.

  • This venue from the European Group is not quite a pub, not quite a wine bar. And it’s open late.

  • Tasty Taiwanese treats that will have you skipping main course.

  • Mobile Creole food and New Orleans jazz.

  • A food truck bringing Melburnians gourmet icy poles in the summer months.

  • The most badass taco truck this city has seen.

  • This food truck has great burgers - and seats.

  • A true all-rounder, whether you’re dropping in for breakfast or post-work drinks.

  • Enjoy a crepe or a fresh baguette at this French breakfast and lunch spot.

  • A modern take on a not-so-familiar cuisine – Armenian.

  • Elegant Italian fare from the team behind Coda, MoVida and Pei Modern.

Cafes

  • A petit Flinders Lane espresso bar from two old hands.

  • Sweet tooths luck out at this dessert cafe, which serves cloud-like Japanese soufflé pancakes. Come for fluffy stacks (in flavours like tiramisu or honey) topped with its signature custard-y mascarpone cream and house-made sodas.

  • This Sydney-born bakery quickly became a Melbourne favourite. Try inventive croissants (think pina colada; rose and pistachio) and savoury bites like Japanese chicken pie. And, of course, the mega-famous strawberry-watermelon cake.

  • 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 viral self-taught baker behind Raya has caught the attention of Vogue and MoMA. Come for singular cakes, jumbo cookies, and the signature kuih (petite, glutinous desserts with mung bean paste, coconut and more).

  • Classic, charming and welcoming are the three best words for this perennially popular bistro opposite Parliament House. Order snacks, a bottle from neighbouring City Wine Shop, and watch the city go by.

  • Stylish, standing-room-only coffee from award-winning powerhouse Axil.

  • Stop by this inviting sandwich and wine bar for Axil coffee and Penny for Pound pastries, or linger with a Martini made with Four Pillars Olive Leaf Gin. Plus, dishes like breakfast pasta and crackling-coated porchetta rolls.

  • This Indonesian sandwich and coffee shop (by an ex-Navi sous-chef) serves Aussie cafe favourites with Indo flair. Find gado gado sandwiches, sambal-spiked Filet-o-Fish and sweets like kaya crullers. Plus, Dukes coffee all day.

  • Enjoy one of Melbourne’s favourite coffee haunts in the historic Mercat Cross Hotel building at Queen Victoria Market. Go for high-quality espresso and filter coffee in the al fresco area, or take a bag of its beans to go.

  • The ambitious cafe – by the hospo heavyweight behind Dessous, Hazel and Liminal – features a menu from 10 star chefs. Find cumin-lamb pancakes with chilli oil, a Portuguese pork sanga and an ube waffle with whipped Pepe Saya butter.

  • You might’ve noticed the fans lining out the door to try the internet-famous soufflé pancakes. Inside, try its famously rich and fluffy pancakes, including the bestselling Boba Brûlée Bomb, which is finished with blowtorched caramelised custard.

  • At Bench Coffee’s CBD flagship, stop in for an espresso at the sleek standing bar or grab a latte and rich, bite-sized dacquoise (in flavours such as matcha, black sesame and vanilla-sea salt) to go. It’s by the same team as nearby katsu sando bar Saint Dreux.

  • Fancy katsu sandos and high-quality coffee are the draws at this takeaway-driven spot inside Emporium

  • The team behind Kettle Black and Top Paddock go beyond cafes with this CBD spot inspired by hotel hospitality.

  • This iteration of the Market Lane cafe constellation brings the same winning combination: great coffee, quick-and-tasty snacks, plus plenty of beans and accessories to take home with you.

  • An elegant spot for lingering over a fine coffee.

  • A slick specialty coffee bar by the Rustica Team. Pop by for a smooth locally roasted brew and a grab-and-go egg-and-bacon roll, then take in the peach-terracotta terrazzo and striking green marble of the pretty room.

  • With an all-white fit-out and a sleek under-counter coffee machine, Industry Beans’s first satellite cafe sets forth with its own identity.

  • High-end, handmade, US-style doughnuts and coffee.

  • This Japanese-inspired bakery is from the team behind Little Rogue just across the street. It's selling whole loaves of shokupan (fluffy milk bread), flaky almond-yuzu croissants, Danishes piled high with berries, and soft buns filled with cream cheese, then doused in garlic butter.

  • A European-style sandwich bar serving quick, fresh grab-and-go lunches. Come for jazzed-up, Italo-Japanese-leaning sangas, strong coffees and sweet shakes.

  • A hole in the wall along Degraves Street that’s ever-reliable for a filling French baguette to go. Spot the scribbled chalkboard and order your ideal combo (Gruyere, ham, French pickles, and mustard is a classic). Waffles make a sweet addition here.

  • The second outpost for Melbourne's most revered croissants. Expect to queue for at least 15 minutes, if not longer.

  • A coffee roastery and cafe with an environmental conscience.

  • This sea of olive leather, grey velvet and art deco touches is not your everyday foyer cafe. On the menu: French flatbreads you can fold up like a taco, and salads with porchetta or rotisserie chicken.

  • The Moat is more than just the Wheeler Centre's bar and eatery. It’s an intimate, below-ground bunker of Mediterranean flavours, good books and better wine.

  • As regal as the name suggests, this striking all-day spot by the owners of grab-and-go sandwich shop Earl Canteen is one of Melbourne’s most beautiful cafes. But this is a place you’ll want to linger – with mighty muffulettas, reimagined caesar salads and spicy Bloody Marys.

  • Excellent coffee from Padre.

  • Say goodbye to soggy office sandwiches.

  • This tribute to the Big Apple offers the finest deli-style food around.

  • This gelateria, perched next to City Wine Shop and Spring Street Grocer, is a contender for having the best gelato in town. The ingredients are high quality, seasonal flavours range from classic to strange, and the pozzetti cabinets keep the preservative-free gelato nice and fresh.

  • Oli & Levi brings well-priced, honest fare to city slickers.

  • This outpost from the coffee specialist puts food on the same pedestal as coffee and design.

  • A bustling city cafe on Hardware Lane serving hearty French/Spanish dishes for breakfast and lunch.

  • A fresh, upmarket take on gozleme, that flaky Turkish classic.

  • The eighth outpost for Axil specialty coffee roasters – this time with full kitchen service.

  • A tiny, light-filled space with a touch of Miami Vice from the founders of Pillar of Salt, Touchwood and Barry.

  • The well-loved laneway institution has expanded beyond brunch. It’s now offering French cocktails, wine on tap and elevated Euro snacks in a 250-square metre space.

  • A modern coffee bar in the State Library.

  • Prosciutto, pears, smoked salmon and cheese blends – this isn’t toast you make at home.

  • La Belle Miette is a crème de la crème addition to Melbourne’s macaron craze

  • School appears to be the new cool at this unique and suitably hidden CBD cafe.

  • Another pillar in the Seven Seeds coffee empire - with lots of seats.

  • A great little bakery tucked away in Gills Alley deep in the CBD.

  • Small, simple, city coffee and sandwich bar.

  • Old-world charm and traditional afternoon tea

  • Federal Coffee Palace offers a haven in the centre of town for a coffee break.

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  • Inspired by a London 'healthy, fast food' chain, Bon in the CBD caters for time-poor city dwellers.

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  • A charming bookish cafe built into the side of the City Library.

  • A haven for RMIT students and staff.

  • A seriously small cafe wedged underneath Hell's Kitchen in Centre Place.

  • Redefining the foccacia at Fugazza.

  • Located just outside the State Library, Mr Tulk is a dependable Melbourne resident.

  • A dedication to the bean in this city cafe.

  • A French cafe that specialises in sweet crepes and savoury galettes.

  • A Vietnamese canteen-style cafe gracing a food-neglected part of the CBD.

  • Big in size, coffee and contemporary food.

  • A sprinkling of fantasy with your morning coffee.

  • Breathing culinary life into the business end of Flinders Lane.

  • A 21st century cafe steeped in an industrial past.

  • The young roastery now has a permanent outpost in the CBD.

  • A Japanese-Italian cafe catering to busy city workers.

  • A food-driven cafe located on the heritage site of Melbourne’s first telephone exchange company.

  • Lt. Nic is perfect for that fly-by coffee and snack in the CBD.

  • A hip-hop themed, soul-food sandwich shop.

  • A small laneway cafe where work from aspiring artists adorns the walls.

  • A Collingwood coffee favourite in the CBD.

  • Good coffee with no fanfare.

  • If you’re yearning for New York, this coffee and bagel specialist might help.

  • Delicious French-style crepes from a covered newsstand.

  • From a spacious warehouse in Brunswick to 12 square metres in the CBD.

  • Salads, mains, sweets and cakes ... all piled high on a marble table.

  • Specialty coffee and Doughboys doughnuts. Enough said.

  • A tiny coffee shop below Seamstress.

  • Caters to those on the hunt for breakfast and lunch, with an American twang.

  • This tiny Seven Seeds-owned cafe caters to workers on the move in Crossley Street.

  • Servicing the grab-and-go crowd in the busy legal district.

  • An actual hole in the wall near King Street.

  • A frozen yoghurt food truck.

  • Melbourne’s newest vendors are interpreting Vietnamese street food rather literally, taking bánh mì back out to the streets.

  • This cafe is essentially real-life clickbait.

  • A multi-use venture combining a cafe, gallery and regular workshops.

  • Baguettes, doughnuts, pastries and coffee on the edge of the CBD.

  • Where the banter flows as thick and fast as the espresso.

  • A cellar door for coffee.

  • Photogenic soft serve with an unusual taste.

  • A CBD cafe for your coffee, bagel and Milo needs.

Bars

  • High above Section 8, Ferdydurke feels a bit like a New York loft. Like its counterpart downstairs, there’s a big commitment to music here. DJs play regularly, spinning records from a tiny elevated booth overlooking the space.

  • Head to this subterranean basement bar for cocktails by one of Melbourne’s best bartenders, and snacks that let the drinks shine. We’re fans of the Big Mac-inspired calzone served with pickles, lettuce and onions.

  • One of the city’s most prolific bar owners is behind this pint-sized bar and bottle-o. Like a mini wine library, Bijou invites you to grab a table, peruse its floor-to-ceiling wine shelves and settle in to watch the world go by.

  • Meet Melbourne’s quintessential CBD rooftop bar. It’s appeared in films, has great views, and serves damn fine burgers. And in summers past, it’s morphed into an open-air cinema showing cult films and blockbusters.

  • Bar Carlo sits below The Waiters Restaurant, one of Melbourne’s oldest Italian institutions. It’s a little more refined, plus it’s open in the morning for Italian-style breakfasts. Later, it’s grappa, spritzes and an all-Italian wine menu to go with cicchetti – little Italian snacks to go with your drink.

  • It's hard to describe this place. Is it a karaoke bar? Is it a dumpling joint? Is it a great rooftop bar? Yes, to all of the above. Either way, odds are you'll find yourself with a barbeque pork bao in one hand and a mic in the other at some point during an evening here.

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  • Cookie combines rowdy European beer hall with standout Thai food that beckons to be shared. It’s fun, versatile and subtly influential, preceding similar restaurants like Chin Chin. Bring a crew, order the banquet and plan to drink.

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  • There are few surprises in a place called Gin Palace. This specialist basement bar has been shaking since ’97, with a page of its extensive menu devoted to Martinis. Its combo of velvet, dim lights and plush seating hasn’t aged a day.

  • The dark, moody bar highlights American wines alongside greats from Australia and France. Stop by for a glass and bar snacks, and experience part of the historical CBD space.

  • 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.

  • Descend a dark spiral staircase into this theatrical basement cocktail bar. Wrapped in a cocoon of timber, it’s the recipient of some major international design awards. But don’t let the incredible space distract you from the drinks – expect smoke, bubbles and plenty of flair.

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  • This rooftop bar above the Melbourne Supper Club has unrivalled views over Spring Street. It’s also one of the few CBD spots with a cigar menu (and humidor with hard-to-find Cubans). If smoking’s not your style, the cocktails will be.

  • At this long-running rooftop bar, there's an emphasis on cocktails and comfort. The team lets the cocktails, snacks and view do the talking. And the retractable rooftop makes it a great all-weather option.

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  • Two world-class drinks innovators are behind Byrdi, who work with native Australian ingredients in an on-site lab to create their peerless, Australian-inspired cocktails. The food here is no less inventive – come for small plates with a big focus on seasonality. Either way, you’ll never have the same experience twice.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • A late night watering hole in the middle of the city with a good laneway view and a lunchtime menu too.

  • Squeeze into this tiny, 100-year-old caretaker’s quarters for what may be Victoria’s smallest pub. Behind Tassie oak bar you’ll find Guinness on tap, a short cocktail list and British pub snacks to keep you mint.

  • The cocktails and snacks at Vue de Monde’s adjoining bar are served with all the creative flair you’d expect from one of the country’s finest diners. Walk-ins are always welcome here, which means you don’t have to pay high-end degustation prices to experience the sparkling city view. It’s the best in Melbourne, hands down.

  • No other city in the country would slap a shipping container, some massive steel girders and a collection of ferns together and call it a beer garden. But Melbourne would, and there’s a solid rotation of drinks to go with the breezy, open-air vibe.

  • From the force behind Madame Brussels and Gin Palace.

  • Parcs walks the talk on sustainability. The wine bar and diner uses leftover produce from its sibling venues. And an ex-Brae chef transforms it into inventive dishes (like mandarin-and-watermelon kimchi) for 12 menus per year.

  • This tranquil bolthole amid the bustle of Chinatown is built on the motto “drink less, drink better”. It’s pouring small-batch whiskies and a tight list of cocktails. Why not stay for just one – or two?

  • Her's first-floor bar is dedicated to vinyl, premium spirits and sparkling wines. Inspired by Japanese and European record bars, it's where you'll hear DJ-curated soundtracks nightly, from the 3000-strong vinyl collection.

  • Melbourne’s answer to the old-school Italian wine bar. Choose a bottle to take home, or crack it open at the restaurant (with a corkage fee) and enjoy with pastas and small plates, alongside the rest of the post-theatre crowd.

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  • A bar experience that’s part-theatre, part-history lesson and all class. Its menu begins in 1806 (when "cocktail" first appeared in print), and there's a classic libation to represent each decade since.

  • Opulence meets wartime misery at this hidden cocktail bar. It’s split into East and West Berlin; fancy on one side and grungy on the other. No matter where you sit, the drinks are world-class – just ring the doorbell to get in.

  • With an enormous whisky list and knowledgeable bartenders to guide you, this mood-lit den has the goods to rival some of the world’s best whisky bars. Real enthusiasts can book in for a tasting session led by top distillers.

  • The cherry-red neon sign at Heartbreaker is a beacon for late-night punters chasing a good time. With pre-batched cocktails and classic rock on the jukebox – there’s only one result here. Wear your dancing shoes in case.

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  • This audiophile spot serves bar snacks with a side of sub-bass. Things are fun and loud downstairs, with great drinks and a few bar stools to enjoy them on. But it's on the upstairs dancefloor where the volume really turns up.

  • The name says it all. Come to this swish, nautical-themed cocktail bar for oysters served at least eight ways, and Martinis with spherified olives in tiny oyster shells, among other creative cocktails.

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  • Scott Pickett’s atmospheric bar above Longrain will transport you someplace else. Enjoy sharp cocktails alongside sharp snacks like prawn toast, smoked duck breast and freshly shucked oysters.

  • This Palm Springs-inspired rooftop has room for 400 punters. If you’re chasing a very good Martini or Whiskey Sour in the CBD, this place has you covered. It also serves a tight selection of low-and-slow American barbeque, courtesy of Fancy Hank’s downstairs.

  • Inside Japanese fine diner Akaiito, follow the luminous red thread downstairs to find this subterranean bar serving pan-Asian snacks and low-waste cocktails.

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  • Shane Delia’s cocktail bar, right next to his flagship Maha restaurant. Enter for classic cocktails turned on their head by a world-class bartender and a cracking bar menu of beefy borek buns, taramasalata tarts and a saucy lamb sanga.

  • Located in the basement of the Punch Lane building, sleek small bar Juliet champions female winemakers, distillers and cheese makers from Australia, New Zealand and Europe. To eat, it’s snacks featuring sustainable produce and native Australian flavours.

  • An hour north of Melbourne is DV Cider, a rolling orchard of traditional apple trees planted just for cider making. Here you’ll find the DV Cider House, a bright white marquee set amongst the orchard, and the best place to sample the inventive house-made ciders.

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  • Loop has been a pillar of the Melbourne arts community since 2003. While the original downstairs events and exhibition space is no more, the rooftop bar is very much alive and kicking.

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  • An incredibly long, alfresco-style cafe and bar.

  • This sake bar wants to make the Japanese fermented rice drink more accessible. Soak up sparkling, fruit-driven and more savoury sakes over ice, on a tasting flight or in a sharp cocktail. You’ll also find fried-fish sandos and gingery dumplings.

  • this 20-seat gin distillery, in a 19th-century cottage, squeezes in a lot. Sample Little Lon’s small-batch gins at the bar, before checking out the gin still in one room and fermentation tanks in the other. Try its fun cocktails, take a bottle home or book in for a weekend gin masterclass.

  • Follow a dark plunging staircase opposite Flinders Street Station to find an alfresco beer hall right on the Yarra. It’s dotted with umbrellas and leafy trees. Its straightforward menu of bar snacks (think charcuterie and gourmet hotdogs) and accessible drinks list make it one of Melbourne’s more popular watering holes.

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  • A waterfront bar serving all Australian wine, beer and spirits.

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  • Curtin House’s dark, glamorous second-floor bar.

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  • Check your everyday life at the door – it’s pure fantasy at Melbourne’s favourite tiki bar. There’s bamboo, leopard print and tiki statues everywhere. If you can’t get a good Painkiller, Zombie or Mai Tai here, you can’t get it anywhere.

  • Moody blues and dark spirits rule at this cavernous, below-ground bar. Descend the stairs on Driver Lane for an extensive cocktail list, short-order French snacks and fancy toasties served till extra late. Or proceed to the intimate whisky cellar for a private tasting.

  • Lily Blacks is more than just another art deco Melbourne bar. It’s a cocktail aficionado destination, mixing precisely diluted classics as well as inventive house creations. Come early on a Friday to grab prime position before the post-work crowd files in.

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  • Up a discreet staircase in the CBD, this beautiful and boundary-pushing cocktail bar takes a scientific approach to its drinks – some of which take days to prepare. But the results are palate-awakening, not polarising.

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  • It’s not the theatrical cocktails, world-beating whisky list or European-inspired snacks that put Eau de Vie up there among the world’s best bars. It’s the laser-like attention to detail at every turn, and the fact that someone here knows what you want to drink – even if you don’t.

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  • Chin Chin’s classy little downstairs bar feels like a VIP area. Like upstairs, the Asian-inflected cocktails here are made with care, and the wine list favours small, independent vineyards above all others. Better still – Chin Chin’s entire menu can be enjoyed down here.

  • You won’t find another bar in the country like Boilermaker House. It’s devoted to the timeless pairing of whisky and beer, and with more than 700 drams on the wall and a constant rotation of beers on tap, the flavour combinations are seemingly endless here.

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  • Follow the sound of hip-hop to find this fun laneway cocktail bar. Fresh, modern tiki drinks await you inside, named after many of the heavy-hitters featuring on the soundtrack. If you’re hungry, you can bring in takeaway from one of the excellent neighbouring restaurants.

  • While not as well-concealed as its sibling, New Gold Mountain, this Chinatown laneway bar still prides itself on being a drinking den for those in the know. Cheekily-named cocktails, Asian beers and dumplings await inside.

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  • Lively cocktails and refined snacks are on the cards at this dark and daring basement bar. But it’s really the wine list you come here for – it’s an adventure in unfamiliar regions and varietals, and focuses on biodynamic and sustainable drops.

  • The “mischievous little brother” to Seamstress upstairs is so small and dimly lit, it feels like it could be anywhere in the world. Rest assured, the bartenders know what they’re doing here – and they do it with a total lack of pretension.

  • Across five rooms and three balconies, this opulent bar channels old-world glitz and glamour with champagne towers, fancy canapés and theatrical cocktails bubbling with liquid nitrogen. To really start the party, order the pineapple punch – served inside a huge bronze swan.

  • This extravagant rooftop is best described as a cross between a garden party and a country club bar – on top of a skyscraper in the middle of the city. Madame Brussels is famously over-the-top, and it revels in it. Come here for big spritz jugs and a signature poached chicken sandwich.

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  • An eccentric bar, eatery and rooftop that attracts all sorts.

  • This dimly-lit dive bar is one of Melbourne's most treasured and iconic rock’n’roll venues. Though it's moved out of its original ACDC Lane location, it's rocking just as hard as ever, with live music multiple nights a week. Expect anything from psych-rock to doom metal, sometimes followed by a DJ to close.

  • Not only is this outdoor shipping-container bar one of Melbourne's most iconic and enduring drinking destinations – it's also been one of the city's most reliable places for a boogie since 2006. Veteran DJs spin here regularly, favouring hip-hop, funk, soul, reggae and more.

  • In the same way as its sibling Pinchy’s is all about champagne and lobster, this swish bar champions another age-old pairing – with oyster degustations and around 500 Burgundy wines to choose from. Find it hidden in a low-key CBD arcade.

  • This palatial spot in the old Melbourne Steamship Co. building  has a second, subterranean bar hidden behind a bookcase.

  • A Black Swan-esque ballerina guards the entrance to Trinket, a hive of boozy snacks and hefty cocktails – with another bar hiding underneath.

  • A kitsch, African glamping-themed drinking spot.

  • An urban cellar door that pours sustainable, organic drops from the Handpicked Wines range. Visit for tutored wine tastings with cheese and charcuterie pairings. And you can visit for the full cellar door experience any day of the week.

  • Gelato and wine. Need we say more? This city gelateria is the perfect option if you find yourself in the CBD on a sweltering day. The wine is good and so's the coffee, but it's the gelato that keeps us coming back.

  • Essentially a licensed 1987 Timezone arcade.

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  • A retro-futurist Viking dining hall filled with handmade axes and whole-beast cooking.

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  • A two-storey portal to another land that works as an opulent bar and your own personal fairytale to get caught up in.

  • Nominally it’s a wine bar, but Embla’s charms are far more profound than those two words suggest. Come here for some of the city’s best food, paired with an idiosyncratic wine list poured by staff who give a damn.

  • A laneway piano bar Inspired by the sing-a-long bars of the US, featuring show tunes and chandeliers.

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  • A wacky gaming arcade serving dumpling-topped pizzas and boozy bubble cups.

  • Whisky and Alement's intimate, quieter sibling.

  • Golden Monkey’s sister venue offers a refined offering of rum and dumplings.

  • One of Melbourne's laneway secrets.

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  • Seamstress has everything a bar should, with an intimately designed interior and a serious cocktail list.

  • A small Japanese bar with a ridiculously extensive sake selection.

  • Japanese nostalgia and tin robots bring a slice of Tokyo to Melbourne.

  • A wild jungle safari function space at The Carlton Club.

  • A bar dedicated to the agave-based spirit, with more than 60 varieties.

  • Play “Smells Like Tee Spirit” while you sip on a “Teeyonce Knowles” at this mini-golf bar.

  • One of Melbourne’s best venues for sound and uninterrupted stage views

  • The Forum must be the most beautiful music venue in Melbourne.

  • The award-winning cocktail crew from 1806 bring their skill and flair to The Understudy, and get a little experimental.

  • A central live music venue.

  • Gin Lane will be rebranded and open in 2017.

  • Can there ever be enough rooftop bars? This new one in the CBD is grungy, laid-back and not many people know about it.

  • The space above the bushranger-chic pub Captain Melville becomes a new watering hole, Loch and Key.

Shops

  • Sift through archival Prada, Miu Miu, and McQueen in this light-filled sanctuary of pre-loved designer garments. It’s all expertly curated by a Melbourne-born graduate of New York’s Parsons School of Design.

  • Melbourne’s first ever doughnut outlet.

  • Experimental clothing for the party crowd.

  • Cup, cone or tub from the vending machine? You can have it all at Kori, a Japanese-inspired ice-creamery by ex-Tonka and Luxbite pastry chefs. Scoop up flavours like Hokkaido cheesecake, white-sesame, tofu-vanilla and more.

  • 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.

  • This store has been selling American vintage clothes, shoes and accessories since the early 2000s. Find colourful staples, as well as more unusual pieces, from the ’80s through to the Y2K era, all set against the art deco backdrop of the iconic Nicholas Building. Its Brunswick Street store is also worth your time.

  • Classical tailored pieces from city to sea by local designer Virginia Martin.

  • A gallery-like display of Australian and New Zealand contemporary jewellery and craft.

  • A dedicated space for timeless Swedish labels.

  • Stylecraft offer beautiful Australian and imported pieces.

  • This is one of two Korea Marts on Elizabeth Street. Visit for an unsurpassed array of kimchis, gochujangs and other Korean specialties. There are also plenty of frozen dumplings to take home and one of Melbourne's best line-ups of specialty rices.

  • In addition to a five-metre-long tram made of 651,489 bricks, this hands-on megastore features a machine that turns visitors’ faces into custom Lego mosaics in minutes – just the second of its kind in the world.

  • Traditional bagels with innovative fillings.

  • A colourful Finnish label with an instantly recognisable style.

  • Australia's resin artisans.

  • Simple elegance combined with Australian and European influences and quality – a never fail option.

  • Skip the petrol-station doughnut and head here for ten fresh varieties, plus coffee by Small Batch.

  • A one-stop shop for Japanese groceries, cooking materials and confectionary that stays open until midnight every night.

  • This spin-off to Agathe's South Melbourne Market HQ has every treat from the original – including those sensational croissants – just in a smaller CBD package.

  • The CBD outpost for this luxury Italian sportswear brand stocks its full range of coats, jackets, knits and more. That includes pieces from Moncler’s Genius collections – one-off monthly collaborations with the world’s best designers.

  • A gelataria that serves sweet brioche, has a chocolate tap and does affogato Italian style.

  • This supermarket in QV has an extensive range of Asian produce, ingredients and snacks. So it's a handy option if you want to stock up on all of staples in one place.

  • Tang (formerly known as Great Eastern Foods) has been stocking Asian groceries at its Russell Street residence for over 35 years. Come here for noodles, dim-sims, sambal, soy and sake.

  • Come here for Japanese and Malaysian cuisine including hand rolled udon noodles, Kurbata Pork and umeshu (plum wine). Hometown has a large range of sweets from across the Asia.

  • Minimal, contemporary clothing favoured by creative professionals.

  • Trunk Tailors promises to fulfil your suiting needs.

  • This tiny, technicolour Flinders Lane patisserie serves flaky croissants and fluffy doughnuts without the help of butter, milk or eggs. There's also all-vegan ice-cream, including vanilla with croissant dough and Espresso Martini.

  • After they conquered the macaron, the folks at LuxBite opened this tart-focussed bakery.

  • The Japanese label’s only Melbourne store.

  • A stylish swimwear and clothing brand with boutiques across Melbourne.

  • Women’s fashion by Marietta Marlow, designed and made in Melbourne.

  • Simple, timeless fashion that keeps you coming back for more.

  • A not-for-profit gallery and retail space stocked with unique handmade goods.

  • The best place to find quality basics and beautifully made pieces.

  • Floral fantasia and femininity abounds at this local label’s boutiques.

  • Melbourne’s icon of gloriously bold, fun prints.

  • A mixture of vintage and modern women's clothing and accessories.

  • The Swedish fashion house brings Scandinavian minimalism to Melbourne.

  • A specialist in effortless, wearable luxury.

  • The mix of retail and hospitality is perfect for those whose lifestyle is all about lifestyle.

  • High-tech, made-to-measure Japanese denim.

  • A magical, contemporary jewellery wonderland.

  • Cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics under $30.

  • A plush paradise for women, where you can sip martinis while you get your nails done.

  • Operating below Block Place since ’94.

  • One stop luxury shop for makeup, skincare, haircare, body and fragrance.

  • Family-owned luxury men's boutique with carefully selected international pieces.

  • Hipster styled suits and other garments teamed with tailored and sophisticated finishings.

  • Zomp is full of hundreds of women’s shoes in varying colours, heights, heels and lengths all of which jostle for position and your attention.

  • Enter the gentlemanly city store to find some investment-worthy pieces of menswear.

  • A stock list that reads like Kate Moss' black book.

  • The clothes are archival, not vintage, at this unique Crossley Street space.

  • Footwear that fits in a gap between luxury brands and mass-market retailers.

  • Initially dedicated to paperback editions, you’ll now find in this tiny bookshop a vast range of titles and formats.

  • A cosy, subterranean bunker of luxuriant, ripe cheese.

  • A mecca of art and design books.

  • Sneakers for a new generation of luxury consumers.

  • A sleek beauty boutique where you can experience fragrance, skincare and makeup consultations while learning about the iconic brand’s history.

  • A Staple Space brings wellness to the CBD, featuring good food, holistic therapy and great vibes.

  • A tailored shopping experience you won’t find off the rack.

  • Like his clothing, the Australian designer’s first Melbourne store is futuristic, faultless and never overdone.

  • An institution for contemporary jewellery on Crossley Street.

  • P. Johnson Tailors’ made-to-measure tailoring service focuses on high quality, Australian suiting at accessible prices.

  • Affordable, quality basics in a spectrum of colours.

  • A collectors' haven for rule-breaking, avant-garde fashion from Belgium and Japan.

  • The brand's flagship in the CBD.

  • This French label has been "searching for subtlety" in mens and womenswear since 1987.

  • A sophisticated Sydney label known for cocktail dresses and impeccable tailoring.

  • A cult Melbourne label known for weird and instantly recognisable streetwear.

  • Mid-market fashion from New York.

  • Scandinavian minimalism at accessible prices.

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  • A city store, 140 years in the making.

  • A high-end specialty knife shop, backed by a pro sashimi chef.

  • Modern femininity and wardrobe staples.

  • From hard-to-find streetwear to bespoke suiting, it’s all part and parcel of this forward-thinking men’s store.

  • Coveted local designer, Kit Willow, showcases a distinctly feminine aesthetic in her gallery-likes stores.

  • Backed by more than three decades of knowhow.

  • Stocks products that start big, life-changing conversations.

  • An artisan-style patisserie offering an extensive range of high-end French breads and pastries.

  • A Parisian inspired shop of local and international pieces, encapsulating the joie de vivre of haute couture.

  • Melbourne fashion at its best, Alpha60, run by brother-sister duo, Alex and Georgie Cleary, showcases monochrome basics, classic styles and cuts.

  • Where Tokyo meets Melbourne – you can find all the Japanese eclectics here.

  • Repping Australian designers since 2005.

  • A diverse collection of women’s labels, hidden four storeys up.

  • Underground records in an underground shop.

  • One of New Zealand’s most celebrated designer brands.

  • A back-alley tailor where the vibe’s laid-back and custom details are key.

  • A one-stop shop for affordable suits and other menswear.

  • Hard-to-find streetwear brands with a timeless aesthetic.

  • This Melbourne concept store asks men to think about what they wear when they sweat, as well as out to breakfast.