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

Restaurants

Nomad

Restaurant

Jacqui Challinor's hotly anticipated Melbourne outpost is everything we've been waiting for. The Sydney original's focus on open-flame cooking and locally-sourced produce has been replicated here, but there are local signatures, too – baked ricotta and anchovies, dry-aged pork cutlets and a big lean on Victorian vino. Find it in the former Ezard space on Flinders Lane.

Gimlet at Cavendish House

Restaurant

Star chef Andrew McConnell's signature is evident on every Eurocentric plate here, from the clams, mussels and squid with Trapanese pesto; to the dry-aged duck with baby fennel and blood orange sauce. You’ll find us at the black-and-gold marble bar, Martini in hand.

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Lulu's Char Koay Teow

Restaurant

A cafe-style restaurant on Hardware Lane inspired by – and using the special sauce from – the owner’s mother-in-law and her hawker stall in Malaysia.

Meatmaiden

Restaurant

A bona fide meat dungeon.

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Maha

Restaurant

Refined Middle Eastern from celebrity chef Shane Delia.

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Supernormal

Restaurant

Beautifully executed pan-Asian offerings by 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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Cafes

Liminal

Cafe

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.

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Nico's Sandwich Deli

Cafe

This sandwich spot from a trio of experienced hospo players was supposed to open in March 2020. One pandemic and a long Fitzroy pop-up later, Nico's has made its way back to its original home in the CBD. Come for jazzed-up Italo-Japanese-leaning sangas, strong coffees and sweet shakes.

Bench Coffee Co

Cafe

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.

First Love Coffee

Cafe

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.

Pellegrini's

Cafe

A Melbourne institution with a diverse crowd of regulars.

Pope Joan

Cafe

A clubby and convivial space with an all-day, British-leaning brunch menu. And yes, the famous Reuben has survived the move from Brunswick East.

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Bars

Rooftop Bar

Bar

This is one of the CBD's quintessential rooftops. It's appeared in Melbourne-set movies, has great outlooks, good drinks and vibey music. Plus, in summer, it morphs into a rooftop cinema screening cult movies and classic blockbusters.

Union Electric Bar

Bar

A two-storey, indoor-outdoor cocktail bar with an emphasis on fresh fruit and veg.

Siglo

Bar

This rooftop bar, which sits above the Melbourne Supper Club, has unrivalled views of Spring Street and Parliament House. It's also one of the few spots in Melbourne that has its own cigar menu – there's even a humidor full of hard-to-find Cubans. If that's not your style, the cocktails are equally excellent.

Cherry Bar

Bar

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.

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Angel Music Bar

Bar

Restaurateur Con Christopoulos is behind this audiophile spot, which serves bar snacks with a side of sub-bass. Things are pretty 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 and things get loose.

Pearl Diver Cocktails and Oysters

Bar

A long-awaited CBD cocktail bar by two of Speakeasy Group’s best bartenders, where oysters are served at least eight ways, and your Martini comes with a spherified olive in a tiny oyster shell.

Shops

Tokyo Hometown

Shop

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

The Crux & Co. Patisserie

Shop

This CBD pastry shop is best knows for its "crogel" – which tastes a lot better than it sounds. It's a croissant-bagel hybrid that lends itself well to an abundance of different fillings. The regular croissants, coffees and cakes are excellent, though.

Agathé Pâtisserie Petite

Shop

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.

Moncler Collins St

Shop

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.

Pidapipo CBD

Shop

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

Laguna

Shop

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.