Last year the pandemic forced us to enjoy Melbourne International Film Festival from home – and though MIFF 68½ was a phenomenal effort, nothing can come close to catching a film on the big screen.

This year Australia’s longest-running film festival is back where it belongs: on dozens of screens in the best cinemas in town. (But you can also catch nearly 70 of the best movies online with MIFF Play, thanks to 2020’s forced innovation.)

If you're choosing to enjoy MIFF at home, we recommend stopping by Handpicked Wines's Cellar Door – it's prepared a range of "MIFF Packs" of snacks and wine to order. Head in-store or order online.

The 2021 schedule is one of the best yet. It’s packed with films from just about every genre imaginable. There are stirring documentaries, big-name releases filled with star power, independent projects from around the world, collections of shorts and plenty of home-grown efforts from some of Australia’s most promising up-and-comers.

So head to the city, and catch a MIFF 2021 flick at the Capitol Theatre, the completely refurbed ACMI, Forum Melbourne, Hoyts Melbourne Central or Kino Cinemas.

Regardless of which cinema or showtime you go for, each of these spots is right next to some of the best eating and drinking in Melbourne. So fire up the group chat, book your tickets and reserve a table at these favourites. Just be sure to save room for popcorn and a choc-top.




This elegantly understated all-day diner – by celebrity chef Karen Martini and dessert queen Phillipa Sibley – is the ACMI’s flagship restaurant. Visit for uncomplicated dishes such as potato focaccia with a Noma edge, an exceptional crumbed-fish sandwich and spicy crab cavatelli.

ACMI Fed Square , Melbourne
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Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar


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

23 Oliver Lane, Melbourne
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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.

180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
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Gimlet at Cavendish House


Star chef Andrew McConnell's signature is evident on every Eurocentric plate here, from the clam-topped flatbread to the anchovy Danish to the wood-fired rhubarb cheesecake. You’ll find us at the black-and-gold marble bar, Martini in hand.

33 Russell Street, Melbourne
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Tres a Cinco


The Movida team's lively cantina, in the former Bar Tini site, brings home-style Mexican to Hosier Lane. Led by Mexican chef Sarai Castillo, 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.

3-5 Hosier Lane, Melbourne

The Forum

Cumulus Inc.


Andrew McConnell's all-day eating house combines excellent food with interior design.

45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
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Chin Chin


The fiery Thai diner Melburnians and tourists have been queuing for since 2011.

125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne



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.

175 Flinders Lane, Melbourne



An energetic bar and restaurant serving modern Euro-Vietnamese fusion dishes.

Basement 141 Flinders Lane (corner Oliver Lane), Melbourne



A CBD dining hot spot serving modern Indian.

20 Duckboard Place, Melbourne
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Kino Cinemas

Handpicked Cellar Door Melbourne


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.

80 Collins, Melbourne

Magic Mountain Saloon


Punchy Thai food and cocktails.

62 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

La Madonna


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.

3/103 Little Collins Street, Melbourne



There were many Mexican restaurants before this one, but owners Nick Peters and Matt Lane were the first restaurateurs to bring a faithful representation of Mexican food to Melbourne. This "hot babe" has been around since 2010, and there are still queues on the stairs for its elotes (grilled corn) and flavoursome tacos.

Level 1 11 Collins Street, Melbourne

Soi 38


Walk down a CBD laneway and into a concrete parking garage to find this Thai street-food eatery serving a boat noodle dish with a cult following, tom yum soup, laksas and Bangkok-style coffee and tea.

38 Mcilwraith Place, Melbourne



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.

Level 2 161 Spring Street, Melbourne

Butchers Diner


Late night burgers, steak sandwiches and duck-heart yakitori.

10 Bourke Street, Melbourne

The Capitol



A beer hall, cocktail bar and modern Thai restaurant all in one.

First Floor, Curtin House 252 Swanston Street, Melbourne

Pidapipo CBD


A gelataria that serves sweet brioche, has a chocolate tap and does affogato Italian style. This year Pidapipó has partnered with MIFF to create a special one-off flavour that tastes like a frozen, deconstructed Snickers bar.

8 Degraves Street, Melbourne

Tokyo Tina


Modern Japanese from the team behind Saigon Sally and Hanoi Hannah. This spot won't be winning any prizes for authenticity, but it gets top marks on the fun factor.

66A-B Chapel Street, Windsor
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A bona fide meat dungeon.

The Basement 195 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
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Chancery Lane


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.

430 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

Tipo 00


Tipo 00 has an offering too good to refuse: carb-loaded, butter-drenched pasta.

361 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Comedy Theatre



Thanks to Jesse Gerner (Green Park, Añada), the old Aylesbury is all about tapas now. Plus, there are spectacular views out over the city to enjoy while you eat. It's no surprise this place is held dear by so many Melburnians.

103 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne



A laidback Italian eatery in the space which once housed Sarti. The voguish menu taps into current pasta obsessions such as cacio e pepe and cavatelli with pan-fried pork sausage; bolstered by larger, protein-heavy mains.

6 Russell Place, Melbourne
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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.

122 Russell Street, Melbourne

Pepe's Italian & Liquor


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.

275 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
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Bar Margaux


Walk down the nondescript staircase and let your eyes adjust. There’s no natural light at this bistro – that’s why it’s so easy to lose track of time.

Basement 111 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Hoyts Melbourne Central



This three-level spot, from the guys behind Dexter and Takeaway Pizza, bears little resemblance to its former self (Peaches, Dexter). Go for focaccia-like pizza with house-made mortadella and garlic-fermented honey, chevre-stuffed potato skins, plenty of Aussie spirits and a pool table.

1/301 Swanston Street, Melbourne

The Toff in Town


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

Level 2, Curtin House 252 Swanston Street, Melbourne

Daughter In Law


A vibrant pan-Indian diner serving naan pizzas, sweet-and-sour fried cauliflower and Tandoori-fired-pineapple cocktails.

37 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Lulu's Char Koay Teow


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.

27-31 Hardware Lane, CBD

The Hardware Club


Two childhood friends are behind this diner that pays homage to the neighbourhood eateries of their hometown. On the menu? Osso bucco ravioli, cacio e pepe toasties and a classic tiramisu. That means bold and robust wines from small-scale vineyards paired with simple flavours such as tinned anchovies on house-baked bread; or roast chicken with baked brussels sprouts.

Level 1 43 Hardware Lane, Melbourne
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