South Melbourne is never more alive than on weekends, as shoppers from surrounding suburbs flock to the market.

South Melbourne is one of city’s most vibrant corridors of food, drink and activity. It’s home to the bustling South Melbourne Market, and blossoms in the warmer seasons as the tight-knit community opens its doors and spills onto the streets between Southbank and the grassy expanses of Albert Park.

The area’s solid cafe contingent keeps the al fresco strips humming during the day. As the sun lowers and hours stretch into evening, bars and restaurants come to life. Enjoy some mussels with one of the pilsners Claypots Evening Star keeps on tap, or walk a few blocks away for snacks and wine at Bellotta before an opulent dinner at Lûmé.


  • Housed in a 19th-century building, this spot freshly extrudes pasta shapes such as rigatoni and bucatini in-house – an expensive process rarely seen in restaurant kitchens. Try them in the cosy dining room, or pull up at the parklet.

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  • This south-side restaurant nods to Saint Lucia, with earthy hues and large-scale works by a Melbourne collage artist. Stop by for Wagyu burgers, crab linguini, and European-inspired cocktails – like Bellinis and “two-sip” Negronis.

  • The Wayside’s front bar is for drop-in cheesy parmas and pints. The beer garden out the back is for parties and brews in the afternoon sun on Melbourne’s warmer days. And the smoky baby back ribs keep locals coming back.

  • Lamaro’s is a love letter to long lunches and refined pub dinners. A woodfired grill lends the steaks their smokiness and char, while the rest of the menu blends classic pub fare with Southeast Asian and French flavours.

  • Take a seat at the stone counter for a 10-course sushi degustation, or order fish-skin crackling, miso-marinated black cod, and savoury steamed custard topped with foie gras à la carte.

  • This multifaceted space couples the drop-in spirit of a pub with the food of a more polished eatery.

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  • Wood-fire sourdough pizza is the star at this wine bar, which pours natural wine, wild brews and coffee. Plus, grab sourdough rolls for lunch loaded with fillings such as mortadella, or a fancy omelette on the weekend.

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  • This playful Taiwanese-Japanese restaurant in South Melbourne (no relation to Fitzroy's Peko Peko) is a fun eatery that doesn't take itself or its delicious menu too seriously.

  • This intimate restaurant – with a nondescript entrance under an office building – specialises in the Japanese tradition of tempura: a battering and frying technique that leads to surprisingly light and refreshing dishes.

  • Take a break from market shopping with a hit list of filling dishes from across South East Asia.

  • Nahji Chu’s third Vietnamese tuckshop remains on a good thing.

  • A smoke and meat-driven restaurant inspired by a chance encounter at a market in Spain.

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  • Fresh pasta made just in time for your lunch break.

  • Claypots romance: live music, seafood and drinks every night of the week.


  • The busy headquarters of a growing coffee empire.

  • Right next to Chez Dre, this dessert boutique is in the business of knockout petits gâteaux, macarons, biscuits and house-made gelato (with chocolate taps at the ready). It’s cakes and tarts also pull their own, especially the lemon meringue number.

  • Your go-to coffee spot when you're doing the shopping.

  • This is one of the cafes responsible for elevating chef-prepared breakfasts and brunches to the same level of respect as lunches and dinners. And, even after changing hands a few years back, it’s still one of the best places in town for a morning meal.

  • A spot from the team behind some of the city’s biggest cafe hits. They’re making brunches with damper, Vegemite, Kakadu plums, wattle-seed bacon and Milo mascarpone.

  • This daytime hangout from the team behind north-side favourite Florian offers fresh sandwiches, nourishing salads, a next-level mushroom congee, and a no-fuss takeaway menu.

  • This cheery cafe offers up a playful brunch menu, grab-and-go pastries and hot coffee from Dukes. Its creative brunches might include Reuben sangas (with an unexpected combo of kangaroo pastrami and pineapple sauerkraut) or cured salmon mille-feuille on a New York-style bagel.

  • Kuu's owners are a Japanese couple with a love for Melbourne, so you'll see influences from both places on display here. They shows up in the design, which is clean and minimalistic. They also appear on the menu, where traditional dishes are often given a local spin. There's a great range of salads and sandos to take away, too.

  • A perennially popular sandwich shop in a former bakery with a Victorian frontage. It’s serving all the classic sangas, plus rotating specials (expect porchetta, roast beef or meatballs), potato salad and sodas.

  • New York-style open bagels in a cosy setting inspired by the bagel shops of East London. Despite the overseas influences, you’ll feel instantly at home thanks to the eclectic vintage decor and Melbourne-roasted coffee.

  • Cafe number six for one of the city’s favourite coffee roasters.

  • Israeli share platters and pita pockets (and yes, the chef is left-handed).

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  • Meals fresh from South Melbourne Market.

  • Nab a spot on the balcony and order the famous Reuben sandwich.

  • French-inspired all-day breakfast in South Melbourne.

  • A modest, homely cafe where the wholesome food is as warm as the service.

  • The tiny coffee shop with big ambitions.


  • Two brewery owners are behind this south-side watering hole. Find pints of blood plum and feijoa sour, alongside more common lagers and pale ales. The menu delights with cacio e pepe croquettes and slow-roasted lamb shoulder.

  • Hop to this taproom and rooftop bar, which was co-founded by an AFL legend. It’s pulling pints of limited-edition brews alongside share plates – like karaage chicken bites, or beer-braised lamb with creamy slaw.

  • This 220-capacity taproom, set in a former mechanics garage, makes good use of nearby South Melbourne Market. Find a flame-licked food, seasonal beers, and its core range of pales, lagers and renowned IPAs.

  • Nano-brewed, hand-bottled beer inspired by America’s West Coast. Sample one (or a tasting paddle) of Westside's core beers, including an American pale ale, an amber ale and a red IPA. Plus, go for bar snacks and pizzas loaded with toppings.

  • Visit this no-fuss Euro wine bar, where you can choose from over 3,500 wines right from the neighbouring Prince Wine Store. A large marble bar shows the daily seafood special, which you can enjoy alongside simple yet elevated pasta and moreish charcuterie.

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  • This stylish Clarendon Street wine bar pours top-notch Coravin drops made for pairing with fried-chicken bao, kingfish sashimi, and tempura eggplant in miso custard.