Medium- and high-rise towers are slowly transforming every part of inner Melbourne, but South Yarra's skyline has leapt up with particular vigour in the past decade. The block bounded by Yarra Street, Toorak Road and Chapel Street feels almost like an extension of the CBD, with the energy to match.

Elsewhere the wide, leafy streets are lined with historic mansions and terraces, including the publicly owned Como House. These quieter residential areas, such as Domain Road, are some of the most coveted and expensive in Melbourne.

Most of South Yarra’s cafes are concentrated around the new towers. During the week, they’re busy with workers from nearby advertising agencies, creative studios and the big Network 10 building.

On weekends, a similar crowd swaps the business shirts for activewear before taking to brunch. The exercise itself isn’t for everyone, but Faulkner Park and the nearby Tan track are reliably busy with walkers and runners.

Prahran Market – actually located in South Yarra – is another big drawcard in the area. With regular appearances by celebrity chefs and a growing coterie of organic traders, it’s made a name for itself as the upmarket market. This, and Chapel Street’s good mix of apparel stores, such as Gorman and LIFEwithBIRD, keep the area humming all day.

On Friday and Saturday nights, this wholesome routine of exercise, brunch and shopping feels like a distant dream. Traffic is reliably banked solid on Chapel Street with drivers doing “Chap Laps”; packs of revellers roam from bar to bar; and fast-food joints do a roaring trade.




A bold, contemporary diner dedicated to cooking with fire and smoke, from the owner-chef of Estelle and Saint Crispin.

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Tivoli Road Bakery


Sourdough, spelt, multigrain, and soy and linseed are among the bready delights at this respected outfit.



Intimate and communal, like a real Italian restaurant should be.



An ex-Tulum chef serving contemporary Turkish food.

Lona Misa


Shannon Martinez's all-vegan, all-day diner inside the luxury Ovolo hotel is a symbol of the group's commitment to plant-based eating. Alongside celebrated chef Ian Curley, Martinez is serving Josper-fired peri-peri cauliflower, steamy tamales and "blood" sausage that might freak you out.

The Botanical


Restaurant, cafe, bar and bottle shop all in one.

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Rustica South Yarra


This is the new flagship for the beloved bakery chain. It's the biggest one yet, too. Get Vegemite-bechamel pastries for breakfast and sourdough cacio e pepe pizza later on (Bloody Marys, however, are available all day long).

Ned’s Bake


This is much more than a bakery. Sure, the bread's great and so are the sweets. But what you really want to do is stay here for a meal. The brunch menu – with past dishes including mascarpone pancakes and chicken-liver pâté on brioche – is just too good not to try.

The Final Step


A tiny, friendly coffee shop with a charitable streak.

The Stables of Como


A nostalgic garden cafe in South Yarra’s historic Como House.

Abacus Bar & Kitchen


An all-day eatery worth visiting for the interior alone.

Little Green


Enter for vegan cheesymite jaffles and Pina Colada smoothies.


Leonard’s House of Love


Casual bar vibes meet professional house party.

Zhou Zhou


David Zhou’s eponymous Zhou Zhou is a lounge above Oriental Tea House.

Talk to Me


Rockstar impulses and Sydney hospo sensibility collide at this bar/music venue.

Tetto di Carolina


Nab a spot on the terrazzo-tiled terrace for grown-up Espresso Martinis and an Italian homage to the KFC Zinger burger. All from the man behind Il Bacaro, Sarti and Bar Carolina.

Shadowboxer Bar & Kitchen


A trio of hospitality lifers is behind this smart wine bar, which is equally good for snacking as a full, sit-down dinner.

South Press Wine House


Sink into a leather banquette and choose from 20 wines by the glass.


Koko Black


The Melbourne-born chocolatier's sleek flagship has a dedicated bar for hot chocolates and chilled drinks made with all-natural ingredients. But you'll also find croissants, cakes, cookies and 40-plus pralines; and a chocolate wall filled with around 700 blocks.

Q le Baker


French-born baker Quentin Berthonneau has trained at Vue de Monde and Chez Dre, and wants good bread to be as accessible as good coffee in Melbourne.

Le Louvre


One of Melbourne's longest-running womenswear retailers is still setting trends after almost 100 years in operation.

Alannah Hill


Alannah Hill - both the lady and the label - embodies all things feminine, romantic and youthful.



Gourmet macarons and cakes in shocking flavours.