If you’re visiting from interstate (or entertaining someone who is) we’ve got you covered. This hit list has more than you’ll be able to visit in 24 hours, but consider it a starting point.

Caffeinate here

Calere: Alicia Feng’s tiny Fitzroy coffee shop Calere is easy to miss – except for the lines that form on Gertrude Street in the mornings (and into the afternoons). Stop by for Ona Coffee and hard-to-find brews made using beans from Yunnan, China, all served in gorgeous custom ceramics.

Disciple Roasters: This “coffee cellar door” is one for the serious fanatics. It’s hidden on a backstreet in Brunswick (does it get any more Melbourne than that?) and features eight to 10 different espressos every day, plus pour-over options priced anywhere from $5 to $200 or more. But don’t come here looking for a latte or a flat white: there is no milk (cow’s or otherwise).

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Market Lane: Since starting in 2009, Market Lane has been a major driver in Melbourne’s specialty coffee scene. Owner Fleur Studd has been a significant behind-the-scenes player in Melbourne coffee for a while now, and you’ll find Market Lane coffee shops at Prahran Market, the Queen Vic Market, in South Melbourne and elsewhere around town.

Axil Coffee Roasters: A great place for lattes, long blacks and everything in between, Axil has multiple shops across Melbourne including near Southern Cross Station and on Flinders Lane.

If matcha’s more your speed, Tori’s has one of the city’s best strawberry matcha drinks, as well as refreshing matcha spritzes, or there’s Matcha Mate on Hardware Street in the CBD, which has a (vegan) coconut matcha drink that’s worth planning your trip around.

For chai, check out the street-cart-turned-permanent-I Original Chai Co at the Queen Vic Market.

Eat here

Melbourne is undeniably a brunch city. If you’re looking for the classics like folded eggs or ricotta hotcakes, don’t go past Archie’s All Day in Fitzroy or Terror Twilight in nearby Collingwood. If you’re venturing south side or doing some shopping along High Street, Armadale, then Moby has you covered; in the city, Higher Ground’s your spot.

Breakfast plates have taken off and Florian and sibling venue Juniper serve two of the city’s best (both spots also have some of the best sandwiches around town).

Japanese cafes Chiaki, where you can also try Alicia Feng’s coffee; Ima Asa Yoru, where you can find one of the city’s best breakfast sets; and Cibi, where Harry Styles visited while in town are transportive places. Roslyn Thai, Ondo (in the CBD and Armadale) and Moon Mart are great places for Asian breakfasts, pastries and drinks inspired by Thailand, Korea, and Korea and Japan respectively.

You can also check out Broadsheet’s guide to the best cafes in Melbourne for more.

It’s hard to beat lunch at Julie, a dreamy and relaxed restaurant at the Abbotsford Convent, followed by a drink and snack at sibling venue Cam’s Kiosk just around the corner.

In Collingwood, Shannon Martinez’s Smith & Deli is a great spot for a quick salad or sandwich (and everything there just happens to be vegan). Or head to Richmond for banh mi with fine-dining pedigree at chef Thi Le’s Ca Com (right next door to her excellent Laotian restaurant Jeow.

In the city, hunt for Thai street food spot Soi 38, hidden in a parking garage, or check out Melbourne’s unofficial Thai Town on Bourke Street for spots like Thai Baan. For pitas, you’ll have to stop by Miznon, or visit Wang’s Crispy Pancakes outside Melbourne Central shopping centre for piping hot, made-to-order, portable Shaanxi-style minced-meat-stuffed flatbreads.

If you’re looking to spend time by the water, stop by Pipis Kiosk in Albert Park for fish‘n’chips overlooking the beach, or grab a table downstairs at Stokehouse for wine and a bowl of pasta.

Even the Obamas visited chef Dave Verheul’s CBD spot Embla when they were in town. Stop by for unfussy, expertly made dishes and approachable wines. If you’re looking for a bucket-list-worthy experience, the Hugh Allen-led fine diner Vue de Monde is hard to beat, and intimate Richmond Japanese restaurant Minamishima, with its gold-wrapped sushi, will be unforgettable (just make sure you have a reservation before your trip).

Lagoon Dining and Etta, in Carlton and Brunswick East, respectively, are always exceptional.

Other old faithfuls include Supernormal, Cumulus Inc and Cutler and Co by frontrunning restaurateur Andrew McConnell’s Trader House, as well as in-demand Italian spots Tipo 00 (which we’re told David Sedaris loves) and old-school institution Pellegrini’s. For French, there’s France Soir in South Yarra and Entrecote in nearby Prahran. And Cantonese restaurant Supper Inn is a famed classic for a reason.

For ramen, visit the only Australian outpost of Tokyo chain Mensho Ramen, or try an Iron Chef protégé’s take on the Japanese dish at Sara Ramen.

If you’re in need of an end-of-the-night New York-style slice, there’s Pizza Pizza Pizza in the CBD (which has a bar tucked behind its black curtain), or stop by McConnell’s crown jewel Gimlet (another Obama hotspot) and check out the Friday and Saturday late-night menu after 10pm for one of the best burgers around.

Drink here

If you’ve done some south-side shopping along High Street, Armadale, and need to unwind, stop by Albert’s, a European-style wine bar in a stunning arcade with tables that spill onto the footpath.

North of the river in Fitzroy, wine bar and bottle shop Odd Culture has a large indoor area as well as an outdoor courtyard where you can linger on sunny afternoons. And in Richmond, wine bar-restaurant hybrids Lilac Wine Bar and Clover are charming spots to start the night or end the day.

For a pre-dinner drink, visit Reine, a grand gothic restaurant in the former stock exchange’s Cathedral Room, where you can sit at the bar and order a drink and some freshly shucked oysters, or stop by Vue de Monde sibling venue Lui Bar for a drink and a view of the city while the sun sets.

Walking into Gimlet’s sibling venue, the 30-seat cocktail bar Apollo Inn in the CBD, feels like stepping into another era, while Byrdi at Melbourne Central has been so lauded for its innovative techniques it has even ranked on The World’s 50 Best Bars list.

Compact 24-seater One or Two in Chinatown is known for traditional and adventurous cocktails, as well as its list of 50 small-batch whiskies, and the city’s Black Kite Commune has a synaesthetic cocktail menu. Venture north side and check out Collingwood wine bar Commis, or head to Carlton for sake bar Leonie Upstairs.

Late Night
Get to Caretaker’s Cottage, a tiny bluestone pub that feels like the best kind of house party. Above Board is a little more hidden but just as much fun, as is the underground Purple Pit, a basement cocktail den from two absolute pros. Round out the night at Japanese listening bar-inspired spots Music Room in the CBD or Waxflower in Brunswick.