Flying interstate over the break? Broadsheet’s city cheat sheets cover everything from new players that live up to the hype to old favourites that continue to deliver. This is a hit list that’ll have you making the most of every minute in Melbourne, no matter where you’re staying.



Jam-packed day ahead? Need a delicious, handheld breakfast you can scoff en route to your first destination? Go sweet by joining the queue at Melbourne’s world-famous, worth-the-hype croissanterie Lune (in Fitzroy and the CBD), or its cruller-dedicated sibling Moon. On the savoury side, Egglab’s brekkie burgers are the stuff of dreams, as are Hector’s Deli’s sangas (in Richmond and South Melbourne), and Mile End’s schmear-y bagels (in Fitzroy and Brunswick). Indecisive? Consult our guide to Melbourne’s best bakeries and use the handy map to find the closest one.

Prefer a sit-down situation? Three options we’re loving: Napier Quarter, where the anchovy toast is a non-negotiable; Florian, which is new but feels old – in the most charming way; and Ima Project, which does a Japanese breakfast you’ll likely spend the rest of the day thinking about.


In the city, go on the hunt for Thai street-food spot Soi 38, hidden in a parking garage (and known for its boat noodles), or dumpling haven Shandong Mama, in an unassuming shopping arcade.

Moving to Collingwood, in the inner north, get a chicken-salad sandwich we’ve waxed lyrical about (or its eggy counterpart) at Falco. Or go slightly south for banh mi with fine dining pedigree at Ca Com, or kaleidoscopic chirashi (or “scattered” sushi) at Uminono. But you’ll want to book ahead – there are only six seats.

Want to push out the boat a bit? One of Melbourne’s most prolific restaurateurs has just opened Di Stasio Pizzeria – with luxurious lobster pizzas, fior di latte soft serve and a “secret garden” made for summer spritzing. Or try his beautifully brutalist Di Stasio Citta.


We’ll start with three knockout new restaurants worth booking ahead of time. Aru is perhaps the most exciting place to dine right now, thanks to its masterful blending of Southeast Asian flavours, native Australian ingredients and ancient techniques. Al Dente Enoteca is where you want to go for elegant Italian. And Nomad is a fire-powered Sydney stalwart that’s just put down roots in Melbourne.

Elsewhere, Big Esso is a taste of the Torres Strait smack bang in the middle of the city, while Lagoon Dining and Etta, in Carlton and Brunswick respectively, are always exceptional.

Other old faithfuls include Supernormal, Cumulus Inc and Cutler and Co by front-running restaurateur Andrew McConnell, as well as in-demand Italian spots Tipo 00 and Osteria Ilaria. For classic French, there’s France-Soir in South Yarra and Entrecote in nearby Prahran. For clever, respectfully modern Southeast Asian, try Sunda in the CBD (and its cult Vegemite curry) or Anchovy in Richmond.


Gimlet is another McConnell stunner in the city – this one’s in a Chicago-style 1920s building, with a supper menu I’d skip dinner for. Or descend some stairs, pass through a nondescript door and enter dimly lit brasserie Bar Margaux for one helluva burger. Just as impressive are the burgers at Butchers Diner. Craving an Asian feast? Melbourne institution Supper Inn nails Cantonese classics, and Dragon Hot Pot is a solid go-to for spicy, Sichuan-y, soul-cleansing soup in the early hours.

If you’re in need of an end-of-the-night slice – or even a stamina-maintaining one – there’s Pizza Pizza Pizza in the CBD (which has a bar tucked behind its glossy black curtain), and Ollie’s Pizza Parlour and Bar Romantica in Brunswick.



Sun’s out? Make the most of it. Get sky-high with an ice-cold pint or bottle of pét-nat at one of the city’s best rooftop bars. They’re everywhere, so use our guide to help you find the most conveniently located one. Killer newcomer: Runner Up at Melbourne’s mammoth new arts hub in a former school.

Two other perennially popular spots for arvo boozing (and basking) in the sun: the Palm Springs-channelling Ponyfish Island – the only bar in the centre of the Yarra River – and the just as buoyant, 69-metre-long pontoon bar Arbory Afloat.

Pre-dinner or post-dinner (or with dinner, if need be):

Fitting for this category: wine bars that aren’t technically restaurants but may as well be. A trio to put on your radar: the radiant Hope St Radio, the disguised-as-a-lawyer’s-office Gray and Gray and wine-and-vinyl hideaway Waxflower.

You can also never go wrong at Embla, City Wine Shop and Kirk’s in the city; Marion and Bar Liberty in Fitzroy; and sibling spots Neighbourhood Wine (in Fitzroy North) and Old Palm Liquor (in Brunswick East).


Are things escalating? It happens. We’ve rounded up the best bars where you can hit the D floor here. It includes the neon-lit, assuredly loud Heartbreaker, where the jukebox does all the work and the pre-batched cocktails are smashable, and the good-time Angel, which sits somewhere between a cocktail bar and a nightclub.


King & Godfree Espresso Bar: old-school Italian is the vibe at this heritage-listed spot, which does robust house-blend espresso, as well as filter and cold brew.

Market Lane Coffee: a Melbourne classic, Market Lane is one of the city’s biggest names in specialty coffee – with a handful of locations. There’s a list here.

St Ali: an out-of-the-way spot in the backstreets of South Melbourne is where you’ll find this polished coffee operation, which supplies some of Melbourne’s best cafes.

Everyday Coffee: the name says it all. This place serves consistently outstanding coffee – every day, obviously – in a converted warehouse in Collingwood.

Bench Coffee Co: this local boutique coffee roaster keeps it simple at its sleek CBD flagship, simple, covering all the basics, plus hot and iced filter, cold brew and an espresso tonic.


This summer, a blockbuster Chanel exhibition – direct from Paris – makes its international debut at the National Gallery of Victoria. With more than 230 garments, accessories and jewellery pieces, some never before seen, it’s a truly unmissable experience. (While you’re there, head to the gallery’s Grollo Equiset Garden to see Pond[er], a striking pastel-pink pond you can splash around in.)

Meanwhile, a digital art gallery unlike any other in the Southern Hemisphere opened in Melbourne this year. And at its inaugural multi-sensory exhibition, Van Gogh’s most iconic paintings swirl around you – it’s memorising, monumental and the best kind of sensory overload.

And, with A Miracle Constantly Repeated, trailblazing Aussie artist Patricia Piccinini – best known for her hyper-realistic human-animal sculptures – has taken over a mysterious, abandoned ballroom above the iconic Flinders Street Station. It’s like stepping into another world.


Are you all about moseying up and down all-encompassing shopping strips? Gertrude Street in Fitzroy and High Street in Armadale are two very safe, all-boxes-ticked options. But if you’re wanting to zero-in on specific shopping categories, find Melbourne’s best womenswear stores here, homewares stores here and bookstores here.