We have alluded to it in other Melbourne posts, but here is the post you’ve been waiting for, where to find cuisines from around the world in Melbourne.
Melbourne’s strong history of immigration from around the world includes people from Lebanon, Greece, Italy, Sudan, Turkey, Vietnam and many other nationalities that now call Melbourne home. And lucky Melbourne, they all brought their cuisines with them!
This is not a definitive guide, honestly I don’t know how you could ever make one of Melbourne’s food scene, it is so extensive and diverse. However I digress, there are individual restaurants for every cuisine all over Melbourne and we discuss how to find some of Melbourne’s finest in 5 Insider Tips for Enjoying Fantastic Food in Melbourne.
Here in this post we are going to focus on some of Melbourne’s famous places to find great food. The first places listed feature a number of cuisines of the same type, and the second part of the list focus on the CBD (Central Business District) which has more variety clustered together. For great eating in inner-city Melbourne’s neighborhoods, refer to our post insider tips to make the most of your visit to Melbourne.
Vietnamese- Victoria St, Richmond
This is one of the oldest areas of Vietnamese settlement in Melbourne. Not so long ago, all restaurants along this street were Vietnamese, but that has changed a bit in recent years. You can actually find a couple of non-Vietnamese establishments here now.
Victoria Street is close to the city and easy to find, along tram route 109. Many have lunch specials and dinner is very reasonable for Melbourne. Recently an entrance was added to the west end of Victoria St, to mark the entry to the Vietnamese Precinct. There is a large Tet (Vietnamese New Year) Festival here in January.
Our recommendations: Pacific Seafood and BBQ House, 240 Victoria Street. This is not a quiet, romantic venue. The food is fantastic. Try the roasted duck.
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Chinese Little Bourke St (CBD)
This is Melbourne’s Chinatown. Gates mark its beginning and end. You can find a range of Chinese restaurants to match every budget.
One of Melbourne’s best restaurants is the Flower Drum, a very upscale Chinese Restaurant. Looking for cheap and cheerful? Try the Shanghai Dumpling House. And for a great yum cha (Asian style tapas) try either of the two Shark Fin Restaurants on Little Bourke.
Italian Lygon St- Carlton
Lygon Street is Melbourne’s Little Italy. If you are looking for Italian, the street is lined with everything Italian. Pizza, pasta, seafood, gelato, cakes, it’s all here. A few non-Italian options have appeared in recent years, but the majority of restaurants are still Italian. Just go for a stroll and find something that suits your taste and budget. Menus are usually posted. Don’t fall for the first one, have a look and take your pick. For a good listing of Lygon Street (picture below) establishments try the Good Food Guide.
Brunetti’s is a fantastic cake shop and the 380 Lygon Street venue is their largest and original. If you are in need of an afternoon break or dessert, look no further than Brunetti’s.
Spanish Johnston St. Fitzroy
Near the intersection of Brunswick and Johnston Streets in Fitzroy, there is a cluster of Spanish and Tapas restaurants. You can find great tapas, paella and sangria at some places here. You can even find Flamenco dancing.
And if you are looking for groceries to cook Spanish, Portuguese or Latin at home try Casa Iberica Deli, a family run deli located on Johnston Street since 1975. Just to see the street art outside on the building is worth a visit.
Turkish and Lebanese Food Sydney Rd
Sydney Road has fantastic food from everywhere! But if you are looking for Turkish or Lebanese food, there are a number of establishments here. (You can also find Malaysian, Indian, Thai, African, etc. you get the picture.) You can find an Eating Guide to Sydney Road here.
You’ll find a wide variety of speciality grocers here as well covering every cuisine.
In the cheap and cheerful category, for a good kebap try the Melbourne Kebap Station. Prepare yourself for a line, but it is worth it!
Greek Lonsdale St
Melbourne has a large Greek population and there are a lot of excellent Greek restaurants spread throughout the city. There used to be a large cluster of them on Lonsdale Street in the city and the “gate” to the Greek Precinct is at the corner of Lonsdale and Russell Streets. There still are several Greek restaurants here, but many have moved elsewhere.
There were also a number of Greek Restaurants on Swan Street in Richmond, many of these have also moved. Two of our recommendations for Greek: Agapi on 262 Swan St. Richmond or for a more casual meal, try Dimitri’s Feast (nearby at 141 Swan St. ). Dimitri’s is also great for breakfast with a greek twist!
In the CBD
For a wide variety of restaurants, ranging from casual to fine dining, try SouthBank (on the south bank of the Yarra River), Docklands, South Wharf Promenade (near the Hilton Hotel and the Convention Center). The Crown Casino Complex has a number of restaurants serving cuisines from all over the world. Some of them face the river and it can be a beautiful place to eat in the evening.
Melbourne’s laneways have some magnificent surprises. They are full of hidden delights. Many restaurants and bars are not at street level being in the basement or on the upper floors. Many you could walk by and never know they are there.
At lunch time, many cafes are very busy with office workers. A couple to find for food:
- Degraves Street
- Flinders Lane
- Hardware Lane
- Postal Lane (near the GPO, corner of Elizabeth and Bourke St)
A couple to find for other reasons:
- AC/DC Lane, named after Australia’s most successful rock band
- Hosier Lane- great for street art
Just wander around the laneways, they have great shops, cafes and restaurants. I am sure you can find something you like in Melbourne! Let us know what’s your favorite!
November is Melbourne month. Want to read more about Melbourne and its cuisine? Try here:
- Melbourne, world’s best for sport?
- Healthy avocado squash for breakfast
- 5 Insider Tips for Enjoying Fantastic Food in Melbourne
- Butternut Squash Quinoa Soup
- 11 of Melbourne’s best food shops and cooking classes
- Quality Gourmet Cheese Platter
- Guide to Fabulous Melbourne Markets
- Home-made Muesli with Yogurt, Rhubarb and Honey
- Insider Tips to Make the Most of your Melbourne Visit
And please help us spread the word via social media, we certainly appreciate it!