5 Insider Tips for Enjoying Fantastic Food in Melbourne

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5 Insider Tips for Enjoying Fantastic Food in Melbourne Cafes CBD www.compassandfork.comMelbourne is a food lover’s paradise. Restaurants, bars, markets, and a never ending calendar of events and festivals showcasing the Melbourne’s multicultural food scene. If you have a food craving, you can find it in Melbourne, usually without traveling too far.

One of the challenges whilst traveling is how to make the most of your limited eating time. So often we think we should have stayed longer just to eat more! (Is that only us?) So if you are just visiting or new to Melbourne, how do you maximize your eating pleasure? Thus the reason for our insider tips for enjoying fantastic food in Melbourne. Let’s explore a few ways to find great places to eat and what to expect in Melbourne.

1. Coffee

Melbourne has a very sophisticated coffee scene, the best we have ever seen anywhere in the world. There are some serious coffee roasters in Melbourne and finding the perfect cup is a quest for many. Need to catch up with a local? It will be at a coffee shop for sure.

Starbucks and other large coffee chains have not been very successful in Melbourne with the locals preferring independent coffee shops. Many feature small batch roasters and single origin coffee is easy to find. All methods of brew including pour over, syphon, French press, Chemex, cold brewed and extracted coffees – all are relatively easy to find.

5 Insider Tips for Enjoying Fantastic Food in Melbourne Great Coffee Art www.compassandfork.comAustralian coffee fame is spreading around the world. Often in other countries we will see a sign “Australian barista” – we will usually try it and be rewarded with a decent cup of coffee.

If you are confused on what to order, American style coffee, is a long black in Australia and if you want milk in it, order a flat white. If you want to be more adventurous, check out the Urban’s List’s guide to ordering coffee.


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Want to learn more about coffee? Well you’ve come to the right place. You can find tours, cupping (think wine tasting but for coffee), barista classes (learn to make the perfect cup), or just begin your own quest for the best cup. Here’s a few of our inner city favorites. We warn you in advance, you may never be happy with a regular cup of coffee again!

  • Market Lane, Prahran Market and an outlet at Queen Vic Market in the Deli Hall
  • Proud Mary’s, Collingwood (great for breakfast as well)
  • Industry Beans, Fitzroy
  • The Auction Rooms, North Melbourne
  • St.Ali, South Melbourne
  • Pellegrini’s, 66 Bourke Street, Melbourne is a Melbourne institution and one of the original coffee shops. It opened in the 1950’s when Italian coffee culture was starting to make an impact on the tea drinking culture of Melbourne. Definitely worth a visit.

2. The Age

The Age is one of Melbourne’s two daily newspapers. It has a section on Tuesday called “Epicure”. This is a great place to find out what’s happening in Melbourne’s food scene.

In addition, The Age publishes two well known guides to the Melbourne food scene, The Good Food Guide and the Good Food Guide under $30 (once known as Cheap Eats). Cheap Eats features more casual dining, and the Good Food Guide covers the entire range. You can find it online or buy a printed copy at a newsagent. The free Australian Good Food and Travel app can help you find the venue nearest your current location or search by cuisine (all of Australia not just Melbourne). You can also look for the sticker on the door of many restaurants. The guides are pretty good and well regarded.5 Insider Tips for Enjoying Fantastic Food in Melbourne Cafes www.compassandfork.com

3. BYO

One of the great things in Melbourne is BYO. Many restaurants allow you to BYO (bring your own) wine and sometimes beer. This can be a great way to enjoy a great Australian wine with a meal, at a very reasonable price. Just buy your wine in advance at a bottle shop and bring it along. Sometimes you will be charged corkage (a nominal fee for the bottle). Look for BYO on the front of the restaurant or just call and ask.

You can perform a search for BYO establishments on the Good Food Guide site. (Just filter by city as it includes Sydney)

4. Food Festivals

There is always something happening in Melbourne with regards to food. (Check What’s on Melbourne or The Urban List for the weekly update.) However, the highlight of the food calendar is Good Food Month. And this year it just so happens to be November. It is the world’s largest food festival!

It features hundreds of events both in Melbourne and in regional Victoria. Many restaurants participate with special menus and events. It is a global festival with many world-renowned chefs coming to Melbourne for events.

In addition to eating, you can take classes. Some of this year’s options include: bread making, wine and cheese matching, a Vietnamese master class and many more. Bookings are required for many events and they do sell out (it is Melbourne and food is very popular!) so book early.

If you are visiting, the guide of events comes out several months in advance you can register on the website to be notified.

5. The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

5 Insider Tips for Enjoying Fantastic Food in Melbourne Colonial Tram www.compassandfork.comMelbourne’s trams are an icon of the city. And you can enjoy a meal on the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. This is a fantastic way to relax, eat and explore the city. The food and service are excellent and alcohol, including a full selection of Australian wines, is included.

It operates every day and there are a variety of options including lunch or dinner and 3, 4, and 5 course options. It’s a truly, unique Melbourne experience. It is quite popular and you definitely need to book in advance.

If you enjoyed this post, learn more about Melbourne in our future posts covering:

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5 Insider Tips for Enjoying Fantastic Food in Melbourne www.compassandfork.com

16 Responses

  1. Lux
    | Reply

    I’ve always been fascinated by Melbourne. And with these foods, there’s more reason to love it.

    • Editor
      |

      So make sure you get here to experience what the fuss is all about. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Katharina
    | Reply

    As a child I went on a huge USA road trip with my Dad. Unfortunately it didn’t include Melbourne. It sounds like a great place to visit. I’m a huge coffee fan / addict. I will one day relive the all American road trip with my boyfriend and am in the process of adding places to the list. Melbourne will definitely be on it. Thank you for sharing xx Kat I http://www.beautifullytravelled.com

    • Editor
      |

      Katharina, We are referring to Melbourne Australia not Florida. Easy and often mistaken!

  3. Sid Joshi
    | Reply

    Nice post! I spent only a few days there so couldn’t sample much food there, but I can certainly vouch for the coffee 🙂

    • Editor
      |

      Sid, Yeah, you don’t have to be in Melbourne long to find good coffee 🙂

  4. Thomas Levine
    | Reply

    I have to admit that I hardly knew anything about Melbourne before reading this article. I love coffee and just the fact that coffee is do popular in Melbourne makes me want to visit this city. I am also amazed at the BYO because to me it means that they are open minded and its not all about the money, but letting people enjoy themselves. Melbourne sounds like a very progressive city for the tourist and now its on my list of places to travel. Thank you for the article.

    • Editor
      |

      Hi Thomas. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Coffee is almost an obsession in Melbourne. I love that “chains” have not proven to be that popular. People like the small, independently owned coffee shops. They just have more personality. We love the BYO concept. It cuts down the cost of going out and you can take your favorite wines. Cheers.

  5. Shobha
    | Reply

    The tramcar restaurant looks fab! I’ve been in trains before where it’s been converted to a restaurant but not an actual tram/train that is moving and is part of a sightseeing experience while you eat.

    • Editor
      |

      Hi Shobha. I was initially dubious about the tramcar restaurant as I have found that often with touristic things like this let you down on the quality of the food. But it wasn’t like that at all. High quality food and drinks. Just a great experience.

      Thanks for your comment.

  6. Kathi @ Laughing Spatula
    | Reply

    I want to go! Australia has been on my list for years – soon, very soon!

    • Editor
      |

      Hi Kathi, thanks for your comment. You’ll love it – just make sure you take enough vacation time to enjoy it. It is a big country.

  7. Doreen Pendgracs
    | Reply

    Thx for this enticing post, Elizabeth. I’d LOVE to visit Melbourne and experience all it has to offer on the culinary scene.

    • Editor
      |

      Thanks Doreen and thanks for your comment. It is a great place for food, wine and cheese. It’s the multi-cultural aspect that we like. So much choice.

  8. mark
    | Reply

    Melbourne is our closest city and we seriously love the coffee, food and alcohol options available in this city it is amazing. We checked out Munich Brauhaus on South Wharf last week very big and commercial but amazing food and you can’t go wrong with German Beer. The one thing that is outrageous in Australia is the price of an espresso how can a shot of coffee cost you $3.50-4.00 its utter crap
    cheers
    mark

    • Editor
      |

      Mark, the price of coffee has gone up a lot in Melbourne the last 2-3 years. But in general, it is an expensive city. And yes, even commercial places here serve pretty good food. Are you in a regional town?

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