What to Eat in Melbourne, Food and Drink, Dishes

What to Eat in Melbourne, Food and Drink, Dishes

Melbourne, the coastal capital of the Australian state of Victoria, is known for its rich cultural diversity and vibrant food scene. From local favorites to international cuisines, Melbourne’s food landscape offers a gastronomic adventure for food enthusiasts. In this comprehensive guide, we explore the must-try dishes, drinks, and culinary experiences in Melbourne.

Iconic Melbourne Dishes

Melbourne’s food scene has been shaped by its diverse population, with immigrants from all over the world bringing their culinary traditions to the city. This has resulted in a rich tapestry of flavors and dishes that are synonymous with Melbourne.

a. Aussie Meat Pie

The Aussie meat pie is an iconic Australian dish, and Melbourne is no exception when it comes to offering delicious meat pies. These flaky, buttery pastries are filled with minced meat, gravy, and sometimes vegetables, making them the perfect handheld snack or meal. Popular places to enjoy a meat pie in Melbourne include the famous Pie in the Sky Bakery and the quaint Old Paper Shop Deli & Café.

b. Chicken Parmigiana

Chicken Parmigiana, or “parma,” is a beloved Melbourne pub staple. This dish consists of a breaded chicken schnitzel topped with tomato sauce, melted cheese, and often served with a side of chips and salad. Virtually every pub in Melbourne offers their version of parma, with the Great Northern Hotel and the Palace Hotel being among the best places to try this classic dish.

c. Dim Sim

Melbourne’s version of the dim sum, the dim sim, is a popular street food that originated in the city’s Chinatown. These steamed or fried dumplings are larger than traditional dim sum and are filled with a combination of meat and vegetables. South Melbourne Market Dim Sims and Shanghai Village Dumplings are two must-visit spots to enjoy this local favorite.

d. Vegemite on Toast

Vegemite, a salty yeast spread, is an Australian staple that locals either love or hate. A quintessential Melbourne breakfast or snack, Vegemite on toast can be found in most cafes and homes. While you’re in Melbourne, be sure to give this iconic Australian food a try.

Multicultural Cuisines

Melbourne’s diverse population has led to a thriving multicultural food scene, offering a range of cuisines from around the world. From Italian to Thai, there’s something for everyone in Melbourne’s diverse culinary landscape.

a. Italian

Melbourne is home to a thriving Italian food scene, thanks to its large Italian immigrant population. Carlton’s Lygon Street is the epicenter of Italian cuisine in the city, boasting a range of authentic Italian eateries like Tiamo and Brunetti. Must-try dishes include wood-fired pizzas, fresh pasta, and classic gelato.

b. Greek

Melbourne boasts one of the largest Greek populations outside of Greece, and the city’s Greek food scene is not to be missed. Head to Lonsdale Street in the city center, where you’ll find an array of Greek restaurants and cafes offering traditional dishes such as souvlaki, moussaka, and baklava. Stalactites and Gazi are popular choices for authentic Greek cuisine in Melbourne.

c. Thai

Melbourne’s Thai food scene is thriving, with a wide variety of Thai restaurants offering authentic and fusion dishes. From street food-style eateries to fine dining establishments, there’s no shortage of delicious Thai food to be found in the city. Don’t miss trying dishes like pad Thai, green curry, and tom yum soup at venues like Jinda Thai and Chin Chin.

d. Vietnamese

With a significant Vietnamese population in Melbourne, the city offers an abundance of authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Victoria Street in Richmond, often referred to as “Little Saigon,” is the heart of Melbourne’s Vietnamese food scene. Here, you’ll find a wide range of eateries serving up traditional dishes such as pho, banh mi, and rice paper rolls. Pho Hung Vuong and I Love Pho are popular choices for a delicious bowl of pho, while Nhu Lan Bakery is a go-to spot for a tasty banh mi sandwich.

e. Indian

Melbourne’s Indian food scene is equally impressive, with an array of restaurants offering dishes from various regions of India. Head to West Footscray, Dandenong, or the CBD for an authentic Indian culinary experience. Must-try dishes include butter chicken, biryani, and dosa. Popular Indian eateries in Melbourne include Gaylord Indian Restaurant, Curry Vault, and Dosa Hut.

Coffee Culture

Melbourne is renowned for its thriving coffee culture, with the city’s laneways and streets lined with countless cafes and espresso bars. From flat whites to cold brews, Melbourne’s coffee scene is one of the best in the world.

a. Espresso Bars

Melbourne’s espresso bars are an essential part of the city’s coffee culture, offering expertly crafted espresso-based drinks. Be sure to visit iconic espresso bars like Pellegrini’s, Brother Baba Budan, and Patricia Coffee Brewers for a taste of Melbourne’s coffee scene.

b. Specialty Coffee Shops

In recent years, Melbourne’s specialty coffee scene has exploded, with numerous cafes focusing on sourcing and roasting high-quality beans. Must-visit specialty coffee shops in the city include Market Lane Coffee, Seven Seeds, and Axil Coffee Roasters.

c. Laneway Cafes

Melbourne’s iconic laneways are home to numerous hidden cafes, perfect for a leisurely brunch or a quick coffee break. Don’t miss visiting cafes like Manchester Press, Degraves Espresso, and The Hardware Société, tucked away in the city’s laneways.

Drinks and Nightlife

Melbourne’s vibrant nightlife offers plenty of options for those looking to indulge in a drink or two. From rooftop bars to hidden speakeasies, there’s a venue to suit every mood and taste.

a. Rooftop Bars

Melbourne’s rooftop bars offer stunning city views and a relaxed atmosphere, perfect for enjoying a cocktail or a glass of wine. Check out popular rooftop spots like Rooftop Bar, Siglo, and The Emerson Rooftop.

b. Hidden Bars

Melbourne is famous for its hidden bars, often tucked away in laneways or behind unmarked doors. These speakeasy-style venues offer unique and creative cocktails, as well as a sense of adventure. Must-visit hidden bars include The Everleigh, Eau De Vie, and Bar Americano.

c. Craft Beer

The craft beer scene in Melbourne has flourished in recent years, with numerous breweries and beer-focused venues popping up throughout the city. Sample local brews at venues like The Local Taphouse, The Catfish, and Moon Dog Brewery.

d. Wine Bars

Melbourne’s wine bars offer a sophisticated option for those looking to enjoy a glass of wine, often accompanied by delicious share plates. Visit popular wine bars such as City Wine Shop, Embla, and Marion for a taste of Australia’s finest wines.


Melbourne’s diverse food and drink scene offers a culinary adventure for food enthusiasts, with iconic dishes, international cuisines, world-class coffee, and vibrant nightlife. From Aussie meat pies to hidden bars, there’s no shortage of delicious experiences to be had in Melbourne. Be sure to explore the city’s diverse culinary offerings, and you’re sure to find something to satisfy your taste buds.