Sydney may have the iconic Opera house, Mardi Gras glitz, and some celebrity chefs, yet Melbourne can lay claim to Australia’s only inclusion on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants In the World list—Chef Ben Shewry’s avant-garde, farm-to-table hotspot Attica. Melbourne also has the honor of being a repeat title holder of World’s Most Livable City.
The dining scene here is simply incredible, thanks in no small part to the bounty of produce and wines resulting from the Victoria region’s climate (“four seasons in a day,” locals like to say), a burgeoning crop of under-the-radar innovative chefs, a teeming craft coffee culture, and strong multi-cultural influences.
From Melbourne’s downtown (CBD) and its famed, labyrinthine laneways to hipster hoods Fitzroy and Collingwood, amazing new spots are cropping up everywhere. Openings and reboots are routinely chronicled on chic “what’s on” website, Broadsheet (www.broadsheet.com.au/melbourne), while annual tome The Age Good Food Guide keeps tabs on the best and brightest. A tastings-filled food tour is always a good idea, and the excellent and sassy Monique Bayer’s Walk Melbourne (www.walkmelbourne.com.au) offers superb 3-hour expeditions covering coffee, chocolate, dumplings, rooftop bars, and more from $53-up. You can even try some modern Aussie cuisine from New York or Los Angeles in Qantas’ business class (www.qantas.com) where the menus are by Neil Perry, whose high-profile Rockpool can be found at Melbourne’s Crown casino complex.
Here we offer a rundown of some current Melbourne musts, from creative Mod Oz venues to a showcase for exotic aboriginal flavors to a desert spot with world-class artisanal donuts.