Our Favourite Melbourne Eat Streets
With close to 5000 restaurants in Melbourne, we've estimated it'll take you 12 years to try them all, a day at a time. And with new ones popping up as well, it'll be a seemingly never-ending endeavour. The town centre and suburbs have streets dedicated to foodie experiences, all you need to do is pick a street that matches your mood or favourite cuisine.
Foodies ourselves, we've scoped it out and picked our favourites to share with you.
Acland Street, St Kilda
If, like us, you always want to eat your dessert first, head to Acland street at the beginning of your stay. Here you’ll find delicious bakeries, sorbets made fresh daily, thick sticky pastries and a cake shop that bakes from 80-year-old Polish recipes.
Our top picks: Monarch Cakes is an institution, with its 80+ year-old Polish recipes and famous cheesecake and kougelhopf – they’ve only been best sellers for more than 20 years. Then whether you prefer the classics at Europa Cake Shop, Le Bon Continental Cake Shop or Acland Cake Shop’s sweet treats is the type of argument that could break up couples. So to be bipartisan and in the interest of thorough research, you should try them all for yourself.
Hardware Lane, CBD
Don’t be surprised if you feel like you’re strolling through the narrow streets of Seville or Milan. What Hardware Lane lacks in length, the pedestrian street more than makes up for with its chic eateries. Entertaining touts will try to entice you in with their set menu or meals of the day. And whether it’s a long lunch or quick pre-theatre entrée, the flavours of the world are on offer.
Our top picks: Miznon is the creation of celebrity chef Eyal Shani and famous for its seasonally-inspired Mediterranean street food (tip: get there early before the baked baby cauliflower sells out). Campari House has five levels to choose from, depending on whether you fancy pasta, pizza or cocktails on the rooftop and Rice Paper Sister serves up just about every Asian cuisine you can think of.
Little Bourke Street, CBD
This one-way street is always bustling with people getting food to go, or sitting down to a scrumptious banquet. The ornate red towers and hanging ducks in the windows are your clue that this is Melbourne’s Chinatown. Sure, most cities have a Chinatown, but what makes Melbourne’s unique is that it’s the longest continuous Chinese settlement outside of Asia. From cheap dumplings to upscale restaurants, hidden bars and karaoke hang outs, slurp your way through a street with a distinctly Asian vibe.
Our top picks: Bamboo House for classy Cantonese and Hochi Mama for hip Asian fusion. Shanghai Street for dumplings, enough said. Maxim’s Cakes & Pastry gets our vote for their divine egg custard tarts and Union Electric does a mean Melbourne-infused cocktail in its rooftop gin garden.
Smith Street, Collingwood
There was a time that we would have been talking about Brunswick Street over nearby Smith Street (not that Brunswick Street isn’t still great). But these days if you’re in the mood for quirky, bohemian, posh or even dining inside a train carriage on the top of a building, then Smith Street is the place. Yep, just 3km from the CBD is this foodie heaven, serving up everything from duck wraps and mean tacos, to pizza by the slice or gastro pub dining.
Our top picks: Ides is the first restaurant child of acclaimed chef Peter Gunn, who spontaneously reimagines the innovative degustation menus. Wabi Sabi Salon ticks all the bento boxes for cute Japanese fare and Red Sparrow gets a shout out for top vegan pizza. And if you want to know where to get a great burger served five storeys up, that’s Easey’s, with the trains on the roof.
If time is on your side, other great places to head to is Johnston Street, Fitzroy, for Greek and Mediterranean. Lygon Street, Carlton, is famously Italian, or for more international flavours try the inner south’s Carlisle Street in Balaclava, fashionable Chapel Street in Prahran, eclectic High Street Northcote and Barkly Street Footscray for the best of the west. Just to name a delicious few.