The 15 Essential Food Experiences to Have in Melbourne

There are so many “essential” taste experiences in Melbourne, it’s difficult to choose only 15, but these are the ones that keep coming up in our minds and on our taste buds. Treat this list as a starting-point on the never ending journey that is Melbourne. 

Courtesy of South Melbourne Market Dim Sims

South Melbourne Market Dim Sims

South Melbourne
You can’t really visit Melbourne without trying a South Melbourne Market Dim Sim. They’ve existed for almost 60 years, starting with the late Ken Cheng and now run by his two sons. Basically, you’ve never tried a dim sim like it. It’s bursting with salty juiciness and more flavour than you almost know what to do with—rest assured, it’s nothing like the dimmie you’re used to. 
How to order: Swing by while you’re at the South Melbourne Markets and get your fix.

Courtesy of Code Black


Melbourne’s love affair with coffee is all thanks to the Italian and Greek immigrants that brought their European espresso machines over with them after World War II. Since then, many a barista has come through and put their own spin on how coffee is made, where it comes from, and how to drink it, developing our coffee culture to what it is today. Some *chefs kiss* coffee places right now to check out are Dukes Coffee Roasters, Code Black, Two Conversations and Brother Baba Budan

Belles Baller Bucket

Belle’s Hot Chicken is known for their -shocker- hot chicken! And also their fantastic natural wine list. The Baller Bucket, with 16 wings, 4 sides, and 4 sauces is designed for any true fried chicken aficionados. If you can get through this bad boy, you can do anything. 
How to order: Book here, order takeaway here

Shunjinko Late Night Ramen

Shujinko is one of many ramen restaurants around Russell St, but it is the only one that is open for 24-hours. You’ve not had a good night until you’ve ended up at Shujinko. The ramen is positively moorish, the staff are beautiful and non-judgemental (they would’ve seen it all), inviting early birds and nightcrawlers alike. It’s loud, it smells delicious and you can have a bottle of sake or a pint of Asahi at any time of the day! It’s an absolute institution, a must-go on your next night out—or morning after. 
How to order: See the menu here, no bookings just walk-ins

Banh Mi From N.Lee

We don’t know why this Banh Mi is better than the rest, but it just is. Maybe it’s the fresh crusty bread? Or perhaps the extra generous spread of pate? Or maybe even just the juice-level of the pork belly. Whether it’s one simple factor or many small factors, we’re not the only ones that flock to N.Lee on our lunch breaks. You gotta get in quick; all you need is a rumbling tum and a $10 note. 


Melbourne has a heap of Turkish influence and with that, we’re incredibly lucky to have fantastic gozleme in just about every suburb. Your best bets for fresh, warm bread and generous fillings are Gozleme Turkish Cafe in the Queen Vic Markets, Kebabish & Grill in Clifton Hill, and Borek & Gozleme on Elizabeth Street. But seriously, just type in “gozleme near me” and I bet there’ll be one no more than a few km away. 

Courtesy of Bad Frankie

Bad Frankie’s Lamington Jaffle

We know that a lamington toastie is hard to imagine, especially at a cocktail bar, but just trust us. It’s light but rich, it’s chocolate-y but not too rich, with just enough coconut and crisp. It’s to die for. 
How to order: Book a spot at Bad Frankie’s by calling 03 9078 3866

Hot Jam Doughnuts

You will smell the hot jam doughnuts before you see them. Follow your nose to the American Doughnut Kitchen, a doughnut van parked right out the front of the Queen Vic Markets. And get this—they taste even better than they smell. 

A Lune Croissant

A lune croissant tastes like Paris and you better believe that people line up down the street for them. Owner Kate Reid took her aerodynamic skills to french pastries 11 years ago and created a one-off formula for the perfect buttery, flakey and melt-in-your-mouth goodness very rarely executed in western croissants.  
How to order: Pre-order here

Jo McGann

Supernormal’s Lobster Roll

The lobster roll at Supernormal has reached cult status, and rightly so. Inspired by a trip to New York, chef and owner McConnell puts its success down to accessibility; it’s the perfect amount of luxury, without having to commit your lifestyle or your wallet. 
How to order: Book here

French Saloon’s Fairy Bread

What do you think of when you think of fairy bread? I bet it isn’t three types of caviar. French Saloon swaps out the hundreds and thousands with caviar—yep, that’s what living tastes like. The only way to get your hands onto this enviable dish, is to a) have a healthy bank account and b) ask for the “secret caviar tasting plate”. 

Dan Soderstrom

Avocado Smash

It’s the breakfast of hipsters we know, and we accept that. But with so many hipsters to cater for, Melbourne truly delivers on the avo smash. It’s on pretty much every breakfast menu, which honestly makes it a difficult dish to choose with confidence because the difference between a good avo smash and a bad one… is something you don’t want to experience. Lately, I’d recommend The Dirty Apron in Clifton Hill. They serve their avo smash with goat’s curd—a classic but a must—and a very generous serving of actual avo, salted to perfection and spread thickly on homemade sourdough. 


Pellegrini’s is a Melbourne institution, opening its doors in 1954. Operating as one of Melbourne’s first pasta and espresso bars, it essentially created the European vibes that continues to expand down the Spencer Street end of Melbourne CBD. The white-shirted waiters go between excessively charming and wonderfully dismissive, giving you the full European experience. People have travelled far and wide for their crispy lasagne and cannelloni, in front of you at a piping hot temperature, within 5 mins of ordering. The best spot to sit is in the kitchen. Yes, you read that right. You can chat to the nonnas as they bustle about and curse under their breath, all while sitting at a huge kitchen table. It doesn’t get any more bellissimo than that.

Lygon Street

Lygon Street is the birthplace of Italian culture in Melbourne, with many Italian immigrants settling in Carlton in the 40’s and 50’s. With them, they brought their espresso machines, their gold pinky rings, and their pimped-up cars—that all still have a place on Lygon Street today. Now, a combination of traditional and new businesses exist on the strip, still with an overarching theme of Italian cuisine and culture. You’ll see the wives dressed up for dinner, groups of men wearing cravats and smoking cigars with the same blokes they always have – probably a cousin – and the nonnas sipping on an espresso after 10pm at Brunetti’s. 

Cannoli from T.Cavallaro & Sons

My first Melbourne boyfriend took me to eat cannoli here for breakfast one day and I almost cried. Their cannoli put me straight back in my nonna’s kitchen, circa 1998. Cavallaro & Sons have been a family business for over 60 years, and their secret to longevity is simple; their recipes haven’t changed since Tommaso and Sarina Cavallaro opened shop in 1956 and they always use fresh ingredients, not premixes. They make everything from biscotti, to wedding cakes to pascal lambs. But if you want the cannoli, you’d better get there first thing at 8:30am because they sell out fast!
How to order: To pre-order, call (03) 9687 4638