A friend of mine said that if we were to eat at one Melbourne eatery one day each year, there would be not enough days in a year to cover them all. You'd probably take many, many years to do that, and I believe that!
As a result, it can be quite hard to choose which one to go to. Fortunately, during my recent visit to that beautiful city, I had great luck with all the places I dined in. They were all fabulous.
Here are the restaurants I ate - and highly recommend - in Melbourne:
For coffee and breakfast
There are so many cafes in Central Place, possibly the most popular laneway spot in Melbourne CBD, that it's hard to choose which one to savour.
But Issus is a good bet. The pulled pork, which came with poached eggs, was divine, and the hot hazelnut chocolate was absolutely delicious and one of the best hot chocolates I've ever had.
It's rather fun trying to find this relatively hidden cafe. The only sign of it's existence in the red-bricked lane is a little black sign announcing its presence.
The cafe is known for its great coffee, and the bagels are supposedly heavenly. Still, my friend and I were a tad reluctant to dish out $18++ for bagels.
But this is a lovely place - the industrial chic decor with art on the walls, and delicious smell of roasting coffee, creates a soothing athmosphere to while away some time readinga book or journalling while you enjoy that cup of coffee.
Brunch (with coffee, of course!)
Melbournians are extremely proud of their coffee. So proud, in fact that they would turn up their noses at you if you ask for a Vienna coffee (a favourite concotion of mine - coffee, topped with whipped cream). We learned this the hard way at this fancy coffee place when the waitress gave us a "I cannot believe you asked me that" look when we asked for one!
Personally, I found this place a tad hoity-toity for my liking (I do love Viennas, whether they think it's beneath them or not!). Still, the place has gained such a rep for its coffee and meals that there was a long, long line waiting to get into its post industrial-style interiors by 10am on that wintry morning.
My breakfast may seem simple - scrambled eggs and mushrooms, but the flavours were amazing. Hoity toity it might be, but its reputation is well deserved.
I've visited this little Japanese lunch outlet twice (once in 2015, and the second time in winter, 2019) and there was almost always a queue during lunch time, sometimes until outside the restaurant.
The reason for its popularity lay in the value-for-money donburis. I took the sashimi don - the raw Salmon is extremely fresh and yummy.
Truth to be told, I wasn't terribly enthusiastic about this Greek restaurant as my heart was more set on the German restaurant next door. But that restaurant's balcony area was fully booked and my friend and I were determined to have dinner with the view of the River Yarra, and Yassas' balcony seating was available.
It turned out to be a great choice. The moussaka came with a very fresh Greek salad and lamb cutlets came with pilaf rice flavoured with savoury spices. We didn't think we could finish the humongous servings, but it was so yummy we did.
This is one of the rare outlets that is open until after midnight in Melbourne's CBD, and it's often full of students. The specialty of this place is its ramen with pork broth. The springy ramen is freshly made and the servings are humongous! This meal is the best panacea for a cold, winter night.
This little corner Korean eatery was an accidental find. My friend and I were feeling particularly tired on our last night in Melbourne and didn't feel like trudging to the city for a nice meal. This little place seemed to look promising as it was almost always full when we walked past it on most days, so we thought, why not?
We ordered a "light meal"* of "original friend chicken", which came with a heaping serve of purple rice, some kimchi and salad. We finished every morsel and even ordered sweet chilli chicken cos it looked so yummy. So, yes, this place is awesome - on top of that, the food has no MSG.
* nothing "light" about the serving!
If you love desserts, having a meal at Brunetti's is a must. While it does have meals and most assuredly coffee but the place is known for it's wide and coloruful array of dessert selections and gelato. I ordered a cup of Vienna coffee (which is really, espresso with tonnes of cream) and apple strudle. Whoo! Heavenly.
You do get sad in Brunetti's though. You leave with the realisation that you can't take all the dessert and that the next time could be years in coming.
When is Brunetti's coming to Malaysia??
All in all, my friend and I had a great luck with all the places we've eaten at - the food was all awesome!
Do you have any recommended places to eat in Melbourne's CBD? Leave your recommendations in the comments below!