Image: Quincy Melbourne
Of all the things to do in Melbourne, probably the most rewarding is to savour its fantastic food scene. Melbourne is frequently ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities, and its restaurants, cafés and cocktail bars undoubtedly play a large part in that. From cheap and cheerful cafés to high-end world-class dining, the city has it all.
Some of the best Melbourne restaurants are hidden in laneways, behind inconspicuous doors, down in basements or up rickety old stairs. Tucked away in Flinders Lane, not far from the new Quincy Hotel, you’ll find popular restaurants such as the effortlessly cool Coda, the very chic Hazel, Andrew McConnell’s long-running and always innovative Cumulus Inc, and McConnell’s pan-Asian canteen, Supernormal.
Quincy Melbourne offers sophistcated dining venues and a cranking event calendar with everything from Sky High Teas to Floral Art Masterclasses. Exec Chef, Adam Woodifeld, is recognised among Australia’s most celebrated advocates and masters of authentic Southeast Asian cuisine – notching up accolades for venues of the ilk of Sydney’s Jimmy Liks, Melbourne’s Chin Chin and Hamilton Island’s Coca Chu, not forgetting the success of his own acclaimed ‘Betel’ restaurant, in New York. The food is innovative, delicious and pretty on the plate. Whilst 28 floors up, the hotel's pulsing rooftop bar, The Q, offers a thoughtfully curated drinks list and great views of the Melbourne skyline.
Choosing between Melbourne’s modern Asian restaurants is daunting, from the cool industrial-looking Sunda to the ever-popular Chin Chin, Longrain and Red Spice Road. Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar packs a flavour punch with its shared plates, while Uncle is a hit with those who love modern Vietnamese.
Melbourne’s Chinatown has a history dating back to the 1850s gold rush and is packed with eateries offering dumplings, Peking duck, yum cha and regional Chinese cuisines. For quality Cantonese, it’s hard to go past the much-lauded Flower Drum, which has been operating since 1975 and which makes some of the best xiao long bao (soup dumplings).
Another restaurant taking Chinese food to the next level is Lee Ho Fook, in a charming, historic CBD building. For quality Japanese, Ishizuka offers traditional kaiseki dining in a Bourke Street basement.
For Mediterranean food, Spanish-inspired Movida has spawned a string of bars and restaurants but the original one in Hosier Lane is hard to beat – if you can secure a table. Di Stasio Città impresses with its carefully crafted Italian food, its striking artworks and eye-catching design, including terrazzo floors and Murano chandeliers.
The grand dining room in Grossi Florentino is the scene of many a business deal and continues to woo diners with an Italian menu and ambience steeped in tradition. Its walk-in cellar houses Arlechin, the place to go for a late-night (or very early morning) snack.
For quiet yet chic surrounds, The Savoy Hotel On Little Collins offers share boards of meats and cheeses in its Alexander Bar all day. With its Victorian façade and Art Deco interior, the hotel harks to the elegance of times past while keeping a foot squarely in the present.
If you’re out to impress or simply want to spoil yourself, Attica consistently wins awards as Melbourne’s top restaurant, noted for its inspired degustation menu emphasising indigenous Australian ingredients. Also reaching great heights, figuratively and literally, is Vue de Monde where the pricey food and wine comes with a sensational view of the city skyline from 55 storeys high.
In the Docklands entertainment precinct, Platform 28 offers contemporary fare in the relaxed setting of a former railway goods shed restored with rustic charm. History is also evident in the Heritage-listed Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne where The Travellers Bar offers an international menu alongside cocktails made with organic mixers from Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. The Rendezvous also offers High Tea, one of many Melbourne venues that uphold this delightful tradition and is about to open a new dining experience, Mr Tompkins. Watch this space!
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*Activities listed may be subject to Covid restrictions.