If you live or work in the city, you’ve probably experienced a little disorder I like to call ‘epic lunchtime boredom’. It’s an actual, legit (first world) problem.
Don’t worry, we’re here with the solutions – and none of them involve a boring sandwich. Here’s our hitlist of the top seven lunch spots in the city that are sure to illicit a jealous line of questioning from your workmates across the kitchen table… and they all do takeaway too.
Your new favourite lunchtime obsession is this Israeli street food spot. Trust us. We’re talking minute steak pita paired with intensely salty pickles, tahini, tomato, chilli and onions. Green and yellow beans slathered in lemon juice and oil in a handy takeaway paper bag for the healthiest (and most delicious) snack this side of being vegan. There’s something called a ‘bag of golden meat’. I mean… YAS.
Poke has grown in popularity across Melbourne of late, and with our obsession with sushi, it’s easy to see why. Pokéd, down on Little Lonsdale Street, delivers delicious, traditional poké with that Japanese-Hawaiian flair. Pair salmon and tuna sashimi with pineapple salsa and edamame, or prawns with wasabi mayo and crispy wontons. It’s summer in a bowl.
Flinders Lane has welcomed this Carlton institution (and a glass entry of floor-to-ceiling cakes that will make you ditch lunch for dessert.) You can eat in here with a great menu of Italian classics for brunch or lunch, but head to the back of the spacious café for the takeaway cabinet full of delicious piadine and pizzas. Pair with a stand-up espresso at the bar while you wait – it’s the Roman way.
One of our favourite go-tos for a cheap lunch in the city, Soi 38 delivers piping hot Thai soups that always hit the spot – and usually for only a tenner. It’s a little hard to find; head down the side alley at McIlwraith Place, toward the Wilson’s carpark entry. It’s nestled right next to where the cars enter – but don’t be put off by the location. The Tom Yum noodles with giant pork and prawn wonton are 100% worth it.
Ok, we said none of them were sandwiches—but this isn’t your average ham and cheese sanga. We’re talking Porterhouse steak slapped in between thick dough-y goodness, and slathered in BBQ sauce. They do steak salads too, if you’re doing the gluten free thing, as well as delish sweet potato fries. Our choice is The Lot, with a cooked egg, cheese, bacon and shaved beetroot on top of your regular salad. It’s cheat day goodness in a bun.
This Thai-inspired fusion joint is far from boring, and the perfect alternative to a lacklustre lunch option. With brioche burgers sporting chicken breast topped with peanut sauce or prawn croquettes with sweet chilli mayo, it’s always got something different on the menu to deliver on the taste front. If you’re hungry, try a super bowl zinging with spice and lime tangy dressing, or pair with delicious sides like the popcorn chicken.
For the health nuts out there, this one is for you. Laneway Greens is one of those rare places that seems to be able to combine healthy AND delicious – who would’ve thought?! Pick a bowl from the amazing variety on offer, like Redwood Smoked Salmon and Poached Egg paired with a host of vegetables, or Burram Farm Lentils and House Made Hummus with pomegranate vinaigrette. You can’t forget the pink grapefruit and cucumber fresca to go – it’s summer after all.
After an extremely Melbourne experience at a laneway cafe instead? Here are Melbourne's best laneway cafes.
Image credit: Empire Steak | Griffin Simm