Melbourne’s a city absolutely chock full of great places to eat, and even though you’re pretty set with your go-to Saturday morning brunch joint, there’s a whole world of other options out there that you’ve probably been dying to get to.
You know the one, that place that your friend gives you grief over never having been to—well, it’s time to get out of your comfort zone, broaden your horizons and get to these Melbourne dining institutions that you definitely should have been to by now.
No visit to Melbourne’s CBD is complete with a stop in at Pelligrini’s. Be it just for a coffee or a magnificent bowl of pasta (or a sneaky dessert), Pelligrini’s always hits the spot. This is the epitome of an institution having opened in 1954 and was the first venue in Melbourne to own and operate an espresso machine—igniting the city’s obsession with coffee.
If you’ve found yourself on the north side any time in the past 30 years and have been looking for a good old-fashion meal or a coffee you’ve probably strolled into Marios at some point. Named for the owners Mario D and Mario Mac, Marios has been dishing up great meals and great service since 1984 and will continue to do so for years to come.
This Bourke Street stalwart run by legendary Melbourne chef Guy Grossi is one that you must well and truly have on your list. The location itself has been running as a restaurant since 1928 and has had a bit of a spruce up over the years. The perfect spot for any special occasion, order the ‘Gran Tour’—a five-course set menu that can be matched with local and international wines to cap off the perfect evening.
Vue de Monde
With too many chef’s hats to count Vue de Monde literally towers above other restaurants in Melbourne. Finding a home on the former observation deck of the Rialto—Vue de Monde offers 360-degree views of the city alongside only the finest of dining experiences all served up on Kangaroo leather tables.
While not as fancy as the previous venues, Andrew’s is a Melbourne institution that has been serving up burgers to locals since 1939. Serving up classics like The Lot and the Five O Hawaiian, Andrew’s burger patties are the stuff of legend. They have recently opened a 2nd venue in the CBD, so you can now get a hold of these legendary burgers wherever the day takes you.
South Yarra’s France Soir has been classing things up a bit on the swanky Toorak Road since 1986 and doesn’t look like stopping anytime soon. With rarely a spare seat to be found, France Soir serves up French classics such as steak tartare, steak frites, and—of course—crème brûlée. Alongside the cuisine is their legendary cellar which is home to more than 2,000 wines—take your time choosing.
Keeping Melbourne’s belly full in Chinatown for more than 30 years, Flower Drum is an icon of Melbourne’s dining scene. Their stellar menu includes delicious options like baked whole king prawns, hot and sour soup, roast suckling pig and the classic Peking duck. Ideal for your special event, the private dining room is a must visit.
Cecconi's Flinders Lane Restaurant & Bar
Having first launched at Crown in 1998, Cecconi's is a staple amongst Melbourne's Italian food-living population. Now occupying Flinders Lane, Cecconi's serves up traditional Italian fare such as braised beef tortellini, as well as a great selection of dry aged beef for you to sink your teeth into. A visit to Flinders Lane isn't complete without dropping by Cecconi's.
After something a bit newer? Here’s where to keep track of all the new openings in Melbourne.
Image credit: Grossi Florentino | Jenna Fahey-White