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Plant based goodness at the Carringbush Hotel. Credit the Carringbush Hotel

Taste-Test The 9 Best Places To Eat in Melbourne

Do you know what is important on every great road trip? Food! Sure, you could manage your whole tour of Australia subsisting on 2-minute ramen noodles (cooked in a JUCY campervan, of course). However, to truly understand a place, it’s important to taste it, as well as see, smell, touch, hear, it. Especially in glorious Melbourne, a world-famous destination for its ability to tantalise tastebuds.  

We’ve pulled together our fave Melbourne eats to see you sorted for every kind of dining experience. Don’t forget to tag us #JUCYMoments in your snaps if you try one (or all) of these suggestions!  

Distressed heritage building with tables

Credit: Higher Ground

Best Breakfast: Higher Ground, Melbourne CBD 

Good food tastes better in great settings, which is why we rank Higher Ground as one of our top brekkie spots.   

In a stylish 6-level heritage-listed building in the heart of the city centre, the crew at Higher Ground offer delights such as peanut butter waffles, chilli scrambled eggs and their popular ricotta hotcakes. All washed down with one of their hip-as breakfast cocktails or a rich brew. It’s a yummy way to start the day!   

Costs? Around $20 for a breakfast dish. 

Two burgers in cardboard boxes

Credit: 8bit

Best Burger: 8bit, Footscray, Broadmeadows Central & Watergardens 

For a delish burger in a retro setting, 8bit is where it’s at. While the standard burgers on the menu will still rock your world, it’s the Double Dragon (double of everything) that makes Melbourne burger lovers travel to the 8bit OG Footscray store. With a side of cheese and bacon fries, of course. 

Walking into their vibrant store feels a little like walking into a Pacman game. This is complemented by their in-store arcade machine, loaded with 500 games! 

Gluten-free buns are available. 

Most burgers are in the $12-15 price range. 

Pizza from Tiamo

Credit: Tiamo

Best Italian: Tiamo, Carlton 

A trip to Lygon Street in Carlton is a trip to Italy. For your tastebuds, at least. While there is a range of fabulous Italian eateries along this iconic Melbourne street, we can’t go past Tiamo.  

Tiamo translates to I love you and the locals agree. Around for four decades, this is as traditional Italiano as you can get, be it for delectable pasta, parma, or pizza (there’s even a Tiamo 2 next door for pizza only). We’d tell you what the most popular dish is, but they’re all winners. 

Mains are around $25-30 each.  

Exterior view fo Carringbush Hotel, a heritage pub in Melbourne

Credit: The Carringbush Hotel

Best Vegan: The Carringbush Hotel, Abbotsford 

Vegan meals of yore mainly consisted of soggy lettuce, limp carrot, and an accidental dollop of mayonnaise. Now restaurants and cafes are not only conscious of providing a vegan option but are inspired to make creatively tasty plant-based dishes. Melbourne has been hot on the vegan trail for a few years now, ensuring there are plentiful opportunities for travelling vegans and vegetarians.  

Our favourite vegan Melbourne eatery is the Carringbush Hotel. Not only because of its entirely meat-free menu but because it’s a pub and traditionally pubs laughed at vegetarians and vegans when they asked for menu options that were not a bag of chips.  

Not at the Carrington, though. This quaint 19th-century pub is home for 21st- century vegans, with tasty eats on the menu like popular Jamaican jerk spicy ribs and butter ‘chicken’. There are nut-free and gluten-free menu options, too.  

Bonus: dogs are welcome, too! So, you might get a little pat with a pooch before your plant-based parmigiana. 

Mains are around the $25 mark; small plates from $8-16. 

Aerial view of hands cutting into pancakes

Credit: Fox in the Box

Best for Allergies/Intolerances: Fox in the Box, Brighton 

Dining out when you have intolerances sucks. Especially if you’re stuck with onion and garlic which is in everything! Thankfully, Melbourne is an absolute rockstar destination for the food intolerant and allergic, in part, due to Monash University and the incredible work they do for IBS and the low FODMAP diet.  

Fox in the Box is a dream for LoFo-ers: the menu is 100% onion, garlic, leek, and gluten-free, with an entirely FODMAP-safe kitchen. There are plenty of dairy-free options, too. The Intolerant Chef was born from his own health issues, ensuring that your meals are created with the utmost safety for your gut. 

Travelling in a JUCY campervan? You can stock up on takeaway meals for your JUCY fridge at Fox in the Box. 

Lunch mains are around $20 each.  

Psst: This handy guide and this one are good to bookmark as they list places across Melbourne to meet your dietary requirements.  

Table spread of Malaysian dishes

Credit: Mamak

Best BYO: Mamak, Melbourne CBD 

Grab your buddies and a BYO bottle for a delicious evening at Mamak in central Melbourne. This award-winning restaurant has a bold and spicy menu that transports you to Malaysia in one flavour-filled bite.  

The roti is so dreamy, you’ll wish you could elope with it, and the satay sticks so good you’ll regret saying you’ll split them (so don’t!). If there’s room, end with Mamak’s sweet roti, a yummy tall cone filled with ice cream. 

Mamak’s vibes are bustling, friendly, and in line with the atmosphere of the mamak outdoor stalls in Malaysia.  

Rotis start from $10; six satay sticks from $17, and mains are around $20-25. 

Aerial view of Melbourne City from Vue de Monde restaurant

Credit: Vue de Monde / Sean Fenness

Best Splurge/Special Occasion: Vue de Monde, Melbourne CBD 

Whether it’s a special occasion or just because Melbourne has a range of top-notch restaurants to help you celebrate. There’s the farm-to-table fine-dining of O.My, the glitz and glam of Society, and the 4-monthly menu changes at Atlas, which all impress. However, it’s Vue de Monde that we choose to hand over our hard-earned cash any time a whiff of a celebration is in the air.  

Not only does Vue de Monde offer some of the best fine dining in Melbourne (and possibly Australia), it has the view to match. Located on the 55th floor of the Rialto, you’ll be dining from the ever-changing native Australian-inspired set menu to the backdrop of 360-degree views! It’s lush.  

The chef’s indulgent tasting menu is $350 per person. 

Chocolate pavlova from Chokolait

Credit: Annatachado Trip Advisor

Best Dessert: Chokolait, Melbourne CBD 

We’ve been known to skip straight for dessert on occasion, and when you hear about the chocolate pavlova at Chokolait, you might do the same, too. Pavlova, for international JUCY lovers, is a hotly debated meringue, cream, and fruit dessert. Why hotly debated? Because both Australia and New Zealand claim it as their own.  

Who cares who traditional pav comes from when there is chocolate pavlova, though? Not us! The crisp crust and soft, oozing fillings melt in your mouth and melt your heart, too. Have you ever returned to a destination for the food? One bite of this and you’ll consider an annual visit to Melbourne a new travel goal (unless you already live there, in which case, uh oh!). 

Most desserts, including the chocolate pav, are $16. 

Close-up of coffee in cup with leaf latte art

Credit: Monk Bodhi Dharma

Best Coffee: Monk Bodhi Dharma, Balaclava,  

Okay, so we know coffee is not exactly a food, but as many Melbournians substitute brekkie for a caffeine fix, and Melbourne IS famous for its coffee culture, so we’re going for it!  

We know we might be wading into battle to claim just one place as Melbourne’s crowning glory cup of coffee, but we picked this place based on vibes, ethos, of course, how smooth their brews are. And the JUCY winner? Monk Bodhi Dharma.  

Not only does Monk Bodhi Dharma have a cool name, they also have their own roasting network, ethically sourced beans, and are known for their innovative approach to speciality coffee. The distressed look of the café is a vibe, too, as is their sustainably focused plant-based menu.  

Special mention to Padre Coffee for their ethical approach to coffee, too.  

Expect usual Melbourne coffee prices. All-day brekkie is around the $20 mark.  

Male cooking in back of JUCY campervan kitchen

Of course, you can always cook in your JUCY camper kitchen!

So, there you have it. Nine incredible places to tantalise your tastebuds, satiate your palate and scoff your faces. The choice now is which one first? 

Please note, for most of our fabulous choices listed, a booking is recommended. 

Salivating and ready to book a Melbourne getaway. Pick up your JUCY car or campervan from ourMelbourne Airport and Melbourne City (St Kilda) branches. Click BOOK NOW above or call the crew on 1800 150 850 


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