Whenever we go to a new city, or a new country, we always try to find out what food it is known for, or what the local dish is. Going to Australia, we heard about the amazing pies and sausage rolls, which we eventually tried in Sydney, but in Melbourne, we tried none of the “traditional” Australian dishes that we had heard about. Melbourne is so diverse that we ended up trying a lot of sushi, curry, dumplings, and even Mexican food - but everything was so good! We spent a week in Melbourne so we had to really narrow down our favorites to make this list of the best places to eat.
South of Johnston
We arrived in Melbourne at 10 in the morning and went straight to brunch. Our friend brought us to South of Johnston, which was just a few minute walk from our apartment. This restaurant was so nice and had such a pretty interior! Nick got a lamb burger and I got avocado toast on gluten free toast. It was so good and the perfect way to start our time in Melbourne. The coffee here was also some of our favorite!
We had heard about Sushi Monger because of how cheap it is and honestly we were on a pretty tight budget! It is located in the CBD in one of the many arcades. The place was fairly busy and not at all touristy - in fact, it was hard to find at first. We each got their lunch special of 3 rolls and miso soup for 7 Australian dollars, which was less than 5 dollars USD! They also had other dishes such as ramen for just a few dollars as well. It wasn’t the best sushi we’ve had, but it wasn’t bad at all. And for less than 10 dollars for two people? We definitely recommend, especially as a quick stop for lunch!
Fatto a Mano
Because we were traveling for so long, we wanted to buy something we could eat each morning so that we didn’t have to go out to eat for breakfast. The easiest choice was toast, which isn’t as simple as it sounds as I can’t have gluten. Nick researched and found Fatto a Mano, an Italian bakery, just a 10 minute walk from our apartment that had gluten free bread. This bakery is completely organic with so many gluten free and vegan options. We chose a honey walnut loaf - it was almost sold out so we knew it had to be good! Nick couldn’t resist getting a tomato, mozzarella, and basil “scroll” and I got a gluten free coconut biscotti. We both loved the bread, especially with some jam or honey on it - we had it every morning!
Our friend Ian had been living in Melbourne for 6 months so when he made a recommendation for dinner, we said yes right away. He knew what the best places were! We went to Noi Thai, which was pretty close to our apartment in Fitzroy. Nick got red curry, his usual, and I got tofu pad thai, which was really spicy. We both loved our food!
We were so excited to take an afternoon to explore South Melbourne Market. We wrote more about it here but it was basically just dozens and dozens of vendors selling different types of food. We sampled a bunch but we fell in love with Bambu! Nick got the chicken satay and I got the umami fries. Since we had snacked all day, we shared this and were full, but Nick really wished he was more hungry so that he could try some of the pork buns.
We went to Hotel Jesus on our last night in Melbourne. It was another of Ian’s favorites and was actually right across the street from Noi Thai. Nick got a chicken quesadilla and I got a mushroom quesadilla. This menu was great because it clearly outlined what was gluten free, vegetarian, and what could easily be made vegan. We decided to forego our camera on our last night so there’s no pictures of this place, but we definitely recommend if you are in the mood for Mexican food!
We were super impressed by all of the delicious food in Chinatown. It was so fun to sample so many different restaurants! Click here to read about our day eating through Chinatown.