When we first moved to Melbourne, there were a lot of things I was scared of… it was a new city, with new friends, a new church and a new job. I knew it would be difficult to settle in, but there was one thing I was sure of. It was going to be food and coffee heaven… and it has certainly delivered.
When friends and family come to stay, I’m always racking my brain for where to take them. Not because I’m short on ideas… rather, I’m spoiled for choice. I’ve recently managed to comprise a short list of my absolute favourite places to go for coffee, dinner and doughnuts, and while it would be fun to keep them to myself, I have a feeling the secret’s already out. So here’s my top 10, in no particular order!
- Rice Paper Scissors, Fitzroy/Melbourne CBD. We splashed out on a celebration dinner when we came to Melbourne for an interview before we moved, and it’s safe to say it completely blew our minds. When we left we realised that the only thing we’d talked about over dinner was how good the food was! If you’re looking for great Asian fusion, and tapas style laneway dining, this is the perfect place.
- Doughboys, Melbourne CBD. We’ve tried quite a few doughnuts over the past year, and nothing quite beats Doughboys. Make sure you get there early (they run out of the good stuff pretty quickly), and please try the lemon meringue pie or raspberry matcha flavour. If you’re after something more classic and less gourmet, you can’t go past the 6 for $6 hot jam doughnuts on the corner of Elizabeth and Flinders St.
- Padre, Brunswick East. Our absolute favourite local spot. Padre uses their own roast for all their coffees, and they make a mean authentic Chai latte.
- Newtown Specialty Coffee, Fitzroy. These guys really know their coffee – and they make some of the best cold brew I’ve ever had. They’re located on Fitzroy’s busiest strip, Brunswick Street. Newtown, in Fitzroy on Brunswick Street… it has to be one of Melbourne’s most confusing locations.
- A1 Bakery, Brunswick. Don’t let the look of this place turn you away. It certainly doesn’t lack character or eclectic decor (imagine giant fish tank mixed with giant sport TV and about 50 genres of wall art in a giant brick-walled room), but it has some of the best Lebanese food you can find, and it’s beyond cheap. Make sure you try one of their delicious platters (they’re only about $13), or a $4 spinach and Danish feta pide, fresh from their wood fire oven.
- Laksa King, Flemmington. We were recently introduced to Laksa King by some friends, and while we’ve tried to revisit a couple of times, it’s so popular that we haven’t managed to get in. You can put your name down and wait out front for a table, but I’d recommend getting there a half hour before you want to eat, especially on a weekend! The servings are huge and very reasonably priced.
- Huxtaburger, Fitzroy/Melbourne CBD. Huxtaburger quickly won our hearts and became our favourite burger joint in the whole world. I can’t explain what it is… maybe the brioche, the juicy patty or the sauce they use… but you really have to try it.
- A Minor Place, Brunswick. It took us a while to figure out what the name of this place even was… it has to be the least signed, most home-like place in Brunswick. They do an awesome Chai (arguably even better than Padre), and the staff are super friendly.
- The Little Mule, Melbourne CBD. Again, if you’re into lanes, this is a great one to hit up. It’s one of those places you have to know about to discover (or just be a user of Beanhunter, either way), but there’s something fun about it being tucked away from the general bustle of the city. Besides its cool location, they have incredible coffee… and a number of mobile charging stations if you’re into the work while you eat/drink thing.
- Longrain, Melbourne CBD/China Town. On the splurgier side, Longrain is a ‘fancier’ Asian fusion restaurant, right at the end of China Town. It has the tapas style entrees of Rice Paper Scissors, but more traditional main course style meals (which we tend to share anyway). It is pricier, but if you sign up to their membership list (which is totally free), they’ll send you a voucher for your birthday and you’ll get one main course on the house.
If you’ve been to Melbourne, or live in Melbourne and have some favourites of your own, I’d love to hear about it!