Wandering through the city’s mosaic-tiled arcades and art-filled laneways might just be the ultimate way to see Melbourne on foot. Grab coffee from a hole-in-the-wall café and stumble upon secret shops, tiny wine bars and hidden galleries in a single afternoon.

So many primo eating options are packed into the grid. Here are a few A+ options, whether you’re roaming the laneways, meeting for post-work cocktails, all-hours burgers, or impressing visitors at an iconic table.

Butcher Diner

Butchers Diner

Blink and you’ll miss this American-style diner on Bourke Street, which serves up some of the best burgers in Melbourne. Take a seat at the ’50s vibe communal counter for daily specials. Grab buttermilk pancakes, or steak and eggs for brekkie from 6am. Tuck into a classic cheeseburger, chilli dog, or ruben after Friday drinks. And order a side of deep-fried pickles or warm potato salad.

Rice Paper Scissors

Rice Paper Scissors

Savour hawker street market flavours at this colourful Thai gem in Hardware Lane. It’s perfect for catch-ups over cocktails, and the menu stars market-fresh and often organic produce. The sweet and spicy sauces, pâtés and relishes are all homemade. Get a jug of tropical Thai sangria for the table and share fragrant plates of Thai fried chicken, lobster dumplings and sticky pork belly. There’s plenty for vegos and vegans on the dedicated menu, such as tempura eggplant buns.

Bowl of Japanese tempeh, egg and seaweed.


Spot the neon cherries on Flinders Lane, signalling one of the city’s most famous foodie destinations. Superchef Andrew McConnell’s pan-Asian kitchen is perpetually popular for good reason. That reason could well be the lobster roll, mayoed, spiced and served in a brioche bun. If you’ve got guests to treat over the holidays, book now and catch up over duck bao, steamed honey bug and slow-cooked lamb. Sip umeshu spritz and leave room for peanut-butter parfait.


Dark and moody bar and restaurant in a basement space off Flinders Lane.

Pho Flinders Express

Mix and match your own toppings, with fragrant herbs and spices.

Seedling Cafe

Paleo-inspired and gluten free cafe serving meals made from fresh wholesome produce.

NOTEL Melbourne

Stay in a vintage Airstream caravan on a rooftop in the heart of the city.

Last updated on Thu 7 Jan 2021

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