Many of Melbourne’s favourite foodie spots are also the hardest to find. But they're always worth the journey.

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Spend more than $40 on dining or entertainment in the city and receive 25% off your bill, up to $125! This time the rebate is valid any day of the week, anywhere in the city. It will cover everything from cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants to movie snacks and pop-up markets. You can also score back cash on festivals, theatre, live music, museums, experiences and more. See what’s eligible on the website, then make your claim.

Lucy Liu

An iconic eatery in an unknown laneway tucked behind mysterious neon. Lucy Liu has taken hiding their door to a whole new level. Seek them out to be rewarded by juicy dumplings, top tier sashimi and creamy chocolate pave with peanut butter ice cream.

A red neon sign at the end of a hallway
Lucy Liu

Mugen Ramen

What’s more hidden than a tiny robot-themed laneway bar projecting anime from the ceiling? The neighbouring ramen shop with a secret basement bar. Located down Bligh Place off Flinders Lane with essentially no signage, it’s not hard to skip right over Mugen. Detour down the lane and grab a seat in the minimalist dining room. Or head to the mood-lit basement, where classic Japanese films are projected on the wall.

Mjolner

Getting inside Mjolner Melbourne is an achievement in itself. Weave your way down Hardware Street and look for the solid concealed door surrounded by iron gates. Head below street level for blazing cocktails in the bar or dine on Viking-inspired delights in the restaurant. Order your drinks shaken, stirred or served in a giant horn, then feast on roast bone marrow, charred veal, short rib and more.

A bartender making a cocktail by pouring a stream of fire into a goblet.
Mjolner

Tonka

You can’t get more Melbourne than the back of an alley. Tonka’s modern Indian cuisine is very well hidden in Duckboard Place. Executive chef is Italian-Indian Adam D’Sylva, whose many claims to fame include being the first chef at Longrain. Try his next-level butter chicken, the snapper crab betel leaf with green chili chutney and roasted pineapple, and the mustard chicken tikka.

Pinchy's

Midcity Arcade is probably one of Melbourne's most underrated foodie spots. Downstairs you can find a wave-mural izakaya, a robot dessert machine and one of the best ramen shops in Melbourne. Pinchy's awaits upstairs, bathed in neon-pink signage and drenched in champagne. Take your crew onto the leafy coutyard and feast on lobster rolls, truffle fries and sparkling rosé into the night.

A pink cocktail bar with a neon sign
Pinchy's champagne bar

Pearl Chablis & Oyster Bar

Venture a little further down the arcade from Pinchy's to find their sister venue, Pearl Chablis & Oyster Bar. French wine and premium oysters are the heroes at this intimate spot, a marriage it calls nature’s perfect pairing. Pull up a velvet stool at the bar, where a display of the day’s fresh selection will tempt you. Try rock oysters sourced from around Australia. And order a glass from the country’s (and perhaps the world’s) largest Chablis library.  

Cookie

Curtin House was one of Melbourne’s first so-called ‘vertical laneways’. But the tenant that put it on the map was Cookie. A bar, Thai restaurant and club rolled into one, this venue is worth the stairs. Perfect pad thai and sticky beef ribs are served with hand-picked gin, margaritas and Trappist monk inspired beer.

A large dining room in a restaurant
Cookie

Roule Galette

Peek down Scott Alley to find a slice of Parisian paradise at Roule Galette. Their savoury crepes (called galettes) come filled with ham and cheese, decadent truffle salmon and more. Pair it with a refreshing glass of cider for the full French experience. Then try neighbouring sandwich spot Croque Monsieur, another hole-in-the-wall gem for Melb-based Francophiles

Yum Sing House

Karaoke, Cantonese food and 1960s kitsch. Yum Sing House has all the good stuff in spades. Seek out the unassuming door on Sutherland Street, which gives way to an expansive, mood-lit dining room. Order everything from prawn toast and fried chicken wingettes to braised Cape Grim black vinegar beef. Try yuzu curd desserts, knock back an espresso martini and head upstairs to the secret karaoke room.

More hidden Melbourne restaurants

Soi 38

Soi 38 is inspired by Bangkok street food and named after the side streets of the Thai capitol.

Bar Holiday

A hidden bar with casual Italian dining.

Torissong

Torissong Japanese restaurant specialise in yakitori chicken skewers, seafood and ramen.

Waiters Restaurant

Serving unfussy, home-style Italian food to a late-night crowd since 1947.

More hidden Melbourne bars

Bar Sabbatico

Tiny bar serving cocktail tasting menus.

Eau de Vie

A bar with liquid nitrogen cocktails, tasting menus, plus a secret lounge hidden behind a bookcase.

Berlin Bar

A cocktail bar inspired by the German capital.

Melbourne's best basement bars

Venture beneath Melbourne’s streets to these hidden bars and subterranean speakeasies.

More hidden Melbourne cafes

Little Rogue

A small and welcoming cafe popular with local coffee lovers.

Traveller

This pocket-sized cafe is run by the Seven Seeds team.

Vertue Coffee Roasters

A small cafe serving breakfast, lunch and house-roasted coffee.

Mörk Chocolate City

Iconic chocolate shop in an old lift shaft, located in one of Melbourne’s most bustling laneways.

Last updated on Tue 20 Sep 2022

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