Narrow café laneways bursting with activity, al fresco dining on every corner, and the intoxicating aromas of fresh coffee beans roasting in cosy hole-in-the-wall nooks: welcome to the culinary mecca of Melbourne.

Readily touted as the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne is not just a feast for the eyes with its stunning architecture and vibrant arts scene; it's also a paradise for food lovers. From hidden laneway gems to bustling restaurants, from upscale dining to unassuming laneway eateries, Melbourne's food culture celebrates diversity, creativity, and an unwavering dedication to flavour with every bite.

If you're wondering what to eat in Melbourne (and really, the choices are endless, so who isn't?), this guide will take you on a tantalising journey through some of the city's most iconic eateries. Get ready to take notes, because these must-visit Melbourne hotspots are sure to elevate your next trip beyond compare.

Dorsett Melbourne’s Jin Bar: A Delight for the Senses

Enter the Dorsett Melbourne lobby, take a left turn, and step into the plush interiors of Jin Bar. A visit to our fabulous in-house bar and restaurant is not just an invitation to a meal; it's an experience entwined with mesmerising mixology, delicious cuisine, and a moodily-lit ambience that captures the heart and soul of Melbourne’s nightlife.

Inspired by Melbourne's 1850s gold rush era, Jin Bar seamlessly weaves Victoria's historical tapestry into its menu and décor. The name "Jin," meaning Gold in Mandarin, pays homage to this cultural heritage. Gold leaf accents adorn the decor and even find their way into our cocktails, adding a touch of opulence to your experience. Walk-ins are warmly welcomed.

Embracing local suppliers, we showcase craft beer from Spotswood, wine from Gippsland, and spirits from the Yarra Valley. If you prefer something more exotic to drink, watch as our skilled bartenders expertly shake, stir, and craft cocktails that promise a delightful sensory experience. Alongside our always-fabulous classics, we highly recommend our signature cocktails, including:

  • The Gold Digger, featuring sparkling wine, brand, and angostura bitters

  • The Not So Old Fashioned, crafted with Starward Two Fold, cinnamon syrup, bitters, and hickory smoke

  • The Miss Diva, a vibrant mix of Cognac, Chambord, and sparkling

Our food menu is a symphony of flavours and textures, featuring a locally sourced charcuterie and cheese board, wattleseed poached duck, Angus beef sirloin, fresh Kingfish crudo, and a rich yet delicate porcini mushroom risotto.

Indulge in the joy of Happy Hour every night of the week at Jin Bar (yes, that's every night). Our Happy Hour menu boasts $14 classic cocktails, $9 beers, and $10 wines, all available from 5 to 7pm. Once you're filled with enough wine and dining, the rest of Melbourne is at your fingertips to explore – or simply stroll upstairs to your plush Dorsett Melbourne room to sink into an evening of relaxed bliss.

Degraves Street at twilight

Degraves Street: Melbourne’s Laneway Haven

Tulip Coffee

7a Degraves Street, Melbourne

(03) 9005 2227

The Quarter

27–31 Degraves Street, Melbourne

(03) 9650 6156

If you're heading to the city for a true foodie's experience, there's no better way to immerse yourself in Melbourne's classic laneway coffee culture than with one of its most iconic dining strips: Degraves Street. This charmingly eclectic laneway is the epitome of urban Melbourne café culture with its edgy flair and European-esque atmosphere. From cosy coffee nooks to authentic al fresco Mediterranean, Degraves Street is a serious must-visit.

Tulip Coffee

Nestled in Degraves Street's thriving heart and attracting lines of eager customers every day, Tulip Coffee is a charming hole-in-the-wall espresso bar serving some of Melbourne's finest coffee. This renowned café consists of just a handful of cosy seats and is adorned with a warm wooden interior and subtle pink touches. It's the perfect spot to savour Tulip's exclusive house blend or grab your coffee and a croissant to go as you explore the laneway.

Open from Monday to Friday, this petite coffee haven promises a quick turnover and an exceptional coffee experience that's well worth the visit.

The Quarter

The Quarter imbues Degraves with a tasty touch of European dining and al fresco people-watching heaven. You've probably seen photos of Degraves Street with a jam-packed line of tables running right through the centre strip – this, in part, belongs to The Quarter's outdoor seating offerings.

Pull up a chair at this casual yet elegant dining gem for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner amidst the lane's bustling atmosphere. With warming heaters to keep you comfortable in the evenings and cooler months, you're invited to savour an eclectic mix of modern Melbourne street food and authentic Mediterranean flavours.

The menu is a fan-favourite selection of quintessential Melbourne bites. Tuck into the city’s best smashed avo on sourdough or treat yourself to a morning indulgence with mocha hot cakes paired with Oreos. Later in the day, we recommend the twice-cooked pork belly or the saganaki-style skillet prawns. Not to mention their irresistible drinks selection and freshly ground coffee, which perfectly embodies the classic Melbourne café-come-restaurant experience.

Italian Feasts: Taste the Magic of Lygon Street


303 Lygon Street, Carlton

(03) 9347 5759

Universal Restaurant

141 Lygon Street, Carlton

(03) 9347 4393

Welcome to Lygon Street, the heart of Melbourne's thriving culinary scene in the northern suburb of Carlton and fondly known as Melbourne's "Little Italy." If you’re wondering what to eat for dinner in Melbourne, simply wander along this famous strip for inspiration.

Let the enticing scents of freshly baked pizza and simmering pasta sauces envelop you, promising an exquisite culinary adventure no matter which restaurant you settle on. Lygon Street offers so many choices you’ll just have to visit again the next night to try them all!


Tiamo, a renowned Melbourne restaurant with an impressive 40-year legacy, is known to serve some of the best (if not the best) authentic Italian cuisine on Lygon Street. This family-operated establishment is a testament to the craft of both classic and contemporary Italian dishes.

Since the 1970s, Tiamo has consistently delighted patrons with Italian favourites like hearty lasagna, bolognese, cannelloni, and an array of other comforting dishes. Their menu boasts an array of delights that are all worth trying, though if we had to pick just one dish, we’d be hard-pressed to go past the homemade gnocchi or classic Margherita pizza. They may sound simple, but their homemade goodness paired with locally sourced ingredients and expert presentation make them anything but.

Universal Restaurant

Universal Restaurant is your go-to destination for heartwarming Italian comfort cuisine. With a rich history dating back to 1969, this beloved Carlton eatery has been serving up generous portions of classic Italian favourites for decades.

Their diverse menu boasts a delectable array of options, including pizza, meat, seafood, antipasto, and pasta dishes. For dessert, we highly recommend the signature Nutella tiramisu. If you’re travelling with more particular eaters, this restaurant is sure to cater to every palate and preference.

Universal Restaurant has also gained acclaim for its excellent takeaway pizza and Italian food delivery services, ensuring that everyone can savour their renowned dishes, whether it's the famous chicken parma or a moreish takeaway pasta.

Dumplings served at HuTong Dumpling Bar in Chinatown

Chinatown: Uncovering Melbourne's Vibrant Asian Cuisine Scene

HuTong Dumpling Bar

14–16 Market Lane, Melbourne

(03) 9650 8128


136 Bourke Street, Melbourne

(03) 7006 4222

When it comes to the question of what to eat in Melbourne, Chinatown has to take pride of place at the top of your list. Venture down Little Bourke Street, nestled between Swanston and Spring Streets, where a row of charming 19th-century buildings forms Australia's oldest Chinatown, inviting you to explore its captivating heritage and diverse culinary offerings.

Pass through the trademark red gates and you'll find yourself in a vibrant realm of genuine Asian dining, lively karaoke spots, cocktail bars, and stylish boutiques. This bustling and vivid enclave stands as a shining gem within Melbourne's rich cultural landscape.

The authentic and unbeatable food in Chinatown offers some of the most delicious things to eat in Melbourne. This vibrant district is teeming with restaurants serving up both traditional and modern Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Malaysian dishes. Try classic favourites like dim sum, crispy Peking duck, or spicy laksa.

HuTong Dumpling Bar

Are you a dumpling fan? You will be after visiting HuTong. Take a seat in this renowned Melbourne Chinatown staple and witness chefs crafting the most perfectly plump and mouth wateringly delicious dumplings, before they're steamed and served and ready to melt in your mouth.

HuTong specialises in Shanghainese cuisine, known for small, shareable dishes like their renowned drunken chicken and xiaolongbao dumplings, filled with meat and soup. While the restaurant is bustling and the staff, though friendly, are focused on efficiency, HuTong excels at delivering high-quality Shanghainese fare without unnecessary fuss. Go for the food, stay for the food.


While the food at Yulongfu is of course spectacular, we have to start with a spotlight on the restaurant's ambience. Striking the perfect balance between spacious and inviting, the unique decor features warm blonde timber, elegant vertical slats, birdcage light fixtures adorned with charming ornamental birds, and plush lime-green banquettes.

It's a bustling spot during office lunch breaks and transforms into an ideal setting for larger groups seeking a leisurely evening gathering.

But a visit to Yulongfu isn't complete until you witness co-owner Yong Liu masterfully craft xiaolongbao, the iconic soup dumplings, right before your eyes. These dumplings are no ordinary fare; they boast 16 meticulously folded pleats, allowing steam to permeate and cook the succulent pork mince without compromising the delicate soup within.

Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants: Delightful Plant-based Dining

Smith + Daughters

107 Cambridge Street, Collingwood

(03) 9650 8128

Funghi e Tartufo

60 Hardware Lane, Melbourne

(03) 9670 9939

It’s official; Melbourne is a haven for vegans and vegetarians, with a plethora of restaurants catering to plant-based diets and gourmet foodies. Whether you're a dedicated vegan wondering what to eat for dinner in Melbourne, or you’re simply looking to explore a different option, Melbourne's vegan and vegetarian restaurants offer a delightful dining experience.

Smith + Daughters

Even if you’re not vegan, chances are you’ve heard (or even eaten at) Smith + Daughters in Melbourne’s northern precinct of Collingwood. This hugely successful and downright famous restaurant has paved the way not only for gourmet vegan food in Australia, but also for the restaurant and cooking scene itself.

Touted as the leading vegan restaurant in Australia, Smith + Daughters will quickly answer your question of what to eat in Melbourne with its mouthwatering menu and lively atmosphere. With a focus on good, quality food rather than overly-exuberant ‘all vegan’ mantras, this must-visit Melbourne eatery may just convert you to the veggie lifestyle purely by its unbeatable cuisine.

Almost every menu offering undergoes smoking or touches the open flame, infusing the Mediterranean-inspired dishes with smoky, flame-kissed flavours. Try the beloved grilled chicken accompanied by heirloom vegetables and harissa tahini to the fermented potato bread, stuffed with ever-changing fillings like house-made vegan meat or cheese. This bread is fried and then delicately charred over charcoal before serving, creating an indulgent appetiser that will have you returning for more.

While signature mock meats and vegan cheeses still have their place, the menu leans towards shareable, produce-driven plates that champion sustainability. You'll be treated to a true farm-to-table experience at Smith + Daughters with ingredients sourced from local Victorian farms and growers.

Funghi e Tartufo

We couldn’t write a list about what to eat in Melbourne without taking a stroll through Hardware Lane in the heart of the city. Just over a ten minute walk from Dorsett Melbourne, this magical and world-renowned laneway is a foodie’s heaven, with some of the most famous establishments crowning its cobbled ground.

For an all-vegan treasure, we recommend visiting Funghi e Tartufo, Hardware’s best Italian hotspot that just happens to be plant based. Named after its signature dish, "Mushrooms & Truffle," the restaurant is dedicated to serving authentic Sicilian cuisine focused on the region's plant-based and vegetarian delicacies.

Perusing the menu, though, you wouldn't know this upscale establishment was vegan – and plenty of options are also gluten free. That’s a combination we don’t often see in the Italian cuisine world.

The antipasti features Italian staples like olive nocellara, calamari fritti, and an unreal cheeseboard adorned with vegan Camembert, Gorgonzola or Fleur du maquis. For a main dish, try the gnocchi sorrentina or the pesce spada alla siciliana, a delicious grilled swordfish alternative.

Finally, round off the experience with their dolci selection – our favourites include the mixed berry panna cotta and the cannolo cioccolato e Cointreau, a devilishly good cannolo with chocolate and Cointreau cream.

 Couple entering Dorsett Melbourne

Stay in the Heart of Melbourne’s Foodie Scene

In a city where culinary diversity and innovation are celebrated, Melbourne's dining scene is an absolute treasure trove for food enthusiasts. From hidden laneway gems to bustling street markets and fine dining establishments, Melbourne's gastronomic landscape is a feast for the senses.

As you embark on your culinary adventures in this city, we invite you to make Dorsett Melbourne your home away from home. Nestled in the heart of Melbourne's vibrant culinary paradise, our hotel is not just a place to stay but an integral part of your gastronomic journey.

Our prime location allows you to easily explore all the culinary delights Melbourne has to offer, and our comfortable accommodations provide the perfect place to rest and recharge after indulging in the city's culinary delights.

So, whether you're here for a weekend getaway, a business trip, or a romantic staycation, make Dorsett Melbourne your choice and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of flavours and experiences that Melbourne has to offer. Book your stay with us, and let us be your gateway to the city's culinary wonders.

Interested in more cultural treasures on offer in Melbourne? Discover some of the most-anticipated cultural events and festivals to come this year and in 2024, including the renowned Melbourne Food & Wine Festival next March.