12 of Melbourne’s must-do foodie experiences

Interior photo of Chin Chin Restaurant Melbourne

Tianna Nadalin

Posted June 15, 2021

A deliciously eatworthy guide to 14 of the best only-in-Melbourne foodie experiences. 

Melbourne might be the self-proclaimed foodie capital of Australia but, as well as offering a smorgasbord of high-end restaurants and cosmopolitan bars, this gastronomic mecca is also brimming with unique dining experiences. From clandestine cocktail bars and sky-high suppers to laneway saloons, floating feasts, fine dining and gourmet grills, there’s an epicurean experience to suit every palate.

Better still, many of the most exciting venues offer special offers and discounts to RACV members when booking direct through RACV Attraction Tickets. So, give in to your culinary cravings. Here are 14 uniquely Melbourne quests to add to your foodie bucket list.

Lui Bar Melbourne. Photo: Supplied
Dessert at Om Nom Kitchen Melbourne. Photo: Supplied.

12 of the most unique, must-do Melbourne foodie experiences

Melbourne Restaurants Walking Tour

Can’t decide between Melbourne’s astonishing array of top-notch nosheries? A Melbourne Restaurants walking tour takes in three of the city’s best in one progressive degustation dinner. Bring an empty belly, because you’ll have nine matched food and wine tastings across three top-rated restaurants, including Neapoli, Izakaya Den, Taxi Kitchen and OmNom.

Chin Chin

It wouldn’t be a guide to stand-out establishments without including one of the city’s gourmet game changers. Chin Chin, in the middle of Melbourne’s iconic eat street – Flinders Lane – opened in 2011 and, nearly a decade later, the cult Southeast-Asian eatery still attracts as much hype and attention as the day people starting lining up to get through its doors. The only difference is, thanks to the pandemic, in 2021 you can actually make a booking for groups less than 10. Silver linings. 

Witches in Britches Theatre Restaurant

If you’re after a full belly and some serious belly laughs, a night at Witches in Britches is the ultimate excuse to let your hair down. As well as a three-course meal, this wickedly good night out also features a two-hour live comedy show, so you can get your fill of slow-cooked lamb, LOLs (and some decadent chocolate brownie) before heading to the dungeon for a kooky cocktail. 

Lui Bar 

When it comes to must-do Melbourne foodie experiences, add sipping champagne and nibbling mini sausage rolls on  the 55th floor of the Rialto Tower to the top of your list. Lui Bar is the sleek, sophisticated sister of Shannon Bennett’s acclaimed fine-diner Vue de Monde, and offers the same first-class views of Melbourne’s stunning skyline. 

Choo Choos at Curtin House

Date night? On the second floor of the city’s historic Curtin House, you’ll find not only one of Melbourne’s live music mainstays (The Toff in Town), but also a Southeast-Asian inspired eatery that offers atmosphere and intimacy in spades. Settle into a private booth inside an old train carriage, where you can close the doors and ding a bell for service. It’s open Thursdays to Saturdays from 5pm and both the food and funky fitout are sure to impress. 

Ponyfish Island 

A ship-shaped bar under a bridge over the Yarra River? It’s Melbourne, so, of course there is. Down a spiral staircase off the pedestrian bridge between Flinders Street Station and Southbank, you’ll find Ponyfish Island, a sun-drenched sip spot where, if you squint hard enough, it almost feels like being on a superyacht in the Mediterranean (just kidding). Snack on chilli peanuts and wagyu beef dumplings while taking in the views of Southbank and the sparkling city skyline.  

Terrace at Madame Brussels

Cocktails on the terrace at Madame Brussels. Photo: Visit Victoria.

Madame Brussels

A themed cocktail bar atop a sprawling city terrace? What’s not to love. Grab a cheeky cocktail (the Madame’s D.D. Cup is a delicious choice) at the Madame Brussels hedge bar, then pull up a chair on the faux grass and settle in for a sky-high garden soiree with serious retro flair.

Go on a guided tour of the Queen Victoria Market 

Wandering through the produce-laden aisles of the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere and sampling cherry-picked items from some of the top traders is about as close to culinary heaven as a foodie can get. But getting an insider’s knowledge of which vendors to hit for the silkiest hand-made pasta or stinkiest artisan cheese courtesy of an expert guide – that’s priceless. On this 90-minute small group walking tour, you’ll get to taste test the produce at some of the market’s best stores, as well as indulge in a glass of local wine, a seasonal fruit platter and, of course, a famous QVM hot jam doughnut.

Melbourne BBQ School Classes

Don’t just talk the talk. Master the art of the grill at Melbourne BBQ School and you’ll be able to walk the walk, too. Learn everything from American-style meat smoking to the secrets of perfectly seared seafood, and get ready to cook up a storm. With your newfound command of the coals, your next backyard barbie is bound to be a hit.

Bourke Street Green

Industrial chic meets urban oasis at this chic garden bar, where concrete tables, timber booths and a retractable roof make it the ideal all-seasons entertainer. Whether it’s laid-back after-work drinks or a long lazy lunch with friends, Bourke Street Green is prime territory for a drop of fine Victorian vino, a bite of artisanal pizza, or a BSG signature cocktail – our pick is the Blood Orange South Side Fizz with Nosferatau blood orange gin, lemon juice and mint. All in the heart of the Bourke Street business district. 

Arbory Afloat

Get into the spirit of long lunches on board Arbory Afloat, Melbourne’s largest floating outdoor restaurant and bar. A built-in pool, private cabanas and day beds evoke an Aussie beachhouse vibe, while the summer-inspired menu includes a selection of fresh-made woodfired pizzas, chicken and gravy sandwiches and lobster spaghetti, as well as a curated list of the finest local gins. 

The Duke of Wellington 

For a slice of history, head to The Duke of Wellington, Melbourne’s oldest pub. This iconic heritage-listed  hotel has occupied the corner of Flinders and Russell streets since 1850, with the first beers flowing from the taps in 1853. Though the original facade remains, the interiors have undergone a swanky facelift. Head up to the rooftop for sublime city views, as well as royally good pub fare, including maple and buffalo fried chicken, club sandwiches and classic chicken parmas.