If you think the food in Melbourne is simple, you'll be surprised to learn that it's home to some of the most exquisite culinary creations in the country.
From the buzzing coffee culture of Melbourne to the innovative dishes of regional restaurants, Victoria serves up fresh, local produce, award-winning wines, and food festivals that will satisfy every appetite. Sip the sensational wine varieties from one of the state’s many wine regions, or experience the seasonal selections at fine dining and casual venues alike.
Known as the coffee capital of Australia, Melbourne is overflowing with quaint cafes and tasty brews. You don’t have to go far to find bustling coffeehouses in the city’s central business district. Stroll down the lively laneway of Degraves Street for freshly brewed coffee along with boutique shops and restaurants, or stop by Self Preservation on Bourke Street for a more elegant espresso experience. Venture into Melbourne’s distinct neighbourhoods to sip like the locals. Try Austro in South Melbourne for Austrian-inspired strudels, cakes, and of course, coffee. Follow your caffeine craving north to Project281 in Brunswick, where you’ll find surprising breakfast selections as well as punchy cups of coffee. Whichever way you turn, Melbourne’s coffee culture offers up more than enough espresso to get you going.
Melbourne is well known for its almost endless list of fantastic restaurants, but regional Victoria is also full of incredibly innovative dining experiences that are turning small towns into foodie destinations. In Birregurra, along the Great Ocean Road, you’ll find a true farm to plate experience at Brae, a 30 acre organic farm. The Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld is the Grampians most awarded restaurant, showcasing the best of the region’s produce. While at the Lake House in Daylesford you’ll be treated to innovative, seasonal dishes alongside an acclaimed wine list. Finally, there’s the newcomer on the Mornington Peninsula. Don’t let the surreal interiors distract you - the unique dining experience at Doot Doot Doot is all about local producers.
Breweries and distilleries
Victoria is known for its rich red wines and cool-climate chardonnays, but beyond the vineyards are gins there are beers and whiskeys just waiting to be sipped. In fact, Australia’s leading craft spirit is made in Healesville in the Yarra Valley. Four Pillars Gin offers tastings of their award-winning spirits, distillery tours and even masterclasses. The Whiskery, a tasting room set within a distillery, is just an hour and a half drive from Melbourne and offers a range of gin and whisky to try. If you’re big on beer, head down the Mornington Peninsula Beer, Cider and Spirits Trail, which weaves a scenic path to delicious handcrafted beers. Try the gluten-free craft beer at TWOBays Brewery or the pear and apple ciders at Hart’s Farm.
A great way to get an introduction to the foodie scene of Victoria is by attending one of the many festivals that celebrate the gastronomic delights of the region. Melbourne Food and Wine Festival hosts over 300 events in Melbourne and across the state, celebrating the bounty of each distinct region. The Grampians Grape Escape is a fantastic regional event that was voted in the top Grape Harvest Festivals in the World by American Express. There are also countless events on to celebrate everything from barbecue to craft beer, so bring your appetite and discover all the flavours of Victoria at any of these great food festivals.