Favorite Restaurants in Melbourne
- 65 Degrees Cafe, Melbourne
- Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Melbourne
- Higher Ground, Melbourne
- IDES, Melbourne
- BONUS: Isola di Capri, Phillip Island (escape to wilderness & the most romantic meal here)
- Lune Lab Croissanterie, Melbourne
- Lux Bite, Melbourne
- Supernormal, Melbourne
72-Hour Melbourne Restaurant Itinerary
Herein lies a 3 day (72 hour) food itinerary to help you get the most out of your time in Melbourne. Vetting restaurants can be extremely time consuming and with limited resources, you cannot afford to make the wrong selections. Follow our restaurant itinerary and you're sure to get the most out of your visit.
Breakfast: 65 Degrees Cafe. It's quaint and you're not likely wanting a super early start (or maybe you are) nor are you seeking sensory overload especially if you just got off of an overnight flight. This is the perfect location to regroup. You can sit down with the one you love and map out your day. This cafe serves up delicious comfort food to prop up the immune system with a jolt of calories and caffeine for a day's worth of site seeing. May we recommend Porridge Red Wine Poached Pears and Chorizo Eggs with 2 Flat Whites (coffee with milk).
After breakfast is the ideal time for a self-guided walking tour. Points of interest include: The Shrine of Remembrance, Graffiti Alley, Yarra River Bank, Botanical Gardens & Melbourne Museum. Round trip distance roughly 4 miles, duration 5 hours. Wear comfortable walking shoes, possibly bring an umbrella and season- dependent, dress in layers. We visited March 31st - April 8th which was fall and Melbourne was experiencing three seasons in one day. Cold and wet in the morning, hot and sunny by afternoon and chilly again at nightfall. Luggage can be stored safely and inexpensively at the train station.
Early Dinner: After a day's worth of walking having eaten a robust but late breakfast (skipping lunch), you'll be ready for a 9-10 course meal. May we recommend IDES Melbourne. You can dine at Attica (the best restaurant in Melbourne as per the 2017 World's 50 Best List) and/or you can dine at Attica's former sous chef's new concept called IDES. We opted for IDES since we were waited-listed for Attica and we had very limited time. We would have eagerly done both! Peter Gunn, executive chef at IDES and former sous chef under Ben Shewry had been a rising star for some time and we were very fortunate to get to sit down in his kitchen for a tour of his thoughtful menu while he personally narrated each dish. A chef who takes familiar ingredients yet combines them in such a way that we get to taste them again for the first time, that pretty well summarizes Gunn's approach. A beautiful 10 course, ever changing menu (we skipped the optional lamb as we were satiated after 9 dishes). Standout courses include Moreton Bay Bug Meat, Cucumber (pictured) and Barramundi. I was somehow seduced by this butter (pictured), an accoutrement that I tend to overlook captivated me with its perfect consistency. This was wild thyme honey butter whipped to perfection for slathering on a walnut loaf. Or maybe I was seduced by Chef's charm (this tends to happen). Regardless, Chef Gunn is one to watch, we think he'll achieve some extraordinary feats during his culinary journey over the next decade. Grant Achatz and Mike Bagale ate at IDES the night before we did. If it's good enough for the No. 21 Best Chef in the world, it's good enough for us and for you. We promise.
Early Breakfast: Lune Lab Croissanterie. You're going to need an early start no matter how you slice it on day 2. If you're lucky enough to score degustation tickets to the experimental lab, you'll be so pleased that you did, but be prepared to take your seat at 8:30 am, so no sleeping in! If you don't score tickets, it's still crucial that you wake up at the crack of dawn and get in line for a trademarked, coveted Cruffin. Kate Reid is to the Melbourne Cruffin what Dominique Ansel is to the NYC Cronut! The best of the best of the best! Kate even rivals the coveted pastries in The City of Light - move over Pierre Hermé! You cannot miss this thing - it's a cross between a muffin and a croissant and it's been perfected in a literal pastry-laboratory (pictured) by a former aerospace engineer turned chef. AH-mazing. If you work hard for any reservation, work hard for this one. We woke up at 3 am CST to nab 2 tickets to the degustation menu that sold out in a matter of minutes for all of April and May 2017. Let us tell you first hand, it sells out for a reason. Go. Run fast.
Mid-day Lunch: Supernormal. Supernormal is Asian-Melbourne fusion combining ideas from Tokyo, Shanghai, Seoul and Hong Kong into local Australian fare. The Live Marron with Yuzu, Yarra Pinot Shiraz (pictured) and Soft Meringue with Sheep's Milk Yoghurt, Apple and Shiso combo was pretty spectacular. This restaurant is approachable and relaxed, very communal, open architecture dining area, a good place to stop mid-day to graze menu items and watch people as they pass by on the street. Good mix of locals and tourists bustling about.
Late Dinner: Dinner By Heston Blumenthal. Chef Blumenthal ranks No. 36 on The World's 50 Best list for 2017 and he's the recipient of the Diner's Club Lifetime Achievement Award. This restaurant experience is bewitching as some of the items on the menu aren't what they seem (in the best possible way!) Science and art intersect quite nicely in this secluded spot in the Crown Casino overlooking downtown Melbourne and the Yarra. Standout dishes include Octopus, Kangaroo-tail, Braised Celery and Eggs Verjuice (pictured). The cocktail that will blow your mind is the Bloody Mary. If you're not a local and you're brave, try the Vegemite Ice Cream. Otherwise, you'll feel like a kid again if you order the liquid nitrogen ice cream cart.
Brunch: Higher Ground. This is one of the most popular spots in Melbourne. With an exterior barista and display case that's stocked daily with Lune Lab croissants, there's perpetually a line for take-away coffee. Not to mention the gorgeous, cathedral like interior dining room with an open kitchen and a delicious menu of savory creations, there's typically a wait to snag a table too. So pick your wait (outside or in) because you won't be disappointed. Massimo Bottura, the best chef in the world for 2016, was in town when we were thereby causing Higher Ground to shut itself in for a private event. If you wish to read more about that, click here.
Fortunately for us, we had a chance to enjoy brunch the day before the culinary commotion and we hung out with Massimo on Award's night (check out our World's 50 Best post). We got our final fix of croissants while we waited for our table then proceeded to eat an abundance of items off the Higher Ground menu! May we suggest all of the pictured dishes: Eggs Benedict, Almond Hummus, Avocado Toast and Fresh Heirloom Tomatoes. Our new favorite dish to whip up at home is avocado toast with a dash of Peruvian sea salt on gluten free bread -an idea born out of this wonderful brunch.
Take-away Afternoon Treat: Lux Bite Macarons. Tag line, "Life is Uncertain. Eat Dessert First." We live by this motto. This tiny shop has enough room for 2-4 guests at a time, so pop in, fill up a handled bag with joyous flavors like Peanut Butter and Jelly, Green Tea Pistachio, Blackcurrant Marshmallow and Bamboo Oolong Tea then go skipping back out of town as your 72 hours in Melbourne has come to a close.
Tipping is not customary and the USD to AU exchange rate as of April 7, 2017 is .75 USD to 1 AUD. The US dollar is worth 25% more than the Australian dollar, so now is the time to make your way to Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Feel free to shoot us any questions or comments. Safe travels. 🙂
Dining Guides to Other Parts of the World:
Europe click here.
Thanks for reading!
E & B Woodward
Tastemakers for The World's 50 Best Restaurants
Fine Dining Lovers Across 5 Continents:
Africa, Australia, North America, South America, Europe.
Download our e-book! We share our secrets for traveling the world and eating famous without breaking the bank.
49 Replies to “72 Hours in Melbourne : Where to Eat!”
Butter has a way of seducing us too. Thanks for sharing.
Glad we’re not alone. 🙂
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“Tipping is not customary: ?!?! I beg to differ. Wait staff in Australia are – regretfully – on the lowest wages of working people in that country, and they rely on tips to make ends meet. “Tipping is optional” better sums up the real situation, however – like anywhere – if your waiter does a great job, it is a polite and appropriate acknowledgement to leave a decent tip: 10% is the norm. It is always a disappointment when international visitors fail to consider this basic courtesy, merely because it is not their own familiar back yard.
Hello Mike. Thanks for your comment. In places where tips are customary, the appropriate range is 18-20%. In a country like Australia where workers in tourism often make decent wages as compared to gratuity-centric environments (lower base wage) such as the USA, tips are not at all expected. Tipping is not the norm in Australia, but to your point about expressing appreciation, of course gratuity is a polite gesture. Be warned however that a measly 10% tip is an insult for good service – the appropriate range is 18 – 20% for good service, 15% for okay service and 10% for anything below that.
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