The wonderful Melbourne restaurant scene can easily handle this challenge. Melbourne is renowned as one of the world’s greatest food cities, with an incredibly diverse dining scene full of multicultural flavors and influences. While dinner often gets the most attention, Melbourne also shines when it comes to lunch. From casual bites along in a bistro along the Yarra at Southbank to upscale midday dining experiences, the city offers delicious lunchtime options to suit any taste and budget. When determining the best lunch spots in Melbourne, important factors include the menu, value, atmosphere, and of course, exemplary daytime dining. Whether you seek a working lunch, ladies who lunch, or a weekend brunch, here are some of Melbourne’s top restaurants to visit for lunch.
Casual Lunch Spots With Flavour
For a more laidback lunch, Melbourne has no shortage of excellent casual restaurants perfect for grabbing a weekday bite or weekend afternoon meal. These spots offer the chance to sample Melbourne’s eclectic dining scene in a relaxed setting.
One popular pick is Cumulus Inc in the CBD, founded by renowned chef Andrew McConnell. This bustling eatery serves up share-style dining with a menu centered around produce cooked over their wood-fired grill. Lunch highlights include charcuterie boards, grilled sourdough sandwiches overflowing with fillings, and their signature roasted marrow bone with parsley and toast. The lively, informal atmosphere makes it a great pick for a casual business or social lunch.
For a trendy vibe, head to Supernormal in Flinders Lane. Chef Andrew McConnell blends Asian cuisine with a modern sensibility for creative share plates. The moody, industrial-chic space matches the inventive cocktail list. Come lunchtime, Supernormal draws crowds with dishes like fried chicken ribs with hot sauce, prawn and sesame toast, and roast duck pancakes. The menu offers exciting new flavors in a fun setting ideal for group lunches.
In the heart of the CBD, Movida excels at contemporary Spanish tapas served in an energetic environment. Their laidback space fosters a bustling ambiance as diners chat over plates of patatas bravas, chargrilled chorizo, gambas al ajillo, and more. Alongside the tapas comes an extensive list of Spanish wines, sherries and sangrias. Movida brings a taste of Spain to Melbourne in the ideal lively setup for casual grazing lunches.
Cafes and Brunch
While Melbourne loves its coffee, cafes here go far beyond serving a simple flat white. Some of the city’s hottest restaurants double as all-day cafes, serving excellent morning and midday fare. Brunch has also taken hold as a popular weekend activity, with venues crafting inventive dishes centered around eggs, avocado, grains and produce.
When it comes to beloved Melbourne cafes, Top Paddock in Richmond consistently draws rave reviews for its inspiring food and top-notch coffee. Their ever-changing menu highlights seasonal produce in comforting yet creative daytime dishes like their zucchini and corn fritters with greens, roasted potato hash with greens and feta, or their popular toasted fruit loaf. With an understated sophistication and emphasis on quality, Top Paddock makes an ideal spot for solo work meals or leisurely weekend brunches.
For those with a sweet tooth, Lune Croissanterie is a must-visit. This tiny bakery with locations in the CBD and Fitzroy saw hour-long queues form when it opened thanks to its perfect croissants. Their flaky, buttery croissants in plain, almond and pistachio flavors have earned accolades from pastry chefs worldwide. Lune also impresses at lunchtime with sandwiches on house baked bread and pastries like chocolate kouign-amann. Despite the hype, Lune’s cozy cafes retain a neighborhood charm.
When it comes to specialty coffee, Axil Coffee Roasters is considered one of Australia’s finest. Their flagship cafe in Hawthorn epitomizes Axil’s contemporary minimalist style withpremium single origin coffees sourced globally. Beyond expertly made espresso drinks, they serve a small yet stellar lunch menu with highlights like toasted sandwiches, vibrant salads, and the popular brekky roll loaded with bacon, fried egg and relish. Melbourne coffee snobs can’t get enough of Axil’s brews.
Upscale Lunch Experiences
In addition to casual fare, Melbourne offers its share of upscale venues for refined business and special occasion lunches. For those looking to indulge in a top-tier midday dining experience, the city provides beautiful restaurants serving superb cuisine at lunch service.
For a benchmark fine dining experience, Vue de Monde stuns with its sophisticated French-inspired tasting menus paired with soaring views over Melbourne from their 55th floor location in the Rialto. While dinner reservations often book out months in advance, they do accommodate walk-in lunch Tuesday to Friday. Their $125 four-course weekday lunch special provides an accessible opportunity to experience Vue de Monde’s stellar cuisine and service. Between the exquisite dishes, stellar wine pairings, and scenic vistas, it promises a sublime lunch to remember.
When it comes to quintessential Melbourne fine dining, Grossi Florentino is an institution. Housed in a heritage building, Grossi’s elegant dining room exudes old-world charm and sophistication. Their Italian menu by chef Guy Grossi dazzles with refined dishes like cloud-like gnocchi, silky risotto, and melt-in-your-mouth osso bucco. Multicourse lunch set menus provide opportunities to experience Grossi Florentino’s opulence and cuisine at approachable prices. It’s a top choice for milestone lunches and corporate affairs.
For business lunches with a creative edge, Lee Ho Fook provides a contemporary space for impressive Chinese-inspired cuisine by Chef Victor Liong. Their share plates put unique spins on Southeast Asian flavors, like their signature duck sang choi bao, caramel pork belly with XO sauce, and dry aged duck fried rice. Blending cool sophistication with standout food, Lee Ho Fook makes a savvy upscale lunch selection.
Food Precincts and Areas
In addition to specific venues, certain Melbourne neighborhoods and small areas act as hubs for abundant lunch options. Wandering these food-focused pockets provides restaurants aplenty for whatever midday cravings strike.
As Australia’s food and coffee capital, a huge array of lunch choices cluster in the Central Business District. With world cuisine ranging from ramen to banh mi along with food courts, food halls, and upscale spots, the CBD caters well to the weekday corporate lunch rush along with visitors looking to dine well. Nearby Chinatown also promises authentic Asian bites for lunchtime.
For charming hideaways, the laneways branching off Little Collins Street create downtown thoroughfares lined back-to-back with eateries. Hardware Lane ranks among the most popular for alfresco lunches at Italian trattorias, French bistros, noodle bars, and steakhouse grills tucked amidst Melbourne’s signature street art. Wandering these vibrant laneways reveals lunch gems.
Just outside the CBD lies Fitzroy, arguably Melbourne’s trendiest and most eclectic neighborhood. Alongside hipster cafes, vintage shops and edgy street art sits an array of eateries covering cuisines from tacos to pho. A stroll along Gertrude, Smith and Brunswick Streets offers plenty of appetizing lunchtime pit stops. Nearby Collingwood and Richmond also promise hip hangouts.
1. What are some of the best restaurants for lunch in Melbourne’s CBD?
Some of the best restaurants for lunch in Melbourne’s CBD include:
- Pepe’s Italian and Liquor – Known for its hearty Italian fare like woodfired pizzas, pastas, and antipasti in a casual setting
- .Maha – Offering a contemporary Middle Eastern menu for lunch with dishes like falafel, lamb wraps, and mezze plates
- Estampa Gaucha – Specializing in Brazilian rodizio BBQ with an all-you-can-eat lunch menu of grilled meats
- .Flower Drum – An upscale Chinese restaurant with a refined a la carte lunch menu and signature dishes like crispy duck.
2. What are the top casual and affordable lunch spots?
Some top casual and affordable lunch spots in Melbourne include:
- Lentil as Anything – A vegetarian pay-as-you-feel restaurant with changing daily specials
- All Are Welcome – Known for its loaded sandwiches, salads, and hearty pub-style meals
- Babajan Eatery – Offering Turkish pides, kebabs, salads, and more in a laidback setting
- .Very Good Falafel – Serving fresh falafel rolls, bowls, and plates at several locations across Melbourne.
3. Where can I find great lunch deals in Melbourne?
Some restaurants with great lunch deals in Melbourne are:
- The European – $45 for a 3-course lunch with a glass of wine from Tuesday to Friday.
- Chin Chin – 2-course lunch with a drink for $45 on weekdays.
- Supernormal – Weekday lunch special of any dish + drink for $25.
- Movida – $30 lunch tapas set menu from Monday to Friday.
4. What are the best places for long, leisurely lunches in Melbourne?
Some top spots for long, leisurely lunches include:
- San Telmo – Known for its Argentinian shared plates and wines perfect for lingering over.
- The Botanical – Stylish restaurant with a courtyard ideal for long lunches.
- Lee Ho Fook – Asian-inspired sharing plates menu great for groups.
- The Woodsam – Relaxed wine bar with weekend lunches often stretching into the afternoon.
5. Where can I find great lunch options for vegetarians or vegans?
Top vegetarian and vegan-friendly lunch spots include:
- Smith & Daughters – All plant-based menu with vegan “meat” dishes and cocktails.
- Vegie Bar – Casual vegan spot with burgers, bowls, salads, and more.
- Transformer – Known for its vegan takes on pub classics and plant-based “meat” pies.
- Girls & Boys – Vegan cafe with creative salads, sandwiches, and sweets.
6. What are some restaurants with great lunch views or ambiance?
Some restaurants with excellent ambiance or views for lunch include:
- The Landing Rooftop – Sweeping city views from a chic rooftop bar.
- The Garden Restaurant at Heide Museum of Modern Art – Lovely garden setting inside an art gallery.
- The Atlantic – Oceanfront restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows.
- The Press Club – Elegant fine dining restaurant with a glamorous vibe.
7. What are some of the best restaurants in Melbourne for Italian food at lunchtime?
Some popular Italian restaurants for lunch in Melbourne are:
- Tipo 00 – Known for handmade pastas, woodfired pizzas, and Italian wines.
- Ombra Salumi Bar – Charcuterie boards and sandwiches make a perfect Italian-style lunch.
- Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar – A Melbourne icon since the 1950s, serving classic Italian coffee, panini, and pastries.
- Grossi Florentino Cellar Bar – Casual cellar bar attached to Grossi Florentino serving pasta dishes and antipasti.
8. Where can I find great seafood lunches in Melbourne?
Top seafood lunch spots in Melbourne include:
- The Atlantic – Oceanfront restaurant with a focus on simple, seasonal seafood.
- The Fish Shop – Specializing in fish and chips as well as fish tacos and sandwiches.
- The Oyster Bar – Fresh oysters, seafood towers, and chowder in a lively setting.
- The Lobster Cave – Lobster rolls highlight the menu at this casual seafood joint.
9. What are some great lunch options outside the CBD?
Some popular suburban spots for lunch outside the CBD include:
- Lune Croissanterie – Iconic bakery in Fitzroy dishing up pastries and sandwiches.
- Barry – Cafe in Northcote known for its brunch, sandwiches, and good coffee.
- I Carusi Pizza Bar – Traditional woodfired pizzas baked in an oven from Naples.
- Minamishima – Japanese omakase-style dining for lunch in Richmond.
10. Are there any good lunch spots near Melbourne’s main attractions?
Some good lunch options near key Melbourne attractions include:
- MoVida Next Door – Spanish tapas adjacent to Hosier Lane street art.
- Mamasita – Mexican restaurant near the National Gallery of Victoria.
- Supernormal – Asian fusion cuisine close to the Arts Centre Melbourne.
- Coda – Modern Australian dining near the Royal Botanic Gardens.
As a celebrated culinary destination, Melbourne provides endless dining variety no matter when hunger strikes. From laidback cafes to white tablecloth experiences, the city excels at lunchtime through diverse flavors, talented chefs and an appreciation of quality food. Whether meeting friends for weekend brunch downtown or enjoying a business lunch on an expense account, Melbourne’s restaurants deliver excellent midday dining. From quick casual bites to lingering indulgent meals, make sure to experience Melbourne’s vibrant lunch scene on your next visit.