From a floating bar, to the oldest cafe in the city, get a taste of Melbourne at these unique restaurants and watering holes.

1. Ponyfish Island

Ponyfish Island is a floating bar is tucked under the pedestrian bridge connecting Southbank to the CBD. Firmly anchored to a pylon, there's no need to find your sea legs. Grab a seat at a terrazzo-topped table to choose from an Asian-inspired menu, or simply cool off with a cocktail by the Yarra River.

2. MoVida Next Door

Turn right into Hosier Lane and check out the street art on the way to MoVida Next Door. Choose from a menu of Spanish tapas, designed for sharing. Highlights include the chicken baked rice, chargrilled octopus and grilled asparagus with manchego custard. You can easily imagine you're in a bar in Andalusia, but the view of Federation Square and the MCG out the window make it uniquely Melbourne.

3. Reine & La Rue

A hotly anticipated newcomer on the Melbourne dining scene, Reine & La Rue offers a refined French restaurant experience in the heart of the city. Housed within the former Melbourne Stock Exchange, this grand space sets the scene for fabulous fine dining. The carefully curated menu features exquisite dishes ranging from a show-stopping seafood tower to locally sourced cuts of meat cooked over a wood-fired grill.

4. Big Esso

Chef Nornie Bero's all-day eatery, Big Esso, brings the taste of Torres Strait right into the heart of Melbourne. Pick from plates that celebrate Indigenous ingredients and flavours such as native succulents, pepperberry, kangaroo and wild crocodile. Dine alfresco while you take in the sights of Fed Square and enjoy a cocktail from Australia's first Indigenous bar.

5. Supernormal

Head to Flinders Lane to admire the contemporary Japanese fit out of Supernormal, a lively all-day canteen. The menu boasts influences from Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong and Shanghai, where house-made kimchi sits beside duck bao, dumplings and Gippsland striploin. Pro tip? Order the lobster roll. Just trust us on this. 

6. Farmer's Daughters

Celebrate the best of Victoria's Gippsland region in the centre of the CBD. Farmer's Daughters works with producers to bring the abundant food offerings of the region straight from the farm, to your table. After your meal, ascend to the rooftop bar for craft beer, wine and spirits, or order a creative cocktail imbued with native Australian flavours.

7. Amaru

Recently awarded the coveted three hat nod from the Good Food Guide, this small yet mighty degustation restaurant is a must-do for fine dining in Melbourne. At Amaru, you can expect an immersive and intimate dining experience showcasing the best in modern Australian cuisine. Be sure to book well in advance to secure a spot at the chef's bar.

8. Pellegrini's

Pellegrini's espresso bar has been a cornerstone of Melbourne for over 50 years. Home to Australia's first espresso machine and so, the starting point for the city’s world-famous coffee and cafe scene, little has changed since the Pellegrini brothers Leo and Vildo first opened the doors in 1954. Grab a stool, order a long black and take in the vibe of a piece of Melbourne’s history.

9. Bar Margaux

Influenced by the brasseries of New York in a merging of French and American dining, Bar Margaux is a glamorous eatery in a Melbourne basement. Drop in for French fare late at night – or early morning, depending on your perspective. Tuck into steak frites, a decadent burger or steaming bowl of mussels, whether you're winding things up, or the night is just beginning.

10. HER Melbourne

HER Melbourne is an all-day cocktail bar and restaurant serving up decadent aperitivos and European fare with French flair. What's more it's housed at street level in a one-stop shop for the evening. Level one features the Music Room for whisky and vinyl lovers. BKK on level two dishes up Thai-inspired street food or head to HER Rooftop on level three to toast city views.


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