Melbourne – the glorious Melbourne. We call it The Gourmet Capital of Australia. So when my daughter suggested we take a 3 day trip to Melbourne to eat and chill I just jumped in. What can be better than 3 wonderful days eating your heart out in Melbourne?
My tip – when booking a hotel to stay at in Melbourne, make sure you book a room only, without the addition of a breakfast included. There are so many amazing options to have breakfast, that hotel buffet food just can’t compare to.
If you’re a travel snob, like myself, and you love your comfort, here are a few important factors when picking a hotel: Location – make sure you stay in the heart of the city of Melbourne, to ensure you save money on taxis and instead just walk everywhere.
My top hotels in Melbourne are:
- Southgate – Crown complex – in particular I found Crowne Promenade is a great hotel.
- I also love the Lyall Hotel and Spa, Melbourne– keep in mind location.
- If I want to be right in the city then Park Hyatt or Westin would be my absolute favourites. You can just walk to the restaurants and theatres.
The Gourmet Journey:
Funny enough when I am Melbourne I always want to eat. In fact, I plan my days around the restaurants I want to try.
One of my top favourites includes, Grossi Florentino. Coming from Europe, I always feel very nostalgic coming to this restaurant. There is an old, warm charm about it, that makes me reminisce on European food and charm
I tend to plan my days in Melbourne around areas I want to visit. Our first day was spent around the Richmond area, eating, shopping and walking around the neighbourhood. Alternatively, if you just want to relax Richmond offers wonderful day spas, if you’re looking for a relaxing, pamper session.
From the hotel, we took an Uber to one of my top favourite breakfast places Top Paddock in Richmond. Make sure you try their blueberry and ricotta hotcakes if you have a sweet tooth, alternatively if you are a health nut their heirloom baby carrots with pistachios, mint, fennel, goat’s feta & poached eggs on toast is also delicious.
On a full stomach and a cup of world famous coffee that Melbourne is known for, you are ready to hit the shops along Chapel and Bridge Streets. If you get overwhelmed by the length of Chapel street, Punt and Swan Street are smaller but just as good. There are shops for everyone. From mainstream labels to little boutiques and homewares.
In order to make the most of your trip, my advice is to plan ahead and research the coffee shops and other shops you want to visit, or if you just want to walk off those extra calories before lunch, then just go with the flow.
Feeling peckish? If you are still in Richmond area try I Love Pho 264 the best pho I had tried so far. The steaming bowls of Vietnamese rice noodle soup are the perfect in autumn and winter.
There are plenty of Greek restaurants in Melbourne, including one of my top favourites, Gazi, George Calambaros restaurant. It was noisy, colourful and funky – just how Greek street food place should be. I love the concept of sharing dishes. This is the place to order a bunch of food and share with your friends or family.
If you want to grab a drink with or after dinner, there are many options in the Crown Plaza alone: Artium Bar (for drinks only), that offer 20 varieties of champagne and NOBU are amongst my top favourites. When booking NOBU it’s important to book in advance and ask them to sit you in a quiet spot. Make sure you try the black cod, Nobu style wagyu tacos and the scallops.
Time to discover Melbourne’s art and culture. I always make sure to fit at least one gallery or exhibition visit when I’m in Melbourne. There is always an exciting pop up event coming to Melbourne such as the Banksy and David Bowie exhibitions. Be sure to check out theatres as well to make the most of your trip.
But before we can indulge in culture and art, breakfast is needed. Make sure you try St. Ali in Southbank. Make sure you are well rested as you can spend easily half a day just walking around the streets. The city of Melbourne reminds me of Europe. I love Victorian buildings, make sure you keep an eye out for the line-up of stunning Gothic fancies: the ANZ Gothic Bank with its flamboyant interior and be sure to pay particular attention to the GPO building which has a H&M store inside. Time to stop for a cup of coffee to reflect on all this beauty. You can find lovely little places in GPO building or side streets like Flinders Lane.
Melbourne and Pizza – well, to me when I heard of Gradi Pizza – I have to say I am not a pizza fan, I thought NOT ANOTHER PIZZA JOINT. Boy, this one really took me by surprise. Its fresh, its light it’s just – Primavera on the dough. The dough itself is just a piece of art. Not to mention the décor, service and selection of antipastos.
Time for some pampering before dinner
Back to Crown’s pool and spa for some relaxation.
Dinner – here is little gem that was recommended by a girlfriend.
Hidden in one of the laneways is Coda. I had one of the best Margaritas there. The Cocktail list is very unique and interesting. If you’re looking for a modern Indian, Asian and French fusion, Coda is the place to be.
After dinner we took walk back through our favourite streets and as if dinner was not enough we saw OM NOM located in the famous Adelphi Hotel on Flinders street.
The pastry chef is an artist – just check out the web site.
I am not sure what I prefer more… the decadent desserts or cocktails like Salted caramel cracking espresso 25 or Earl grey martini 18.Let’s just say my tummy is happy and I will have an awesome sleep.
I promised myself to start the day with a walk. So we head to the Royal Botanical Garden. Again – it’s up to you how long you want to spend there. Do your self a favour – take a book or a sketch book if you draw – you might just surprise yourself.
If you are in the mood for some Asian Flavours Chin Chin is my number one choice. Word of advice – start queuing at 11.45am to get a table if you want lunch. For the dinner rush be sure to get in the line at 6:00pm the latest.
This is our last night in Melbourne – so our choice is clear. Movida. Having spent a lot of time in Spain and being absolutely and totally in love with the food and culture we are heading to Movida – on Hosier Lane. Yes, you do need to line up but then again it’s SPANISH AND ITS TAPAS. The place is very small and cosy and absolutely reminds me of all those tapas places in Spain. I am totally in heaven.
Truth must be said – even if you are not a foodie, trust me you will fall in love with Melbourne’s food culture. If you stay in the city, you can walk everywhere, save money on taxis and trains and keep yourself from gaining all the weight from all the eating you will be doing.
Mmm, I am getting hungry just writing about it.
Time for a cocktail I think…. Till next time
Check out Van Gogh and the Seasons in NGV International till 09 July http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/whats-on/exhibitions/current/ and you might find my list useful.