15 great restaurants and bars within 15 minutes' walk of the Australian Open

Watch the tennis on the big screen while you eat and drink on the Yarra river at Arbory Afloat.
Watch the tennis on the big screen while you eat and drink on the Yarra river at Arbory Afloat. Photo: Supplied

The best thing about Melbourne's truly world-class sporting precinct? It's city-side location. From budget to blow-out, here are 15 great eating and drinking spots all within a 15 minute walk of the Australian Open, taking place at Melbourne Park (and taking over the city) from January 14-27.

Lucy Liu
The Good Food Guide says:
"High-spirited, high-turnover, high-end laneway pan-Asian canteen."
Why it's ace: Red neon-lit laneway fave Lucy Liu is always a good time - the perfect spot to put you in the mood and leave you feeling satisfied but not stuffed for the big day/night you're about to have or are on your way home from. Modern Asian dishes zing with flavour - the kind of dishes professional tennis players love too (hint). Don't miss the soft-shelled crab 'Jianbing' pancake roll. During the tennis Lucy Liu is offering a five-course 'Tennis Menu' for $88per person including a cocktail or champagne. Online bookable and open late.
Good for: Star spotters and share plates with mates.
Time, please: 14 minute walk to Melbourne Park.
23 Oliver Lane, 03 9639 5777 lucylius.com.au
 

Gazi
The Good Food review says: "George Calombaris's new-school Greek restaurant undeniably nails the zeitgeist."
Why it's ace: Take your Masterchef-lovin' mates, or take yourself, for a slap up feast at this always-buzzing and fun spot in prime location, looking out to the tennis, the MCG and beyond. For a quick, affordable pre-match meal with a mate, two souvas, a salad and THOSE feta chips will more than do the trick. Or go all out and get the dips, saganaki, prawns and more - crowdpleasers all. Online bookable and open late.
Good for: Great food in a atmosphere that's fast, fun and always action-packed.
Time, please: 11 minute walk to Melbourne Park.
2 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, 03 9207 7444 gazirestaurant.com.au
 

Snacks at Supernormal Canteen.

Snacks at Supernormal Canteen. Photo: Nikki To

Supernormal
The Good Food Guide says: "Clanging canteen with banging mod-Asian food".
Why it's ace: The popular pan-Asian canteen is in permanent hyperdrive, delivering dishes like the tonkatsu sandwich, the legendary lobster roll and ramen that many food-loving locals rate highly on their most-loved Melbourne dish list. During the Australian Open, they'll also be serving their unique take on a Pimm's Cup - the 'Courtside' is a refreshing blend of Sipsmith London Cup, Tanqueray gin, ginger-infused elderflower syrup and dry ginger ale. Online bookable and open late.
Good for: A quintessential Melbourne dining experience - or take away and bring it to the tennis.
Time, please: 15 minute walk to Melbourne Park.
Supernormal, 180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne supernormal.net.au

Drink and dine atop the Yarra at Arbory Afloat.

Drink and dine atop the Yarra at Arbory Afloat. Photo: Supplied

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Arbory Bar and Eatery and Arbory Afloat
The Good Food review says: "The party of the summer."
Why it's ace: Super central - it literally couldn't be closer to Flinders Street station. It's also scenic, relaxed and the food and drink are bang on. Arbory Bar and Eatery also spans the entire length of a train platform, so it's usually possible to find somewhere to perch, watch the world (and the boats) go by. Or board the always-pumping Arbory Afloat and bob gently, watching live tennis on the big screen while sipping and snacking on pizza or seafood platters. Online bookable and open late.
Good for: Al fresco eats and drinks on and by the river. Tennis watching on the big screen.
Time, please: Five minute walk to the Birrarung Marr entrance of the Australian Open.
Flinders Walk, Melbourne, 03 8648 7644 arboryafloat.com.au

Ishizuka
The Good Food Guide says: "Traditional kaiseki dining in an underground bunker."
Why it's ace: The two-hatted fine Japanese diner is serving up a five-course kaiseki degustation to feast on from 5pm to 6:30pm before the night session. Enjoy dishes like Gold cup lobster sashimi, grade five Japanese wagyu beef and white peach sorbet. Degustation available Wednesday - Friday and Sundays during the Australian Open. $130 per person.
Good for: A fine dining degustation before the tennis.
Time, please: 15 minute (brisk) walk to Melbourne Park.
Basement, 139 Bourke Street, Melbourne, 03 8594 0895 ishizuka.com.au
 

Vamos! Spanish drinks and tapas at Bar Tini on Hosier Lane.

Vamos! Spanish drinks and tapas at Bar Tini on Hosier Lane. Photo: Eddie Jim

Bar Tini
The Good Food Guide says: "MoVida's bodega packs luxe fish, loads of sherry and good times."
Why it's ace: The newest addition to MoVida's Spanish eating/drinking dynasty is a relaxed, good time bar that happens to serve fabulous tapas too. It's the perfect spot to watch tourists jostle for the perfect selfie spot along street-art mecca Hosier Lane. Or to dissect everyone's favourite Spaniard, Rafa Nadal's, form throughout the tournament. Closed Sundays.
Good for: Rioja and roll - and pork and cheese molette sandwiches - until 3am most nights.
Time, please: 15 minute walk to Melbourne Park.
3-5 Hosier Lane, Melbourne 03 9663 3038, bartini.com.au

Taxi Kitchen
The Good Food Guide says: "Casual calm in the middle of Federation Square."
Why it's ace: Fed Square will be abuzz with fans flocking to the tennis and live screens showing it. Rise above it (literally) with a refined yet fun dining experience at Asian-influenced Taxi. During the Australian Open they're offering a four-course tasting menu for $65 a head. Enjoy 270 degree views of the sun setting over the Yarra, all just a couple of minutes stroll from the Australian Open entrance.
Time, please: Five minute river-side walk to the Birrarung Entrance of the Australian Open.
Level 1, Transport Hotel, corner Swanston street and Flinders street, 03 9654 8808 taxikitchen.com.au
 

Pisco sours and ceviche at Pastuso.

Pisco sours and ceviche at Pastuso. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen

Pastuso
The Good Food Guide says: "Rambunctious, charcoal-fuelled fun"
Why it's ace: The mod-Peruvian grill-house, tucked away in always-rocking AC/DC Lane, is always busy - with good reason. Graze on fresh ceviche or feast on charcoal-fired meats. Throughout the tennis they're offering a two-course set menu for $50 per person, or $60 including a Pisco Sour, between 4.30 and 6pm. Bookable online.
Good for: Group catch ups, street art instagrammers.
Time, please: 14 minute walk to Melbourne Park.
19 AC/DC Lane, 03 9662 4556 pastuso.com.au

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Madras duck breast with curd, broad beans and figs 👌🏼

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Tonka
The Good Food Guide says: "Classical Indian dishes reinvented with verve."
Why it's ace: Tucked down Duckboard Place alley, a long bar leads to a stylish dining room, equally populated by suits, ripped jeans - and during January - sports wear. The food is excellent - fine Indian cuisine cleverly punctuated by European ingredients, from the elegant to the hearty. Bookings strongly advised - and can be made via their website.
Good for: Impressing your friends from out of town.
Time, please: 14 minute walk to Melbourne Park.
20 Duckboard Place, Melbourne, 03 9650 3155 tonkarestaurant.com.au

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dinner time #fondamexican

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Fonda Mexican
The Good Food review says: "Judging by the effort required to secure a seat, it's not just locals who are fond of Fonda."
Why it's ace: It's fast, good fun at this colourful city branch of the popular Mexican chain. Tuck into bursting burritos, quesadillas, grilled corn and nachos washed down with refreshing cocktails and mocktails. Order and pay at the counter helps avoid split bill awkwardness. No bookings, but they seat you pretty quickly.
Good for: Vegetarians and vegans and fast but healthy and filling food.
Time, please: 13 minutes walk to Melbourne Park
31 Flinders Lane, Melbourne fondamexican.com.au

The always-cool Coda.

The always-cool Coda.

Coda
The Good Food Guide says:
"A spicy, sexy underground stayer."
Why it's ace: Lights are low and the good times flow at this effortlessly cool basement gem. Work your way through boldly flavoured share-friendly dishes, spanning cuisines from south-east Asia to Europe, and all prepared with care and flair. Bookable online. Closed Sundays. 
Good for: A hot date before or after the night session.
Time, please: 13 minute walk to Melbourne Park.
141 Flinders Lane,  codarestaurant.com.au

Inside modern Chinese restaurant Lee Ho Fook.

Inside modern Chinese restaurant Lee Ho Fook. Photo: Chris Hopkins

Lee Ho Fook​
The Good Food Guide says: "Modern Chinese-Australian in an oh-so-Melbourne setting."
Why it's ace: Another off-Flinders laneway gem, Lee Ho Fook takes Chinese food to the next level in an historic building with bags of charm. The neon-lit Good Times bar downstairs is a great little bar for a pre or post dinner tipple, too. Bookable online. 
Good for: Chinese cuisine a cut above the (still great) dumpling dens you'll find a couple more blocks away in Chinatown.
Time, please: 14 minute walk to Melbourne Park. 
11-15 Duckboard Place, Melbourne, leehofook.com.au

Chin Chin
The Good Food Guide says: 
"Party on at this high-vibe house of fun."
Why it's ace: Once you get through the queue at this perenially popular no-bookings Asian eatery (tip: go as early or late as you dare), the good times flow hard and fast. Share dishes such as kingfish sashimi, pulled pork roll-ups and jungle curry zing, loud music sings, and the wait can sting, but the pain is eased considerably with a drink in its basement bar, GoGo.
Good for: Friends from out of town. They'll love it.
Time, please: 14 minute walk to Melbourne Park. 
125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, chinchinrestaurant.com.au
 

Dining at the Duke Rooftop bar.

Dining at the Duke Rooftop bar. Photo: Brook James

The Duke Rooftop
Good Food said: "A smart pub in a city centre not overly abundant with them."
Why it's ace: Location, location, location. Melbourne's oldest pub, the Duke of Wellington, is also the closest to the sports precinct. In 2018 it opened up its rooftop - a slick, spacious space with insta-dreamy views of the Forum theatre, among others. The food is of the smart pub grub variety - good enough for Nick Kyrgios who has been known to grab brekky there through the tournament. As a pre-Open catch up spot, or watering hole to watch it on the big screen, it's unbeatable.
Good for: Watching the tennis over a burger and beer with friends.
Time, please: 10 minute walk from Melbourne Park. 

Huxtaburger will be serving up something colourful at the AO Festival at Birrarung Marr.

Huxtaburger will be serving up something colourful at the AO Festival at Birrarung Marr. Photo: Supplied

The AO Festival at Birrarung Marr
Why it's ace: You don't have to go into the Australian Open to enjoy the buzz and action. Birrarung Marr is the place to be to grab a cold one from the Garden State pop-up rooftop bar or the Canadian Club Racquet Bar, something delicious to eat from Huxtaburger or Hunky Dory, while you sit back and watch some master strokeplay on the big screen, while you look around, watch the sun go down and murmur 'how good is Melbourne, seriously?".
Good for: Soaking up the tennis vibes without splashing out on a ticket.
Time, please: Zero minutes. It's on the doorstep of the Birrarung Marr entrance.

* Walk times according to Google maps