This is sponsored content for Visit Melbourne
This city's famed culinary scene roams the globe and pushes boundaries. Here's where to go on your foodie adventure.
Small, but over-endowed with foodie power, Windsor and Prahran are a hotbed of culinary creativity. One of the newest stars is Firebird, where chef Steven Ngo celebrates the traditions of his native Vietnamese cuisine with flame and smoke infusing every dish – from charcoal chicken with burnt-chilli fish sauce to cocktails garnished with charred fruit to tantalise.
At nearby Tokyo Tina, black-and-white street murals flank a pumping space where playful dishes riff on Japanese cuisine with touches of Korean, Peruvian and Chinese. Hawker Hall fills a historic former stable with the beer hall buzz of Singapore and Malaysia's famed hawker centres. It's an affordable feast of streetstyle noodles, rice and curries, plus 18 taps pouring independent beers.
Find your hygge happy place at Oppen, a Scandinavian eatery with cool clean lines, an enticing line-up of open sandwiches on dark rye and Scandiaccented cocktails.
Oppen, a Scandinavian eatery. Photo: Supplied.
In these artsy suburbs, relish the degustation menu at Gaea, the forage-focused and intimate 16-person restaurant where magic is created with local produce. Handmade is also the hero at Faye, with breads, butter, pasta, ferments and ricotta made by the team, starring on a daily-changing menu.
Theodore's champions sustainability and is a welcoming space for families. With all-day snack plates (don't miss the spicy sauerkraut jaffle) and long boozy brunches at the weekends, this is comeas-you-like Melbourne hospitality at its best.
Old Palm Liquor, with its mellow tan shades and '70s aesthetic, has a stunning 300-plus wine list and a food menu with South African touches. And you can extend your tasting into the wee hours at Bar Romantica, cosying up in a booth for a feast of woodfire pizza made with 48-hour fermented dough.
Faye. Photo: Supplied.
Food, drink and conviviality are in the DNA of this area's rich Italian heritage.
King and Godfree, which is Melbourne's oldest deli, is now a hub for all things edible, with a café, restaurant and rooftop bar (Johnny's Green Room) commanding stunning 360-degree views beneath the glow of the building's original sign.
Carlton Wine Room leads Melbourne's new generation of outstanding wine bars equally respected for their food. Recognised with numerous awards, the ever-evolving Euro-led wine list guides the menu.
At Monforte Viennoiserie, a small-batch pasticceria in a teeny, teal-coloured hole in the wall, pastry chef Georgia McAllister Forte's delectable creations include her cult favourite leatherwood honey and sea salt croissant.
In Melbourne's west, Asian, North African and Indian cultures intersect in this exciting foodie 'hood.
Back Alley Sally's. Photo: Supplied.
You can taste it in action at Rudimentary, a café formed from old shipping containers into a kitchen garden growing many of the menu's ingredients. Back Alley Sally's injects fun into a grungy former T-shirt factory with pizza joint, Slice Girls West, paying homage to '90s girl band The Spice Girls. Winter days are perfect for comfort eating Filipinostyle at Chibog, where it's impossible to go past the pancit malabon – rice noodles tossed in a smoky pork and prawn sauce. Settle in at a long bar made from railway sleepers at Mr West, to explore 30 taps pouring wine, cocktails and beers, above a bottle shop with a stellar range of rare and intriguing liquor.
Start the next day right at Small Graces, a cosy café with wholesome share fare enlivened with South American touches. The arepas (corn meal patties in cheese) are viewed by many as Melbourne's best.
Zsa's, a wonderful hybrid restaurant. Photo: Supplied.
Northcote's charming village vibe shines through at All Are Welcome, where Michelin-Star pastry chef Boris Portnoy offers a warm setting. Try his take on pain au chocolat, a tasty Gianduja babka bun, or his famed Medovnik 10-layer honey cake celebrating his Russian heritage.
Zsa's is another one of those wonderful hybrids – part deli, part bistro, part bar. Pasta is made daily in-house, and the panini selection boasts the porchetta roll stuffed with slow-roasted pork, crackling, greens and smoked mozzarella. It's so good fans cross town for it.
This winter, Melbourne is bursting with foodie experiences, from the fine dining to small neighbourhood faves. Get set to discover winter by Melbourne at visitmelbourne.com