If you’re struggling to find new places to eat during your lunch break this winter in Melbourne’s CBD, check out my top 10 picks!
1. Migo’s – Seafood Pasta to Die For – $17.50
289 Flinders Lane
You should know something about me – I eat a lot of pasta. You should know something else about me – I don’t like seafood. Or I didn’t until recently. This pasta dish makes me actually enjoy eating it. In this delightful bowl, you get a selection of spicy mussels, calamari and prawns. But the “hero of the dish”, as they say in Masterchef, is the fish. Trust me, seafood-haters (and seafood-lovers) it lives up to its name.
2. Boombap – Fried Buttermilk Chicken Bap – $13
Shop 8, Centre Place, 530 Little Collins Street
It was hard to pick just one thing since everything I’ve ever had from Boombap has been delicious. There are new menu items daily with both Mexican-inspired meals like tacos, quesadillas and burritos, as well as their signature Southern dishes including chowder, gumbo, po’ boys and of course the prized chicken bap! Crunchy, fresh and satisfying.
3. Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery – Daily Special Bento Boxes – $12
141 Queen Street
You don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to appreciate this place. Their curries and stir fries are amazing even if they do use faux meat. I love having lunch here when I’m angry at the world or have an artificial-light-induced headache because it’s so serene! Sitting in there for half an hour is like doing yoga…without having to wear workout gear or actually doing exercise.
4. Mason Dixon – Dainty Reuben Sandwich – $7.50
7/480 Collins Street Food Plaza
The words Reuben sandwich transport me to a bustling New York deli counter and this corned beef and sauerkraut sandwich lives up to that fantasy. The only reason I mention the Dainty Reuben and not the MD Reuben is because it allows me room afterwards to gorge on their amazing peanut butter pie.
5. Henry and the Fox – Prosciutto Pizza – $18.50
525 Little Collins Street
I started eating here right around the time that Ylvis song came out so I’ve just gotta get this out – What does the fox say? Yum yum yum yum yum ya-yum ya-yum! You can dream up your own quirky dance moves to accompany that. Anyway, they have a good selection of lunch options including pasta and burgers but it’s the prosciutto pizza that I really enjoy. This place is popular with the work lunch crowds so make a booking to avoid disa-pizza-pointment.
6. Big Boy BBQ – The “Zee” Man – $13.90
27-31 Hardware Lane
I’ve eaten hundreds of burgers in my time. I know what a burger needs to be to be classified as ‘good’; a fresh bun and flavoursome fillings. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter what the fillings are as long as they’re easy to bite into and don’t fall out. The “Zee” Man is made up of sliced beef brisket, smoked cheese, fried onion strings and BBQ sauce. The bun is soft and the fillings are damn tasty. Easily one of my top five burgers of all time.
7. Alice Nivens – Selection of sandwiches and bagels – $11
Shop 13, Port Phillip Arcade, 228-236 Flinders Street
I’ve only fallen down this rabbit hole once and can’t wait for my next trip! The great thing about it is that you can go in and have a healthy sandwich or bagel for lunch and then follow it up with a well-deserved naughty treat. Their desserts are baked fresh every morning and everything is super Instagram-worthy. Some of their recent items: pistachio and rosewater cake, Garibaldi biscuits, raspberry whoopie pies and chocolate chip, peanut butter and bacon cookies. P.S. The silky smooth hot chocolate is a perfect tonic for the winter blues!
8. B’Cos – Vovo’s Classic (Grandmas Favourite) – $13.90
Shop 4, 353 Little Collins Street (access via Equitable Lane)
I was just introduced to this place and I will definitely be back. There aren’t enough Brazilian restaurants in Melbourne. They let you sample several elements of the cuisine in one dish. I tried the Vovo’s Classic (Grandmas Favourite) which had meatballs, beans and rice plus two sides and two salads of choice. Because it’s a production line, you can see exactly what you’re getting and don’t have to wait around forever. Although you’d normally associate Brazil with sunny days and sandy beaches, their food is definitely enough to keep you warm and satisfied on a winter’s day.
9. Rosa’s Canteen – Rigatoni Amatriciana – $22
Level 1, Cnr Little Bourke Street and Thomson Street (access via The Court)
Don’t be fooled by the word canteen, there are no long tables, tuck shop ladies or hungry kids in sight (although it is bustling). It’s a lovely spot with lots of natural light coming in from the large windows and plenty of table space – there’s nothing worse than knocking elbows with your neighbour while trying to hoe into a bowl of pasta! The portions are generous and you get free bread and a cheese bowl which is delightful for those of us who don’t think they ever sprinkle enough. It’s a good meal to blow your weekly carb points on (if you’re the kind of person who counts carbs, which I am not).
10. La Petite Creperie – La Brocéliande – $12.50
32 Hardware Lane
For a bit of ooh la la in a typical Melbourne day, I like to get stuck into a French galette. What the hell’s a galette, you ask? It’s basically a buckwheat pancake stuffed with delicious savoury goods and folded into a square. The Brocéliande is my go-to – it’s filled with homemade French Béchamel, Emmental cheese, mushrooms and ham. But if you’re more of a sweet tooth, they have an array of dessert crepes to keep you satisfied. Plus the cafe is located right next to La Belle Miette (the makers of the best salted caramel macaron in town) so keep that in mind if you’re after a lot of ooh la la!
- Jungle Juice Bar – Chili Con Carne
- The Girl with the Gris Gris – Gumbo
Those are my top winter lunches in Melbourne’s CBD! What are yours?