Sunday 19 June 2016

Melbourne's best spots for brunch, lunch or dinner

As mentioned in last week's post on Melbourne's best snack spots, I thought I'd put together a list of my favourite places in Melbourne for a more 'solid' meal, whether that be brunch, lunch or dinner. There are countless places in Melbourne to grab a feed, but here are the top 8 places I ventured to recently that I thought were worth a mention.

1. Mamasita


I think my recent visit to Mamasita was the fifth time I've been there, and it definitely has not declined in quality over the years. Thankfully though, the time spent waiting for a table has reduced (I'm pretty sure my sister and I were waiting for over an hour on my first visit). On this recent visit however (at 12:30 pm on a Sunday) we managed to get a table straight away.  My recommended go-to dishes are the charred street-style corn with chipotle mayo and lime; any of their quaesadillas; the bolar blade beef tacos; and the sweetcorn ice cream with salted caramel and popcorn.

2. Fonda Mexican

I stumbled upon Fonda Mexican in Winsdor when searching for some lunch one day and was very pleased with this find. While it is a little further out of the CBD (about 10-15 minutes by tram), it is located on Chapel St, close to many shops and trendy cafes (and, importantly, Gelato Messina). The Mexico City Pork quaesadillas were definitely my favourite item on the menu, but the beef brisket and chicken abodo tacos are also worth ordering, along with one of the Cloudy Russian cocktails (made with vodka, cointreau, apple juice and pomegranate).

3. Chin Chin

Trying to get a table at Chin Chin on a Friday night might not have been the wisest idea, however we did arrive before 6 pm, so luckily only had to wait about 45 minutes for a table. We headed downstairs to their GoGo Bar for a cocktail and a couple of pork sliders while we waited for an SMS from upstairs. Once we were seated upstairs, we decided to order the kingfish sashimi with lime, chilli, coconut and basil, followed by the wagyu beef jungle curry and the prawn pad thai. Even though we were completely stuffed, we managed to squeeze in a palm sugar ice cream sundae with salted honeycomb and lime syrup, which definitely helped us cool off after the spicy hit of the jungle curry.

4. Hardware Societe

Hardware Societe is another cafe that I have visited a couple of times in the past (and one that I constantly drool over on Instagram), so I knew that for brunch I had to order their fried brioche, this time served with a coffee-flavoured curd, quince, and chocolate shards. It is always a hard decision choosing between their coffee and their hot chocolate, so if you can manage it, I'd recommend starting with a caffeine hit and finishing off the meal with a sweet hot chocolate (I really do regret not getting a hot chocolate on this occasion).

5. Manchester Press

A friend who used to live in Melbourne recommended Manchester Press as 'the place' to go for bagels in the city. Tucked away in a quiet laneway in the CBD, Manchester Press was clearly the place to be on a Wednesday morning. I decided to order an open blueberry bagel with cream cheese and jam, however I was very envious of the amazing bagels served around me, including bagels with smoked salmon, avocado and fetta, pulled pork, or chorizo. I definitely need to come back again for a more substantial meal next time I'm in Melbourne. Their coffee is also worth a mention - beautifully smooth and fresh.

6. Operator 25

Again, my ex-Melbournite friend recommended Operator 25 as an excellent brunch option in the city. Even on a weekday at around 10 am it was difficult to get a table, but I managed to squeeze onto one and decided to order a serve of the 'Dr Marty's crumpets' with nutella. Again, I did regret not trying one of their more substantial brunch options, such as the BBQ pork benedict, the matcha almond hotcakes or the sweet potato and corn fritters, but I'll just have to come back another time (hello frequent flyer points).

7. Bowery to Williamsburg

Bowery to Williamsburg is, incase you didn't guess from the name, a New York-inspired cafe, located opposite Hardware Societe. Consisting of one large dining table for all patrons, I was glad I arrived for a late-ish lunch at around 2 pm, as I'm sure it would have been difficult getting a seat earlier. I decided to go with a New York staple - a beef burger with bacon, melted cheese and pickles, which came with a side of pretzels. Having had a squiz at the brunch menu since visiting this cafe, I would definitely recommend heading here for a meal to start off your day.

8. Meat & Bread Co


Tucked away in a food-court-style plaza in the CBD, Meat & Bread Co is the place that many city workers head to on their lunch break to grab an amazing burger, slider or sandwich. Unable to decide between a beef brisket or pulled pork burger, I ended up ordering mini versions of these in the form of sliders. The lady serving me told me that I had ordered the two most popular items on the menu, and I could understand why. Beautifully slow-cooked meat served on soft brioche buns with amazing barbeque flavours and fresh coleslaw, I could see why there were so many people milling around outside.

So, with last week's top 10 snack spots and this week's top 8 meal spots, this should give you a substantial list of places to check out if you are ever in the foodie's paradise of Melbourne. And with that, it is now time for me to get to the gym to work off the food baby...

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