Grab your Myki travel card and hop on the Melbourne tram, because you have some work to do. The foodie scene in the capital of Victoria, on the southeastern side of Australia, is a gourmand’s playground.

There’s everything from traditional Polish cakes to gorgeous donuts, hardcore coffee, Greek food and more.  Here’s our shortlist of must-try foods on your next trip to Melbourne: 

Polish Cakes

A testament to Melbourne’s international culinary chops, Cake Street in St. Kilda is famous for its string of Polish and Eastern European bakeries. The veritable Monarch Cakes has been pumping out its famous silky chocolate Kugelhupf cake from this quaint storefront since 1934. Many of the recipes were inherited from the family’s original shop in Poland – and everything you see is made from scratch.

Order: You have to get the Kugelhupf – don’t try to pronounce, just point! While you’re there, dig into a Polish cheesecake too, which is made with a 100-year-old recipe.

Monarch bakery, Melbourne, Kugelhupf

Spanish Tapas

Find your way through the graffitied laneways for Spanish tapas at Movida. This long-standing favorite is a Melbourne institution, with four iterations and counting in the city. Each branch is a little different, but we’d recommend the original spot off Flinders Street. Expect a mix of creative bite-sized tapas and bigger ración to share.

Order: We loved the house cold-smoked Spanish mackerel, spiced chicken salad, and duck liver pâté and foam on brioche. Or just get one of everything! 

Gourmet Donuts

Melbourne has long been a champion of coffee, but now the city’s picking up some donut chops too. Artisanal bakers are popping up in the laneways to serve these meticulously crafted sweets. Try Short Stop on Sutherland Street, where donuts are made fresh all day behind the counter and you can count on a good long black to match.

Order: We have nothing but praise for the Earl Grey and Rose and the Bourbon Crème Brulée (US$4.50) donuts. Except that they didn’t last long enough.

Short Stop donuts, Melbourne


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: Take a road trip around the Mornington Peninsula <<

Coffee!

One of Melbourne’s greatest assets is genuinely awesome coffee. Even if you don’t know your Aeropress from your elbow, the baristas at Seven Seeds will get you sorted with beans from Latin America and Africa. The place balances out its hipster farm-grunge-chic surrounds with earnestly helpful staff and great food, too.

Order: Ask one of the servers to walk you through the day’s beans, as they shift seasonally. Try a short black roast for maximum flavor; or a short white for smoother sips.

Craft Beer

For a sure-fire beer experience, pull up a stool at Little Creatures. Originally founded in Fremantle in Western Australia, the tap house is huge and happening, with open-air seating and a “sampler” board (US$11) that features a smattering of seasonals and signatures, including the rightly well-known Little Creatures Pale Ale.

Order: Try the citrusy IPA, and the Rogers’ beer, which balances caramel and hops.

Little Creatures, Melbourne

Greek Food

Thanks to several waves of Greek emigration to Australia, there’s plenty of great Greek food around town. But the restaurant of the hour has to be Hellenic Republic, which feels like a family-style tavern. Head here for big hearty portions, a boundless wine list of Hellenic varieties, and 16 types of ouzo. Just be sure to book ahead as this place fills up nightly.
 
Order: Start with the taramasalata white cod roe dip, freshly baked pitas, and the Cypriot grain salad; finish with the lamb shoulder, slow-roasted on the bone and served with a huge melty head of garlic.

Where to Stay

The Prince Hotel

Hole up at The Prince hotel in St. Kilda, one of Melbourne’s artsier neighborhoods. The boutique design hotel sports stylish rooms, spa-like bathrooms and several notable restaurants. Though it’s not in the center of town, The Prince is in a great neighborhood for live music, harbor sunsets and beach bumming—there’s a stretch of sand just across the street

 

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