There’s never enough time to visit all the eateries and bars on my Melbourne itinerary. So rather than finding yourself overwhelmed trying to shuffle between suburbs and constantly catching the tram, we recommend optimising your time by sticking to one area. The constantly evolving foodie precinct of Prahran is the perfect destination to settle in for your long weekend. Check into The Cullen, one of the Art Series hotels in the heart of vibrant Chapel Street for your weekend of eating and drinking. The Cullen has not one but two restaurants, Gramercy Social and HuTong Dumpling Bar.
Across from The Cullen, Prahran Market is where you should start your foodie adventures. Grab breakfast at cheese toastie shop, Maker & Monger. The open-face Reuben is a crowd favourite, served with a healthy helping of sauerkraut. Follow up with a strong flat white or filter coffee at Market Lane before continuing your day in this bustling precinct.
If you’re after a sit-down meal, I highly recommend stopping by Journeyman on Chapel Street where the coffee is superb and the meals are filling. Alternatively, I can’t pass up the smashed pumpkin at Tall Timber. It’s the perfect autumnal brunch in a sparsely decorated, minimalist space that’s had locals flocking since it opened. Otherwise, head to the memorable and beautifully designed Top Paddock for that ricotta hotcake. You know, the one that practically broke Instagram? The craze was kickstarted by Melbourne cafés and you know you shouldn’t leave without trying at least one. If you’re after a twist on the smashed avo, head to Hobba for a variation that includes pomegranate, a softly poached egg and plenty of feta. Their cabinet food is also noteworthy, they’ve got bacon tarts, croissants and baked goods galore. Abacus is another local favourite that does inventive brunch in a spacious Chapel Street café. If you’re looking for something a bit lighter, pop into Chez Mademoiselle on Greville Street (a pedestrianised street worth meandering along a least a few times during your stay) for macarons and coffee.
For lunch, there are plenty of worthwhile Prahran eateries you’ll want to visit. Mr. Miyagi makes a salmon nori taco that’s as good as it sounds – both fresh and crunchy. Their schnitty bao, chicken schnitzel with sriracha mayo, is equally delicious. If you love Chin Chin, you’ll want to get in the queue for Hawker Hall. Or cross the bridge to Richmond for Aperol Spritz and funghi pizza at Baby Pizza. Perch up at the bar and watch as the chefs elaborately prepare dish after dish.
For dinner plans that will surely turn into late night drinks, Borsch, Vodka & Tears is unbeatable. The modern Polish vodka bar is loved among locals. Order the Ukrainain borscht (yes, the spelling varies depending on which Eastern European country you’re in), the mushroom and sauerkraut pierogis (are we sensing a theme here?) and the cabbage rolls, which look a lot more like rice paper rolls than any cabbage rolls I’ve ever made. Regardless, they go down a treat when paired with any of the vodka tasting trays you’ll undoubtedly order. Borsch has approximately ten pages of vodkas, so do like the Polish do, and get drinking. Na, zdrowie. If you still haven’t had enough vodka, try the negronski. It’s a vodka version of the classic gin, Campari and vermouth cocktail – and my personal favourite.
Afterwards, meander down to Lover – a newly opened cocktail bar in a gloriously intimate setting. The bar is understatedly cool, and the limited seating makes it the ideal date night spot or place to catch up with friends you haven’t seen in awhile.
For a bowl of ramen that will transport to you the inner streets of Fukuoka, Ramblr is equal parts beautiful and delicious. Yet another minimalist’s dream, follow them on Instagram for the ultimate food porn. If it’s Mexican you’re dreaming of, Fonda Mexican has the freshest carnitas in town and a rooftop bar perfect for people watching. Or, if you’re needing a juice cleanse after all these eats, grab a cold pressed juice from Greene Street Juice Co. The immunity shots will nip any ailments in the bud.
While I suggest sticking to one or two areas, I can’t help sneaking in a few additional favourites in case you decide to venture to the CBD (and you should if it’s your first time in Melbourne). For doughnut lovers, Shortstop is a must-visit spot. Hidden down Lt. Collins laneway, the doughnut and coffee shop’s menu is always changing, and you’ll get serious Brick Lane vibes. For Laotian noodles, venture to Noodle House. Otherwise, grab burgers at Burger Project.
With a food scene that’s showing no sign of slowing, Prahran has once again established itself as a must-visit Melbourne suburb. Regardless of what you’re craving, you’re sure to find a dozen eateries that take your fancy.
I usually create a moodboard on Instagram for all the places I plan to visit. Instagram’s also a great place to get inspired. If you’d like to see more of my Melbourne food recommendations, follow #pgminmelbourne on Instagram for all my go-to, ‘grammable spots. Or, if you want to read my original Melbourne city guide, you can check it out here.