A long weekend (or two) in... Melbourne!
Melbourne Travel Blog› entry 5 of 5 › view all entries
I always knew I'd like Melbourne. As a born-and-bred Sydney girl, I always wondered about the rivalry between those two cities and, now living in Canberra, the prospect of good quality, good value food really excited me.
I've been to Melbourne 3 times, first staying at the Grand Chancellor (for work; it's a functional hotel in a very good downtown location), then Freeman Lodge in Richmond (a quirky hostel east of Fitzroy Gardens and not too far walking distance from the city centre) and the Crest on Barkly in St Kilda (a Comfort Hotel, functional and close to St Kilda).
One of the nicest things to do in Melbourne is just walk around and explore its little alleyways and the areas of Brunswick, St Kilda, etc, stopping to eat and drink and shop. In fact, I can't remember doing much else except visiting Federation Square and ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) which was a fun 30-minute detour. I also take great pleasure in using Melbourne's public transport system: trams, trains and buses, a good airport connection and free tram travel within the city circle... thanks!
Now, because my experience of Melbourne revolves around food, here is a sample of places I visited:
Banff on Fitzroy St - great cheap breakfast and good coffee. The reason I love Melbourne was epitomised in this little cafe full of wooden chairs and warmth.
Black Cat - arty cafe on Brunswick St - yummy lamb pie and apple cider, lots of plants, full of people just sitting and reading and eating or drinking, and with a cool little twisted tree-shelter thing which provided some protection from the slight drizzle.
Huey's - a bar/cafe on Fitzroy Street, with great food, particularly burgers.
La Camera - Italian restaurant along Southbank, upstairs. Everything was delicious, from the arancini balls, pasta dishes, affogato and tiramisu (and wine). Sooo full. Walking back along the river was also nice, with the gondola a nice touch.
Lucky Coq on Chapel St - brilliant $4 pizzas - how do they make money? Eclectic furnishings and crowd, and a good bustling atmosphere. I think the beer selection was pretty decent too.
Pancake Circus on Bridge Rd - a strange place, not one I would have chosen myself, but half decent if you like pancakes. Don't order coffee from here.
Rangoli Indian Restaurant - Fitzroy St; nice ambience and I enjoyed the food.
Sass - another cafe on Bridge Rd. Can't really say much about it because we left after 15 mins when we hadn't been given menus or even a hint of acknowledgement.
Silvios - It's down Bridge Rd, Italian, diner-style, decent food and well priced. And it was open late (till 1am) which is always helpful.
Solarino - a wine bar, apparently, on Little Collins St, although we had coffee and breakfast here (mm bruschetta). I think the novelty of being in a little cobbled laneway of sorts made an impression.
Tofu Shop - also on Bridge Rd, but right near the intersection with Hoddle Street. It's a vegetarian place and we shared a mixed plate of everything, which included lentil dishes, roasted and marinated vegetables, potatoes, rice, and of course, tofu. Everything was pretty tasty. Recommended.
Town hall pub in North Melbourne (Errol St) - on the cheaper side, grungy, nice beer garden, and I liked the CD collection behind the bar, very impressive; decent bloody marys and beer, of course!
Two Monks - we ended up here after our bad service experience at Sass and had a lovely waitress.
Anyway, in my eyes, Melbourne is still miles ahead of Canberra in terms of value for money and service, plus (as you have seen) there's some pretty good street art around the place!