Where to eat in Melbourne

This page may contain affiliate links.
Learn more in our disclaimer.

While driving our campervan on a road trip through Australia, we mostly cook our own food. It’s way cheaper and after eating out on every meal for over four months in Southeast Asia, Brecht was eager to start cooking again. Nevertheless there are moments it’s easier to go out, or restaurants we don’t want to miss out on. Our restaurant experience is Australia has been quite good so far, we just love the complementary bottle of water you get everywhere. At home we’d have to pay over $3 for a 20cl bottle of water. (Note all prices in this blogpost are in Australian dollar.)

So, where to eat in Melbourne?

Brecht read about  ShanDong MaMa in Lonely Planet. They said “Melbourne’s passion for dumplings finds its truest expression in this simple little place”. We were kind of missing the Asian food already, so decided this was the perfect spot to have a taste once again. We arrived at about 12h15 and had to wait in line for a seat, just like Lonely Planet had promised. After 15 minutes of queueing, we were pointed to our seats.

The menu lists a range of boiled and fried dumplings, among other Asian dishes. As the restaurant is famous for its dumplings, we ordered mixed seafood dumplings ($14.80 for 12) and chicken fried dumplings ($13.80 for 10). We were already halfway through our seafood dumplings when the chicken dumplings arrived. Unfortunately one of its ingredients was lemon gras, which we both don’t like, so the seafood dumplings got our preference. We can assure you, 22 dumplings is more than enough to fill your belly for lunch, we weren’t able to finish them all. The staff is not that friendly, but the food is nice, so definitely worth a visit!

Dumplings at ShanDong MaMa
Not too happy with the Fish and Chips

After those dumplings we were quite stuffed, but while making our way out of Midcity Arcade, the small shopping centre housing ShanDong Mama, our eye fell on a little place called Royal Custard Puffs. An automated machine (no photos allowed) bakes little custard puffs, a fascinating sight. We looked at each other and said almost at the same time “I still have room for dessert”, so we bought five custard puffs for $2. A lightly crisp baked dough hides a yummy custard filling. Simple but delicious.

As you might have read in another blogpost, we went to a comedy show at  The Comic's Lounge. You can eat dinner at their bar, but according to some online sources, the food is not that great. We tried our luck at a fish and chips joint right across from The Comic’s Lounge, can’t remember the name. Brecht ordered a fried salmon value pack for $16, including two side dishes by choice: shoelace fries and veggies. It was a long time since I had some good prawns, so I decided to go with the prawn skewer and chips ($11.50). Although it seemed quite busy (mostly takeout), we wouldn’t rate the food better than “OK”. I was rather disappointed with my prawn skewer, holding a pathetic four prawns the size of shrimps. If they tasted great, I would have forgiven them, but my grandmother and Brecht’s mom make way better shrimp than these. I did like the homemade tartar sauce though and Brecht liked his salmon as well. There are definitely better fries in Belgium though.

Tapas at Movida

MoVida is a very popular tapas restaurant in Melbourne. Dinner was fully booked for the next few weeks, but Brecht managed to secure a lunch spot through the booking system on their website. While bringing over some delicious bread with olive oil, the friendly waiter recommended us to choose two or three small, bitesized tapas each, and two or three larger plates to share. We ordered four small tapas ($4.50 each) and three large plates ($15-$16), perfect for a nice lunch for two. The croquetta with red beets wasn’t bad, but we liked the seafood croquetta, a special that day, better. The Pollo Escabeche Al Miguel and the Mejilloné, both some kind of little toast with respectively chicken and a mussel, were good as well.

The tapas plates we shared were Patatas Bravas, Embutido (a charcuterie plate), and Setas Asadas Con Jerez (special kind of mushrooms). Unfortunately they didn’t serve these plates together, which would have been better in our opinion. The food was good, but we had better Patatas Bravas in a tapas bar in Kuala Lumpur. If you like to try it out for yourself, don’t forget to make a reservation beforehand.

Delciousness at Frencheese
Paella at Queen Victoria Night Market

We had our favourite meal sitting on the sidewalk near the  Queen Victoria Night Market. There are, besides stalls selling jewellery and stuff, numerous food stalls, all looking and smelling delicious. After careful consideration we went with a raclette charcutière plate ($13) from Frencheese and a little boat shaped bowl filled with seafood paella ($13 as well) from El Rincón Paellas. Both were absolutely delicious!

On the radio we had heard an advertisement about The Food Truck Park, quote unquote “bringing together the finest Mobile Food Trucks“. After some online research, we knew it was currently put up at Queensbridge Square, in celebration of Chinese New Year. The park moves around, but you can check the upcoming events on their website. I made a bad decision again (happens to me maybe one in four times), ordering a prawn taco containing coriander and other herbs I apparently don’t like. Brecht did like his Texas Rangers burger and the chili cheese fries ($10) were quite good as well, luckily not too spicy. Didn’t wrote down the names of the food trucks though. Yes, we love food trucks and think it’s a shame it hasn’t become real popular yet in Belgium!


Food Truck Park in Melbourne
Tasty Chili Cheese Fries

Overall we had some good food in Melbourne. We are big fans of the complementary bottles of water you get at each restaurant. Saves us some money as well. We love to eat on markets and at food trucks, and Melbourne seems to have plenty to choose from. You should definitely visit the Queen Victoria Night Market and indulge in their variety of foods from different countries!