best lunch melbourne
Butcher's diner, the best burger in melbourne's CBD

The VICE Guide to the Best Lunch Spots in Melbourne

Here's our guide to Melbourne's best lunch spots, whether they're impressive, accessible, affordable, quick or simply divine.
Arielle Richards
Melbourne, AU

The best lunch in Melbourne depends on your mood, vibe, and overall disposition. Are you a cheap eats freak? A boozy brunch fanatic? Or, are you trying to impress somebody? Maybe you’re very very busy and very very on the go, so a quick takeaway hit is more your speed. None of that matters. There are many lunch spots in Melbourne CBD, and many more the further you trek, but there are some that are better than the others. To make your life a little easier, we’ve procured a definitive guide to the absolute best of the best lunch spots in Melbourne.


Where to get lunch in Melbourne CBD

Nana Thai

$10 lunch special $10 lunch special $10 lunch special. I could go on. $10 LUNCH SPECIAL. The best lunch special in Melbourne CBD? An institution known for food so good the exacting next-day-sting on your bottom bequeathed by Thai-spicy is beyond worth it. REMEMBER, there is no beauty without pain. 

169 Bourke St, Melbourne.

lunch nana thai melbourne cbd

dinner at nana thai

Biang Biang [Multiple Locations]

Hand-pulled noodles in a no-frills city establishment. They have multiple Xi’an favourites on offer but honestly the classic Biang Biang noodles are the one, with chilli oil, bean sprouts and just enough bok choy to assuage any guilt for eating what is essentially oil noodles for lunch. So good. 

419 Elizabeth St, Melbourne, 255 Swanston St, Melbourne.

lunch biang biang noodle melbourne cbd

hand-pulled noodles with chilli oil at biang biang's elizabeth street location

lunch biang biang noodle melbourne cbd

thick hand pulled noodles are a gift from humanity, to humanity

Sakura Sushi Train

It’s cosy, comfortable, and you can almost guarantee a seat if you’re heading in for a quick lunch. Sushi trains are highly underrated solo Melbourne lunch spots, there’s enough to look at so you won’t get bored and no one bats an eye at someone consumed by TikToks in one hand and grabbing for fresh squid nigiri with the other. I highly recommend!

282 Lonsdale St, Melbourne.

lunch sakura sushi train melbourne cbd

fresh squid. very slippery!


Needs no introduction. This institution is perfect, always there for a reliably beautiful stop-in, the delightful ambience of nonna’s kitchen alongside mid-century chic CBD dining. Impress a lunch date with your knowledge of OG Melbourne locales, or just go alone and revel in a 70-year-old time capsule replete with watermelon granita, spaghetti and tiramisu.

66 Bourke St, Melbourne.


Paramount Food Court

I won’t get into the wealth of restaurants, cuisines, and beverages on offer for lunch in the Paramount building – there are too many. This beautiful mid-century retail centre’s basement hosts some of the most affordable and delicious lunches in the city. And five dollar beers. Everywhere you look, five dollar beers.

18/108 Bourke St, Melbourne.

Udon Yasan

TEN-ISH DOLLAR LUNCH. This canteen-style udon shop offers possibly the best value for money in the city. Load up your tray with a bowl of your choice, ranging in price from a mere $8 to $13, toss on any tempura additions, or perhaps some fried croquettes, or tofu, or seaweed and have your way with the free, unlimited toppings. 

186 Bourke St, Melbourne.

lunch udon yasan melbourne cbd

curry udon and a tempura prawn with a side of kimhi - hail the ten dollar lunch!

Claypots Barbarossa

For an affordable yet chic Hardware Lane lunch, Claypots’ tapas-style menu has a bounty of delicious seafood ranging from snacky to set course. Eat the paella.

79 Hardware Ln, Melbourne.

Jang Go Mama

For a quick Korean bite, this family-run business is the literal definition of hole-in-the-wall. If you can snag a highly limited seat, the Kimbap is the specialty, which is both filling and affordable for around $15 a gigantic serve, and sits alongside other lunch delicacies from japchae, to naengmyeon, dumplings in broth and more.

147 Lonsdale St, Melbourne.

lunch jang go mama melbourne cbd

this naengmyeon was actually eated in sydney, but it's included as inspiration to order it for lunch at jang go mama.

The Borek Bakehouse

Down the bottom end of the city, the Borek Bakehouse offers the best affordable on-the-go lunch. The boreks are a must, obviously, but for a lighter option they offer gozleme and a range of salads, and wraps filled with fried zucchini or falafel. 

481 Elizabeth St, Melbourne.


Butcher’s Diner

The number one burger in the CBD. Really, seriously. Snag one of the minimal outdoor tables and enjoy the bustling Paris end of Bourke Street while you wash down the best burger of your life with a Greek salad and maybe even some poutine. 

10 Bourke St, Melbourne.

lunch butchers diner melbourne cbd

the best burger in melbourne eaten for lunch at butcher's diner, with a side of greek salad and contentedment

Rooftop Bar

The number two burger in the CBD, with the added bonuses of a) rooftop views, and b) good cocktails. The burger shack at Rooftop makes the most delicious vegan burger in Melbourne, and the chips, fried chicken and salads all hit as well. Good for a work lunch with fun colleagues who don’t mind a cocky or two to boot.

Curtin House, level 7/252 Swanston St.

City Wine Shop

For a classy and guaranteed delicious lunch in Melbourne’s CBD, we can return to the Paris end. The outdoor seating at City Wine Shop will ensure all passers-by get a good look at you dining on your sumptuous steak frites, oysters and caviar, guzzling some glamorous wine from the Jura region between expensive mouthfuls. Oui!!!!!!!!

159 Spring St, Melbourne.

Mr Ramen San

The best ramen in the CBD. It’s not contested. This little shop, famously in the Mid City Centre arcade also has a second location on Bourke Street. In addition to incredibly good traditional ramen, Mr Ramen San has vegetarian ramen with excellent faux meat and a silky broth, as well as vegan options.

12a/200 Bourke St.

ShanDong MaMa

Right next door to Mr Ramon San is ShanDong MaMa. If it’s dumplings you’re craving, here you will find the best lunch in Melbourne. Highlights from the menu include the spicy deep fried squid, the cucumber salad, and the black fungus salad. But let’s be honest, it’s all good.

7/200 Bourke St, Melbourne.


Empress of China

There’s no shortage of dumpling restaurants on Little Bourke Street, but the all-time classic is Empress of China. Here, everything on the menu shines, and it’s always a quick and affordable lunch. Aside from the dumplings, the Chinese broccoli is always good, and the eggplant dish is outstanding.

120 Little Bourke St, Melbourne.

Where to get lunch in Melbourne’s Inner North

Indian Hungarian Restaurant

Five dollar lunchtime beer special. Five dollar lunchtime beer special! FIVE DOLLAR LUNCHTIME BEER SPECIAL. Tucked away in Clifton Hill is the famous Indian Hungarian restaurant, the fusion you never knew you needed until you tried their lángos dipped in paneer masala. Flavour combinations you literally can’t get anywhere else

149 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill.

lunch indian hungarian restaurant melbourne clifton hill

the fusion you never knew you needed

Danny’s Burgers

An inner north institution, Danny’s Burgers is a no-fuss veteran diner with all your classics: steak sangas, thick shakes, and, obviously, burgers. The best burgers in the inner north, they say. The kitsch fit-out is a 1950s dream.

360 St Georges Rd.

A1 Bakery

The Sydney Road icon has single-handedly brought life back to Brunswick Street’s decaying lunch scene. On offer are all the favourites: Cheese pies, spinach triangles, za’atar pizzas… we all have our favourites. Thank you A1!

295 Brunswick St, Fitzroy.



If it’s a sit-down setting you’re after, look no further than Mario’s. I swear to god their prices haven’t changed since the 80s. This old school Italian establishment offers all-day coffee and brunch, as well as its full pasta and mains menu from midday. Complete the fantasy by sitting outside in the blinding sun and sip a Campari Spritz with some spaghetti, the way Nonna intended.

303 Brunswick St, Fitzroy.

lunch marios melbourne fitzroy

marios: the ultimate classic


A beautiful, quiet Japanese cafe down the artsy end of Smith Street. The sandos are fucking huge, and the miso soup is delicious. They also have a bunch of silly little drinks on the menu. Perfect for a solo, quiet date if you’re the kind of person who likes to chill with a meal and a book, or they have tables that seat up to four for a friend-lunch. They even have tables out the back. I like it a lot!!!

22 Smith St, Collingwood.

Fatto a Mano

An institution of Gertrude Street, this Italian bakery is reputed for having the best gluten free carbohydrates in town. Their pizzas, sold by the slice, are both beautiful in an aesthetic way and beautiful to the taste. There are plentiful vegan options, and home-made pies, sandwiches and sweet treats. A must for a takeaway lunch.

228 Gertrude St, Fitzroy.

lunch fatto a mano melbourne fitzroy

fatto a mano's pizzas are gluten free, vegan, delicious works of art.

QQQst Kitchen

This onigiri cafe has the best bento boxes money can buy. Fillings are all delicious, changing frequently, and can include bonito, umeboshi, salmon, spam and fish roe. Ohhhh it’s so so so good. Onigiri boxes include pickle salad, mashed potato salad and a boiled, jammy egg. Do not skip on the chilli oil, it’s perfect.

4 Peel St, Collingwood.

lunch qqqst kitchen melbourne collingwood

have you seen a more elegant and enticing lunch? no.

Wazzup Falafel

The best falafel in Melbourne. Owner Ahmad Alalaea, a Palestinian refugee who grew up in Jordan, switched a career in personal training to bring the food of his homelands to Melbourne. He returned to Jordan to learn how to make the traditional falafel he grew up with, and regularly returns to bring back the necessary spices. Menu highlights are the special stuffed falafel, the mussbaha and fatteh, Alalaea’s own recipes. And, you wouldn’t know it but everything is vegan.

343 High St, Northcote.

lunch wazzup falafel melbourne northcote

mussbaha, fatteh and stuffed falafel. incredible.

lunch wazzup falafel melbourne northcote

ahmad busy making his stuffed falafel from scratch.

Tammy’s Borek

Tammy is the queen of the north, and Tammy’s Borek at Preston Market is THE SPOT for lunch. You can take-away the life-changing borek, gozleme, dolma, or rotating sweet treats, or you can make like the locals and enjoy them while sitting outside, sipping a coffee and smoking a cigarette while watching the busy world go by.

29 Mary St, Preston.

lunch tammys borek melbourne preston

a huge takeaway lunch from tammy's borek, including kibbeh, borek, homemade turkish bread and okra stew

Hanoi Pho

Hanoi-style pho: silky, gelatinous noodles under fragrant broth, topped with a pile of fresh herbs and spring onions. The chilli oil, pickled garlic, chilli sauce and special sauce are non-negotiable. Get the tofu pho, and eat each piece like so: tofu is placed on spoon, topped with herbs, a spoonful of chilli crisp, a couple pieces of pickled garlic, and a squirt of either the special or chilli sauce, or both for a literal bomb of umami. This place ought to be a national treasure.

4 Cramer St, Preston.

lunch hanoi pho melbourne preston

here it is: heaven.

lunch hanoi pho melbourne preston

the perfect bite of which i speak


Classic spanakopita, tiropita, and all of your favourite Greek desserts. The galaktoboureko is especially special here. The OG location on Smith Street has tragically closed, but luckily Thornbury and Templestowe maintain the classic Melissa’s name.

1/623 High St, Thornbury, 65 Parker St, Templestowe Lower.

lunch melissas melbourne thornbury

tiropita and spanakopita from melissa's, the OG

lunch melissas melbourne thornbury

do not sleep on the galaktoboureko

Where to get lunch in Southside Melbourne

Why are you Southside? Get out of there hahahahahaah.

Pacific Seafood BBQ House 

A classic. With locations in Richmond and South Yarra, wherever you find yourself in the south, and for whatever reason, Pacific House Seafood BBQ is there for YOU. This Cantonese restaurant is famed for its seafood and BBQ meat. A lunch go-to would be pork and rice. 

Shop 1/210 Toorak Rd, South Yarra, 8/240 Victoria St, Richmond.

lunch pacific seafood bbq house richmond south yarra

dream lunch: just a plate of pippis in XO.

Happy Tummy

A tiny little Japanese cafe offering divine, fresh sashimi, bento boxes and don. Handrolls, among everything else, are made to order here. Definitely provides a happy tummy!

466 Church St, Cremorne.


For on-the-go affordable sashimi boxes and handrolls, skip the insane lunchtime queue at the other sushi joint down the road and head to this family-run business. What is up with people in Cremorne and queuing? They’re passionate about it. The handrolls at Kokoro are thick and chunky, and the wasabi comes in a dollop – none of that packaged shit. 

204 Swan St, Cremorne.

lunch kokoro melbourne richmond

fresh and affordable sushi lunch

Union House

Brought to you by the people who invented the Marquis of Lorne, this is a nice pub in the area where you’ll actually get good food. Sorry to the others, it’s just lunch isn’t your strong suit. Work pub lunch? Liquid lunch in the sun? Union is the only one worth it.

270 Swan St, Richmond.

Arielle Richards is the multimedia reporter at VICE Australia, follow her on Instagram and Twitter.