The best cafes, restaurants, bars, shops and events in the Melbourne CBD.

Restaurants

Kisumé

Restaurant

This is one of Melbourne's best Japanese restaurants. It's certainly its most ambitious. There's a New York-style sushi bar at street level, a pumping izakaya-style basement and an upstairs private dining room – Kuro – for intimate kaiseki-style meals.

Il Bacaro

Restaurant

At this CBD stalwart, you'll find old-school service, a lengthy wine list and plenty of classic Italia charm. Dishes here have a Venetian focus, and include a zucchini risotto, a "fish charcuterie board" as well as the signature Moreton Bay bug spaghettini. For drinks, opt for a classic Bellini or a parmesan-infused Martini.

Izakaya Den

Restaurant

Izakayas are Japanese bars where the eating is just as important as the drinking. That's true at this CBD favourite. There's a selection of drinking-friendly dishes that accompany the excellent sakes and Japanese-influenced cocktails.

Supernormal

Restaurant

Beautifully executed pan-Asian offerings by Andrew McConnell. Come for Melbourne's most famous lobster roll, steaming bowls of ramen at lunch, Korean-style barbequed meats and Shanghai dumplings.

Ishizuka

Restaurant

At this elegant 16-seat Japanese fine diner, which is inside a giant paper lantern in a Bourke Street basement, you'll find one of the best kaiseki – a traditional degustation-style multi-course meal – experiences in town.

Bomba

Restaurant

Thanks to Jesse Gerner (Green Park, Añada), the old Aylesbury is all about tapas now. Plus, there are spectacular views out over the city to enjoy while you eat. It's no surprise this place is held dear by so many Melburnians.

Cafes

Bakemono

Cafe

This Japanese-inspired bakery, from the team behind Little Rogue just across the street is selling whole loaves of shokupan (fluffy milk bread), flaky almond-yuzu croissants, Danishes piled high with berries, and soft buns filled with cream cheese, then doused in garlic butter.

Gelateria Primavera

Cafe

This gelateria, perched next to City Wine Shop and Spring Street Grocer, is a contender for having the best gelato in town. The ingredients are high quality, seasonal flavours range from classic to strange, and the pozzetti cabinets keep the preservative-free gelato nice and fresh.

Market Lane Coffee Victoria Street

Cafe

This iteration of the Market Lane cafe constellation brings the same winning combination: great coffee, quick-and-tasty snacks, plus plenty of beans and accessories to take home with you.

Oli & Levi

Cafe

Oli & Levi brings well-priced, honest fare to city slickers.

Bowery to Williamsburg

Cafe

This tribute to the Big Apple offers the finest deli-style food around.

Higher Ground

Cafe

The team behind Kettle Black and Top Paddock go beyond cafes with this CBD spot inspired by hotel hospitality.

Bars

Nick and Nora’s

Bar

Across five rooms and three balconies, indulge in theatrical cocktails bubbling with liquid nitrogen, tropical boozy yuzu-pineapple punch bowls for four (served in a huge bronze swan), champagne towers, ridiculously large 15-litre bottles of Mumm, and fancy canapés.

Hihou

Bar

At this Japanese-influenced bar from the owner of Izakaya Den, you'll have a hard deciding whether you prefer the drinks or the food. The solution? In order to make your mind up, you should order copious amounts of both.

Angel Music Bar

Bar

An audiophile playground for celebrated restaurateur Con Christopoulos that serves up bar snacks with a side of sub-bass frequencies. Things are pretty fun and loud downstairs, and there's a few seats and some great drinks on offer. But it's on the upstairs dancefloor where the volume really turns up and things get loose.

Heroes

Bar

It's hard to describe this place. Is it a karaoke bar? Is it a Southeast Asian barbeque restaurant? Is it a great rooftop bar? Yes, to all of the above. Either way, odds are you'll find yourself with a lamb skewer in one hand and a mic in the other at some point during an evening here.

Siglo

Bar

This rooftop bar, which sits above the Melbourne Supper Club, has unrivalled views of Spring Street and Parliament House. It's also one of the few spots in Melbourne that has its own cigar menu – there's even a humidor full of hard-to-find Cubans. If that's not your style, the cocktails are equally excellent.

Goldilocks Bar

Bar

At this long-running hidden rooftop bar, there's an emphasis on cocktails and comfort. Unlike many rooftops, this spot is understated; the team here let the cocktails and the view do the talkings. The retractable rooftop means that this a great all-weather option, too.

Shops

Weirdoughs

Shop

This tiny, technicolour Flinders Lane patisserie serves flaky croissants and fluffy doughnuts without the help of butter, milk or eggs. There's also all-vegan ice-cream, including vanilla with croissant dough and Espresso Martini.

American Doughnut Kitchen

Shop

Melbourne’s first ever doughnut outlet.

Obus

Shop

Melbourne-designed practical and travel-friendly garments.

T By LuxBite

Shop

After they conquered the macaron, the folks at LuxBite opened this tart-focussed bakery.

Punchin' Bottles

Shop

This wine shop by Embla’s Christian McCabe, winemaker Patrick Sullivan and importer Eric Narioo stocks interesting (and at times eccentric) small-batch and responsibly produced drops.

búl

Shop

Classical tailored pieces from city to sea by local designer Virginia Martin.