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Hardware lane restaurants

Melbourne Central Restaurants

Melbourne is well-known for its coffee culture, laneway graffiti, and the simple fact that it is a true foodie paradise that captures the heart of Aussie cuisine and melds it seamlessly with flavours from every corner of the globe. 

Melbourne Central restaurants celebrate this culinary melting pot with hidden gems that dish out mouthwatering local fare. Melbourne Central food is an adventure for the palate, and we can point you in the direction of all the must-sees.


The best budget-friendly restaurants near Melbourne Central

If fine dining has lightened your wallet, worry not—some of the city's best eats are also its most affordable. Here's a guide to the top budget-friendly restaurants near Melbourne Central that promise great taste without the hefty price tag.

Pellegrini's Espresso Bar

Pellegrini's Espresso Bar is a Melbourne institution known for its old-school friendly service, strong coffee, and delicious, affordable Italian food. This iconic eatery offers hearty dishes like lasagne paired with a refreshing glass of Chinotto or watermelon juice, all for under $20. Finish your meal with a traditional espresso for a quintessentially Melbourne dining experience.

  • Location: 66 Bourke Street, Melbourne

The Bagel Shop

The Bagel Shop is a must-visit for innovative and mouth-watering bagels at wallet-friendly prices. Located right outside Melbourne Central, this spot offers a range of unique bagels like miso glazed pork belly, balsamic mushroom with vegan feta, Big Mac-inspired, and even a Thanksgiving-themed smoked turkey with cranberry. Prices range from $8 to $16.50, making it a prime lunch spot for students and city goers. Don't miss out on their dessert bagels, such as the Nutella s’more or the poached pear with honey ricotta, strawberries, and salted caramel.


Ditch your boring office salad and head to Yakimono for their affordable and delicious lunch specials. Available from 12:00 pm Monday through Friday, their Bento Boxes are a hit. Choose from options like Tokyo chicken, sake salmon, or charred cauliflower, all accompanied by kingfish sashimi, gyoza, edamame, and wasabi dip, for just $29.50. It’s a great way to enjoy a fulfilling meal without breaking the bank.

Pho Thin

Pho Thin is the place to go for a soul-nourishing bowl of pho. This Melbourne CBD branch of the famous Hanoi phở shop offers a unique twist by stir-frying their beef in garlic before adding it to the broth. Choose from options like beef brisket, poached chicken, or red wine pho, all for just $16.00 per bowl. For an extra $3.00, add a Chinese doughnut to soak up all the flavorful broth.

  • Location: Shop 3/399 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne


Fun-Themed Restaurants in Melbourne

From whimsical fantasies to urban oddities, these next restaurants near Melbourne Central offer delicious food and captivating atmospheres that promise a memorable meal.

Hopetoun Tea Rooms

Step back in time at Hopetoun Tea Rooms, one of Melbourne's most iconic themed dining spots. Since opening its doors in 1892, this charming tea room has maintained its vintage allure with decadent cake displays and period-specific decor. Indulge in their sophisticated selection of teas, scones, and cakes, and experience one of Melbourne’s most elegant high tea offerings. It's an experience that will make you feel like you've stepped into a different era, where raising your pinkie is a must.

IceBar Melbourne

For a truly chilling experience, head to IceBar Melbourne. Located in the city’s east, this bar maintains a frosty -10 degrees Celsius and serves drinks in ice glasses. Don’t worry about the cold—they provide snow capes, ugg boots, and gloves to keep you warm. There’s no time limit, so see if you can beat their record of eight hours inside this frozen wonderland. 

Marche Board Game Cafe

Combine your love for food and games at Marche Board Game Cafe. Situated in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, this cafe offers delicious Taiwanese cuisine alongside a vast selection of board games, from classics like Catan and Cards Against Humanity to obscure tabletop adventures. If that’s not enough, you can also enjoy karaoke sessions. 

Witches in Britches

A Melbourne icon, this spooky and theatrical dining experience blends kitschy decor with plenty of Halloween-themed fun. Enjoy campy shows like "My Big Fat Witch Wedding" and "Desperate Housewitches" while you dine. It’s Melbourne’s most wicked night out, offering a lively and entertaining experience that’s perfect for a fun night with friends.


Hardware Lane Restaurants

Hardware Lane is a culinary hotspot offering a diverse array of dining options. This lively laneway strip has something for every palate, and you can take a break from your shopping spree and explore these favourites with ease. It’s really close to Melbourne Central Hotels for a perfect stay with family or friends. 


Lulu's Char Koay Teow

Lulu's Char Koay Teow is a must-visit for an authentic taste of Penang street food. This Hardware Lane gem serves up a delicious plate of sticky stir-fried noodles, allowing diners to choose their preferred protein and spice level. Whether you opt for duck egg or blood cockles, you can crank up the heat to a fiery 3X, guaranteed to have you reaching for a refreshing teh tarik. Decide for yourself if this is Melbourne’s best char koay teow.


Entering Mjolner Melbourne is an adventure in itself. Hidden behind a solid door surrounded by iron gates on Hardware Street, this Viking-inspired restaurant and bar offers a unique dining experience. Head below street level to enjoy blazing cocktails or feast on hearty dishes like roast bone marrow, charred veal, and short rib. Drinks are served in style—whether shaken, stirred, or in a giant horn—adding to the Norse ambience.

  • Location: 106 Hardware St, Melbourne VIC 3000

  • Website:                                                     

FAQ’s Section

How do I find the restaurant reviews before booking?

A quick Google of the restaurant name will supply a stack of handy Google reviews, which can be sorted by positive or negative reviews. You’ll also be able to find reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, which will detail the experiences of those that came before you to help you make your decision.

Which is the most popular Australian Restaurant in Melbourne?

Melbourne’s Smith & Daughters is a very popular spot that has won numerous people's choice awards and gained worldwide recognition for its trailblazing vegan cuisine. We strongly recommend it!

What foods is Melbourne famous for?

As Melbourne is a mish-mash of food culture, no one dish stands out. As many locals know, you are hard-pressed to find a bad meal in Melbourne. If we had to pick one, however, we would opt for the humble falafel. Melbourne is home to more great falafel spots than you could possibly count!

Where to stay for easy access to Melbourne Central food 

Ibis Melbourne Central on Collins offers you 4.5-star comfort with easy access to all of Melbourne's CBD. The hotel is located directly above the upscale St Collins Lane, Melbourne's fashion flagship destination. Shopping and eating, name a better way to spend your weekend!