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casual dining cbd

But the CBD’s still at the heart of food in Melbourne. Some of these places are iconic and have been serving great office lunches or special dinners for years. Others are newer, with inventive menus designed by exciting young chefs earning their stripes. All of the places in this guide continue to set the tone for how Melbourne eats. And thanks to the insane amount of competition, many of these venues are far more reasonably priced than you would expect.

It’s easy to overlook Melbourne’s city centre when trying to decide where to eat. These days you’re likely to find yourself around the corner from several terrific local restaurants, wherever you live.

There’s a lot of choice here. If you’re looking for something more specific, try one of the pages below.

Casual dining cbd

Time Out tip: Chef-owner Pasi Petänen’s signature dessert – sticky licorice cake topped with sweet carrot sorbet, all concealed in a cloud of creamy yoghurt mousse – is unmissable.

Why we love it: The new chef’s counter format has transformed the squeezy Oxford Street space and makes for a more dramatic and interactive way to enjoy the wizardry on display – think terrine made from coral trout head, striped marlin ‘nduja, dry-aged mahi mahi and even chips made from fish eyes.

Why we love it: Paci treads that fine line between European-style wine bar and casual restaurant Sydneysiders know and love, brought to life by a young, energetic service team. And you’ve got to applaud a place with enough moxie to put steak Diane back on the menu in this day and age.

4. Café Paci

Time Out tip: The unbeatable Crab Curry banquet ($75pp) has developed a serious cult following and takes place on the last Sunday of every month. Book well ahead.

What is it? An inner-city bolthole dishing up hoppers, sambols and cooked-to-order curries with profound depth of flavour, all made from a kaleidoscope of spices ground and roasted in-house.

What is it? An elegant and refined all-season Med eatery with stunning views and equally beautiful interiors.

6. Saint Peter

Why we love it: There are few places in Sydney that fill the much needed void of late night joints to settle in, sip, snack and sip again. What the team at La Salut are able to accomplish out of such a tiny space illustrates how some of the best things in life come out of a tin or a jar and need few embellishments.

December 2021: After a rocky year, the hospitality industry has come back swinging, with re-openings (and grand openings) filling up social calendars across the town. There has never been a better time get out there and support your old favourite or try something new – and when you do, be sure not only to treat the staff with kindness and respect, but also to accept whatever regulations and restrictions with patience and understanding. Things continue to evolve at a rapid pace, and while we make every effort to ensure the details below are correct, we encourage you to contact venues directly or check social media accounts before popping in for the most up-to-date info.