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After a year in Canberra, I'm sooooo glad to be finally moving to Melbourne. I'm not sure where we will be living yet (considering Williamstown, South Yarra, Toorak, Kew - somewhere nice and not too far from the city), but like to find out where to get what! I guess I'm looking for places to shop that aren't very far from the city, maybe within 20-30 km. Willing to travel for specialty stuff though.

*I love Victoria Market - any other markets I should know about?

*Other than at markets, good places for meat? Seafood (sashimi grade fish)? Produce?

*Bakeries - French, Italian, Asian - want some decent crusty bread!

*Gourmet shops - where do I go when I want to pick up the fancy stuff like Jamon Iberico, great cheeses, high end chocolates (for baking/confectionery), hard to find/specialty ingredients (something I may need for recipes in MC)

*Ethnic shops - Mexican/South American, Asian, European

*Kitchenware - small appliances (sous vide set up?), gadgets, cookware, etc.

Also, are there any good websites to look up things like restaurants, shops and services?

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Hey! Just wanted to say congrats on the move..Melbourne is indeed infinitely preferable to Canberra food-wise. And I actually get to Melbourne alot more often than Canberra, so let me know when you get down there and we'll arrange an eating-visit! Would be great to catch up.

As for shops and market, Prahran Market is pretty good. It's a bit fancier than Vic, a bit more like Chelsea Market in NYC. Leo's of Kew is a great upscale, gourmet supermarket with some incredible things.

Caulfield is great for Jewish and other European delis, and Sydney Rd in Brunswick is basically a long strip of Middle Eastern food shops.

Will let you know if I think of anything else.

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Hi Anna, congratulations on your move to Melbourne. If food is important to you, I would avoid Williamstown. You have to cross the bridge to get to the nearest decent markets (Footscray and Vic Markets), and it isn't very easy if the traffic is bad.

I tend not to bother with Vic Market - they tend to compete on price rather than quality. If it is quality you are after - then nothing beats Prahran Market. The best fishmonger(s) in Melbourne are there, and all the butchers are upscale and will give you unparalleled service.

I live in Camberwell. Nearby, I have:

- Leo's of Hartwell - upscale supermarket where you can buy truffles, foie gras, gourmet meats, fine wine, and the usual daily stuff.

- Box Hill Market - typical cheap Asian market, but with Asian stuff you won't find in places like Prahran Market

- Pi Pi's and DucGo - buy live fish, live crabs, live lobster

- Suzuran - specialty Japanese grocery shop

- Camberwell Market - probably the third best behind Prahran and Vic markets (Asian markets like Box Hill, Footscray, and Springvale excepted - those are in a different field)

- Chadstone Shopping Center - the largest shopping center in the Southern Hemisphere. In it, you can find Simon Johnson Provedores and Jones the Grocer provedores.

- Maling Rd - an old fashioned shopping strip in the gentrified suburb of Canterbury. In it, there is Darriwill Farm and Cornelius for cheese, as well as two very good greengrocers, a butcher, and a fishmonger, as well as 3 bakeries.

- Le Croissant - French bakery.

- Depot de Pain in Hawthorn - French bakery.

Yeah, I like where I live :)


There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

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Melbourne is so big and so diverse that's it's not difficult to find anything, so it's hard to give specific recommendations- it's more a matter of personal preference and geography.

But off the top of my head, here are some thoughts-

-I agree with RRO that Prahran market is pretty good. I used to live over the road from it, and I thought the produce was better than the Vic Market, even though it's a fraction of the size.

-Also at Prahran market is the Essential Ingredient, a great shop for foodies. They sell all your gourmet specialities, as well as kitchenware, and they run cooking classes upstairs. Unlike Simon Johnson (below) the prices are very reasonable. I spent loads of time and loads of money there...

-There's a place in Brunswick simply called 'Mediterranean supermarket', 482-492 Sydney Rd. If you like Italian food it will make you cry with happiness. I used to make special trips there just to stock up on pasta, tomatoes and everything that's great about Mediterranean food. It even smells like Europe.

-The South Melbourne market is not really special, but they do have an incredible dim sum stall in the middle where you can watch them make fresh dumplings and then buy them hot or to cook yourself later. They make sesame prawn toasts that are stuffed so full they're the size of tennis balls. There's also a guy who sells about a million different types of potatoes.

-Brunetti's is an Italian cake shop in Lygon street, the heart of the Italian community in Melbourne. It's a Melbourne institution and the best patisserie I've seen anywhere. Melbournians tend to rave about the cake shops on Acland Street but I've never thought they were very good. But Brunetti's is awesome.

-Pellegrini's is my all-time favourite Melbourne cafe, and I make sure I visit every time I'm in the area. It hasn't changed since it opened in the 1950s, and it claims to have had the first espresso machine in Australia - imported at a time when it was only allowed to be operated by a qualified boiler-maker! I love the way you can sit at a bench in the kitchen and watch the Italian women cook, and I appreciate that they've never taken anything down from the walls, only put newer stuff on top ;-)

-If you have more money than sense, you can shop at Simon Jonson. This is where you'll find gourmet foods with prices to match their quality. Amongst other things, they're the Australian distributor for Valrhona.

-Victoria Street, Richmond, is the home to Melbourne's Vietnamese community. There's loads of Asian supermarkets dotted between the restaurants and they sell fruit/veg/meat/seafood at great prices. I lived off Victoria St. for 6 years and loved finding random things in the Asian groceries, and I would buy bunches of fresh herbs there for 70c when they were $2.50 at Coles.

They're the places I can think of that are special to me, but you shouldn't have trouble finding good food at all. Melbourne is a great city for foodies.

Have fun!

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For a 'non-local' - just one who loves Melbourne, I say congrats!

The patisserie on Lygon street is an excellent recommendation, and the only thing I'll add is that the Brats at the Bratwurst shop in Vic market are the best I've ever had, anywhere.

Have fun!


PastaMeshugana

"The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd."

"What's hunger got to do with anything?" - My Father

My eG Food Blog (2011)

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Actually realized that I did not answer all your questions yesterday.

*Other than at markets, good places for meat? Seafood (sashimi grade fish)? Produce?

Specialty butchers. The best (IMO) is Peter Bouchier of Toorak. Otherwise, I still prefer buying meat in the markets. As for seafood, all the best fishmongers are in markets.

*Bakeries - French, Italian, Asian - want some decent crusty bread!

Asian bakeries can be found anywhere. As for French bakeries, here are a few:

- Brioche by Phillipe (opposite Prahran markets) - run by a former patissiere for a 3 Michelan star restaurant

- Laurent (franchises in the city, Kew)

- Brown's (franchise) in Canterbury and elsewhere

- Depot de Pain in Fitzroy and Hawthorn

*Gourmet shops - where do I go when I want to pick up the fancy stuff like Jamon Iberico, great cheeses, high end chocolates (for baking/confectionery), hard to find/specialty ingredients (something I may need for recipes in MC)

Gourmet provedores:

- Essential Ingredient in Prahran Market

- Simon Johnson in Fitzroy, Toorak, and Chadstone

Cheese shops:

- Simon Johnson in Fitzroy

- Richmond Hill Larder and Cafe

- David Jones in the city (you will be surprised!)

- Darriwil Farm in Canterbury

- many shops in Prahran and Vic markets

Modernist ingredients:

- Essential Ingredient

- Melbourne Food Depot

*Ethnic shops - Mexican/South American, Asian, European

- Asian shops are everywhere, but the best ones are in the city, Box Hill, Footscray, Glen Waverley, and Springvale.

- Suzuran in Surrey Hills - for Japanese

- Casa Iberica in Fitzroy - specialist Spanish provedore

- A1 in Sydney Rd, Brunswick - specialist Middle Eastern grocer

- USA Foods in Oakleigh South - for American food!

*Kitchenware - small appliances (sous vide set up?), gadgets, cookware, etc.

- Essential Ingredient in Prahran

- Scullerymade in Armadale

- Chef's Hat in South Melbourne (opposite the market) <-- check this place out, it's amazing

Also, are there any good websites to look up things like restaurants, shops and services?

- Urbanspoon

- The Age Good Food Guide, and The Age Foodies Guide

- Numerous food blogs


There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

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Thanks for all the great info so far....I'm so excited....

I suspected Williamstown is further away from the food. However, I have 2 small dogs and most of the pet friendly rental listings are on that side of the bridge. We are looking hard to find something closer to Prahan Market though.

Kate - once we settle, you know we'll be arranging that eating visit!

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Savour chocolate and Patisserie school (savourschool.com.au) in Brunswick - they stock utensils, equipment and Callebaut/Cocoa Barry chocolate

Edited to add: French Fantasy is a great French bakery in South Yarra on the corner of Toorak Rd and Punt Rd


Edited by gap (log)

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Savour chocolate and Patisserie school (savourschool.com.au) in Brunswick - they stock utensils, equipment and Callebaut/Cocoa Barry chocolate

OMG! I'm going to go broke in this shop! Love it! :wub:

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anna, the problem with most property near Prahran is that they are small and expensive. There should be quite a few rentals around South Yarra and Prahran, but be warned that these are in high demand. For what you will pay to live there, you could get a mansion in an outer suburb.

I think the ultimate address if you are crazy about food is Carlton or Fitzroy. There are dozens of good butchers, provedores, bakeries, grocers, and specialty retailers nearby. Not only that, but Melbourne's best restaurants are all within a 5km radius. If you live there, you would be better off riding a bicycle and using public transport than using your car.

The problem with my suburb (nice as it is) is that you are more car dependent, and there aren't very many good restaurants around. Suburbs like mine tend to have more families, and families tend not to eat out.

You could live in one of the inner Western suburbs. Something like Yarraville, Ascot Vale, and Maribyrnong are affordable, newish suburbs with a lot of character and decent sized family homes. Your nearby markets would be Footscray and Vic Markets.


There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

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Keith - I hear you. However, we're used to paying high rent in Canberra. I was hoping for cheaper in Melbourne, but I'm willing to pay the same - in the $600 range per week.

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Keith, Chris, gap - any recommendations for good yum cha in Melbourne? I've tried every yum cha place in Chinatown and the CBD and they've all been uniformly terrible. There must be somewhere??

annachan - sadly, I've also found Mel to be quite lacking in the sushi department. Even the lauded places, like Shiranui and Kenzan, were good but not great IMO.

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anna, for $600 you can live like a king in Glen Waverley. But it is out of the way and the only local markets are Asian. Or, you could have a 2 bedroom flat in South Yarra. Or, a medium sized townhouse in Yarraville / Maribyrnong / Ascot Vale. Remember that buying food is only half of it ... you need a decent kitchen as well :)

RRO - I don't really rate the Yum Cha in Melbourne that highly. Sydney is much better IMO! That said, my usual haunts are Crystal Jade in Chinatown, or Red Emperor in Southbank. Tai Pan in Doncaster used to be good, but it can be variable. Hu Tong in Prahran is OK.


There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

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Keith, Chris, gap - any recommendations for good yum cha in Melbourne?

Ripples in Glenferrie Rd was fun and had some interesting dishes. We usually go to Min Tahn 2 in Victoria St. Footscray and Springvale also have some good ones I've been told.

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OMG! I'm going to go broke in this shop! Love it! :wub:

I hate to think how much I've spent there over the past 6 years :biggrin:

It is all worth it though - great school as well if you want to do courses. Couldn't recommend it highly enough.


Edited by gap (log)

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annachan - sadly, I've also found Mel to be quite lacking in the sushi department. Even the lauded places, like Shiranui and Kenzan, were good but not great IMO.

After a year in Canberra, I'm happy with just good sushi! :wacko:

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annachan - I don't know if you're into apps, but this is a Foodies Guide to Melbourne

http://www.outware.com.au/our-apps/foodies-guide-to-melbourne-2012/

They have a book version too which is availabel in most bookstores. It has most of the information you're after

Will do some investigating on this one.

BTW, talk to me about Yelp! Is that a good place to look up info? I used it when I was back in San Francisco, but have not here.

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BTW, talk to me about Yelp! Is that a good place to look up info? I used it when I was back in San Francisco, but have not here.

I haven't used it before, so couldn't comment

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Keith, Chris, gap - any recommendations for good yum cha in Melbourne? I've tried every yum cha place in Chinatown and the CBD and they've all been uniformly terrible. There must be somewhere??

annachan - sadly, I've also found Mel to be quite lacking in the sushi department. Even the lauded places, like Shiranui and Kenzan, were good but not great IMO.

Sorry, no special insights from me. If I felt like yum cha (dim sum, to any confused readers not in Australia...) I'd go to Minh Tan 2 on Victoria Street - as mentioned above. It used to hit the spot but I always thought Sydney had better yum cha restaurants. As a point of comparison, I think the best yum cha I've had in Sydney was at Zilver. But I'm not too fussy. I was blown away by Yauatcha and that will remain my personal benchmark.

Sushi is even more difficult, and as I haven't lived in Melbourne for many years I wouldn't know where to begin. A long time ago I was lucky enough to have lunch at Kenzan and it was easily the best sushi I'd had in Melbourne, but nothing like the 'real' stuff in Japan. My mate still talks about being served prawn nigiri in Japan that was so fresh the prawn meat was still wriggling on top of the rice... I don't think we'll ever see that sort of freshness in Australia. I do find that local salmon can be wonderful, so I generally avoid the flavourless tuna and rubbery prawn nigiri that's so common and just get salmon.

( and BTW I should point out that Brunetti's isn't directly on Lygon street, but rather just off it on Faraday. A few doors down is a great boutique bakery that specialises in sour dough. )

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Oh good, I'm glad it's not just me...annachan, I'm sad to say: Melbourne yum cha kind of blows. And it doesn't have good roastie shops either.

I once read Terry Durack (I think) write "Melbourne is a great yum cha city" and ever since have been trying to find evidence of that! It's perplexing and I think about it every time I'm there; Melbourne has such a great food culture otherwise and its not like it hasn't got a sizeable Cantonese population. I mean, if you have to go to a Vietnamese restaurant for good yum cha.. sorry, I'll stop ranting.

As a point of comparison, I think the best yum cha I've had in Sydney was at Zilver.

Zilver's my favourite in Sydney too, ChrisZ..it's the one I went to for my foodblog and is in the building next to my work so is dangerously tempting (we go at least weekly, sometimes more.. :unsure:) .


Edited by rarerollingobject (log)

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I grew up with yum cha every Sunday as a kid in Hong Kong. So, nothing outside of Hong Kong really measures up anyway. I don't mind saving that for Hong Kong. In the meantime, something decent will do.

I was thinking Minh Tan sounded Vietnamese....I tried a Vietnamese place for yum cha once in Cabramatta. Not really the same as Cantonese.

I'm guess Mandarin cuisine may be better in Melbourne? Dumplings and such. I love those too. Anyone know of good places?

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Sorry anna, the Chinese food in Sydney is simply better than Melbourne. Sydney has Din Tai Fung and Golden Century. Melbourne has nothing that comes close.


There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

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Hutong is pretty good I thought, and Dainty Sichuan. But yes, I'd generally agree that Sydney outpaces Melbourne for Asian food generally.

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Sorry anna, the Chinese food in Sydney is simply better than Melbourne. Sydney has Din Tai Fung and Golden Century. Melbourne has nothing that comes close.

Uh, Melbourne has Flower Drum...


PS: I am a guy.

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