When it comes to quality food and drink, it’s a gastronomic affair in South Yarra.
If you want to experience some of the most sought-after food, drink and shopping in Melbourne, hop on board a train heading towards Cranbourne, Pakenham, Sandringham or Frankston and hop off in one of Melbourne’s oldest and most affluent inner-city suburbs, South Yarra.
For a quick bite for breakfast, a flavourful dinner, and many things in between, pop into Café Republic. Right opposite South Yarra Train Station, start your day with a Brekkie Burrito, Pumpkin Smash or try your hand at The Big Dill, arguably the tastiest toastie in Melbourne (smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, dill, mascarpone and chives).
Another train station-adjacent breakfast spot is Two Birds One Stone, a large cafe serving up Five Senses coffee and an array of delicious breakfast treats. A bright, cheery atmosphere greets locals on their way to work, as well as those coming to South Yarra for a visit. Their all-day menu (until 3pm) can fill you with braised lamb pasta with broccoli and chilli for breakfast or twice cooked brioche French toast for lunch; nobody’s judging and everybody’s smiling. After washing it down with a coffee or cold pressed juice, you’ll be smiling too.
For those with an interest in all things culinary — and even for those who don’t — one of the best places to visit in South Yarra is Prahran Market. It is the longest, continuously running food market in Australia, and an incredible sight to behold, with an array of traders offering the freshest and finest quality produce and hard-to-find specialties you’ll lay eyes on. Here, you can pick up a bag of certified-organic fruit and veg; fresh, sustainable fish and seafood; and free-range, grass-fed meat. There’s also a visit from the Peninsula Animal Farm every Tuesday, when the kids can pat, feed and even enjoy a cuddle with chickens, bunnies, lambs, calves and a border collie sheep dog.
Ready for a hearty meal? Head to Cucinetta, where you’ll discover traditional Italian fare at its finest. Its name, when translated, means ‘little kitchen’ and the space lives up to this, seating just 20 people. The seasonal menu changes weekly and is paired with a selection of Italian and Australian wines.
Afterwards, if you’re looking for a night cap, Speakeasy Kitchen Bar has you covered. Its entry, at three metres wide, is tiny, but don’t be fooled — keep walking through the narrow space and you’ll discover a bright white dining area and a wooden open-air terrace, where you can indulge in cocktails with a modern twist.
Another late-night option is Abacus Bar & Kitchen, open until at least 11pm from Wednesday to Sunday. Most of their dishes are comprised with ingredients from the Prahran Market (although, most likely prepared with much more flair than you might use in your kitchen!), but they use honeycomb sourced from their rooftop bees and their cocktail list is filled with native gems like a Wattleseed Espresso Martini and a tempting Lemon Myrtle Margarita.