Naturally, you’d furiously try to find aesthetically pleasing and delicious food to eat when you arrive in a new city. Despite only being here for half a year, I’ve tried more than my fair share of food places. In no particular order, I thought I ought to share my top 5 places for lunch, which serve good food at decent prices (as you can imagine, this is quite the struggle).
1) Le Cirque
There are two branches in Melbourne (as far as I’m aware of). One in the CBD and another in Docklands. They serve breakfast and lunch, and given that it is a cafe type restaurant, it’s also a fantastic place to stop by for snacks!
This is probably the most expensive out of these 5 places, but you really do get your money’s worth. Here, the main dish I ordered was salmon and it was huge! It was only $22, and given how pricey salmon is at the supermarket, it was totally worth it! The dish was also served with your classic mash and salad.
Now, I am also not a coffee person. Unpopular opinion – I cannot stand the smell of it. But I was feeling tired that day and the past week, I’d bought chai latte tea that was honestly the best drink I’d ever had. So the drink I settled with was chai latte, and it was so good! I’d get it again in a heartbeat!
On a side note, given that it was just a latte (i.e. not strong at all), I don’t know if I’d get a stronger coffee one day.
Also, if I haven’t convinced you yet, Le Cirque has birthday deals if you sign up so if that doesn’t sound appealing, I don’t know what does!
2) Ping’s Dumplings
If you’re someone who likes Chinese food, or even if you’re not (i.e. like me), dumplings are always a hit. They serve many different types of dumplings – from your classic boiled pork dumplings to vegetarian dumplings. And I know what you were thinking before I said this. Vegetarians will barely ever eat dumplings given that the key ingredient is meat! However, Ping’s Dumplings makes the exception and serves vegetarian dumplings! We ordered a plate and they were so good! The plate of dumplings are around $10 and you get about fifteen dumplings per plate. Now, I think I have a fairly big appetite and even I couldn’t finish fifteen dumplings, so this place is quite the bargain and it serves really yummy food!
Before you ask, yes, Ping’s Dumplings does serve more than just dumplings. They also have a variety of noodle and rice dishes, so yeah, basically your classic Chinese foods. But unlike your typical Chinese restaurant, I was very satisfied that Ping’s Dumplings cooked their food in heaps of oil because that just takes away from the taste and leaves your mouth feeling all greasy and gross.
Lastly, Ping’s Dumplings does have a snacks section in their menu and so if you’re just in for a light meal or you’re feeling peckish after dumplings, rice or noodles, I would recommend going for a snack! We had pumpkin cakes and red bean buns, which were delightful to eat!
3) Laneway Greens
This is your ultimate healthy casual restaurant. Like I said in my previous post, I am all for a healthy lifestyle and so as you can imagine, this is the perfect place for me. They serve a wide range of salads. Not gonna lie, sometimes I am very skeptical about ordering salads out because very rarely will I be served a salad filled with a good mix of veges and protein. However, Laneway Greens serves the most beautiful salads and they are so good! They are also around $15 and so you do get your money’s worth of food, especially considering how healthy it is!
In the winter, people generally opt for something warmer and so I really do like how Laneway Greens serves soup. They also serve breakfast bowls and so not only is it an ideal place for lunch, it is also perfect for a late brekkie, unless you are of course, someone like me, and will be more than happy to have a breakfast meal as your lunch.
Finally, Laneway Greens also serves a variety of smoothies and juices and so even if you aren’t too keen on a salad, do stop for a drink because they too, are delicious!
If you’re looking for something quick and filling, Chilangos would be the place I recommend. As you can guess from the name, Chilangos is a Mexican place in the CBD. It’s no different from any other Mexican casual restaurant, but I’m convinced their burritos are much bigger, or at least filled to the max, because I was so full after having one!
You can choose from a burrito, burrito bowl, taco (they offer deals with 2 or 3 tacos) or nachos, and you basically go along the line, telling them the fillings you’d like. It’s a very fast process as all the fillings are right in front of you and so they just scoop the fillings into your burrito/taco. So basically, if you’re in a rush, do come here for a delicious and filling lunch!
You can also add sides, or if you have a sweet tooth, you can order churros as a dessert. Chilangos has fantastic prices – everything is under $10 so if your bank account is looking a bit sad, I’d pick Chilangos for a decent meal!
5) Manchester Press
Despite being in a seemingly dodgy location in a warehouse-type alleyway, Manchester Press is one of the cutest and most delicious little cafes I have visited in awhile. I love the presentation of their menu because it’s deliberately ripped on the sides to provide a rustic feel, which fits perfectly with the cafe’s look. Manchester Press specialises in bagels, both open and closed, and also offer a wide range of other breakfast options such as muesli and puddings. Their bagels are nice and soft on the inside, but very crispy on the outside. This is exactly how I like my bagels (despite sometimes being hard to cut through)!
Now, moving onto their coffee. The thing is, I’m not much of a coffee person and so as you may have guessed, I didn’t order a coffee. However, my friends did and I was honestly so amazed with its appearance. You see, usually when you go to a cafe, the latte art is generally a heart, or leaf of some sort. But in this case, they go all out and make little characters, which I find to be incredibly cute! So basically even if you’re not up for a feed, but you’re a coffee person, do come here for a drink to see their amazing latte art!
If you are roaming around Melbourne and can’t find a place to eat, do try out these places and I hope you like them as much as I do!