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Food, Inside Story

Melbourne Culinary Capital of The World

(Home page photo courtesy of Oli Sansom)

Can Melbourne stake a claim to be the culinary capital of the world? Most would say not. Many Melbournians would say yes -  being ultra parochial! If you take some of the world’s measuring barometers like the number of Michelin stars or The World’s Top 50 restaurants by San Pellegrino, then no! 



When you think of culinary capitals of the world you think of global cities like London with salubrious world famous restaurants like The Fat Duck or Dinner by Heston Blumenthal or The Ledbury.

Surely Copenhagen Denmark must rate as a culinary capital with the ongoing excellence and creativity of Nooma. This restaurant has set a benchmark in creativity and sourcing local produce – the 19 course degustation is amazing!

Spain has had top world class restaurants for some time and who could not recognise El Celler De Can Roca or Mugaritz.

Paris has traditionally been the culinary capital of the world. If not in its own right, everyone is trying to be French! Restaurants like Alain Ducasse and Aux Lyonaisse, L’Astrance, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon,  Les Ambassadeurs and Le Chateaubriand.

The Japanese outstripped France in terms of Michelin stars in recent times, but can claim several top Japanese restaurants have a French influence. Cities like Tokyo can lay claim to the highest culinary excellence! Fresh produce from the Tsukiji fish Market. Restaurants like Araki and 13 others with 3 Michelin stars. Having travelled to Tokyo there is a great culinary culture everywhere you go!

Closer to Melbourne, Singapore is a great culinary city. It’s a must to visit Raffles and all it’s finery. Certainly Singapore has several top restaurants including Iggy’s as a standout. Some of my favourite dining experiences have been in Singapore with amazing presentation, interesting combinations and spectacular ambience.

The USA has several outstanding culinary world class cities like San Francisco with its magical bay, as well as New York with Momofuku Noodle Bar, Le Bernardin and even Lombardi’s Pizza. I love dining in San Francisco – again a great culinary culture!


Sydneysiders can rave about Quay being a world top 50 restaurant, or even top 26 from the San Pellegrino rating. Sydney contains acclaimed restaurants and names like Rockpool Bar and Grill with Neil Perry, Tetsuya’s with Tetsuya Wakuda,  and Adriano Zumbo Patissier. They can also claim the Sydney Fish Market!

But there’s one thing Melbourne can claim in terms of being a world culinary capital – and that is RANGE! Melbourne fares well in terms of fine dining with restaurants like Attica of world fame. We can boast several fine creative restaurants like Vue De Monde and Jaques Reymond  that can hold up their heads internationally!

But as one of the most multicultural cities in the world it’s in terms of quality and range where Melbourne scores points.

We excel at Greek cuisine. Restaurants like The Press Club and Hellenic Republic. Great Spanish restaurants include Movida and Rhone Wine and Tapas.

Melbourne does Italian cuisine well. With The Italian, Cecconi’s, Donovan’s and many others.

There’s a thriving Asian cuisine scene and Chinatown. HuTong Dumpling Bar and Flower Drum and Longrain and Gingerboy. Great Vietnamese, Thai, Hong Kong, Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean restaurants… And the list goes on…

We do French well. PM24 and Jaques Reymond…

I’m leaving some out… 

Melbourne does world class cafes so well. The coffee in places like London and most of the USA is not up to par. I’ve visited over 200 cafes in Melbourne and it’s hard to get a poor coffee… Nearly everywhere is excelent! Try getting a great coffee in London and you have to visit a chain. In America there’s so much filter coffee still… 

And we do cheap eats well. All around the city there are great cheap eat options for under $10 of nearly every type of cuisine! 

Those of us who have travelled to places like London, San Francisco, Tokyo, Singapore etc– consider Melbourne to rate highly. We might not dominate the World Top 50 but we have the range, the cafes and the cheap eats covered!

Surely Melbourne can hold it's head high in the world culinary stakes.