Whether you queue up for the latest restaurant opening or duck down a side lane to try out a golden oldie of the long-established restaurant scene, Melbourne has something for you, writes Dani Wright.

Food is a great way to get to know a place, and there are few places as in love with food as Melbourne. So, dip your fork into the local cuisine and discover a city proud of its migrant roots, welcoming of its newest food fads and restaurant openings, and supportive of its golden oldies of the foodie scene. Here are some to seek out next time you're visiting Melbourne.

SWEET TREATS

Travel is a good excuse to indulge and Melbourne has plenty of delicious dessert offerings to entice you, whatever you desire. There are the vintage cake shops along St Kilda's Acland Rd, some still making the same recipes as they did 50 years ago — including gooey-good giant vanilla slices — to the newest edition, the Bad Love Club in Footscray, a boozy bakery by night and an antidote to do-good healthy lunch spots and good-for-you cocktail menus. Market-fresh produce is mixed with bush tucker ingredients such as wattleseed and lemon myrtle. It's called Bad Love, but it tastes oh-so-good!

Also try Yaziz in South Yarra for Sicilian baked goods or one of the Jewish bakeries in Elsternwick, such as Aviv Cakes and Bagels. Or let your sweet tooth lead you to a speciality macaron shop, such as La Belle Miette (translated as "the beautiful crumb"), with melt-in-your-mouth macarons in flavours such as lychee or champagne chocolate.

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FOOD FADS

From cronut burgers to blue algae "smurf" lattes, sushi doughnuts to "unicorn food", Melbourne jumps on the bandwagon of every new food fad, craze, and trend from the very healthy to the truly disgusting sounding. The latest include healthy doughnuts, available at The Alley on St Kilda Rd as part of their plant-based comfort-food range, or from Noshu in sugar- and gluten-free options made with coconut flour and pumpkin puree — available at About Life in Port Melbourne. Also look out for a range of Poke (a Hawaiian and Japanese-inspired raw fish salad) options, including at Poked in the city, South Yarra's Poke Me and Richmond hot spot Mahalo Poke. There's even portable poke from Poke Time's food truck. Go to wherethetruck.at/trucks/poketime to track it down.

MARKET FINDS

Melburnians love their markets, with the Queen Victoria Market offering an Ultimate Foodie Tour taking you through the sights, sounds and tastes of this iconic destination.

There's also the Queen Victoria night market operating over summer. It's also worth checking out the shops around the market, such as Cook the Books, filled to the brim with intriguing food books from the rare to the latest bestseller. Head over to the South Melbourne Market for a more intimate experience. Here you can get your tarot read under the staircase, pick up a dozen oysters to eat on the go or join the throngs picking up their flowers, fruits or sticks of salami from the charismatic stallholders.

Emerald Hill Deli Cheese Room at South Melbourne Market. Photo / Josie Withers
Emerald Hill Deli Cheese Room at South Melbourne Market. Photo / Josie Withers

MARKET FINDS

Melburnians love their markets, with the Queen Victoria Market offering an Ultimate Foodie Tour taking you through the sights, sounds and tastes of this iconic destination.

There's also the Queen Victoria night market operating over summer. It's also worth checking out the shops around the market, such as Cook the Books, filled to the brim with intriguing food books from the rare to the latest bestseller. Head over to the South Melbourne Market for a more intimate experience. Here you can get your tarot read under the staircase, pick up a dozen oysters to eat on the go or join the throngs picking up their flowers, fruits or sticks of salami from the charismatic stallholders.

OUT OF THE CITY

Just about everywhere in Victoria has local food and wine to shout about — from Gippsland's dairy industry to the King Valley's prosecco road. My pick for a trip out of the city would be to the Bellarine Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road. Places to stop include Merne at Lighthouse for contemporary Australian shared plate dining with panoramic views across olive groves, vineyards and a landscape coloured in with farms, dairies, orchards and vegetables. Along the coast at Anglesea is Captain Moonlite, set in the local surf life-saving club with ocean views and a European-style menu. Start the day with breakfast overlooking the surf before heading to Point Roadknight for longboarding or picnicking among the twisting tea trees along the coastline.

For something more rural, try Bespoke Harvest in leafy Forrest, a former logging town inland from the Great Ocean Road, now better known for "Lycra and lattes". Another shared plate concept, the menu is Middle Eastern-inspired and intriguing.

Closer to Melbourne city is the tiny town of Sassafras in the Dandenong Ranges, worth a visit for the novelty Bavarian-themed buffet house, Cuckoo, nearby or the quaint (and always busy) Miss Marple's Tea Rooms for cream teas. A favourite, however, is the less-touristy Cafe de Beaumarchais, where you can step out of a sunny Australian country town and pretend you're in Paris, sipping champagne and sharing a cheese and baguette platter with all the trimmings, or a Bohemian High Tea dripping with decadence. Visit during the chestnut harvest season for the full country-town experience.

Sisto Malaspina, one of the owners at Pellegrinis Espresso Bar, Melbourne. Photo / Dani Wright
Sisto Malaspina, one of the owners at Pellegrinis Espresso Bar, Melbourne. Photo / Dani Wright

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