After a week of sightseeing, late nights and lots of booze in Sydney, it was time to shift gears. Melbourne being more hip and vibrant as a city, my daughter and I actually took it slow here. The rest of the gang had a separate accommodation very near Southern Cross Station. They booked via AirBnB while we opted to stay at an Aparthotel which we call “condotel” in Manila. It was a good decision as I wanted more time to spend with my daughter. This isn’t a mother and daughter travel blog for nothing.
Figuring out what to do and where to eat in Melbourne wasn’t easy. That’s why I love our neighborhood. It has the right mix of good eats, apartment buildings, shops, parks, and it is within the free tram range. Lucky for us, our Aparthotel is very near many of the cafes in our Melbourne Eat List so it somehow lessened the burden of looking for a place to have breakfast or coffee first thing in the morning. Imagine if we needed to walk far just for coffee…that would be a bummer. But best of all, it is walking distance to Queen Victoria Market.
So what is our most favorite thing to do in a new city? It’s eating, of course. There’s no shortage of good eats at Queen Victoria Market. The market is actually divided into different sections — Deli Hall, Organics, Meat Hall, Fruit & Vegetables, General Merchandise, Victoria Street shops, Elizabeth Street shops, F Shed Laneway, Vic Market Place Food Hall, String Bean Alley. Name it, this market has it. Numerous restos and cafes are scattered all around. You can choose to eat al fresco or indoors. During spring, I noticed that people prefer to dine al fresco. I can’t blame them. Sun plus cool breeze brings about it a sense of adventure even if it’s just having the best coffee under the trees.
SIDE NOTE: Don’t forget that every weekend until end of the year, food trucks are back and come November, Summer Night Market would be open again every Wednesdays.
Melbournians are very lucky to have the biggest open air market in the whole of Southern Hemisphere.
In a city or in this case a market busting at the seams with food, we only managed to try a few. Four days is not enough to sample everything or even half of what Queen Victoria Market has to offer.
Below are some of the ones we’ve tried on this trip:
- Market Lane Coffee — The friendly staff here would make you want to visit every chance you got. In our case, it was every morning. I always ordered the Flat White and Iced Cafe Latte for my daughter. Yes at 12 she already drinks coffee.
- American Doughnut Kitchen — We love the jelly doughnuts and the fact that it’s served fresh and straight out of an original 1950s van makes the doughnuts even more delicious than they already are. We paid this joint a visit three times on this trip.
- Padre Coffee — Our first sampling of Melbourne’s cafe culture. Fast service coupled with hot and incredibly good coffee. Friendly staff as well. I even bought a bag of their espresso blend coffee beans which I had ground specifically for use with a French Press. Enjoying it now and I kind of want to kick myself for not purchasing more.
- Gozleme Turkish Cafe — Our first meal in the city and it was authentic kebabs and falafels. Serving was good enough for sharing and we got 3 yummy dips/sauces.
- Pide Bread Bakery — It was a Sunday when we visited and there was no queue. We had the Chicken Souvlaki which was just ordinary. Nothing really spectacular. There are better options at the deli shop.
- Funk Fish — Average Fish and Chips. We only tried this place for it and we were disappointed.
TIP: You know what, just skip the food court and get your meals some place else in the market. Queen Victoria Market is so huge that you won’t run out of different restos to try. If your hotel has cooking facilities like ours does, you are better off buying fresh produce in the market and whipping something up.
Visit the Deli Hall and buy sausages and cheeses. There are also outlets in the deli hall that offer borek to go (turkish filled pastries) that looks delicious.
And don’t forget restaurants and cafes along Queen and Therry streets as well as the ones at the F Shed Laneway.
TIP: Queen Victoria Market covers 2 city blocks that getting lost is a possibility. Get yourself a map! Alternatively, you can download QVM’s map here.
FACT: A little bit of history won’t hurt, right? QVM is also fondly called Vic Market or Queen Vic by most locals. Like I mentioned earlier, it is one of the largest and oldest open air markets in the world and the largest in Australia. And being old means having a colorful past. Queen Vic used to be cemetery at one point. To know more about its history, you can download the Self Guided tour HERE. It’s open everyday except Mondays and Wednesdays. Operating hours may also vary during special events and holidays.
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