Through his travels, Anthony Bourdain visited almost every corner of the globe. Some places he dove deep and visited repeatedly (like Vietnam, London, or Japan); others he only visited once and briefly at that. Luckily, Melbourne, Australia falls somewhere in the middle.
Anthony Bourdain visited Melbourne to film season 2 (episode 9) of A Cook’s Tour and again to film season 5 (episode 12) of No Reservations. These were his only two on-screen visits to Melbourne, and his visits likely helped cement the city’s reputation as a foodie destination in the early decades of the 21st century.
If you’re planning a trip down under and are curious about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Melbourne, you’ve come to the right place. Below is a complete guide to everywhere Tony ate in Melbourne, including those spots that are now closed (two decades later!) and what he ate at each place. Use this guide to plan your own culinary adventures across Australia’s food capital.
In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri peoples. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
Where Anthony Bourdain Ate in Melbourne
Before jumping into the list, I thought it might be helpful to get oriented on the places Tony ate in Melbourne.
You can use this map to help plan your own meals, or even a self-guided walking food tour if you’re up for a day of exploration and eating.
A Cook’s Tour (2002)
When Anthony Bourdain first travels to Melbourne to film A Cook’s Tour, he likens it to the American wild west; a place where pioneers have come and created something special where once there was nothing. And seeing some of the food dishes placed in front of him during this visit, it’s not hard to see why.
Coldstream Vineyards (Yarra Valley, CLOSED?)
Beginning at the Coldstream Vineyards in the Yarra Valley just outside the city, Bourdain meets with Rinaldo “Ronnie” Di Stasio, an early pioneer of the Melbourne food scene, at his country home. Here he meets together with local chefs Neil Perry (Rockpool Restaurant), Tetsuya Wakanda (Tetsuya’s), and Armando Percuoco (Buon Ricordo), and is served a selection of dishes fitting his company.
These dishes include home chicken and veal meat cappelletti (similar to tortellini) in chicken broth, an uccelli al forno (quail and chicken oven roasted with grapevine leaves, garlic, rosemary, olive oil), and a main course of cinghiale con radicchio (slow cooked boar with wine, sage, and apples, served with wilted radicchio).
I am unable to verify whether this winery is still operating today; if you know, please comment below so I can update this post to be more accurate for fellow travelers.
Montefiore Cheese Factory (CLOSED)
Tony then travels to the Montefiore Cheese Factory in Clarkefield, where he meets Richard Thomas, the “wild man” of Australian cheese. Here he samples some fresh bocconcini cheese with raw milk, before continuing to the home of Angel Cardoso, a former NASA engineer turned jamon and sausage maker, and tries homemade salami, jamon with melon, and a Spanish tortilla with potato, onion, and chorizo.
Unfortunately, the Montefiore Cheese Factory in Clarkefield is no longer open; they do have a location in Thomastown, a northern suburb of Melbourne.
Ondine Restaurant (CLOSED)
Bourdain then visits the Ondine Restaurant owned by chefs Donovan and Philippa Cooke; research suggests this restaurant has also closed since Tony’s visit.
Here he is treated to their full tasting menu. For starters, oyster, truffle & lettuce soup, tartar of confit tomato and apple served with a yabby (small local crayfish), and a quail’s egg served in quail jelly topped with a foie gras cream. This is followed by zucchini flower stuffed with prawn and horseradish, served with diced tomatoes, basil leaves, and a tomato consume, and smoked barramundi (another local fish) on a bed of parsley essence, with crispy pancetta, snails, confit shallots, and sauteed potatoes, topped with an egg poached in red wine.
The main course is equally delectable; pigeon with braised mushrooms, preserved truffle, and cream sauce, served on a bed of celery gnocchi and a light covering of shitake foam. This is followed by a crafted dessert consisting of a strawberry sorbet pyramid, its sides constructed from nougatine using fondant almonds, filled with an almond parfait glaze, and accompanied by raspberries and strawberries.
If it sounds like a lot – it is, but also looks delicious.
No Reservations (2008/9)
When the food is that good, it’s only natural that Anthony Bourdain would return down under to sample Melbourne’s culinary delights further. He returned to film No Reservations in late 2008 or early 2009.
Bratwurst Shop & Co. (Queen Victoria Market)
Tony begins his second visit to Melbourne in Queen Victoria Market, alongside chef Paul Wilson, where they enjoy a spicy bratwurst with mustard and sauerkraut from Bratwurst Shop & Co, Melbourne’s first bratwurst shop.
Half Moon Restaurant
Paul then takes Bourdain to his Half Moon Restaurant, a casual fine dining joint with a pub atmosphere in the quiet neighborhood of Brighton, where they are joined by Melbourne chefs Greg Malouf (Momo), Andrew McConnell (Cumulus Inc, Cutler & Co, 312), and Geoff Lindsay (Pearl Restaurant & Bar).
As they discuss the broad range of culinary expertise in Melbourne, they are served a variety of dishes. Local snapper sashimi with lemon myrtle and Tasmanian wasabi, rock oysters with a native lime caviar, yellowfish tuna belly with caramelized pork belly, watermelon, and herbs, and sea urchin (a favorite of Tony’s) with heirloom tomatoes and spanner crab vinaigrette.
There is also a freshwater lobster dish served with anchovies, sherry, and Spanish-style pimiento de padron (blistered green peppers), wild mulloway served in a bacon broth with clams and a romesco sauce (a tomato-based sauce that originated from the province of Tarragona in Catalonia). Finally, there is a decadent wagyu brisket, served with bone marrow on toast.
A1 Lebanese Bakery / Town Hall Kebab (Sydney Road)
Following a quick game of the bizarre local sport of Trugo, Bourdain travels with food writer and Masterchef Australia judge Matt Preston to Sydney Road, a mecca for different food nationalities following the post-war immigration boom.
Starting first at the A1 Lebanese Bakery to sample Lebanese flatbread pizza, a warm bread served with a heady mix of spinach, lamb, and Za’atar (a mix of sumac, thyme, sesame seed, and salt), they move onto Town Hall Kebab for Melbourne’s favorite after-hours drinking fare – a kebab of lamb, tomatoes, salad, and yogurt sauce, served in a warm pita.
The Alderman Pub / Rumi Brunswick
Stopping off at The Alderman Pub for an aperitif of three, Tony and Matt next arrive at Rumi Brunswick, a Lebanese restaurant, where chef Joseph provides some traditional dishes that perfectly accompany an afternoon of drinking – fried lamb brains with sesame seeds, soft-shelled prawns fried in the shell, marinated BBQ quail with grape syrup, and juicy lamb ribs.
Dainty Sichuan (Chinatown)
Bourdain’s final stop in the city center is the Dainty Sichuan restaurant chain, which focuses on cuisine from the Sichuan province in China, known for its abundance of chili peppers. Here, he enjoys mouth-watering Sichuan chicken, belly pork with a hot, spicy, and sweet balance, and cumin-flavored pork perfectly balanced so that every ingredient can be tasted, without losing any of the signature heat.
Melbourne Food Tours to Try
As Melbourne is known for its great food, it’s no surprise that there are some awesome food tours in the city too. If you want even more options beyond the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Melbourne, here are some tours that live up to the standards of what he ate and show off a greater variety of dishes and cuisines.
Have any other questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Melbourne, or are you able to help clarify questions about some of the places above? Let me know in the comments!