Exploring Melbourne Food Tours (Secret Food Tours)

Ata Ahmadi

Ata Ahmadi - Travel Writer

Last Updated: March 28, 2024

Hey there! I'm Ata, a food enthusiast and travel writer sharing hidden culinary gems in Melbourne based on my tasty adventures and exploration of local flavors. Dive into a culinary journey through Melbourne's secret food spots and savor the delicious discoveries awaiting you!

Chinatown's Secret Dish

Melbourne is a city known for its diverse cuisine and rich coffee culture, making the city a top spot for food lovers. 

I'm James, one of the Travel-Lingual team, and this month I had the pleasure of taking one of the most popular food tours in Melbourne with a company called Secret Food Tours.

This post will share my experience on the secret food tour (without giving away the hidden restaurants) and highlight why Melbourne is such a great destination for food enthusiasts.

From laneway cafes to market stalls, we'll look at what makes Melbourne's culinary scene unique, and how this was presented through the tour. 

So, join me as we discover the tastes and stories that define this vibrant city.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Visit the Great Ocean Road.

Top Choice Hotel

The Langham Melbourne

Our Top Choice Restaurant


Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Revolver Upstairs

Best Time to Visit

Best time to visit Melbourne is during spring.

Average Temperature

Mild and comfortable, usually ranging from 50-70 degrees.

Transportation Options

Trams, trains, buses, taxis, bikes, scooters, and walking.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

When exploring Melbourne, immerse yourself in the city's vibrant laneways, filled with hidden cafes, street art, and boutique shops, for a truly local experience that will captivate your senses.

Take a leisurely stroll along the Yarra River, enjoy a picnic in one of the many lush gardens, and savor the diverse culinary scene, blending international flavors with Australian influences, to create unforgettable memories in the cultural heart of Melbourne.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Comfortable walking shoes, camera
  2. Light jacket, sunscreen

What Not to Miss

  1. Hosier Lane graffiti art
  2. Queen Victoria Market
  3. Great Ocean Road drive
  4. St Kilda Beach
  5. Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)

What to Avoid

Avoid traveling during peak tourist seasons and weekends. Be cautious of local wildlife, especially when hiking or visiting parks.

Why Choose Secret Food Tours?

Why Choose Secret Food Tours?

Before working with tour providers, a member of the team will always sample the tour in person. Secret Food Tours immediately caught our attention.

What set them apart were their unique offerings that promised more than just a tasting experience. They offered an insider’s look into Melbourne's food scene, led by local guides with a deep passion and knowledge of the area.

These guides didn’t just take us to well-known eateries; they introduced us to hidden gems that (in most cases) only locals know about, providing a genuine taste of the city.

The reputation of Secret Food Tours as a company that goes beyond the surface to delve into the culture and history behind the food made them an attractive choice. 

They're known for creating intimate and engaging tours that allow for personal connections with the food, and I felt this on this particular foodie tour.

This blend of exploration, education, and indulgence is what drew me to Secret Food Tours and what I believe sets them apart in offering an unparalleled food tour experience, this tour is definetly one of the best things to do in Melbourne.

The Food Tour Experience

Flinders Street

The food tour began at the historic Flinders Street Station, a landmark that encapsulates Melbourne's rich history and vibrant culture.

Emily, our guide, brought more to the table than just her expertise on Melbourne's culinary scene. As a local photographer and avid foodie, she shared engaging stories and useful tips that added depth to our experience.

For example, she delved into the intriguing history of Flinders Street Station's design, sharing the popular myth that its plans were originally intended for a station in Mumbai.

In total, there were six people on the tour. With small groups, Secret Food Tours ensures a personalized and accommodating experience. It meant we could immerse ourselves fully in the experience.

1. Indigenous Australian Cuisine

Grill King BBQ

Our first taste of Melbourne's diverse culinary offerings included dishes like emu heart and kangaroo tartare, introducing us to the indigenous flavors that form an essential part of Australia's cuisine.

This stop highlighted the importance of local ingredients and traditional cooking methods.

2. Coffee Culture\

Coffee Culture

Unbeknownst to me prior to my arrival in Australia, Melbourne is famous for its coffee, and this delicious part of the tour did not disappoint.

We were treated to a talk by Colombian barista Camilo, who took us through a mix of Colombian, Brazilian, and Peruvian blends, before allowing us to indulge in espresso, followed by a long black.

While I cannot give the location of this coffee shop away, the lane in question is home to iconic street art, a diverse culinary scene and several coffee shops, each offering a unique take on the city's beloved flat whites and magics. Magics? You can look this up when you're in Melbourne!

Overall, this was an informative session that unveiled the world behind Melbourne's coffee obsession.

3. Venetian Tapas

Venetian Tapas

A visit to an Italian enclave allowed us to sample Cicchetti, showcasing the influence of diverse cultures on Melbourne's food scene.

The restaurant has become a staple for many Melbourne food tours, and it's easy to understand its appeal.

On display for visitors was an array of Venetian tapas dishes and Italian cakes, showcasing the rich diversity of Italy's culinary offerings. Visitors had the chance to savor a variety of Venetian tapas, including:

  • Sarde in Saor: Sweet and sour sardines, a classic Venetian dish that balances the flavors of vinegar-marinated sardines with onions, raisins, and pine nuts.

  • Baccalà Mantecato: A creamy, whipped cod spread, traditionally served on toasted bread, offering a smooth texture and rich flavor.

  • Polpette: Venetian-style meatballs, made with a mixture of meats and spices, simmered in tomato sauce, and served as a hearty and comforting bite.

We were also able to discover the delicious and famous cakes on offer, which was one of the tour highlights. For dessert, the Italian cakes presented included:

  • Tiramisu: The quintessential Italian dessert, layering coffee-soaked ladyfingers with a rich mascarpone cheese mixture, dusted with cocoa powder for the perfect finish.

  • Cannoli: Crisp pastry shells filled with sweet, creamy ricotta, often dotted with chocolate chips or candied fruits, offering a delightful contrast in textures.

  • Homemade gelato: This place had every flavor under the sun, ranging from rich chocolate to refreshing fruit.

4. Cheese and Chocolate Pairing\

Cheese and Chocolate Pairing

Discovering small, family-run businesses in the city that specialize in pairing cheese with chocolate was a highlight. This stop emphasized Melbourne's support for local artisans and provided a deliciously unique experience.

In order to reach the shop, we took a trip through the city's laneways and arcades, filled with restaurants and cafes, which offered a glimpse into the Melbourne of old, a place that 100 years ago would have been lined with the upper-middle classes escaping the hot Australian sun.

This part of the tour was an enjoyable experience and a great way to spend time learning about the production of chocolate and cheese in a nearby town in Victoria.

5. Australian Wine Tasting

Australian Wine Tasting

This was one of the most surprising hidden gems on the tour, and one which became one of my favorite wine tastings in Australia. 

In fact, this location alone is one of the best Melbourne experiences I have been able to encounter as far as wine is concerned.

Guests were taken to what resembled a Parisian wine cellar, a place to discover wine not only from all over Australia, but all over the world.

Tasting local wines introduced us to the diverse regions and flavors of Australian viticulture, reinforcing Melbourne's status as a culinary hub that celebrates local produce.

A personal favorite was the delicious Australian Chardonnay, chosen by a tour member who gave the rest of us little say in the matter. We let him off, as he chose well!

If you come to Melbourne, I strongly advise you to visit this bar. It's the perfect place to grab a drink and a cheese board in a quirky, yet not overly pretentious setting.

6. Chinatown's Secret Dish

Chinatown's Secret Dish

Exploring Chinatown for a secret dish turned into quite the adventure, a perfect example of what Melbourne offers to those willing to dive into restaurants that may look a little questionable on the outside.

On this segment of our foodie tour, we were introduced to Chinese dumplings and pancakes in a hidden spot that we would never have stumbled upon on our own.

It was not just about tasting these traditional dishes but also about uncovering a piece of history. Emily shared interesting stories about ancient China, including how soldiers would eat these pancakes as a quick, nourishing meal during times of war.

Had I not had a mouth full of potato starch and vegetables I'd have told her how interesting I found that story.

On a serious note, this is what makes Secret Food Tours a provider of what I believe to be the best Melbourne food tours available. 

It's the blend of delicious flavors and historical insights that made the tour stand out, and what made our exploration through Melbourne's Chinatown an unforgettable part of the afternoon.

7. Greek Dessert on a Secret Rooftop Bar\

Greek Dessert on a Secret Rooftop Bar

If you're tired reading this guide, imagine my difficulty digesting all this food and drink!

Finally, the tour concluded with Greek dessert, enjoyed in a hidden rooftop bar that offered stunning views of the city.

It meant we were able to explore Melbourne from an aerial view, ending the day with tastings overlooking the Central Business District.

Summing Up: One of the Best Melbourne Food Tours

Summing Up

Throughout the tour, personal interactions with chefs and locals, coupled with Emily's stories and insights, provided a deeper understanding of Melbourne's food, culture, and vibrant street art.

From coffee tastings inside famous coffee shops, to indulging in gelato and chocolate, every moment was crafted to offer an engaging and enjoyable experience that went beyond just eating and drinking.

Secret Food Tours managed to create a narrative that captured the essence of Melbourne's food scene, making it an adventure that any visitor or local wouldn't want to miss.

It's these moments of discovery and indulgence that make foodie tours, let's call them culinary tours, not just a meal, but a story of Melbourne's diverse cultures, vibrant streets, and the amazing stuff that makes the city's food scene renowned worldwide.

Thank you to Emily, and Secret Food Tours Melbourne, for providing one of the best food tours we've experienced in Australia.