I'm in love with Melbourne. There’s just something about its deeply-engrained coffee culture, boutique shops and mix of new/old architecture that gets me excited. Melbournians are especially spoilt for choice when it comes to all things healthy, both in the food and fitness department. If they had nicer beaches and a bit warmer weather, I'd totally consider moving there!
I've only been twice so far, but in that time I have made sure to explore as many places as possible. And by that I mean I went out for a pre-workout juice, breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner every day because there were so many amazing options and I wanted to check them all out. Plus some workouts here and there. In case you missed the latest #vicandstef travel shabam, check out our hashtag here.
Here's a list of places I can recommend whole-heartedly.
Restaurants, cafés & juice bars: tried and tested
The premise is simple: serving foods that promote the release of serotonin, a brain chemical which regulates mood, sleep pattern, appetite and other aspects of everyday life. Sounds bland? Not one bit. From the medicinal Mexican waffle to the falafel burger, the menu is anything but boring. The drink list is equally creative with concoctions like peanut butter latte or coconut espresso bomb. To boost your serotonin release even more, the cafe has swings in the window where you can enjoy your superfood bowls. Yep, you read that right. Who wouldn't love that?! A definite must when visiting Melbourne!
We recommend: the Nutrition Bowl and Green Protein Bowl + Matcha Latte and Peanut Butter Late
52 Madden Grove, Burnley, Richmond, Melbourne
Located in Elwood, Combi is a hub for health foodies who love a pretty Insta feed. With a rustic, beachy fit out and a super-chill vibe, this small cafe is perfect for brekky or a quick lunch. For breakfast there’s juices, smoothies, avo on toast and breakfast bowls. There is also a parfait of chia seeds soaked in house-made nut milk layered with nuts, fruits and house-made coconut cashew yoghurt served in a glass jar. For something sweet, don't forget to check out the incredibly insta-worthy raw bar filled to the brim with delicious treats like raw caramel slices, raw matcha cakes or an indulgent raw tiramisu. Unfortunately we were too full already to give them a go, but I've heard great things about them.
We recommend: Velvet Cacao smoothie + avo on sprouted toast
Shop 1/140 Ormond Road, Elwood VIC 3184
This beautiful cafe is bright, airy and covered in hanging plants. So gorgeous! The menu balances some healthy options with a fair bit of indulgences like the below banana muffin. The breakfast menu is extensive ranging from beetroot and cheddar waffles, seeded cauliflower falalel or your typical smashed avo on sourdough. Eggs are free range. Check out their Insta for more food inspo.
We recommend: Calmer sutra chai + their paleo banana bread
385 High St, Prahran 3181
Located a stones throw from the South Yarra train station, this cafe has something for everyone from their signature primal plate to a fruity acai bowl or their gluten free tiramisu pancakes. Their smoothies are mouth-wateringly beautiful and use home-made almond milk and cold-pressed juices from Greene Street Juice Co. Definitely stop by for a smoothie if you can, and a proper meal if time allows. They have a beautiful outside area, so go on a warm day and enjoy the sun.
We recommend: the Blissed Out smoothie with passionfruit
5/177 Toorak Road South Yarra 3141
Trippy Tacos are known for their vegetarian Mexican street food. While the interior is nothing special, the food speaks for itself. They definitely aren't skimpy with their avo, which is always a win! Oh and by the way, their new St. Kilda location just recently openend, which calls for warm summer evenings by the sea eating nachos and sipping coktails. Whoop whoop!
We recommend: regular nachos + original Trippy Tacos with black beans
234 Gertrude St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
N2 Extreme uses liquid nitrogen to flash freeze gelato, right in front of your eyes. The result is an incredibly smooth ice cream like you've never had before. They call themselves "shamelessly indulgent" and their menu is definitely a treat, using obscure ingredients that you've not necessarily seen in ice cream before. Whilst most options aren't tailored for the health conscious, there are some vegan and gluten free options. Another thing to note: they only use real fruits and fresh herbs.
We recommend: the White Chocolate Cookie mud cake
329 Brunswick Street Fitzroy VIC 3065
Matcha Mylkbar is hip, pretty and completely powered by plants. If you’re looking for a killer smoothie combo served in a skull-shaped glass, a colourful fruit bowl or crazy funky matcha pancakes, this is your destination. As the name suggests, you'll see much matcha (a powdered green tea, for the uninitiated) throughout the menu. They are especially insta-famous for their bright green vegan burger, made with soy chicken, mushroom bacon, avocado, beetroot kraut, matcha bun, beetroot hummus and sweet potato fries on the side. It's hands down the best burger I have ever had and it's not one to miss. , grab a juice to go and stroll around the nearby beach. I'd definitely not recommend going to Luna park for a ride, as portions are big and you'll most likely feel stuffed ha!
We recommend: soy chicken burger, matcha pancakes, heirloom tomatoes with fresh avocado on toast, the "I'm blue, I'm in need of a guy" smoothie with E3 blue majik and any of the matcha drinks
72 Acland Street St Kilda 3182
Vegie Bar is a thriving vegetarian restaurant in the heart of Brunswick Street, Fitzroy with a down-to-earth vibe. It's been serving up strictly veggie dishes (incl. vegan, gluten free and dairy free dishes) for over 20 years and has made itself a reputable name in the Melbourne health scene. Expect to find things like raw pad thai, raw tacos and healthy pasta dishes. My tip would be to come for dinner, grab a window seat, sit back and enjoy the bustling street scene over a long meal with a good friend.
We recommend: the vegan gnocci and raw Malaysian curry
380 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065
This venue is cozy with a plant-filled courtyard, upstairs balcony and comfy seating arrangments. I didn't get the chance to eat here, but the menu looks inviting and I've heard good things. The drink menu definitely ticks all the right boxes for me, with kombucha, cold-pressed juices (made fresh every morning), a range of smoothies and whole coconuts. The coffee is organic, fair-trade and carbon-neutral. FYI, there's free wifi, which is a rare find in Australia! This café would be my venue of choice for a relaxed working sesh.
We recommend: their fruit toast + any of their juices
315 Montague Street Albert Park 3206
Pana is a health-conscious sweet tooth's dream. You can indulge in all the chocolate in the world while keeping your conscious clean, with their natural desserts made only from plant-based, organic ingredients. Besides beautiful little cakes there also is an extensive selection of truffles, fudges, cookies, brownies and more. All the magic happens by hand in a small-scale kitchen just behind the shop. If you don't have a chance to stop by, you can always order their choc bars and cakes online.
We recommend: Blueberry & Lemon cake
491 Church Street Richmond
With vegetarian, vegan, raw, gluten free, no onion/garlic options and biodynamic drinks, their Asian inspired menu is certain to please your gut bacteria. Their portions are perfectly sized, just enough to fill you nicely while keeping your gut happy with all those probiotics. Ingredients are organic whenever possible and the food is prepared according to ying and yang principles. Let me tell you: I have a very sensitive digestion and eating out is always a bit of a gamble, but my tummy was very happy and didn't act up one bit.
We recommend: the macro dragon bowl with biodynamic brown rice, seasonal veggies and organic tempeh + the spicy soft tofu stew with shitake mushrooms and veggies
421-423 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, 3065
Workouts: Tried and tested
Following all this eating, you might want to sweat it out or zen down in a relaxing yoga class. We've tried and tested some studios with our beloved Classpass membership and here is what we can recommend:
Bodhi & Ride is a premium boutique wellness studio bringing the Soul Cycle trend to Australia. You can choose from a high-intensity cycling class in the Spin Chamber, a modern yoga class or a meditation class in the so-called Unplug Pod. The cycling class is honestly the best I've ever done, incorporating endurance, interval and weight training, all set to bespoke playlists and disco lighting. Try to get the instructor Danae, who is a killer motivation and will push you to your absolute limit.
416 – 418 Bay Street, Port Melbourne VIC
The name speaks for itself. Jules, a Melbourne-based PT, will push you to your max with her HIIT circuit workout. Think 50 minutes of fat burning, strength, toning, cardio and a hell of a lot of hard work. The moves are functional, making sure you'll be sore in all the right places. Always ending with Killer Jules's famous arm workout! P.S.: Head to Combi (mentioned above) for your post-workout refuel.
Meister Athlete, 22 Cecil Place, Prahran 3181
An infrared sauna is the perfect way to naturally detoxify nasties out of the body. It has many healing benefits such as lowering blood pressure, inducing weight loss, reducing inflammation and clearing skin issues. You will be wrapped in a completely private solo sauna (where you can lie down, unlike most other infrared saunas!) to give you a relaxing and intimate experience. Another plus: your head is out of the tube, which makes for a much more pleasurable experience compared to other saunas. Definitely a must if you've never tried!
1/201 Commercial Rd, South Yarra VIC 3141
This yoga and cross training studio offers one part yoga, one part fitness group training to build stamina and lean muscles. The studio also assists members with specialized programs to line personal goals up with nutritional coaching. We love! I've only tried the yoga class, which is intimate with unique sequences and individualized attention. The art on the wall and the lighting is calming and I totally fell asleep in Shavasana.
54 Wilson St, South Yarra, VIC 3141