Live Free or Dine Hard: Where to eat for the Melbourne International Film Festival 2013


The Melbourne International Film Festival comes around only once a year. It’s sometimes your only chance to see great films before they disappear forever or the one opportunity to say “I saw this 12 months before anyone else heard about it”. I’m gutted that this year I will be in London during the festival but that hasn’t stopped me from scouring the reviews from film festivals such as Cannes, Toronto, SXSW, Sundance to ensure I know what’s worth seeing and what to avoid – as you should too.

I have previously attended the London International Film Festival, and what Melbourne has going for it is the close proximity of the cinemas to each other. Only here are you able to walk out of one film and try to get into another that you have heard on the grapevine not to miss – with virtually all venues a few blocks from each other.


In light of the madness that sweeps the capital – we have decided to compile a list of places where you can get your sustenance in and around the CBD/cinemas. These are places we will be hitting on a regular basis.  We have sorted them into two groups:

Quick Eats – Where to go for that quick feed if you only have 1/2 an hour to spare before trying to secure the best seats in the house. And…

Late Night Eats – For when you see tow or three films on the trot and you find many places closing their doors on you just as your stomach is about gorge on itself.


Click on the Urbanspoon link to go straight to the address and ensure they are open at the time you need – but all places are found in and around the CBD within walking distances of most venues.

Quick Flick Eats


Chin Chin 
- The Double Chin never fails to disappoint. See if you can get an early seat perched at the bar (you will never get a quick table). Or keep it as an option for a Late Night Eat.
Chin Chin on Urbanspoon

Touché Hombre 
- So far the best tacos in town. They are well sized and the fillings are perfecto. Seeing a horror movie? Try their secret taco of the day. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Touché Hombre on Urbanspoon

The Moat – 
Seeing something a bit more uppity? Head to the Wheeler Centre just off Swanston where you will be provided with small plates of goodness.
The Moat on Urbanspoon

Huxtaburger – 
Mini Blockbuster in the making now open in the CBD. Huxtaburger will have you in and out of their joint in 15-20 mins after delivering one of the best burgers Melbourne has ever devoured.
Huxtaburger on Urbanspoon

BangPop – Thai Street food served on the banks of the Yarra. Perch at the bar with a spicy cocktail to discuss what you have or are about to see.
BangPop on Urbanspoon

+39 Pizza – 
Love Italian cinema? Then this pizza joint will be waiting for you. Many a quick meal has been done here – just let them know you are in a rush.
+39 Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Mamak – A range of sweet and savoury roti breads are cheap and cheerful (all under $10), while satay and curries offer a more filling option (they have started to ramp up the chilli levels after initial complaints that things were a little on the bland side).
Mamak on Urbanspoon


Big Boy BBQ – Melbourne needed a BBQ place like this for all American BBQ fans. If you like pulled pork and ribs than this place is for you. The sandwich range is great.
Big Boy BBQ on Urbanspoon

Pho Dzung 
- If you need to ready your stomach with both solids and liquids then grab a large pho of your choice and you will be prepared to sit through any sort of movie marathon without needing a choc top.
Pho Dzung City Noodle Shop on Urbanspoon

Mr Nice Guy – Proud Mary coffee. Stir-fry dishes, pad thai, fried rice, home-smoked lemongrass cured salmon with scramble eggs and coconut reduction, coconut pancakes, Asian-inspired macaron flavours – Thai Milk Tea, Lychee, Chocolate, Mango, Passionfruit and Caramel.
Mr. Nice Guy on Urbanspoon

Miss Chu – 
Need more than just pho? Miss Chu is a Vietnamese hawker stall of sorts that will serve both eat in or take away (If you have the guts to try and smuggle it past the usher).
MissChu on Urbanspoon

By Korea – 
Perfect for any Asian flicks you may be seeing. This is my favourite Korean in the CBD and the bulgogi is big enough to feed two. Unlimited Kim Chi is an added bonus.
By Korea on Urbanspoon

1000 Pound Bend 
This bar just off Swanston has a great range of beers and food – with the burgers being one of their standouts.  Also has free wifi for you to tweet your thoughts to your followers.
1000 Pound Bend on Urbanspoon

Yak Pasta Bar Artigianale – 
Newly renovated. The king of carbohydrates reins supreme in this lively watering hole.
Yak Bar Pasta Artigianale on Urbanspoon

Caboose Canteen – Classic and contemporary European is what this place does best.
Caboose Canteen on Urbanspoon


Other Asian food stops worth considering include:

Ramen Ya – Bourke St 
Basic Ramen served in a jiffy.
Ramen Ya on Bourke on Urbanspoon

Purple Peanuts 
A small Japanese joint virtually at the bottom of The Age Newspaper building. Great value sushi and curry abounds.
Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe on Urbanspoon

BrimCC Organic Soup & Japanese Cafe 
Great value Japanese organic cafe with some authentic curries on offer.  

BrimCC Organic Soup and Japanese cafe on Urbanspoon

drive rg4

Late Night Eats

Gingerboy – 
High energy dining with Southeast Asian punchy flavours – on the pricier side but well worth the extra dollars.
Gingerboy on Urbanspoon

Henry and the Fox – Hidden in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, Henry and the Fox offers relaxed dining with european inspired flavours.
Henry and the Fox on Urbanspoon

Chin Chin – 
I have had many a meal here at 11.30pm and they are still pumping out some of the best food in Melbourne.
Chin Chin on Urbanspoon

Mercy Bar + Eatery – Casual bar and eatery, great tunes, a place to drink a few pints or sit down for a full meal or even degustation.
Mercy bar + eatery on Urbanspoon

Waiters Club – recommended by @Bern_Morley 
Not that easy to find – up the stairs behind the Myers Place Bar -a homely Italian feast awaits you.
The Waiters Club / Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Funky Curry & Funky Curry II – 
Two of Melbourne’s best CBD curry houses are situated right next to each other and have a following like no other.
Funky Curry on Urbanspoon

Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar – 
A Melbourne landmark. Italian comfort food of dreams.
Pellegrini's Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

Von Haus – 
The menu is ever-changing. The cheese platter is sometimes all you need. Tight wine list too.
Von Haus on Urbanspoon

Shark Fin Inn – 
Shark Fin is one of our favourite Chinese restaurants in town. Yum Cha does not disappoint.
Shark Fin Inn on Urbanspoon

Supper Inn – 
Known as the Chinese choice for Melbourne’s top chefs when they knock off work at 1am – Big serves in a small space. BYO is a godsend.
Supper Inn on Urbanspoon

Bar Louinha – 
Spanish and Latin American tapas – these guys have done their research during a six-month exploration overseas.
Bar Lourinhã on Urbanspoon

The European – 
As per the name – old-world rustic charm serving Mediterranean-inspired offerings at a slightly higher price point.
The European on Urbanspoon

City Wine Shop – 
Wonderful understated wine bar with a decent chef hitting the mark. As you would expect from one of the cities best wine bars, the cheese is second to none.
City Wine Shop on Urbanspoon

Nam Loong – 
Need something fast but tasty? this place serves some of Melbourne’s best Char Sui Bao (aka Roast Pork Buns). They are served fresh from the bamboo steamer and you can be in and out in 30 seconds.
Nam Loong Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon


2012 Twitter Recommendations:

China Red – 
This place is fast. Order your food via touch screen and within minutes Chinese FBI agents will deliver fresh parcels of goodness to your table. You literally don’t need to converse with anyone.
China Red on Urbanspoon

Shanghai Street Dumpling – recommended by @BeeDreams & @TwoMunch 
Shanghai Street Dumpling on Urbanspoon

La Notte – recommended by  @First_Angle.  Seeing something at Cinema Nova on Lygon Street? @First_Angle suggest you stop for some fantastic Italian.
La Notte on Urbanspoon

Wagamama  -
Good value and an easy feed if you need it.
Wagamama on Urbanspoon

Journal Canteen – 
Journal Canteen is situated in the same building as Journal Cafe. And if you are looking for a decent plate of food that hasn’t been Australian-ised look no further. The blackboard has around 5 dishes a night and as they sell out of them they get struck off one by one.  A great feed.
Journal Canteen on Urbanspoon

Creperie Le Triskel – recommended by @BeeDreams 
Arrogantly French – in the best possible way.
Creperie le Triskel on Urbanspoon

Don Don – Recommended by @Two Munch 
Some of the cheapest and best sashimi you are likely to find in Melbourne. They do a decent chicken teriyaki too.
Don Don on Urbanspoon

The Cellar Bar (Grossi Florentino) – Recommended by @Two Munch 
Rustic Bar cum Diner by the well known celebrity chef.
The Cellar Bar (Grossi Florentino) on Urbanspoon

Workers Food Room – 
Open breakfast, lunch and dinner from Monday to Friday, this new opening has had good word coming out of it since day one.
The Workers' Food Room on Urbanspoon

MIFF_logoFood & Film Partners Special Offers:


Show that day’s MIFF ticket for a $20 Ampere burger and a Weapon Pale Ale. 25% off absinthe with ticket.


Two-course set menu exclusive to MIFF audiences. Bookings essential; please present a 2013 MIFF ticket on arrival. $35 per head, minimum of four people.


MIFF ticketholders can enjoy a chicken sandwich and a West Winds cutlass martini for $25.


Show your MIFF ticket to receive a complimentary Tiger draught beer or Stone Dwellers glass of wine with a main meal purchase.


Present your ticket for that day’s show and get a dollar off our delicious homemade salted caramel crepe (usually $5).


Two cocktails for the price of one on presentation of your MIFF ticket (not to be used in conjunction with any other offer; only one per customer per night).


Show your MIFF ticket for 15% off your bill when you dine with us.


Your choice of two cocktails for the price of one from Loop’s extensive cocktail list on presentation of your MIFF ticket for that day.


Mention MIFF for a 10% discount in our restaurant and cellar door.


Order before 6.30pm and receive two courses and a glass of wine for just $60* per person. For bookings call 03 9653 7744 and cite “celluloid special”.*Bookings are essential for this special pre-screening offer.


Order a post-show cheese platter from 9.30pm and enjoy a complimentary digestif upon presentation of that day’s MIFF ticket.


Enjoy the special MIFF pre-show menu at Red Spice Road QV. Choose between a $25pp menu (including three courses) or $35pp with a glass of wine. Menu available on pre-booking only and tables must vacate by 7pm.


Show your MIFF ticket to savour Sake’s Kingfish-jalapeño-sashimi skewer amuse-bouche and grilled Ora King salmon with quinoa-kombu crust; with matched sake: $35.


MIFF ticket holders are invited to enjoy a complimentary glass of house wine or Peroni with their meal. Simply show your ticket between 25 July and 11 August.


Show your MIFF ticket when you dine with us, and receive a free Paloma – Tromba blanco tequila on the rocks, with your choice of jarritos with salt rim and lime.


The French is offering all MIFF ticket holders a pre-cinema dinner menu: Kir Royal on arrival and two course set menu for $39.50pp, Mon–Sat. Must order before 7pm.


Show that day’s MIFF ticket to select three tapas items from the MIFF Menu, two glasses of house wine / domestic tap beer or soft drink, for only $30. Groups of two or more. *Menu is subject to change. Offer available Tues to Thurs 4pm–10pm, Fri 4pm–11pm, Sat 5pm–11pm


Some Like it HOT, so bring your MIFF ticket in and your hot drink is on us when you purchase a hot breakfast on the weekend.

We would love to hear where you will be frequenting during the festival in the comment section.



3 thoughts on “Live Free or Dine Hard: Where to eat for the Melbourne International Film Festival 2013

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