The Best Places to Eat, Drink and Play in Melbourne's Chinatown

As Lunar New Year approaches, we explore its epicentre in Melbourne.

Through the ornate red gates of Melbourne's Chinatown lies a bright labyrinth of alleyways that brim with restaurants, bars, karaoke joints, boutiques and electrifying sights. The sheer number of eateries is enough to fill the entire precinct with enticing scents—just follow your nose and you're sure to hit upon a gem.

EAT

Supper Inn is a BYO Chinatown institution, known for its live seafood tanks and late-night hours. Now in its fifth decade of operation, Flower Drum remains at the pinnacle of Cantonese fine dining in Australia, while Gingerboy represents the cutting-edge of contemporary hawker-style cuisine, complete with a sleek design reminiscent of a high-end nightclub.

DRINK

In the bars of Chinatown, things get weird—in a good way. The Croft Institute is a prime example of the experimental spirit; a science-lab-themed cocktail bar filled with curious glassware, bleacher seating and peculiar cocktails (including one served in a syringe). Inspired by the area's history, New Gold Mountain takes design cues from gold rush era Chinatown while delivering a cocktail menu that uses 100% Australian ingredients.

PLAY

There's no more comprehensive way to understand the history and culture of Australia's Chinese community than a visit to the Chinese Museum, whose five floors are dedicated to preserving this rich legacy. Meanwhile, Chinatown Cinema in MidCity Arcade showcases current and best-selling films from China and Asia more broadly.

Kirsty Sier
About the author

Editor of WhereTraveller Australia (Sydney and Melbourne).