20 cafes and restaurants for your next business meeting

To commemorate our 20th year, we are publishing a series of our top 20 tips, recommendations, insights and more, right here on our website.

To kick off the series, we’ve put together a list of our 20 favourite venues for business meetings, and eating and drinking … and boy have we had few meetings in our time. From dining at Ezard’s to a coffee at D.O.C espresso – a short walk from our home on Elgin street – there’s something here to suit all tastes and needs.


A little bit formal lunchtime dining

The Botanical

Against the serenity of the Royal Botanic Gardens, The Botanical is perfect for your next business lunch. The contemporary provincial French & Mediterranean cuisine of the fine dining restaurant paired with an award winning wine list is an elegant setting. The bistro serves modern Australian cuisine and provides beautiful views of the gardens, for a more casual dining experience. For those looking to extend lunch, you can head into the bar and experience what they call the ‘relaxed wine bar’.

Cecconi’s Bistro (with bar)

Melbourne’s Bartolotto family have years of experience under their belt, and it’s evident when you step into their home at Flinders Lane. It’s a contemporary yet classic Italian restaurant, serving home-made pasta, seafood and meat dishes. The beautiful yet minamilistuc décor and ambient lighting, paired with exceptional food, make this one an absolute must try.

Ezard (with bar)

Serving ‘Australian freestyle’ cuisine, with a focus on fresh and seasonal produce, lunch here is always exceptional. Serving an express lunch, from 12.30 – 2.30, the three course meal paired with a glass of wine, is the perfect way to make sure you enjoy a beautiful lunch and are back in the office in time to meet that deadline.

Il Bacaro

A Melbourne institution, Il Bacaro has a combination of excellent food and wine and ambiance with its Venetian inspired décor. Located on Little Collins Street, for over a decade, it’s a must for all true Melbournians.

Eating with atmosphere

Movida Aqui (with Bar)

A big open space with a vibrant interior, coupled with an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary Spanish cuisine Movida is the perfect casual dining venue. The traditional Spanish charcoal grill style of cooking is at the heart of their menu, and provides for beautiful food.

Jimmy Watson’s (with bar)

Jimmy Watson’s wine bar has a largely untouched quaint and old-school interior. Seen as a Melbourne institution, it offers a casual yet sophisticated setting, perfect to meet, drink, talk and eat.  “See you at Jimmy Watson’s”.

Cumulus Inc.

A light and classic space in Melbourne’s art and fashion precinct, Flinders’ Lane is open all day for a coffee, snack, drink or a meal. The open kitchen serves a diverse range of items, many of which are designed to share.

The French Saloon (with bar)

This gem hidden above Hardware Lane, provides a relaxed atmosphere. Perfect for a light snack, or lunch, you can enjoy it inside or on the balcony with laneway views.

Mr Mason

Mr Mason is a modern French inspired bistro located in the heart of the CBD. The seasonal menu is complimented by the elegant atmosphere of the dining room, lounge and outdoor areas. Many by the glass boutique wines are featured on Mr Mason’s wine list, so you can try a drop or two at your next meeting.

Syracuse (with bar)

Hidden in one of Melbourne’s iconic laneways, Bank Place, the ornate archways and 19th century style, will transport you to another place completely. Nestled in-between, Collins Street and Little Collins, it’s the perfect location for the top end of town to enjoy a global range of cuisines with fresh, locally grown produce and an perfect wine pairing.


A modern Indian restaurant tucked in another of Melbourne’s famous laneways, Duckboard Place. Don’t have a booking? That’s okay, there’s an area available for walk-ins.

Higher Ground

This hip and laidback lounge bar/café in Little Bourke Street extends over three levels. They have the perfect menu for a breakfast, brunch or lunch meeting. With seating at tables, bars and sofas, you can choose how formal or informal you’d like.

Shoya (with bar)

Chef Shigeo Nanaka takes you on an ‘award-winning Japanese culinary journey’, with a relaxed atmosphere, right in the heart of Market Lane. Open in two sittings, 12-2.30pm is best for your business needs.


A casual approach


Open for lunch on Fridays only, Marion Wine bar serves both locally and globally sourced wine and offers a light menu, perfect for the Friday afternoon meeting.

Tokyo Tina

Tokyo Tina is a must try hip venue for your mid to end of week lunches. Open from 12pm Wed – Friday, they serve Japanese street food with a modern twist. The fun décor and outdoor tables could shake up the norm for your next lunch meeting.

D.O.C. Espresso

This little gem is nestled in the heart of Melbourne’s own little Italy, Lygon Street. It brings to Melbourne the true Italian café, with a traditional Italian espresso bar inside and outside seats are also available. Aside from a spectacular coffee, they also serve Panini and pasta dishes, perfect for a quick meeting and a bite to eat. Artisan pizza and pasta dishes served in a popular Italian espresso bar and cafe with outside seats.

Auction rooms

You can grab a great coffee and – weather permitting of course – sit in the sunny courtyard, or sit inside this North Melbourne rustic-chic café. The single page menu is filled with inventive dishes that cover all tastes.

Self Preservation

Having the well-deserved reputation as one of Melbourne’s most vibrant and relaxing cafes, Self Preservation might be the place for your next meeting. Right at the top of Bourke Street, you can enjoy beautiful coffee and a range of creative and seasonal dishes.

Sir Charles

In the heart of Johnston Street, Sir Charles offers a heavily Asian-inspired menu, with a Thai/Japanese fusion whilst still offering their signature eggs Benedict and an excellent single origin coffee. Open from 7am till 4pm, this is a great café for a brunch meeting or quick coffee.

Lemon Middle Orange

The former paint factory, open from 7.30 – 3.30pm is the quintessential Collingwood café. Serving coffee and a creative all-day brunch menu inspired by the owner’s Irish heritage.


For more information or to make a booking at any of these fantastic venues, head to their website (hyperlinked above).