The best places to eat and drink during Melbourne International Film Festival

Get the latest from Beat


The best places to eat and drink during Melbourne International Film Festival

Are you too being controlled by your MIFF schedule? You’ve jumped the gun far too early and someway, somehow, you’ve committed to ten films, which although rich in culture and experience, is undeniably hard to co-ordinate – especially around meal times. Don’t sweat it. I’m currently living through the busiest time of the year, with dozens of my friends asking for food recommendations prior to, in-between and after films, and I’ve thought of some pretty good spots.

City Wine Shop, my CBD go-to, is a classical Italian eatery and a superb place to enjoy a bold glass of wine and accompanying dish. The venue is thanks to the owners of The European, Supper Club, Neapoli and below my favourite bar in Melbourne – Siglo. It goes without saying the atmosphere is a given. I like to order a glass of Sangiovese with a big heavy bowl of spaghetti meatballs and lots of cheese. The ultimate combo for when you want to slouch away and enjoy a contemporary film at one of Melbourne’s proudest accomplishments, our wondrous MIFF.

Only a laneway away and you’ll find Shimbashi Soba & Sake Bar, a lighter option nutritionally yet certainly not lighter in flavour. The venue is delightfully charming in the way Japanese always tends to be, and offers home-made soba – hot or cold, vegetarian or meat. My picks are the salmon soba (chilled noodles with salmon sashimi, green salad and basil sauce) and tempura egg soba (chilled noodles with tempura and poached egg). I tend to order sake out of habit, although last time I noticed a ‘princess cocktail’ on the board which looked adorable and I’m dying to try it. Let me know how it is if you do.

Quite literally across the laneway you’ll find SPQR Pizzeria. Yes, I’m aware my three choices don’t spread far in the slightest, although you asked for my top picks and they just so happen to be extremely close to each other, and to MIFF theatres. SPQR, who have been spinning bases and vinyl for a few good years now fire fresh, simple pizzas that taste molto bella (very beautiful). Plus, they only take 60 seconds to cook. That means you can sit and enjoy birra or vino and listen to their fine selectors while pulling a cheesy slice of pizza apart faster than you can say MIFF.