Mamasita (Level 1/11 Collins Street): There have been many Mexican restaurants that have opened in Melbourne over the past couple of years, but I still consider Mamasita to be the best. The key to getting a table at lunchtime is to get there before 12:30 pm. All the food is light, fresh and flavorful with a variety of options on the menu depending on what you feel like eating. My favorites include the chips and salsa, tostaditas, fish tacos and the chickpea fritters.
China Red (Shop 6/206 Bourke Street): Located down an arcade by JB Hi-Fi, China Red is the place to go for dumplings in the city. Add in touch screen ordering and it is a very efficient lunch trip as the food comes out quickly. My top three picks on the menu are the pan fried pork dumplings, pork won tons in spicy sauce, and their signature dish the Shanghai Shao-Long-Bao.
Wonderbao (Shop 4/19-37 A'Beckett Street): Continuing the Asian theme, steamed buns (bao) became big over the last year, with Wonderbao leading the pack. Located in a laneway near the RMIT campus, Wonderbao puts an updated spin on your normal steamed buns, and are best known for their gua bao. All the food here is really great, including their amazing egg custard buns. The prices are also a steal due to their proximity to the university and student clientele. Seating is limited, but you can usually get a spot in the alley if all the seats are taken inside (it's best to go when the weather is nice).
Mr Burger (428 Little Bourke Street): Another big food trend in Melbourne over the past year has been hamburgers, and Mr Burger is definitely the best I have found. Starting out as a food truck they recently opened a store in the CBD and also have a semi-permanent spot at the Queen Victoria Market. There are three different burgers to choose from (Mr Burger, Mr Meat and Mr Veg) along with a side of chips. I've only had Mr Burger so far and it is a great classic cheeseburger. The brioche buns are what make them so tasty.
Bowery To Williamsburg (16 Oliver Lane): The current fad on the Melbourne food scene is American, with a focus on Southern cooking and New York style deli. The recently opened and appropriately named Bowery To Williamsburg has the New York deli vibe down pat. For $16.50 you can get a sandwich and side of your choice, along with some pretzels and a pickle. The reuben sandwich is quite good, and the mac and cheese side is delicious. There are also bagels with lox and schmears, as well as some yummy desserts including New York cheesecake and pumpkin pie tarts (although I will say that my pumpkin pie is better than theirs).
So those are some of my favorite places- what are your recommendations for places to eat in the Melbourne CBD?