Freelance writer and blogger from Sydney (ex-Melbourne). Avid foodie and traveller. Loves dogs.
Published July 31st 2016
Even if you had been living under a rock for the last month or so, no doubt you would have heard about the craze that is Pokemon Go – or at least seen legions of zombie-eyed folk slowly walking around town with their eyed glued to their smart phones.
What they're doing is that they're catching creatures called Pokemon and hanging around Pokestops, places that allow you to collect items such as eggs and balls to capture more Pokemon. You can find these Pokestops pretty much everywhere you go: suburban shopping centres, public parks and landmarks, such as 1000 Steps. The biggest concentration of Pokestops, however, is in Melbourne CBD and many of them are in or around some of the best places to grab a bite in the city. Here's a list of five city eateries that dish out amazing food but also double up as Pokestops. Double win.
Anyone with even the mildest interest in the game would know that the State Library's front lawn is THE ultimate Pokestop, complete with a lure module and all. In laymen's terms, a Pokestop with a lure module attracts nearby Pokemon to that spot for 30 minutes. This is why you'll often see the lawn buzzing with Pokemon hunters any time of the day. If you've been waiting for a Pokemon to appear for a while, settle down at Mr Tulk café for coffee that's on point and a freshly baked muffin. Their gin-cured salmon with shredded egg and grilled sourdough also makes for a satisfying lunch if you're in the area around noon. Address: State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston Street
Pokestops aren't just confined to famous landmarks and meeting spaces in Melbourne; they can be found hidden in nooks and crannies – after all, the game may as well make use of Melbourne's famous laneways, right? Tucked away in Melbourne Place just off Russell Street is Sezar, where new Armenian-style plates get passed around six days a week. Look out for dishes such as their signature spanner crab manti (Armenian dumplings) and bastourma spiced beef cheeks with trimmings. Address: 6 Melbourne Place
Sezar: a Pokestop in Melbourne CBD
3. Secret Kitchen The corner of Exhibition and Little Bourke Streets houses the Empress Dowager Cixi mural Pokestop as well as Secret Kitchen restaurant, a large game player in Melbourne's Cantonese dining scene. At lunchtime, punters trade Pokeballs for delicious dim sum morsels during bustling yum cha sessions. Meanwhile, dinner guests can be seen feasting on succulent roast meats (including Hong Kong-style goose and suckling pig) and fresh fish from Secret Kitchen's expansive live seafood tanks. Address: 222 Exhibition Street
Secret Kitchen: where the dim sum items are just as cute as Pokemon characters
4. Operator25 Flagstaff Gardens is a popular spot for Melbourne's legal eagles to unwind during lunch and for groups of friends kicking the footy around. Nowadays, it's also known as one of the city's most popular Pokestops. While there aren't any restaurants in the gardens, popular brunch venue Operator25 is only minutes away. Start the day with matcha almond hotcakes topped with freeze dried raspberries or enjoy a Balinese pork burger on brioche bun for lunch before heading across for some Pokemon hunting. Address: 25 Wills Street
5. Crown Casino restaurants While you're unlikely to win big bucks at Crown, chances are that you're more than likely to snag a few Pokemon winnings. Fans heading to the casino to search for Pokemon also have the added benefit of being surrounded by a plethora of cafés and restaurants to choose from. For burgers and finger lickin' chicken wings, try Merrywell; for some of Melbourne's best Napolitan-style pizza, Gradi is your best bet. If fine dining is more your thing, there's Rockpool Bar & Grill, Nobu and The Atlantic. Address: 8 Whiteman Street