1. Have breakfast. Dinner can be a bit hit and miss in Richmond. Truly excellent restaurants sit alongside some pretty woeful ones, and it can be hard to tell them apart until after you've ordered. Not so with breakfast, where your only problem will be finding a table at one of the proliferation of popular cafes. Weekend brunch is where Swan St, in particular, really comes into its own. You can expect innovative fare and rich, nutty coffee. Well worth the wait for a table.
My personal favourite is Demitri's Feast, which won best breakfast in The Age Cheap Eats 2010 for their Baclava French Toast. Of course, the only problem with being mentioned in the guide is that it's everyone else's favourite place too. If the wait is too long, head across the road to Torch, which has a more standard bacon-and-eggs style menu, but does it well.
Around the corner in Church St, Pillar of Salt is relatively new and offers an inventive menu, including a brekky salad. Their service can be a little hit and miss, mostly because they're so busy, but when you taste their coffee you'll be sure to forgive them.
Up towards Burnely, Friends of Mine probably provides the best overall dining experience. They've got a bit more space than the others, so you won't feel so 'crammed in'. Their service is at a standard you'd expect from an upper-end restaurant, yet they still manage to do the whole thing with personality. Best of all, their menu is a selection of simple, fresh, quality ingredients combined in ways that are interesting without being over the top.
A word of warning: I don't recommend trying to dine at Demitri's or Pillar of Salt with kids. I've watched too many parents struggle. Friends of Mine is cash only, so be sure to visit an ATM on the way.
2. Eat Pho. In the few short blocks between Hoddle St and Burnely St, Victoria St has over 25 restaurants, most of them Vietnamese. This is undoubtedly the place to go for Pho. Every local has their favourite, which they'll swear up and down is better than all the others. But, having eaten at more than a third of the places on offer, I've never had a bad experience. My advice is to just go for a wander, and experiment with wherever takes your fancy.
3.Buy some bargain underwear. A trip to Dimmey's (on Swan St) is not quite the experience it once was. It used to be the poor man's department store, offering everything from shoe repair to haircuts, but now feels half empty and doesn't have nearly as many services. There is one redeeming feature, though, that still makes it well worth a visit. And it isn't even inside the building.
Out the front door and around the corner, in Green St, the most amazing mural runs the whole length of the building. Depicting the history of Dimmeys, all the way from 1853, this is a stunning piece of graffiti art by Hayden Dewar. And, while you're there, you can pick up some brand-name knickers for a song.
4.Go to the park. Got kids? Got a dog? Got friends or family? Any of the above will do. Pick up some snags, maybe a six-pack, and head to the Mary St Park. There you'll find wide open spaces, a playground, an area where your dog can run leash-less, and free barbecues. Such a cheap and pleasant way to while away a summer afternoon.
5. Have a cocktail. Der Raum is truly the hidden gem of Richmond. This rather fancy little cocktail bar has no signage, and you have to press a buzzer to gain entry. But don't be intimidated. Once you're inside the superb service can only be described as friendly and approachable. Which, frankly, you'd expect for a bar that charges more for a drink than many restaurants do for a main meal.
Regular winners of awards including Cocktail Bar of the Year, listed as one of Australia's Ten Most Influential Bars, and No. 12 on the World's 50 Best Bars, Der Raum really is an experience worth the price tag. These drinks are better described as works of art.
Of course, you can order your favourite classic (and this will probably be the best rendition of it you've ever tried), but surely you'd rather get into the spirit of adventure and try something from their unique menu. If you're uncertain, the bartender will be happy to recommend. They even do a drinks degustation on Friday and Saturday nights.
Best to make a booking, but you sometimes get lucky if you just show up.