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Photograph: Supplied

CBD lunch guide: Healthy lunches

Eating at your desk today? These are our picks for virtuous meals to have while you're multitasking

By Jess Ho

Can't tear yourself away from your desk for more than a moment? That's no excuse to skip lunch. Check out our guide to Melbourne's best cheap eats, or if you've got more time, lush it out in these venues.

Melbourne's healthy lunches

Earl Canteen
Photograph: Graham Denholm

1. Earl Canteen

Restaurants Melbourne

A front-runner in the expertly made, sustainably sourced salad and sandwich game, Earl has maintained its status and has grown its business to sprawl across the CBD and offer more products than ever. Grab-and-go salads here are more interesting than your average, with additions of hazelnut hummus, krauts and tumeric dressings. For those who require more, protein pots are available to give you an extra serve of salmon, eggs or chickpeas.

2. Butchers Diner

Restaurants Burgers Melbourne

It may not seem like the healthiest place to go to, but the name is a misnomer. Buchers Diner may cater to all your flesh-filled steak and burger needs, but its yakatori-style items, variety of slaws and sides are sure to sate you. Vegans need not miss out, with the vending machine out the front carrying salads, wraps, drinks and treats all for under $10.

Pho Nom
Photograph: Dean Cambray

3. Phở Nom

Restaurants Melbourne

It’s not all noodle soups at this Vietnamese eatery (as delicious as they are); the ready-to-go rice paper rolls come in an array of traditional flavours like crispy pork, prawn and poached chicken, and even cater to the low-carb lovers with slaw and protein only filling. Rice bowls and vermicelli salads come with grilled fish, chicken or pork and are packed with crisp pickles and greens and don’t hold back on flavour.

4. Purple Peanuts Japanese Café

Restaurants Melbourne

This joint is better known for its generous brown rice sushi rolls, but the cold daikon, tofu and broccoli salads are nothing to scoff at. Tatakis, sashimi and dons (rice dishes) here are a filling departure from the hand-held staple. Your tastebuds will thank you for the change.

Laneway Greens
Photography: Supplied

5. Laneway Greens

Restaurants Melbourne

Sometimes making a good salad is just too difficult in your office kitchenette. Laneway Greens has taken all the hard work out of it, and has even gone to the trouble of sourcing super seasonal vegetables, fermenting some of them and cooking a range of ethically raised proteins to suit your tastes. If you’re not in the mood for savoury, the place also has a selection of smoothies and bowls to keep you full without weighing you down.

6. Fonda Mexican: Flinders Lane

Restaurants Melbourne

There’s enough texture and flavour here to keep you feeling satisfied instead of deprived.  Dive into a bright ceviche or a bounty bowl filled with enough vegetables to make you feel like you’re eating the rainbow. Careful on the ordering, though not everything here is great for the health-conscious.


7. Famish'd

Restaurants Melbourne

Famish’d changed the salad bar game when it first opened in 2010, and having more locations than ever is a testament to their quality. Choose a pre-made salad from the salad bar and add a protein, or build your own at the counter. Winter brings a rotating soup-of-the-day that is always interesting and vegetarian. Mop it up with bread from La Madre Bakery if you’re particularly hungry.

8. Nosh - Melbourne City

Restaurants Melbourne

Poke is so hot right now, and Nosh consistently delivers (both figuratively and literally) delicious options from land and sea. Bowls topped with salmon, tuna, prawns, chicken, beef and tempeh are mixed with punchy pickles and an array of umami-laden vegetables. You can even customise your bowl to make sure you get your favourite combination.

More of Melbourne's best meals


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