Live Like a Local: Melbourne (Armadale, Prahran & Toorak)

Live Like a Local: Melbourne (Armadale, Prahran & Toorak)

I’m excited to bring you a brand new segment on Emma Lauren Food: Live Like a Local! Have you always wanted to know where the BEST places to go are when on holiday or wanting to try out new places in your home city? Live Like a Local is your go-to guide for all the hot spots to check out to start and/or maintain your healthy lifestyle.

Live Like a Local is bringing YOU:

  • Cafés and restaurants with healthy menu options
  • Farmers markets to buy fresh, local produce from
  • Health food stores and what discounts they offer
  • Yoga, pilates and gyms worth trying out
  • Local tips about visiting/living in the city

This new segment is brought to you by local ‘guest’ foodies who are passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle and who are happy to share their favourite places with you.

So to start off, I’d like to bring you my own Live Like a Local!

Since moving to Melbourne in April this year, I can say first-hand it can be a bit overwhelming (and exciting!) trying to find new places whilst maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

As Melbourne is such a big city and there are a number of amazing places to try, I’m breaking it down into ‘suburbs’. Today I’ll bring you my favourites of South Melbourne, in particular from Armadale, Prahran and Toorak.

I’m still exploring my new neighborhood, so I’ll be adding to this list of places as I find them!


Melbourne definitely has some of the best cafés and restaurants in Australia, in my opinion. It’s great to see so many healthy options on menus and flexibility when mentioning dietary requirements.

Unfortunately there’s so little time and even less room in my stomach to have tried all these amazing places in Melbourne – I keep adding to my never-ending ‘iPhone notes’ list on a daily basis!

Here’s my pick of the cafés and restaurants I’ve been to so far:

Organica Cafe. Emma Lauren Food.

Almond milk chai latte from Organica Cafe.

Organica Café is located in Hawksburn Village and caters for a variety of dietary requirements. They serve almond milk and have a cabinet full of delicious looking treats and seasonal meals. You must try their almond milk chai latte – a big call but it’s the best I’ve ever had! I’ve only enjoyed their hot beverages and raw food slices but the menu sounds healthy and full of fresh produce. They also have ready-made meals and an organic food store to buy healthy pantry items.

Tall Timber. Emma Lauren Food.

Brunch at Tall Timber

Tall Timber is an amazing brunch spot – their poached eggs are divine! These guys really know quality food and great coffee; it’s definitely value for money. However, be prepared to wait especially on weekends as this is very popular brunch place with the locals. Always a sign of a great café.

Yardmill. Emma Lauren Food.

Almond milk latte from Yardmill

Yardmill, kitchen and grocery, only opened in Toorak Village this past week. I popped in yesterday and was quite impressed with their selection of food and beverages. The variety of seasonal salads, nut butters and cold pressed juices are amazing. Yardmill has a number of healthy desserts too which cater for all dietary requirements. What I really like is they make most of the items on site and they are open till 8pm during the week so if I’m every too exhausted to cook after a busy work day I can just get a healthy dinner from there.

Forest Green is a newly opened café in Armadale and one I stumbled upon when I was out for a morning walk and needed a coffee to warm up! As I’ve only had coffee there I can’t vouch for the food but it sounded yummy and was quite reasonably priced. They also have a ‘hole in the wall’ takeaway area where you can get a coffee from on the go – such a great idea!

Fonda. Emma Lauren Food.

Quinoa chicken salad from Fonda

Fonda is a Mexican restaurant in a number of locations across Melbourne. It’s a quick, tasty and cheap option for a mid-week meal or even lunch. The Chapel St location has a bar upstairs you can have a drink at whilst you wait for your table (which usually isn’t too long, depending on the time you go). Their quinoa chicken salad is my favourite – definitely one I recommend you order!

Saigon Sally. Emma Lauren Food.

Scallops from Saigon Sally

Saigon Sally is a must to try out. The Vietnamese restaurant showcases traditional and fusion dishes which are ideal for sharing. Thus meaning you get to try more of the amazing meals on the menu. As soon as we sat down, I mentioned I was gluten and dairy intolerant to the waiter. They were very accommodating and explained to me what I could/couldn’t have. I highly recommend you book in advance otherwise it could be a bit of a wait for your table. Saigon Sally is the more sophisticated older sister of Hanoi Hannah, which I’m yet to try out.

Local Tip

Something I’m still getting used to is at most restaurants you’re not able to book a table for dinner. You have to go to the restaurant around 6pm then usually have to wait a few hours until you’re seated. So, it’s important to have a nice bar up your sleeve to check out in the area to pass the time. Don’t venture too far though as you often only have 10 -20 minutes to get back to the restaurant before they give your table away.

Farmers Markets


Prahran Market. Emma Lauren Food.

Prahran Market

Prahran Market is just off Chapel St and is a must see. On a Saturday morning it’s bustling with vendors shouting out specials and stores offering testers of their delicious food. It’s the place to buy your fresh produce from whether it is fruit and vegetables, cheese and deli items, freshly baked bread, meats and/or seafood – you really are spoilt for choice.

Prahran Market. Emma Lauren Food.

Fresh produce from Prahran Market

Health Food Stores


Health Food. Emma Lauren Food.

Health food haul

Prahran Health Foods is located near Prahran Market and has a wide selection of health foods. They stock all the big health brands along with their own brand of health foods. You can also purchase supplements and natural cleaning products here. There is 15% off on the first Saturday each month so it makes sense to do one big shop at the start of the month, which should usually last you the whole month or even longer.

iRevive is located in Toorak Village and stocks quality rather than quantity in terms of health foods. There is a whopping 21% off on the first Tuesday and the third Saturday each month. As it is a smaller health food store, I do find it more expensive than a larger one so it definitely pays to wait for the discount days.

In your local supermarket whether it be Woolworths, Thomas Dux or Coles, there is usually a health food section stocking a variety of items (sometimes at a cheaper price than the health food stores). It’s always good to familiarise yourself with these items as it’s often more convenient to pick these up if/when you do a grocery shop.

Fitness: Pilates

I am an avid Pilates goer, something I’ve been enjoying for the past three years. On the Gold Coast I used to go twice a week and do a couple of my own sessions at home. I am yet to find one that suits me in Melbourne so I’ve been doing Pilates at home in the meantime. However if you are looking for some classes, many of my friends go to Kaya Health Club and I’ve heard rave reviews on many occasions.

Local Tips

When visiting Melbourne, a great way to get around is on the tram. They run quite frequently and you can take in some of the sights of Melbourne whilst sitting on there. However, you will have to buy a Myki card from the local newsagency/ticketing machine to be able to use any of the public transport.

The best shopping in this area is on Chapel Street; you will find all your usual suspects there. This is great if you’re visiting Melbourne and only have a few days to explore the city. There are numerous cafés along here for a pit stop during a busy shopping day.

In Hawksburn Village, Toorak Village and High Street Armadale you will find more boutiques that stock some unique pieces. These are only a walk or short tram ride from Chapel Street and aren’t as busy.

Melbourne is known for having four seasons in a day so it’s important to dress accordingly. Layers are ideal and something I am still getting used to. Also, I advise carrying an umbrella everywhere – you never know when the weather will change!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this new segment and I certainly welcome any local suggestions you may have so I can add them to my list to try out!


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