Melbourne is known as Australia’s culinary capital. Despite practically being a galaxy away from the world’s other noted food cities, the restaurants in Melbourne more than hold their own against the best.
You could bounce between restaurants like a Roomba, hoovering up every tasty morsel insight, and still never make it through everything worth eating in this mouthwatering melting pot.
But who could begin to keep track of them all in the first place? Melbourne’s best restaurants come and go faster than celebrity marriages, and unless you’re Bourdain or Batali, you’re probably not keeping up.
Never fear. We’ve got your back and your stomach with a guide to some of the restaurants in Melbourne you simply have to try. A mix of essentials and upstarts, this list should be enough to keep your tastebuds busy (for a little while, at least). From fine dining tasting menu to cheap eats, these are all Melbourne’s finest restaurants guaranteed to satisfy every man’s appetite.
A quick list of Melbourne’s best restaurants…
223 High St, Prahran, VIC 3181
The Commune Group are imperative to the Melbourne food scene as they founded Hanoi Hannah, Tokyo Tina, Neptune and now their latest addition, Firebird.
This flame driven restaurant is situated along High Street in Prahran and offers delicious Southeast Asian food. This venue can fit 110 diners with its interiors designed by renowned architecture firm Ewert Leaf, who has created an extremely modern space inspired by Vietnam’s smokey street food stalls. Go on their website and book now, as this trendy restaurant tends to fill up quickly.
“I honestly think Firebird ticks all the boxes. If you want really delicious Vietnamese food with a difference, great atmosphere that feels cool without being pretentious and super knowledgeable, friendly staff, then you should give it a try.”SJCMelb (TripAdvisor)
191 Swan St, Richmond, VIC 3121
If you’re looking for simple, elegant Japanese restaurant in Melbourne, look no further than Future Future. What used to be an old art gallery now has transformed into a modern eatery paying homage to Japanese street style and culture. Future Future offers a unique dining experience from the moment you’re seated in their exquisite dining room.
To start, you’ll receive some sweet-potato crisps and a cup of camomile, green and mandarin-rind tea, a little taste of the mouthwatering food to come.
“Easy Asian fusion, great night out with friends, great addition to Richmond restaurant scene, have already recommended to friends, we’ll be back.”jarn88 (TripAdvisor)
95 Exhibition Street, 80 Collins Precinct, Melbourne, VIC 3000
From the ‘Paddock to plate’, Farmer’s Daughters curates a memorable dining experience, as this iconic Melbourne restaurant celebrates the fantastic fresh produce coming out of Gippsland, Victoria.
The founder of Famer’s Daughters, Peruvian chef Alejandro Saravia, first fell in love with Gippsland in 2016 when he went on a tour there and was instantly taken back by the region’s food quality and biodiversity. This led him to become an ambassador for the area and launch Farmer’s Daughters earlier this year – and we’re so grateful he did.
“What a fantastic new addition to the Melbourne restaurant scene. Karla took great care of us and was incredibly knowledgeable about the menu”Coastal824336 (TripAdvisor)
80 Collins St, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Chris Lucas is the great mind behind some of Melbourne’s greatest restaurants, including this gem, inspired by Australian contemporary culture. A state of Australian design and modernity, this stylish dining room is filled with grey-toned curtains, plush circular booths, crystal chandeliers and conveniently sits on Collins Street in the heart of the CBD.
If it’s fine dining you’re after, Society is an absolute must-try.
“There is nothing not to love about this restaurant. The venue is beautiful, the service was attentive and the food a visual and delectable delight.”miss goldie (Google Reviews)
98 Chapel St, Windsor, VIC 3181
Speaking of Chris Lucas, this fine food and beer hall is another of the restauranteur’s most popular endeavours. Inspired by the vibrant hawker centres of Singapore & Malaysia, Hawker Hall serves some of the most delectable Asian fusion food, making it an incredibly popular restaurant with both locals and tourists alike. Great food met with a great vibrant, bustling atmosphere. Is there anything more you could ask for?
“This was not our first visit, everytime we are in Melbourne we pop in as the food is so good! Best to call ahead for a table as they can get super busy, they also do take away.”hisandherstravel (TripAdvisor)
Tres a Cinco
3-5 Hosier Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Frank Camorra of MoVida fame has opened up another great eatery in Hosier Lane, now with a fresh-faced Mexican cantina. What initially started as a side project of takeaway food packs quickly developed into this authentic Mexican restaurant due to its extreme popularity.
Tres a Cinco offers an incredibly satisfying menu that serves up some of the more indulgent tacos, tamales and Mexican inspired desserts. However, if you’re looking for an excellent beverage to pair with your meal, Tres a Cinco also has a carefully selected drinks menu of up to 20 cocktails based around tequila or mezcal, including eight different Margaritas.
“This place is really nice. The decor and atmosphere is very pleasing to the eye. The food was great, one of the best fish tacos I’ve ever had.”Tim Manton (Google Reviews)
99 Rose St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Those seeking out a plant-based menu, listen up because Transformer offers an extensive menu of the most innovative vegetarian and vegan dishes around. Based in Fitzroy, this vegetarian restaurant by Laki Papadopoulos and Mark Price is the pinnacle of seasonal dining in the Melbourne restaurant scene, as Transformer often gets its produce from small scale growers to offer up the freshest yet tastiest dishes.
After you’ve eaten your main, make sure you try their incredible selection of ever-changing desserts. Go on, you deserve it.
“Expect an explosion of great food taste. What a great place for a special dinner.”JoAigner (TripAdvisor)
St Mary’s Building, Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford VIC, 3067
If you’re looking for a restaurant in Melbourne where soul food, beer, sake and coffee collide, then Kappaya has answered your prayers. This little gem hidden away in Abbotsford Convent serves up some incredible bento boxes and other Japanese specialties, all of which will leave you oh so satisfied.
Also, there are many Japanese craft beers supplied from the Sapporo brewery if you’re after an icy cold beverage to down your meal with. Kappaya doesn’t have a website unfortunately, so if you want to make sure there is space for you, be sure to call ahead.
“A gorgeous japanese couple run the cafe and couldn’t have done more for us. The menu was limited and simple but delicious.”Srslyfoods (Zomato)
Call: +613 9461 0070
Gimlet at Cavendish House
33 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Gimlet is Andrew Mcconnell’s (Cutler & Co) latest addition to the Melbourne fine dining scene and was easily one of 2020s most anticipated new restaurants. Set inside the Chicago-style 1920s Cavendish House, Gimlet offers a delicious selection of local seafood, hearty wood-fired mains and a cocktail list curated by Head bartender Cameron Paris, who is also the brains behind the restaurant’s catchy name.
“Despite visiting with super high expectations, we were exceedingly impressed with the food, the sublime service, and the lovely ambiance.”SeaDreaming22 (TripAdvisor)
122 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000
If you’re craving exquisite small plates and great live music inside an industrial-chic wine bar, you have to try one of the more unique restaurants in Melbourne; Embla. Head Chef Dave Verheul and wine connoisseur Christian McCabe have joined forces to offer one of the best wine bars that truly feels like an extension of your lounge room.
Feeling a bit peckish? Why not start with their quinoa & rosemary sourdough with grain mustard butter or their burrata with spring vegetables and pair it with one of their fine French wines.
“Embla is an atmospheric wine bar with a wonderful range of share plates.”Hugbug23 (TripAdvisor)
Vesper Bistro and Bar
23/25 Toorak Rd, South Yarra VIC, 3141
Taken from Vesper Lynd, a famous Bond girl from the James Bond franchise, comes Vesper Bistro and Bar, a new food hub in South Yarra specialising in European cuisine. Vesper Bistro and Bar will make you feel like you’ve been whisked away to the Mediterranean islands with dishes full of flavour and vibrant colour from the islands of Greece, Spain, Italy and France, fusing a contemporary approach to fine dining.
Their À La Carte Menu is available for bookings for up to 6 people, so make sure you get in quick.
“And the food is amazing we managed to taste not quite everything on the menu but everything we had was deliciously tasty compliments to the chef.”AngieDJ1234 (TripAdvisor)
Level 1, ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne VIC 3000
Tucked away inside ACMI is Hero, a place where the ideas of film, food, music and art are combined to create a hotspot where creative minds come together. This understated yet refined cafe and bar has a seasonally driven menu made with local produce curated by renowned local chef Karen Martini. While you’re here, make sure you also try their flavoursome range of bespoke cocktails.
“We had a fabulous time having a leisurely lunch. The service was great, the menu and food interesting, different and delicious, all accompanied by some lovely sparkling wine.”Kaye D (TripAdvisor)
Al Dente Enoteca
161-163 Nicholson St, Carlton VIC 3053
In April of 2020, Italian pasta chef Andrea Vignali launched her very own restaurant in Melbourne, Al Dente Enoteca, amid the global pandemic. This restaurant initially began as a delivery service solely providing pasta dishes to Melbournians stuck in lockdown; however, this little passion project of Vignail’s was immensely popular, leading to the opening of Al Dente Enoteca.
While you’re here, you must try the artichoke filled tortellini or even crab ravioli. Our stomachs are rumbling just thinking about it.
“This was one of the BEST dining experiences we have had in 2021! The pastas are to die for.”AJ (Google Reviews)
11-13 Carlisle St, St Kilda VIC 3182
Located in Carlise Street, St Kilda, This iconic Melbourne restaurant has been serving up some of the city’s best tacos, margaritas and beer since 2012. Radio Mexico serves up spicy authentic Mexican flavours that are sure to pack a punch and keep you on your toes. Radio Mexico is all about the finer details when it comes to their food.
Everything from the house-made salsa to their three-cheese nachos featuring roasted pumpkin and toasted pepitas; shows this restaurant is the benchmark for Mexican cuisine.
“Mexican food that’s hearty and not pretentious margaritas that are dangerously good! Very accomodating staff and great atmosphere!”Lia11118888 (TripAdvisor)
49 Rathdowne St, Carlton VIC 3053
Situated in a picturesque 19th-century building with a stunning view of the Carlton Gardens, Epocha is Melbourne’s answer to modern Greek food that combines fresh Australian produce. Angie Giannakodakis (co-owner of Hellenic Republic) and Guy Holder (The Press Club, Rockpool) have joined forces offering a dining experience from a double-storied terrace that has been restored but still has remnants of the Victorian Era.
Epocha not only serves delicious food, but they have an extensive wine list that showcases Australia’s rich biodiversity.
“The venue is gorgeous. The menu was a marvelous and generous range of traditional Elyros-style entrées, main and dessert. The professional service was impeccable.”Lydia D (TripAdvisor)