Melbourne is often referred to as the food capital of Australia, and for good reason. With a diverse multicultural population and a passion for good food, Melbourne offers an exciting culinary scene with a variety of cuisines and dining experiences. From fine dining establishments to hip eateries in laneway locations, there is something to satisfy every palate. This list highlights some of the top restaurants that are considered must-visits for both locals and visitors.
10 Best Restaurants Melbourne Has To Offer
- Attica – This contemporary fine dining restaurant serves innovative modern Australian cuisine. Chef Ben Shewry crafts unique tasting menus using indigenous ingredients and creative cooking techniques. Attica has been ranked on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and is considered one of Australia’s best dining experiences.
- Chin Chin – With a lively atmosphere and delicious Thai food, Chin Chin is a perennially popular dining spot. Shared plates like kingfish sashimi, chicken satay and stir fried morning glory keep diners returning for more. Their innovative cocktails are also a highlight.
- Vue de Monde – Situated on the 55th floor of the Rialto building, Vue de Monde offers stunning panoramic views over Melbourne from its fine dining restaurant. The contemporary French-inspired menu features high quality ingredients prepared with precision. Executive chef Hugh Allen heads things up at one of the best restaurants in Melbourne’s CBD
- Tonka – This contemporary Indian restaurant serves share style dining in an inviting warehouse setting. Chef Adam D’Sylva’s menu combines traditional Indian flavors with modern techniques and presentation. Favorites include dosas, charcoal grilled paneer and fragrant curries.
- Ides – Chef Peter Gunn crafts a multi-course tasting menu that showcases the best seasonal produce. The kitchen team pays attention to every detail, resulting in creative and beautifully plated dishes paired with interesting beverage options.
- Supernormal – Andrew McConnell’s Japanese-inspired eatery pairs punchy cocktails with creative shared plates. Dishes like tempura fried enoki mushrooms, freshly shucked oysters and lobster rolls keep the atmosphere buzzing. Their New England lobster roll is legendary.
- Cutler & Co – Chef Andrew McConnell serves up fresh contemporary Australian cuisine focusing on quality ingredients. Dishes change seasonally and may include roasted duck breast or caramelized scallops. The space is sophisticated yet relaxed.
- Estelle – With its airy space and open kitchen, Estelle is a popular spot for seasonal modern Australian cuisine. Dishes celebrate vegetables, like roasted heirloom carrots with smoked labneh and dukkah. Their desserts are also standouts.
- Lee Ho Fook – This vibrant restaurant offers Chinese-inspired sharing plates alongside creative cocktails. Dishes like barbecue pork buns, wok fried greens and crispy eggplant with red vinegar are designed to be shared. The vibe is laid-back and fun.
- Lûmé – Chef Shaun Quade’s innovative tasting menus take diners on a culinary journey celebrating Australian produce. Dishes feature unique flavors and textures, like scallop baked in hay smoked butter. Lûmé has received one chef’s hat in the Age Good Food Guide.
Closely Followed Up By
Yes some of this is very subjective! Melbourne has so many wonderful restruants that limiting it to 10 is just wrong. Here are few others to inspire you:
Alta Trattoria – This modern Italian restaurant in Collingwood focuses on handmade pastas and wood-fired pizzas. The rustic, homey space pairs nicely with the fresh pasta specialties like squid ink spaghetti and roast pumpkin ravioli.
Flower Drum – An upscale Cantonese institution known for refined classics like Peking duck, lobster, and aromatic crispy chicken. The elegant decor provides a destination dining experience.
Tipo 00 – Tipo 00 charms with its bustling open kitchen and handmade pasta focus. Their pasta and pizza menus feature classics like ravioli, gnocchi, and Margherita pizza fired up in a wood-burning oven.
Gimlet – Gimlet is a stylish cocktail bar and restaurant located in the Cavendish House. The menu features contemporary cuisine focusing on quality ingredients. It’s known for great drinks and a sophisticated vibe.
Reine and La Rue – This restaurant is situated in Melbourne’s historic Old Stock Exchange building. It offers modern Australian cuisine in an elegant, heritage setting with soaring ceilings.
Embla – Embla is a hip wine bar serving creative small plates showcasing seasonal produce. The menu changes regularly but always impresses with dishes like grilled octopus and smoked burrata.
Serai – Serai provides a fine dining Indian experience with modern takes on classics. Standouts include venison seekh kebab, goat curry, and an extensive wine list. The sleek space matches the sophisticated cuisine.
Amaru – Translating to “a beautiful place,” Amaru offers intimate fine dining with a focus on modern Australian tasting menus. Dishes celebrate textures and balance using local ingredients.
Maha – Maha impresses with its upscale modern Middle Eastern cuisine. Chef Shane Delia puts a creative spin on dishes like muhammara, falafel, labneh, and pides at this trendy spot.
Akaiito – This contemporary Japanese restaurant crafts an elegant kaiseki dining experience with a tasting menu showcasing seasonal ingredients. Dishes feature precise Japanese techniques.
In addition to Australian fare, Melbourne offers an array of international cuisines. Italian restaurants serve up perfect pasta and pizza, while Greek establishments provide fresh seafood and sizzling grills. Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants offer authentic dishes from fresh pho to sizzling hot pots. Exotic Thai flavors tantalize taste buds, and Japanese sushi bars impress with their fresh seafood. Mexican restaurants spice things up with tacos and tequila, while burger joints sate meat cravings. With its multicultural population, Melbourne has an exciting diversity of flavors.
What Dish Where? Melbourne Food Inspiration
Sometimes finding the right restaurant to go and visit is simply a matter of looking at something on the menu that takes your fancy. Here are a few to get you started.
Grilled lamb sweetbreads with asparagus – Vue de Monde
Warm marron roe custard – Vue de Monde
Peking duck pancakes – Flower Drum
Fried noodles topped with spanner crab and pineapple – Serai
Smoked Duck Liver with onion, buckwheat and rose geranium – Amaru
Slow-roasted lamb shoulder – Maha
Robata-grilled marron with kombu butter at the omakase bar – Akaiito
Spaghettini with Moreton Bay Bugs, garlic, chilli, and rocket – Bacaro
Beef tartare with bone marrow Brulee – Bacaro
Air-dried Wagyu and anchovy with smoked tomato sorbet – Movida
White-cut pork belly with a spicy prawn dressing – Ides
Venison tartare with fermented beetroot and pickled kohlrabi – Flint
Melbourne’s best dining precincts include the CBD, Fitzroy, Collingwood, Richmond and St Kilda. The city center offers fine dining and hip eateries hidden down laneways. Bustling Chinatown tempts with cheap eats like dumplings and noodle soups. Fitzroy and Collingwood’s hipster vibe is matched by an eclectic mix of bohemian cafes and innovative restaurants. Richmond’s diverse food scene spans Vietnamese pho to Greek seafood. St Kilda’s beachside location beckons with trendy brunch spots and oceanfront restaurants.
For unique dining experiences, Melbourne offers rooftop restaurants, chic wine bars, and secret speakeasies. Rooftop at QT features panoramic views alongside locally inspired cocktails and share plates. Bar Liberty blends theatre and craft cocktails, while Eau de Vie transports you back to 1920s Melbourne with its Prohibition-era vibe.
Best Restaurants in Melbourne for Vegetarians and Vegans
While Melbourne is known for its incredible food scene, it also caters well to vegetarians and vegans. With more Australians adopting plant-based diets, Melbourne’s restaurants have stepped up with delicious meat-free menus. Here are some top picks for vegetarian and vegan dining in Melbourne:
Fancy Hank’s – This upscale plant-based eatery in Brunswick serves artful vegan sharing plates. The rotating seasonal menu always impresses with items like jackfruit carnitas tacos, cashew cheese ravioli, and eggplant schnitzel. Don’t miss their housemade cashew cheeses and meat alternatives.
Lentil as Anything – With several locations across Melbourne, this pay-as-you-feel vegan cafe makes healthy, sustainable eating accessible to all. Their menu changes daily but always features hearty lentil stews, veggie curries, wholesome salads and global flavours. Lentil as Anything has several locations in Melbourne, including Abbotsford, Thornbury, and St Kilda.
Smith & Daughters – Brunch and dinner hot spot Smith & Daughters dishes up creative vegan versions of comfort food and Latin-inspired plates. Their vegan nachos, “fish” tacos and soy “chicken” parma are to die for. Even meat eaters love it.
Matcha Mylkbar – For plant-based sweets, Matcha Mylkbar’s pastel-hued St Kilda cafe showcases unique vegan desserts. Their items like matcha pancakes, macarons and doughnuts are works of art. They also serve colourful vegan breakfasts and lunches.
Yong Green Food in Fitzroy serves creative vegan versions of classic Aussie dishes in a relaxed setting. Their menu features items like tofish and chips, mushroom pie floater, and a vegan twist on the iconic Chiko roll. For brunch, opt for avocado and coconut bacon on sourdough or their take on eggs benedict with smoked tomato hollandaise. Yong Green Food puts a unique vegan spin on Australian cuisine, so you can still get your fix of familiar flavors and dishes. Their innovative approach perfectly encapsulates Melbourne’s adventurous and progressive plant-based dining scene.
As Melbourne’s vegan dining options boom, these restaurants stand out for their high-quality plant-based fare. They make it easy and tantalizing to eat vegan when exploring one of the world’s culinary capitals.
Q: What restaurant has one of the best wine lists in the Melbourne CBD?
A: Grossi Florentino, an upscale Italian institution, boasts an extensive wine list with a focus on Italian varietals. Other renowned wine lists are at Estelle, Saint Crispin, and Cutler & Co.
Q: Which new Melbourne restaurant is generating buzz in 2023?
A: Annam, the latest restaurant by chef Peter Gunn, is one of Melbourne’s most anticipated 2023 openings with its modern Vietnamese menu.
Q: Where are some of the top spots for seafood in the city?
A: Excellent seafood restaurants include Lee Ho Fook for its duck and prawn sang choi bao, and Lagoon Dining on the Yarra River for fresh local seafood with a view.
Q: Where can you find some of the best Italian food in Melbourne?
A: top Italian restaurants in the CBD include Tipo 00, Il Bacaro, and Grossi Florentino. Nearby Lygon Street offers authentic Italian fare.
Q: What restaurant serves innovative Cantonese cuisine?
A: Supernormal uses quality local produce to put a fresh spin on Cantonese share plates and yum cha favorites.
Q: Where are some of the best restaurants located in Melbourne’s CBD?
A: Top restaurants cluster around hotspots like Collins Street, Bourke Street, Flinders Lane, and the neighborhoods of Chinatown and Docklands.
Q: What are some of the city’s best fine dining experiences?
A: Renowned fine dining picks include Attica, Brae, Lume, and Vue de Monde for degustation menus using quality ingredients.
Q: Where can you find excellent restaurants in surrounding areas of Melbourne?
A: Areas like South Yarra, Richmond, Fitzroy, and Collingwood are home to many of Melbourne’s hottest restaurants.
Q: What restaurant is a Melbourne institution known for its seafood?
A: The iconic Flower Drum draws crowds for its signature Peking duck and seafood dishes like marron and caviar.
Q: Where do Melbourne’s top chefs dine on their nights off?
A: Many chefs frequent local institutions like Charcoal Lane and Etta Dining for the quality ingredients and hospitality.
With its vibrant food culture encompassing diverse cuisines, specialty venues, and emphasis on quality, Melbourne provides an exceptional culinary experience. Foodies will delight in the variety of flavors and dining options available in Australia’s culinary capital. From street food to hatted restaurants, Melbourne’s food scene has something to satisfy every craving and budget. Visitors and locals alike will find it a delicious destination for excellent eats.