For some people, celebrating a significant event like a birthday or anniversary by treating themselves to a meal at a fancy restaurant is the icing on the cake.
Even if you don't fall into this category, almost everyone can appreciate the feeling of being pampered for several hours while sitting at a table with loved ones. You don't have to be the host to enjoy this.
These areas do a better job of it than anyone else. To put it succinctly, you're in charge of arranging the event, while the wait staff is in charge of providing the special.
Give us a shout, and we'll fill you in on the best birthday restaurants in Melbourne, where you can pick from a rooftop setting or a basement adorned with lanterns, depending on your mood.
Matteo's opened in 1994 on a more residential stretch of Brunswick Street in the Fitzroy North area. Things have changed quite a bit in the area since then. What about Matteo's, by the way? In all candour, it has and it hasn't happened yet. Indeed, that is its greatest charm.
Pignatelli has always had complete faith in his chefs, and they have complete freedom in the kitchen within reason. Thanks to this shrewd strategy, the eatery has maintained its cutting-edge status despite its more conventional leanings.
Even though Prignatelli gives his chef unrestricted artistic licence, the wine list is a different story. It's highly unlikely that anyone will ever have any insight into orange wine. The wait staff, many of whom have been with the restaurant for more than ten years, are knowledgeable about the wines and can help you find a bottle that suits your tastes without breaking the bank.
Scott Pickett started working in kitchens in 1989, and this year marks the 30th anniversary of his first day on the job. The groundbreaking restaurant Noma changed the way the world talked about food, but his impressive career began long before that.
This is reflected in his dining establishments, especially Estelle, but also Matilda and Saint Crispin. Even though the menu reflects an up-to-date appreciation for seasonality and local ingredients, it maintains a familiar taste. It may come as a surprise, but even the seemingly easiest dishes require a fair amount of skill to prepare.
Berkshire pork is sliced, doused in jus, and served with a single wilted mustard leaf and kohlrabi shavings. Traditional cacio e Pepe flavours are concealed beneath a layer of yellowish, ephemeral foam that surrounds the hand-rolled macaroni. Instead of miniature elbows, the macaroni is in the shape of long, skinny tubes (cheese and pepper). In spite of its high level of sophistication, this is the kind of food that can be enjoyed by anyone. In the words of Pickett, it has "a touch of innovation without being scary or confronting," and we couldn't have said it better ourselves.
The main dining room at Estelle is defined by a striking interlocking-hoop light fixture designed by Christopher Boots; a wine bar that serves as a waiting room with its menu; and a courtyard with greenery and a partial roof.
If you're in the mood for some serious eating, the restaurant offers a five-course tasting menu for $90, with matched wines for $60; however, this format may feel a little out of place in such a lively environment. And if you're looking for variety, ordering a la carte is always an option. Many of the higher-priced wines on the list are available by the glass thanks to the vacuum-sealing capability of the Coravin system.
Scott Pickett's Matilda, a restaurant with an emphasis on fire and smoke, features only a series of glass museum-style cabinets housing botanical installations as decoration. These structures feature everything from fermenting persimmons to flowering artichoke plants. Exhibits get a makeover once a season.
Hugh Makin is also a furniture maker, and his dining tables are in the aesthetically pleasing category.
Two trees were felled in the Otways, and their trunks and branches were used to create sculptures that serve as tabletops.
When you walk into the South Yarra restaurant where Pickett has set up his tribute to Australia, you can tell right away that he has done his research. A series of reddish-brown arches with holes in them form the low ceiling. The hue is reminiscent of the Red Center and the iconic Uluru.
The long bar, which faces the open kitchen, is flanked by stacks of native wood. Then there's the food, which includes finger-lime-laced spanner crab, John Dory marinated in a native spin on French grenobloise, and a Tarte Tatin piled high with pink lady apples. Each dish is made from scratch using only fresh, regional ingredients.
The owner-chef collaborated with Projects of Imagination, a design firm, to bring his vision to life, and the result is a fit-out unlike any other in Melbourne. While its sophistication and originality may be on par with that of works from other countries, there is no mistaking its uniquely Australian origins (for example, it is an impressive space whether it were located in Sydney or in Manhattan).
Both lûmé and good fortune have traditionally favoured those willing to take calculated risks. Since its 2015 opening, Shaun Quade's avant-garde restaurant has been pushing the boundaries of traditional fine dining with its groundbreaking 14-course tasting menu. In 2019, Quade left New York for Los Angeles, where he took over as general manager of Lûmé and handed over creative direction to John Rivera, then 25 years old. After 2020, Rivera left the restaurant to pursue other interests, leaving the kitchen in the hands of chef Elijah Holland.
Lûmé's menu has recently undergone a major overhaul, with diners now having the option of ordering anywhere from four to nine courses for between $175 and $245. Dishes featured on the show are contemporary, simple, and not influenced by any one cuisine or culture.
The Great Ocean duck, with its leg, breast, and heart topped with bright, seasonal berries; the calamari hidden cheekily under cucumber, chrysanthemum, and charred coconut; and the mango dessert with yoghurt, hops, and crystallised saltbush, best described as a couture version of a Weis bar, are the shining highlights.
Everything from the appetisers to the entrees to the desserts is brought out slowly and deliberately, giving the impression that it was not staged at all. The team has unparalleled knowledge and genuine interest in their work. Wine, sake, beer, and cocktail pairings not only complement but sometimes overshadow Lûmé's culinary creativity.
This restaurant occupies a Victorian townhouse that was once a popular spot for burlesque shows. The walls of this cave, which are a warm peach colour and feature an intricate textural pattern, are covered with lifelike paintings of ancient hunter-gatherers. The brickwork and blonde wood joinery from the building's original construction are visible through these openings in the walls. The plates and cutlery used at the establishment all feature the diacritic that is used for the name of the place. An emphasis on minute details is paramount.
Amaru has no interest in being categorised. Debut restaurant owner and chef Clinton McIver refuses to categorise his establishment, Armadale, as "modern Australian" because it transcends that genre. It's what we mean when we say "contemporary Australian cuisine," and it's a mash-up of influences from all over the world.
Micro-cement, which has an extremely fine texture, has been used to render the walls. Stained and polished concrete makes up the floor. The shelves, bars, and waiter stations' dark wood came from a long-demolished brick factory in Melbourne, Australia.
All eyes are on the upscale degustation menu. Serve crispy potatoes dusted with seaweed and vinegar powder alongside blue swimmer crab, compressed plum, and frozen macadamia milk.
There is a list of about a hundred vignerons from Australia, France, and Italy; wine is not complicated.
One of the worst parts of travelling is having to return to your regular routine at work. Nonetheless, middle-aged chef Charlie Carrington discovered a way to take his getaways with him wherever he went. The South Yarra location of his restaurant, Atlas, is like a literary journal for foodies. Carrington visited 15 different countries over the course of eight months, and while there he ate at some of the finest restaurants in Antwerp, San Francisco, and Mexico City. Carrington's travels allowed him to experience a wide variety of cuisines, and this book chronicles them all.
Atlas reimagines its menu and cuisine every four months, with new additions appearing every week. It was comprehensive, covering all of Vietnam; the set menu was heavily influenced by northern Vietnamese cuisine from the city of Sapa. Menu items included mackerel in caramel sauce with daikon and carrots and wood-roasted cauliflower with South Australian clams, lemongrass, and ginger. At the table, the tartare of Wagyu beef was topped with the fragrant, fatty top layer of pho broth. Carrington's research trip to Israel was the impetus for his exploration of Israeli cuisine.
Carrington's experience at Firedoor, a bar in Sydney, has had a major effect on Atlas. He also built a wood-burning oven and put in a grill he had conceptualised himself.
Australians Belinda Pajkovic and Tamara Frangelli designed the room. For the decor, they opted for leather banquettes, white birch wood, and a four-meter-wide brass compass mounted to the ceiling. Whenever Atlas makes a new selection in its menu, new coordinates are added to the map and the space is divided by longitudinal lines.
It's been said many times before, but it bears repeating: "a sense of place" is essential for a restaurant to succeed internationally. To put it another way, it should incorporate local products and motifs while still being influenced by global perspectives.
For lack of a better word, this reeks of pompousness. Despite the fact that much of the food we eat today is the product of globalisation, industrialisation, and homogenization, it still has the potential to yield delicious dishes when properly prepared. The only way to experience this for yourself is to get a reservation at the world-famous Attica, which can be difficult to do at peak times.
Cutler & Co.
Cutler & Co is the most refined of Andrew McConnell's dining establishments, which also include Cumulus Inc., Marion, and Supernormal. Unfortunately, that doesn't reveal very much, does it? It's no surprise that this upscale restaurant has adopted a more laid-back vibe in recent years.
Cumulus's a la carte menu is organised in a fashion that's consistent with the rest of the restaurant's offerings. Small, elegant appetisers like oysters, duck hearts with parsley and horseradish, and buckwheat pikelets topped with caviar are typically served to set the tone for the meal.
However, if you want to emphasise the "fine dining" nature of Cutler & Co., degustation is the way to go (or simply want to make your meal last longer). Six courses are available for $150 per person, with matched wines chosen from a growing list (our preference).
On Sundays, guests can order from a $75 per person shared set menu.
Former Attica chef Peter Gunn has debuted his first brick-and-mortar eatery, Ides. He ran IDES as a pop-up shop for three years before settling into a permanent location on Smith Street in March 2016.
It's dimly lit, with grey leather-topped tables spaced far apart. There are only 36 seats total. Australian artists from the middle of the 20th century have painted murals on the walls. A "super pass," or central plating station for the chefs, has been installed in the former bar area.
Gunn intended for diners at Ides to have a different experience than those at Attica, but the hushed, gray-carpeted room, the tiny kitchen, and the structure of the set menu all harken back to Attica in some way. But these are superficial comparisons at best. If there must be a comparison, I would say it is most conceptually similar to Attica's chef's table nights. Rather than focusing on providing a flawless experience, the menu is more open-ended and innovative during these occasions.
Four or six courses of small plates are available at Ides's restaurant. There are constant, and oftentimes impromptu, changes to the menu's offerings. Gunn appreciates acting on the spur of the moment because, in his opinion, it keeps the energy levels up in the kitchen. Since you never know what kind of night you'll have, it keeps things interesting.
Gunn, a popular restaurant in San Francisco, is renowned for its inventive, flavorful dishes that place a premium on preparation. Examples of items that might be found on the menu include grilled nori, charred avocado with golden trout roe, and marron tail with green cabbage.
Japanese sushi master Koichi Minamishima is trying his hand at entrepreneurship with this intimate forty-seat eatery. The nigiri at this restaurant are completely unadulterated and delicious (raw fish on seasoned rice). As a side dish, you won't find any hand rolls, teriyaki, or miso. Take the standard into account. Think about Jiro. Think of something delicious.
There is typically very little to choose from. The first is a 15-course sushi omakase (chef's choice) dinner at the long bar for $185 per person. The second option, which takes place in a classy but unassuming dining room, costs the same as the first, at $185 per person. For groups of three or more, this could be a better choice. Sharing plates will be followed by ten courses of individual sushi and then dessert.
Three separate rooms are available, each with space for up to eight people. Two of these rooms even have their own personal sushi chefs and sushi bars built right in! The available selection varies from day to day, but it may include such Hokkaido specialities as engawa (sea flounder fin), origami (Japanese cockle), and uni (sea urchin roe).
Sommelier and wine director Randolph Cheung is widely recognised for his extensive wine knowledge. With sake as the featured beverage, he worked with chef Minamishima to pair each course with a different exceptional sake, beautifully demonstrating the beverage's versatility.
Chin Chin, Baby, Kong, and Hawker Hall, all of which are also owned by the Lucas Group, are not very comparable to Kisumé.
There is no bass-heavy music to be found. There should be no blaring music or other distractions. No casually dressed wait staff members are on duty at this establishment. The walls shouldn't be painted in bright, bold colours. There is also the possibility of making a reservation. In other words, there will be no waiting in line.
There are three distinct difficulty levels to choose from. Woods Marsh, a local firm, was responsible for designing the land, and their muted colour palette of black, grey, and buffed metals serves as a perfect backdrop for the striking photographs by Polly Borland and Nobuyoshi Araki.
Kuro Kisumé, a hidden restaurant atop the main eatery, serves traditional Japanese cuisine in a more cosy, intimate setting, in the kaiseki style. To complement the raw seafood, try one of the eighty crisp chardonnays available at the adjacent waiting area/bar, appropriately named "The Chablis Bar."
On the first floor, you'll find an enormous sushi bar designed in the New York style. Guests can watch the chefs prepare fresh seafood from Australia and New Zealand, including bluefin tuna, salmon, prawns, and sea bream.
The restaurant's busiest area is actually the basement, which is located below ground level. It has the restaurant's only hot kitchen, the largest semi-private nook, and the highest concentration of closely spaced tables.
Pan-fried dumplings stuffed with prawn and foie gras, grilled Hiramasa kingfish with a meaty, umami bite, and maple-and-soy-glazed Berkshire pork ribs that will have your whole table grinning greasy smiles can all be found in the hot section.
In addition to the Chablis, the extensive drinks list also includes several authentic cocktails and some surprisingly decent house specialities. Hawkers in Reservoir is responsible for the brewing of the beverages that are then bottled at Yabby Lake in Victoria under the Shiki label. The area around Yokohama is famous for its sake.
Since its opening in 1994, Matteo's has been considered one of the most innovative restaurants in the world. The wait staff is well-versed in the wine list and can assist you in making a selection. Scott Pickett's first day of work was 30 years ago on Estelle. "a touch of innovation without being scary or confronting" describes the food created by Chef Scott Pickett. The $90 five-course tasting menu features both finger-lime-laced spanner crab and John Dory marinated crab.
The Victorian townhouse that now houses Lûmé was once the site of frequent burlesque performances. The 14-course tasting menu at Shaun Quade's experimental eatery is a major departure from the norm for high-end restaurants. All of the recipes showcased on the show are completely original and have no roots in any particular culture or cuisine. When it comes to food, Atlas Dining is the equivalent of a literary magazine. For eight months, celebrity chef Charlie Carrington travelled to 15 countries.
Wood-roasted cauliflower with South Australian clams and mackerel in caramel sauce with daikon and carrots were among the dishes offered. Andrew McConnell's most sophisticated restaurant is undoubtedly Cutler & Co. Peter Gunn, formerly of the acclaimed Attica, has opened his first restaurant, Ides. The a la carte menu at Cumulus is laid out in a way that is in keeping with the rest of the restaurant. Gunn is well-known for its creative, flavorful, and meticulously-prepared dishes.
This cosy restaurant with seating for only forty is Koichi Minamishima's first foray into the business world. The items on the menu are always shifting, and many times these shifts are done on the fly. In a more intimate setting, Kisumé offers authentic Japanese cuisine. Chef Minamishima and sommelier/wine director Randolph Cheung have collaborated to pair each course with an excellent sake. New York-style fresh seafood from Australia and New Zealand is served at a massive sushi bar.
- The icing on the cake for some people is treating themselves to a meal at an upscale restaurant on a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary.
- Send us a message, and we'll give you the lowdown on the best birthday restaurants in Melbourne, where you can choose between a rooftop setting and a basement decorated with lanterns.
- Scott Pickett's Matilda, a restaurant that focuses on fire and smoke, is decorated solely with a collection of glass display cases reminiscent of those found in museums, each of which contains an arrangement of plants.
- You can tell right away that Pickett has put in the time and effort to create a fitting tribute to Australia in the South Yarra restaurant where he has displayed his work.
- Shaun Quade's experimental restaurant has been breaking new ground in the world of fine dining ever since it opened in 2015. The restaurant's signature 14-course tasting menu is considered a culinary revolution.
- The menu at Lûmé has recently been revamped, and diners can now choose from four to nine courses for between $175 and $245.
- When we say "contemporary Australian cuisine," we mean a fusion of ingredients and techniques from all over the world.
- Atlas, one of his restaurants, has a South Yarra outpost that serves as something of a literary journal for gourmands.
- During his eight-month trip, Carrington visited 15 countries and dined at some of the world's best restaurants, including those in Antwerp, San Francisco, and Mexico City.
- Among Andrew McConnell's restaurants, Cutler & Co is the most refined. His other restaurants include Cumulus Inc., Marion, and Supernormal.
- Peter Gunn, formerly of the acclaimed Attica, has opened his first restaurant, Ides.
- If we must draw parallels, I'd say it's most like Attica's chef's table nights in terms of concept.
- The restaurant on Ides offers a choice of four or six courses of small plates.
- The cuisine at Gunn, a popular restaurant in San Francisco, is known for its creativity and flavour.
- Kaiseki-style traditional Japanese fare is served in a more intimate setting at the hidden restaurant Kuro Kisumé, located atop the main eatery.
- One can find a huge New York-style sushi bar on the ground floor.
FAQs About Melbourne Restaurants
The best birthday restaurants in Melbourne are:
- The Brunswick Mess Hall, whimsical decor, private spaces and amazing food, guest rating: 5/5
- La Di Da is a stylish restaurant with multiple function spaces, guest rating: 4.6/5
- Locanda Restaurant & Bar, flexible event spaces and Australian-inspired cuisine, guest rating: 4.6/5
When looking for restaurants in Melbourne, consider Docklands with its easy pedestrian access to a wide variety of establishments. For a more ethnic approach to your celebration, check out Chinatown and the Italian options in Lygon Street. Also, look at the options on Fitzroy and Brunswick Streets, a well-known dining area for a great range of venues.
Unique Birthday Ideas in Melbourne - Fun & Memorable Ways to Celebrate
- Have fun looking for clues on a mystery picnic.
- Enjoy a bird's eye view of Phillip Island aboard a helicopter.
- Find your zen at the Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs.
- Experience a unique weekend getaway at a tiny house.
- Eat your way around Yarra Valley.
- Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.
- Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
- National Gallery of Victoria.
- Eureka Skydeck.
- Dandenong Ranges National Park.
- Old Melbourne Gaol.
- Shrine of Remembrance.
- Queen Victoria Market.
We have narrowed down 8 of the best Melbourne venues to host your 40th birthday party below:
- GARDEN STATE HOTEL.
- THE NATIONAL HOTEL.
- BOMBA ROOFTOP BAR.
- WATERSLIDE BAR.
- TERMINUS HOTEL.
- MON BIJOU.
- THE GEORGE LOUNGE.