5 star restaurants in melbourne

How Many 5 Star Restaurants In Melbourne?

There are plenty of 5-star restaurants in Melbourne, but how many of them can you name? In this blog post, we'll take a look at some of Melbourne's most prestigious dining destinations and provide you with all the important information you need to know before making a reservation. 

Whether you're looking for a romantic evening out or a special occasion dinner, we'll point you in the right direction. So without further ado, let's get started!

Melbourne's five-star restaurants

Melbourne is a gastronome's dream destination. We possess some of the most incredible cheffing talents in single pockets of the city than some places to have across the board, and as a result, we've gotten used to being able to dine at the very top of the ladder.

These venues tell you what modern dining was about in 2019. They are the trendsetters, the frontiers people pushing technique, produce and creativity further than ever before, and most importantly, they are all delicious places to spend your time and money.

Next time you want to treat yourself, book a table at one of the top-rated Melbourne restaurants – you won't regret it. 

Navi

You could be forgiven for thinking the Uber driver has made a star-losing mistake pulling up outside Navi. Something about the off-village Yarraville street, the nondescript neighbours, the grey curtains obscuring the view inside conjure that unsettling feeling of “we’re in the wrong place”.

But, lo: Navi does indeed lurk behind those gossamer threads. Inside is a fine dining den of distinction, where cork tiles line the ceiling, moody hues rule the walls, and a mere 25 seats dot the narrow shopfront floor and the bar overlooking the cooking action. 

Taking the great leap into the ownership unknown, chef Julian Hills has bet his family’s future happiness that Yarraville can sustain a good restaurant where tweezers are part of the kitchen arsenal and a $120-a-head, 10-course tasting menu is the price of admission. 

Considering the current wait for a couple of seats at the bar is two months, he’d appear to be onto a winner.

As befitting a chef who helmed Mornington Peninsula winery restaurant Paringa Estate for the past six years and left its mantle groaning with trophies, Hills wasn’t about to open a place with half-priced pizza on Tuesdays. Navi is a chef’s-own temple, down to the a la mode pottery Hills threw himself, the soundtrack of and the package sent in to soften diners up as they acclimatise to the evening ahead (line honours go to the raw wallaby and pickled flowers in its cured egg wrapping, ahead of an overtly sweet black garlic macaron sandwiching salty pops of trout roe).

Pea ice cream with a feta sidekick and broadbean and almond crumble is a gentle meander through fields of green. A single, perfectly sweet scarlet prawn glistening under a chicken and seaweed glaze makes a statement with a puddle of prawn dashi cut with rose geranium, the texture element taken care of thanks to its fried legs laid over the top like a Sicilian curse. 

A cracking piece of striped trumpeter with white asparagus on a smoosh of fermented artichoke with clam butter ups the umami intrigue with the dried, crackle-like union of koji rice flour sheets with saltbush and puffed rice.

The menu sometimes changes daily, sometimes weekly, so we have to inform you the duck two ways is not appearing anymore, although it will be returning eventually. It is worth noting, however, that the neoclassical take is a good one. The dry-aged Macedon Ranges breast with a shattering edge of bird crackle is served on a sticky, sweet-salty plum glaze; the rich comfort of a duck egg chawanmushi, made with bones turned into consommé, is overlaid with nubbles of fermented carrot jerky and an ingratiating hint of aged balsamic.  

Lesa

It’s finally here. A bouncing baby restaurant, now three months old and doing well. Lesa sure as hell took its time (the reno of the space above Embla took around three years, a record rivalled only by the recently reopened King and Godfree in Carlton) but has already made a calculated claim on Melbourne’s food and booze-loving heart.

On the matter of the latter: like Embla, the wine list gets its pom-poms out for the new shock. First contact with a raft of unfamiliar names make it wise to enlist the help of sommelier Raffaele Mastrovincenzo, previously seen at the likes of Kappo and Ides, who’s armed and dangerous with toasty classic Champagne, freaky Oz wines. Even the cherry vermouth chef Dave Verheul has been experimenting with (spoiler alert: it’s good. Aside from career beckons).

Find the separate Lesa entrance on Russell Street and ascend to a restaurant dressed with a patina of age. Redbrick walls, low-flying lights, and vintage bits and pieces bring it into line with the non-showy aesthetic that’s become the trademark of owners Christian McCabe and Verheul. It’s a place built for people to relax in good times.

You have to order charry rounds of charry, warm, fermented potato flatbread (yes, they’re $8, but you’ll soon forget the outrage) with nutty macadamia cream and shiitake oil, the consistency of sump oil that carries a hyper-concentrated, meaty umami ness.

If you can’t face another tartare, try Lesa’s and see why Verheul is the master of the art of minimal ingredients to maximum effect. Last summer’s tomatoes, smoked and dehydrated into straps of pure flavour, cover the meat, which rests in a sour-edged base of walnut and burnt cream. It's a new trick for an old dog. 

There’s chopped flounder Crudo in mussel broth with blackcurrant leaf, baby peas and the salty hit of mussel dust, a dish that confidently expresses the possibilities of the raw. And a little-known pasta is known as rigatoni. It’s a purely Lesa invention – ribbed macaroni tubes from some fictitious Italian region where peasants produce a version of Cucina Povera that wouldn’t be out of place in a glossy magazine. 

The springy fresh pasta arrives ready for its close-up with strips of the purple-hued fire candle radish, with koji, finely chopped fennel and pine nuts, making a case for old/new excellence.

Kazuki's

So what would induce two successful restaurateurs such as Kazuki and Saori Tsuya to reopen in the big smoke after seven years in the country? (Incidentally, there’s still reason to seek them out at the Daylesford address, now a more casual Japanese diner called Sakana). 

Luckily our task at hand is not to enter the fevered minds of hospo folk but to judge their actions. And the augurs for Kazuki’s – and indeed for Lygon Street itself - are good.

It’s an evolution of the Daylesford mothership in every regard. A startlingly zen-like fit-out courtesy of the Design Office has banished every layer of surplus detail. The grey-blue walls are boldly bare. 

The soft yellow-gold carpet is blissfully sound-quashing. Two supersized paper lanterns, one of the few decorative flourishes allowed, adroitly carry the Japanesque theme, as does the parade of wabi-sabi (perfectly imperfect) ceramics.

The aesthetics are just as keenly realised on those plates. Kazuki-san remains executive chef but has stepped onto the floor, mostly leaving kitchen duties to head chef Anthony Hammel, whose mentee status to Mark Best can be seen in the precise approach to the food. 

A “make everything count” ethos means even two-leaf chicory garnish to a nicely gamey slice of aged duck breast with shiitakes, radicchio and black garlic is there for its bitterness and not just its pretty red-stemmed green flourish.

There are two ways to tackle Kazuki’s, starting at the option of five courses for $130 per person and heading northwards to the menu of seven courses for $160. Our advice: go to the five-course menu, if only to confiscate the four snacks as the first course. 

Your quartet might comprise meaty little Goolwa pipis on the shell, a mouthful of ocean heft with a ginger and soy backing track. A fat profiterole filled with the holy union of chicken liver parfait and thick Davidson plum and umeshu jam gets an extra sweet/sour edge from the plum dust sprinkled like icing sugar over the top. Think of your favourite French starter running headlong into a doughnut from Queen Vic Market, and you’re halfway there. 

A thin nori crisp is topped with a creamy line of taramasalata and salmon roe soaked in sake for extra alcohol-popping roundness. The only duff note in a winning snack salvo is the underplayed salt in the house furikake that covers bouncy little duck hearts grilled on the hibachi.

 

Sunda

sunda

Don’t make the mistake of thinking Sunda is a one-trick pony. The restaurant stars the talents of chef Khanh Nguyen, a (gasp!) Sydney import, who’s taken the pan-Asian fan of Malaysian, Indonesian and Vietnamese dishes, picked them apart and made them new again with the help of native Australian ingredients.

 

It sounds slightly wrong written down on paper until you hit something like the otak otak, traditionally a grilled fish cake in banana leaf. Here it’s playing like the smoothest, richest seafood parfait with a curry lilt and topped with pops of finger lime, chilli slivers and picked meat, all the better to smear on rice crackers. 

Or the crisp, golden-domed perfection of the rendang bun, which is not only a reminder that pretty much every culture has its version of a meat pie, but that Malaysian beef rendang does very well smooshed into a fluffy carb den with a bold swipe of fermented chilli sambal and a refreshing hit of pickled radish on the side.

Nguyen puts Fremantle octopus through a modern centrifuge, the charry cephalopod duking it out with the thumping rich ripeness of bush tomato and lemongrass sambal. And don’t miss his egg noodles in a drenching of XO underscored by pepper berry and mined with a cholesterol-spiking amount of salty chicken crackling.

A great restaurant cannot rest on its menu alone. Sunda has emerged fully-formed with one of the more interesting fit-outs of 2018 (the best descriptor is construction site-chic; the combination of red brick walls and scaffolding giving the impression of dining in a gallery space), and the switched-on team of staff are armed and dangerous with a wine list that swings naturally without being obnoxious about it. 

Sunda has burst out the blocks demanding our love and receiving it. Pass the funky rosé, and toast to its future.

Greasy Zoe's

We’re at the end of the line. Literally – the end of the Hurstbridge Line, a 50-minute train ride out of the CBD, where Melbourne’s suburban identity gets the wobbles as it dissolves into the countryside. Take a left from the station, walk for five minutes, then take a right. One hundred metres onwards, you’ll find one of the winningest little restaurants to warm the cockles and the sub-cockle region.

Greasy Zoe’s is the name discreetly etched on the door, but this is no American-style diner with bottomless cups of filter coffee. The reality is a cool rustic bolthole big enough for an open kitchen, vinyl spinning turntable and just 15 seats. It feels less like a traditional restaurant, more like you’ve accidentally wandered into the bijou farmhouse of someone with really good taste in music.

Zoe Birch (ex-Courthouse Hotel and Healesville Hotel) works the wood grill in the open kitchen. Lachlan Gardner works the floor. The cunning pair have confected the answer to the rent/staff/squillion dollar fitout crisis with their autonomous, two-person operation that rolls in sync with its locality.

We’re in the heart of Nillumbik Shire, which stretches out to Kinglake and Whittlesea and buts up against the Yarra Valley. Birch and Gardner stick to the locavore brief by championing small local producers, from artisans to friends with an excess of backyard pumpkins and sticking as much as they can to their green wedge municipal ’hood.  

It’s a set-menu scenario – $140 for a multi-course affair – and for some of the best, brightest cooking to be found across the city, it’s a great value. This is a place where crackle-topped pumpkin puffs in choux pastry rub shoulders with mushroom tartlets (made with their butter), the ashed goats’ cheese and mushroom duxelle conspiring with last season’s dehydrated pine mushrooms to achieve a haunting forest floor excellence. More best-in-show snackage: purple congo potato crisps piped with garlicky skordalia, and Birch’s charcuterie, including duck salami packing huge flavour.

5 star restaurants in melbourne

Matilda 159 Domain

There will be no such existential ponderings at his latest move on the Melbourne restaurant chessboard. We’re at Domain Road, opposite the Botanic Gardens, a stretch whose time as the home of hotness has come and gone, and now is coming again with the arrival of Pickett’s Matilda 159.

The fit-out is so luxe you can almost smell the expense. There’s a fire and charcoal-driven kitchen, botanical-filled glass cabinets and a dining room of rough-edged wooden-topped tables and the fattest, softest leather banquettes that elicit a gasp of surprise from more than one diner (it’s the endlessly entertaining Matilda spectator sport). 

Pickett has built his reputation on a jazz-riff approach to Michelin classicism. Still, here he’s notably stepping away from any hint of tweezer action in favour of the visceral attractions of smoke, flame and char. The fundamental approach to cooking goes hand in hand with the strictly a la carte menu and a pragmatic wine list that will please both the haves and the have-yachts.

You’ll pay for bread, but don’t get cross: as per the new Melbourne norm, there’s value-adding to soften the blow. Pickett goes above and beyond with his spongy bran-crusted spelt slices, adding sour cultured butter and a pot of smoked chicken thigh rillettes, which means all is immediately forgiven. 

Any diner bold enough could make it the perfect $6 lunch. But they’d be missing out on the Matilda must-order, a happy mix of picked spanner crab, finger lime, and sea succulents scooped from a crab carapace onto charry unleavened bread. It’s a fresh approach to classic flavours served with a designer’s eye. Not rich enough? Just add a smoosh of butter sprinkled with dried prawn dust.

Osteria Ilaria

What we have here is not so humble as an osteria. Sure, it has an underlying rustic Italian brief, exemplified by the whole chargrilled octopus brutishly splayed over a sauce made of the fiery Calabrian spreadable salami, `nduja. 

On the other end of the spectrum, lamb tartare arrives gussied up for the red carpet with a custardy froth of smoked eggplant, purple Congo potato crisps and winks of rosemary oil. It's true in the tasting, but it's a shame the illusion falls apart in a mix-it-all-in outbreak of the colour puce.

They might also want to nix the nasturtium leaves, the modern answer to the parsley garnish, which needlessly grace an earthy tangle of sautéed pine mushrooms and a wedge of sweet/savoury pecorino cheesecake.

It's ironic to the power of ten that the dish that's become Ilaria's de facto signature is pasta. It's the only one on the list; thick tubes are known as paccheri, Italy's answer to the Cantonese chee Cheong fun, sprinkled with nubs of Crystal Bay prawn meat, grounded in tomato and sorrel purees and anointed with the heady cologne of prawn oil. An Insta-classic.

There's plenty to like about Ilaria, from the caraway focaccia and cultured butter to the smart-casual service from Skidmore and co – not to forget the mind-reading ability of sommelier-about-town, Raul Moreno Yague. 

Is persuasively doing his bit with a list stuffed to the gunwales with enough low-intervention curios to mount a compelling case for Ilaria as a wine bar with food rather than vice versa. So is it? Hard to say. But whatever it's place in the pantheon of Melbourne’s eating and drinking scene, we sure are happy to welcome it to the family.

5 star restaurants in melbourne

Ishizuka

Ishizuka is a new Japanese restaurant specialising in a kaiseki menu. It’s also a rabbit hole, both quasi-literally (the ordeal of finding it through a nondescript door, along an arcade, down a level via a keypad and elevator and through another nondescript door, can feel a little daunting, which is probably the point) and figuratively, thanks to chef Tomotaka Ishizuka performing the food equivalent of needlepoint.

It’s certainly no wham-bam izakaya. No rousing chorus of “irrashaimase!” greets each diner as they enter, slightly discombobulated after the elevator and keypad ordeal. In a commitment-phobic world, it almost requires a session with a therapist to sign up for a 10-plus-course, two-plus-hour procession of miniaturised dishes for $220 a head, sans drinks. But Ishizuka is worth the time, expense, and trouble of finding it.

The room lurking underneath Bourke Street is haunting in its sparseness. Concrete columns are roughly textured to resemble tree trunks. Fake foliage hangs overhead. A hot air balloon-sized, white fabric lantern sections off a bar area like a beautiful hallucination. 

Chef Ishizuka, who perfected his craft in Kyoto (home of the kaiseki) and most recently headed up Crown’s Japanese glamourpuss Koko, maintains a gentle quiet in his kitchen. His attitude is mirrored by the small team of white-jacketed Japanese waiters who discuss the differing properties of saké with a sincerity bordering on reverence.

FAQs About Melbourne Restaurants

  • Vue de Monde.
  • Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.
  • Minamishima.
  • Florentino.
  • Ides Melbourne.

Michelin Star Restaurants Australia

  • Sixpenny.
  • Ester.
  • Tetsuya's.
  • Brae.
  • Quay.
  • Firedoor.
  • Porteño.

Why are there no Michelin star restaurants in Australia? The simplest answer is that the Michelin Guide (The Red Guide) covers various countries throughout the world but has yet to step onto the sandy sun-kissed shores of Australia.

Restaurant inspectors do not look at the interior decor, table setting, or service quality when awarding stars - these are indicated by the number of 'covers' it receives, represented by the fork and spoon symbol.

Staying true to form, Sydney's dining scene was an inspiration. There were two three-hatted restaurants, 21 two-hatted restaurants and 45 one-hatted restaurants in the guide.

Conclusion

If you're looking for a delicious meal out, Melbourne has no shortage of excellent restaurants to choose from. But how do you know which ones are the best? With so many options, it can be tough to decide where to eat. 

That's why we've put together a list of the top five-star restaurants in Melbourne – so you can rest assured that you're eating at one of the best places in town. 

Whether you're in the mood for Italian, Mexican, or Japanese cuisine, these restaurants have got you covered. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your culinary adventure today!

Resources:

Five-star restaurants in Melbourne

Five Melbourne Restaurants Worthy of A Michelin Star

Best five-star restaurants in Melbourne, FL

Five Star Restaurants in Melbourne

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