As the culinary capital of Australia, you can bet that eating out in Melbourne doesn’t have to be boring. Known for its innovative approach to food and dining, the city is full of unusual dining experiences to appease the hungry appetites of foodies looking for something extra to go with their food.
If you’re in search of cool dinner places to seriously impress your date or experiential restaurants to catch a glimpse of the quirkiness that Melbourne has on offer, we’ve found the top dining venues around the city to fulfil your strongest desires.
Unique Dining Experiences in Melbourne
Who said that dining could not be a unique experience? Melbourne is the city for foodies, so we have collected five unique dining ideas to make dining an unforgettable experience! Take along your friends if you want to impress.
Naked For Satan
Starting simple, meet Naked for Satan. It’s Fitzroy’s answer for a youthful crowd pining for a fiesty vodka-pouring, pintxos-serving rooftop bar. This Basque-inspired bar has a 40-strong list of foreign and local vodka’s, almost 15 beers and a healthy dose of Australian wines.
Accompanying a stand-out drinks menu is their pintxos, tapas-style appetisers, which are more than welcome at seriously low prices. Each pintxo is served with a toothpick that doubles as a billing device: when you’re done, show the waiter your collection, and you’ll be charged either $1 or $2 for each toothpick.
With stunning views of the Melbourne skyline, Naked for Satan is the perfect spot for a drink and a nibble for groups looking to dine out in Melbourne.
285 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, VIC 3065
TRAPT Bar and Escape Room
We seem to be in a nationwide obsession with fear and thrill-inducing experiences – and TRAPT Bar and Escape Room is no exception. Located in Melbourne’s CBD, TRAPT is an immersive experience that will help you escape reality with unique adventures to choose from.
You can follow the yellow brick home in the Wizard of Oz, get rich or die trying in an abandoned gold mine in Cave In or test out your magical skills in Alchemy. After all that fun, you can cool off after your adventure with TRAPT’s completely licensed bar, boasting cocktails to match each escape room experience a huge range of martinis and other spirits.
The Basement,377 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3004
If Melbourne isn’t cold enough for you, shiver your way into an IceBar in the city’s east and enjoy a drink surrounded by expertly sculpted ice. Open from midday Thursday to Monday, IceBar is permanently -10 degrees Celsius and serves up your favourite drink of choice – appropriately served in ice glasses.
Once you’re in IceBar, there is no time limit for your stay – in fact, they ask that you try and stay as long as possible if you want to break their record of eight hours in below-freezing temperatures. Don’t worry if you haven’t come prepared for the occasion. IceBar will provide snow capes, ugg boots and gloves if necessary.
The Atrium, Federation Square, Melbourne VIC 3000
Dinner in the Sky
Since 2008, Dinner in the Sky has been elevating dining experiences worldwide, boasting Michelin-star dishes, a spotless safety record and incomparable views. Suspended 50-metres in the air by a crane, Dinner in the Sky is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for 22 diners served by a head chef, sommelier and waitstaff.
Good five-star luxuries, fine foods, and first-class service, Dinner in the Sky is a heightened sensory environment creating an exceptionally unique culinary experience. You can enjoy this service in eight-hour blocks and tailor it to suit your needs, whether it’s for a team lunch or a gourmet feast. With Dinner in the Sky, the sky’s the limit.
Melbourne CBD, 3000.
The Croft Institute
When you think of Melbourne, you might think of the Australian Open, the cold weather or perhaps its iconic laneways sparkling with vibrant graffiti and eccentric inhabitants. As one of Melbourne’s first laneway bars, Croft Institute is a themed bar at the latter's heart.
Mimicking a possessed medical science lab, Croft Institute is spread across three levels – the ground floor is an imitation old school science lab where bartenders experiment with cocktails to your liking. Above this, you’ll find hospital rooms that double as bathrooms, while the second is a large gymnasium space with a turf bar – where the real party happens.
21 Croft Alley, Melbourne VIC 3000
Easey’s takes burgers and beers to new lengths on a train carriage overlooking Melbourne City. This unique burger joint can be found five storeys up in an old-school train carriage fixed to a roof and decorated with graffiti and classic orange and brown train seats.
With a menu boasting indulgent comfort food and well-stocked with local beer, Easey’s provides a relaxed atmosphere, great food and a retro soundtrack making it a must-try foodie experience in Melbourne.
Easey’s is an American Burger joint and bar located on a rooftop in Collingwood where you can dine within graffiti-covered Hitachi M-class train carriages. The train schedule menu offers burgers, hotdogs, barbecue wings, milkshake-flavoured doughnuts and super cheesy macaroni cheese – and the best part is that you can climb on board and enjoy the view for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Burgers and beers served five stories up in a rooftop train carriage overlooking Melbourne City. Beat that." That's what they say, and they deliver!
At Easey's, the best of Melbourne's art, music, transport, people, food and drinks combine on the top of the End to End building on Easey St, Collingwood. The views from this themed restaurant are phenomenal, and the food is large and excellent.
Indulge in one of the burgers, hot dogs, mac and cheese, chips, tater tots, dim sims, chicken wings and doughnuts before coming back down to earth.
3/48 Easey St, Collingwood VIC 3066
Silver Clipper Dinner Flight
If you’d like to enjoy your dinner with a panoramic view of Melbourne, hop on board on one of the first plane models in the world – the DC-3, affectionately known as the Gooney Bird. Fresh off the production line from August 1945, this DC-3 is now used to transport diners across the sky.
Recreate the elegance of travel from the mid-1900s and dine in style within this historic airliner. It truly is an unforgettable dining experience. For 70 minutes, you can fly across Port Phillip Bay and watch the sunset over the city of Melbourne while enjoying an award-winning dinner.
In-flight meals are universally recognised as downright horrible, but the Silver Clipper Dinner Flights is different.
Departing from Essendon airport, you’ll be treated to champagne and canapes before taking flight in the DC-3 Gooney Bird, where you’ll enjoy an elegant hamper meal specially prepared by the award-winning AAG Services of Melbourne, alongside a selection of wine.
Following the 70-minute flight, you’ll indulge in coffee, port and fine chocolate in the lounge.
Essendon Airport, 72 Hargrave Ave, Essendon Fields VIC 3041
Titanic Theatre Restaurant
Relive the Titanic’s maiden voyage at a restaurant where your night is guaranteed to be a disaster. Travel in luxury in first-class or journey below deck to steerage for a casual night of Irish camaraderie.
No matter your class, you’ll receive a three-course meal before the ship of dreams inevitably sinks. Titanic also features roving performers and dramatic effects to keep you entertained throughout your journey across the Atlantic.
1 Nelson Place, Williamstown, Victoria, 3016, Australia
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
Book your next corporate function or private party at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium and take your guests on an aquatic journey into the fathoms below.
Choose between several event spaces, including the extraordinary 2.2 million-litre Oceanarium and the Coral Atoll, which can accommodate cocktail functions for up to 650 people.
From the extravagant to the intimate, all events are presented with a highly personalised service – staff can even help organise an underwater proposal.
King Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000, Australia
The Colonial TramCar Restaurant
The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant is an elegant dining experience unique to Melbourne. Behold the sights as you comfortably cruise around the city while enjoying a seasonal menu and quality Australian wines from the all-inclusive bar.
Choose between the luncheon four-course meal, early dinner three-course meal and late dinner five-course meal as well as pre-theatre dining.
125 Normanby Road, South Melbourne, Victoria, 3205, Australia
Puffing Billy Railway
Experience the Puffing Billy Railway in style on board the daily Steam and Cuisine Luncheon. The fascinating three-hour journey has you seated within the heritage dining carriages and features a three-course meal or “natter platter” and local Yarra Valley wines.
Along the way, you’ll see the iconic Monbulk Creek Trestle Bridge, and you’re even invited to disembark and explore the picturesque Emerald Lake before relaxing with dessert and a cuppa as you return to Belgrave station.
1 Old Monbulk Road, Belgrave, Victoria, 3160, Australia
Lentil as Anything
Established in 2000, Lentil as Anything is unlike any other restaurant in that there are no fixed prices. Instead, the customer determines how much to pay. The vegetarian restaurant has a strong sense of community and values social inclusion above all else.
From Mexican-spiced polenta to Sri Lankan uttapam savoury pancakes, the dishes are made with a generous dose of love from donated produce. Lentil as Anything is now located in St Kilda, Abbotsford, Footscray and Thornbury.
41 Blessington Street, St Kilda, Victoria, 3182, Australia
8 of the Best Themed Restaurants in Melbourne
Looking for a dining experience a little left of centre? Look no further, as we've got eight of the best-themed restaurants in Melbourne.
Get ready to enjoy a burger from a train carriage five storeys up, dine with Denis the Menace or eat lamb gyros in an underground cave at these eight themed restaurants in Melbourne.
Panda Hot Pot, Carlton
China's famous Panda Hot Pot is known for its authentic Sichuan cuisine and has now brought the exclusive, authentic dining experience to downtown Melbourne.
From the detailed facade of the two-story building to the elaborate traditional decor and nightly performances, from music performances to family-friendly Panda Shows, the venue has been transformed to showcase not just the region's spectacular food but also its vibrant culture. The tradition of cooking hotpot at your table DIY-style is also a fun novelty.
Inspired by Wuxia - China's cult martial arts heroes - and adorned with trademark red lanterns, hand-crafted Chinese style interiors, and a striking steel dragon watching over the grand staircase, Panda HotPot is an awesome themed restaurant in Melbourne to add to your list.
- Where: 100 Victoria St, Carlton
- When: Lunch 11.30 am – 2 pm and Dinner 5 pm – 11 pm
Soda Rock Diner
Bringing Happy Days to the iconic Jam Factory, Soda Rock Diner boasts a classic menu of popular American favourites, including the best milkshakes in town! The themed restaurant has vintage booths, roller-skating waiters and waitresses, pinball machines, a jukebox at every booth and an Elvis statue for some Jailhouse Rock selfies. They also host special live events like the 50s & '60s Rock 'N' Roll Show and the Elvis Tribute.
In true American style, there is a humungous menu to sink your teeth into, packed with burgers, hotdogs, sandwiches and combos. If you're bored with your average french fries, here you'll find them curly, waffled, chilli, cheesy and smiley versions, plus there's Tater Tots and Onion Rings.
The collection of sweet treats like Cookies, Shakes and Spiders and classic desserts including Cherry Pie, American Brownie, Banana Split and Hot Fudge Sundaes will transport you to star-spangled food heaven!
Bookings are strongly recommended due to dine-in restrictions, especially on Friday and Saturday nights which get booked out early!
- Where: 177/183 Lonsdale St, Melbourne
- When: Sunday to Thursday 11:30 am — 9:15 pm, and Friday & Saturday 11:30 am — 10:00 pm
Denis the Menace Cafe, Cremorne
Not your typical themed restaurant, but it's a theme that works! Denis, the Menace cafe in Cremorne, is a lot of fun.
The huge, light-filled open warehouse is home to food with a sustainability focus and an in-joke filled menu that you can't help but giggle at. Why not try Avo, We've Met Before, Oh Shit-ake, Wild Child or Running Late Roti. The kids' menu options include eggs, muesli, toastie cheese, and chips.
- Where: 106-108 Chestnut St, Cremorne
- When: Monday - Friday: 7 am - 3 pm and Weekends: 8 am - 3 pm
Stalactites Greek Restaurant, CBD
If you've ever walked past Stalactites in the city, you absolutely couldn't miss it. One of Melbourne's longest-established and well-known Greek restaurants, Stalactites stands out with its bright, friendly vibe and its famous stalactite-covered ceiling visible from the street.
Go old-school traditional with your ears and grab souvlaki (lamb, chicken or mixed) or vegetarian souvlaki with a bunch of mouthwatering toppings to customise your meal.
They also make excellent platters, dips, seafood, a grill section, breakfasts, desserts, and homeland favourites like cabbage rolls, genista, moussaka and homemade beef konkinisto, with most of those options available kid-sized from the children's menu.
- Where: 177/183 Lonsdale St, Melbourne
- When: Sunday to Thursday 11 am-midnight and Friday and Saturday 10 am – 2 am
Munich Brauhaus, South Wharf
Guten Tag! It's all German all the time at Munich Brauhaus on the South Wharf. Paying homage to all things pork in their menu, you'll feel like you stepped right into a Bavarian beer hall without ever leaving Melbourne.
The food features pretzels and pickles aplenty, wiener, pork knuckle, schnitzel, steak, burgers and desserts alongside an extensive beer menu and excellent kids choices like mac and cheese balls schnitzel, frankfurter, fries and gelato.
- Where: 45 South Wharf Promenade, South Wharf
- When: Wednesday to Sunday 12 pm - late
Rice Queen, Fitzroy
When you want good Asian food and plenty of it in funky-coloured surrounds, step into kitschy Rice Queen. It is like stepping into another world with their brightly-lit paper lanterns and furious fuchsia blossoms offset by the outrageously blue bricks.
The menu is designed for sharing, so dishes are small, but they are delicious, and there is a huge range of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. Try the baby banh mi, san choy bao, grilled king oyster mushrooms with eggplant puree, their ultra-famous KFC (Korean Fried Chicken, or spring for the vegetarian cauliflower version), steamed dumplings, DIY Korean tacos, veggie curry, or their salad or noodle dishes. You will not leave here hungry!
If you're looking for something to do after dinner, why not hit their karaoke room? It seats 15 at the back of the diner and is available in 90-minute slots.
- Where: 389-391 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
- When: Wednesday to Friday 5 pm – late and Saturday & Sunday 112 pm – late
Truck Stop Deluxe
Eat a burger in an indoor track? Yes, please! Truck Stop Deluxe in Werribee is a west-coast-inspired truck-stop diner serving up fabulous burgers alongside signature spiked shakes, cocktails and desserts.
Their burgers are served on lightly toasted brioche buns, and any one of them are available as a vegetarian (they sub a chickpea patty). If you feel like something different, they also do fried chicken in 3, 6 or 9 packs, mac and cheese croquettes, onion rings, popcorn chicken, and four types of fries, including sweet potato, and cheese and bacon waffle fries.
If you've still got room after that, check out the dessert menu - perhaps they can tempt you with a Wizz Fizz ice cream, ice cream doughnut sandwich or Nutella waffle stack? Honk, honk!
- Where: 98 Watton St, Werribee
- Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 11.30 am - 9.30 pm
FAQs About Melbourne Restaurants
It shouldn't be too hard to find somewhere - there are more than 1600 cafes and restaurants to choose from, data from the City of Melbourne shows.
The best new restaurants in Melbourne
- HThe crew behind Arbory Afloat have finally opened their massive new multi-storey venue.
- Di Stasio Pizzeria.
- Laurus Melbourne.
- Crossley St Cantina.
Statistics Canada data shows the city of Victoria to have 4.6 restaurants, eateries, pubs and bars for every 1,000 residents, with Vancouver and Niagara Falls next in line at 3.6 and 3.4, respectively. All other Canadian cities measured have less than 2.8 such businesses per 1,000 residents.
At the end of the financial year 2020, there were 44,679 cafés and restaurants in Australia. The number of cafés and restaurants in Australia has increased steadily from around 41,500 businesses in 2017.
Melbourne is known globally for its coffee obsession. It offers more than 2,000 cafés as well as some of the world's best baristas.