australian restaurants and cafes

What Are Australian Restaurants And Cafes In Melbourne?

As someone new to Melbourne, you may be wondering what the restaurant and cafe scene is like here. Well, let me tell you – it's awesome! There are so many different places to eat, and each one has its unique atmosphere and menu. In this post, I'll introduce you to some of the best Australian restaurants and cafes in Melbourne

When it comes to Australian restaurants and cafes in Melbourne, there are a lot of them to choose from. But with so many options, it can be hard to decide which ones are the best. Not to worry – we’ve got you covered. 

In this blog post, we’ll give you a rundown of some of the best Australian restaurants and cafes in Melbourne. So whether you’re looking for something familiar or something new, we’ve got you covered. Happy eating!

The Best Australian Restaurants And Cafes in Melbourne, VIC

Melbourne is packed with restaurants and cafes, but which ones are the best? Here's our roundup of some of the most popular Australian restaurants and cafes in Melbourne

Whether you're looking for a casual brunch spot or a sophisticated dinner venue, you'll find something to love here!

Nomad Melbourne

Filling the shoes of now-closed CBD institution Ezard is the first Melbourne outpost of Sydney's much-loved Mediterranean restaurant Nomad. Owners Rebecca and Al Yazbek have transformed the Adelphi Hotel's lower ground floor into Nomad's new 100-seat southern iteration, replicating the ethos of the original while championing a whole new menu filled with local produce.

Celebrated executive chef Jacqui Challinor has worked closely with Nomad Melbourne's new head chef Brendan Katich (Gingerboy, Ezard), to develop the eatery's signature offering, centred around house-made cheese and charcuterie (think, duck mortadella and trout basturma), and the kitchen's prized wood-fired oven. Fans will find just a handful of menu mainstays, backed by a lineup of brand new dishes, with plenty of locally-sourced meat and veggies cooked over flames among the mix.

You're in for plates like baked jersey milk ricotta with Ortiz anchovies and fire-roasted peppers, barbecued spatchcock finished with harissa and toum (Lebanese garlic sauce), and the dry-aged pork cutlet teamed with a salsa of golden raisins and capers. 

Dessert might see you tucking into wood-roasted pineapple cake elevated with yoghurt sorbet and rose el hanout. Otherwise, the $95 feasting menu features a great parade of nine dishes to share.

A sprawling wine list focuses on homegrown drops, with Victorian wineries and smaller producers giving lots of love. An extensive all-Aussie pouring list will regularly rotate, offering the chance to sample new wines with every visit, including premium creations served via Coravin.

Industry Beans Fitzroy

Industry Beans' current location at 3/62 Rose Street, Fitzroy, will serve its last customers on Sunday, May 30. The doors to the new site are slated to open in July, but in the meantime, you can sate your coffee cravings at the pop-up stall stationed out the front at 70-76 Westgarth Street, Fitzroy.

It's been eight years since Trevor and Steve Simmons launched their first Industry Beans coffee roastery and cafe in the backstreets of Fitzroy. It would quickly become a landmark of Australia's coffee scene, growing to encompass a six-strong stable of venues across Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. 2021 now sees the brand embrace one of its biggest changes yet, moving from their OG northside digs to a grander space just around the corner, accessed via Westgarth Street.

Slanted to open in July, the new site will boast extra room to house an expanded offering — complete with larger dining space, onsite coffee roastery and dedicated retail area. Final plans for the cafe are yet to be revealed, though guests can look forward to a fit-out that fuses familiar Industry Beans elements with some new, modern twists.

Similarly, the menu is set to score some updates of its own, as this venue and all its siblings move into the winter season. The ever-innovative lineup will feature a mix of signature favourites and new seasonal creations to enjoy alongside the roaster's top-notch rotation of caffeinated delights.

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Kickin'Inn Port Melbourne

If you thought seafood was best suited to sultry summer days, Port Melbourne's newest restaurant might change your mind. The Aussie-born chain Kickin' Inn already has eight NSW restaurants under its belt, and now it's adding its first Melbourne venue to the family.

Kickin' Inn has taken over the former Rose Hotel site and promises to cure those lingering winter blues with a signature offering of seafood tossed through punchy house-made 'Kajun' sauces.

For the uninitiated, Kickin' Inn offers an all-in, bibs-and-gloves experience, where diners do away with cutlery and get their hands messy with bags full of prawns, mud crab, pipis and shellfish using only the tools that Jesus gave you. 

The Cajun-inspired house sauces — here, dubbed 'Kajun' — are more than mere support acts, with the venue boasting five flavour-charged secret recipes.

If feasting is on the agenda, you'll find an abundance of snacks to kick things off, including battered squid tentacles, jalapeno cheese bites ($19), freshly-shucked Sydney rock oysters ($18-28) and wings ($29). After that, you've got some big decisions to make. 

Choose your main event from a slew of ocean-fresh goodies, including whole crayfish ($48), pounds of peeled prawns ($29-39), a pile of baby octopus ($29), blue swimmer pieces ($32), or a mess of mussels and pipis ($94). Pick a matching sauce, whack in some additions like corn or chorizo, and dial up the heat level as high as you dare — keeping in mind the 'inferno' option is only halfway up the scale.

Meanwhile, a separate lunch menu features more solo-friendly feeds from a prawn spaghetti ($24) to a mini mixed bag of seafood served with rice ($24).

Marko

Vegetables are the undisputed heroes at the southside's newest casual eatery, located right on the edge of the South Melbourne Market. Marko is kicking it slowly, embracing an old-school food philosophy and dishing up a vibrant offering that's entirely plant-based.

Diners can choose from the list of burgers ranging from $12-15, all available with gluten-free alternatives — from the signature Marko cheeseburger layered with coconut cheese and a plant-based patty to the spicy cauliflower number with jalapenos and chipotle mayo. 

Fluffy pitas ($13-14) from Brunswick's Alaska Bakery are also on the menu and come stuffed with the likes of green pea falafel or roasted mushrooms with quinoa tabbouleh and tahini sauce.

Marko also serves up a range of vibrant veggie bowls ($13-15), along with sides like chilli-topped corn ribs ($8) and crispy chips finished with your choice of house seasoning. And, you can make a meal of it with one of three 'feed me' options, matching a burger or pita with chips, dip and a Capi soda ($23-26). 

To drink, expect to find a rotation of craft brews, natural wines, and cocktails, both boozy and non-alcoholic, along with caffeinated options shuttled down from nearby coffee window Clement.

As a feel-good bonus factor, there's also an environmental conscience that extends beyond the meat-free menu. Marko uses all recyclable packaging, has implemented a unique system for recycling food waste and powers its kitchen partly by renewables.

Pasta Poetry

As Melbourne's frosty winter temperatures kick in, so do the cravings for comfort food. Specifically, big bowls of fresh saucy pasta cooked how Nonna would like. But, if you haven't got the skills (or patience) to hone your own at-home pasta production game, you'll find a new culinary saviour in Fairfield's newly launched Pasta Poetry.

On the ever-changing menu, you'll find expertly executed varieties like egg tagliatelle, tortelloni tondo stuffed with spinach and locally made ricotta, and cappelletti filled with 18-hour braised ox cheek. 

Gluten-free, vegan options abound, with gnocchi crafted using chickpea and tapioca dough and a saffron pumpkin ravioli. Sauce options run to the likes of a creamy parmesan zabaglione, a buttery white wine number, and the classic Bologna-style slow-cooked ragu.

If you get overwhelmed with choices, friendly staff are on hand to help you mix and match your way to new pasta night heights. In-store, you'll also find a couple of ready-to-heat lasagne varieties, house-made garlic bread and a classic two-person tiramisu. Plus, there's a tidy selection of pasta accompaniments, including cheeses, herbs and a range of wine.

For the summer 2021-22 season, Pasta Poetry has also unveiled its new al fresco courtyard where you can kick back with antipasto plates, freshly-made pasta serves and summer-inspired cocktails. There's even a central bocce court for some friendly competition. The courtyard is open through summer from 3 pm Wednesday to Friday.

Repeat Offender

With a healthy dose of South American influence, plenty of bold Latin flavours and a touch of modern Aussie flair, Elwood's new all-day tapas bar has the answer to all those winter cravings you're feeling right now. Setting up shop in a dynamic indoor-outdoor space on Ormond Road, Repeat Offender is a breezy bayside newcomer with a bonus up its sleeve — the entire food menu is gluten-free.

By day, the offering's all about small bites and coffees, enjoyed on the terrace seating overlooking Elsternwick Park. And come dinner, you're in for a feast of lively dishes, kicking off with tapas-style numbers like barramundi tacos ($8), yellowfin tuna ceviche tostadas ($15) and crisp patatas bravas matched with soy aioli and a chilli salsa ($12). Queensland king prawns are covered in garlic, guajillo chilli and micro herbs ($26), while Sydney rock oysters are paired with a vibrant coriander foam ($4).

Heartier appetites can expect plates like a wild-caught kangaroo with pasilla chilli salsa ($26) or free-range chicken teamed with cardamom sweet potato purée and a Peruvian spiced adobo sauce ($24). And yep, there's zero gluten among any of it.

Repeat Offender's drinks offering is every bit as lively, pouring a solid spread of wines from Australia, France and Spain, alongside an expansive selection of agave spirits and other Latin American drops. 

You'll find an Aussie-led handful of crisp beers and a strong lineup of cocktails heroing rum and tequila. Treat yourself to a South American holiday by way of a tequilla, Rinquinquin peach aperitif, Campari and dried peach creation reminiscent of a Negroni ($22), or a frozen margarita with optional chilli ($16).

Vesper

Has a year without travel left you craving a sun-drenched excursion to the other side of the world? Well, you might not be able to enjoy the real deal just yet, but you can indulge in a pretty convincing make-believe session at South Yarra bar and bistro Vesper

Since opening its doors in late January 2021, this restaurant has been transporting diners to the sparkling islands of the Mediterranean, with the help of a seafood-Harvey menu spiked with a variety of regional flavours.

On arrival at Vesper, Melburnians will be greeted by a front dining space that's both warm and lively, with rich brown banquettes, mirrored accents and striking floral walls. Hidden beyond, however, is a secret bar and dining room that beckons for pre-and post-dinner drinks, complete with an adjacent leafy courtyard.

In the venue's backspace, you'll be able to escape the rush with a secluded tipple or two from the classic-leaning cocktail lineup — a tight selection featuring a range of summary spritzes and a nod to the vesper martini crafted on Four Pillars olive leaf gin. There's also a curation of boutique wines from Europe and Australia and a mix of local and Mediterranean beers in the fridge.

Le Bajo Milkbar

Years of travelling back and forth between Jakarta and Melbourne cultivated an affinity for Australian culture for Le Bajo founder and owner. After successfully co-running Bali's famous Potato Head Beach Club, he was about to depart on his next venture before the pandemic hit.

Seeking the help of hospitality friends and northside neighbours, Gunawan reached out to Kantaro Okada, owner of 279, to open Le Bajo with him. "Forced to stay in Melbourne, I decided to work with Kan, who has been in the industry for a few decades. We swapped ideas and decided that, with a mutual appreciation for Japanese food and culture, we would open a sand bar," says Gunawan.

With a concept locked in, the team started sourcing old farm and corner store furniture — gathered in Melbourne's 2020 stage-four lockdown. Wooden countertops, chairs, glass cabinets and cupboards were given a new life. Inspired by the disappearing milk bars of Australia, Gunawan took the opportunity to make Le Bajo a place to reminisce about Australiana.

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Bio by DOC

Across its stable of renowned Italian eateries, mozzarella bars and delis, the DOC Group (including DOC Pizza & Mozzarella Bar Carlton and Sydney, plus DOC Espresso Carlton) has earned a solid reputation for many things. 

That includes its signature pizzas and top-quality salumi selection; however, those classics are taking a backseat at the team's latest addition — a new restaurant dedicated to food that is entirely vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free.

Bio by DOC has taken over the Carlton site once home to The Town Mouse, where long-time collaborators Studio Strom have added a refresh. Think locally-made custom furniture, a new green-coloured bar, a leafy back courtyard and some bright splashes of neon.

Snacks include the likes of mini eggplant parmigiana ($12) matched with burrata and a black cabbage pesto, plus a vegan-friendly tartare of grilled vegetables ($15) finished with capers, mustard and truffle paste. 

You can get your pasta fixed with plates like the charcoal spaghetti ($26); a beetroot casarecce finished with mushrooms and truffle paste ($31); and a vegan lasagne layered with spinach pasta sheets, lentil ragu and bechamel ($27). 

There's more plant-based fun to be had over on the dessert list, too — expect dishes like a classic tiramisu reworked with cashew cream ($14) and sweet potato pancakes with popcorn ice cream ($16).

Three Blue Ducks Melbourne

Known for its farm-to-table food ethos and with five permanent outposts across Sydney, Brisbane, Byron Bay and the Snowy Mountains, Three Blue Ducks are now set to deliver its sustainably-focused offering to Australia's first surf park. 

In a 350-seat indoor-outdoor space overlooking Urbnsurf's sparkling lagoon, the team's plating up an all-day menu built around simple food and top-quality local ingredients. Whether you've just put in a morning's worth of wages, or you're there solely for the food, the breakfast menu is set to impress. 

On it, you'll find inventive creations like the spanner crab scramble ($25) matched with bean shoot salad and house-made Sriracha; a bacon and chilli jam brekky roll ($16) finished with slaw and mayo; and harissa-glazed pumpkin ($20) with sauerkraut and turmeric cashew cream.

Deeper into the day, you can settle in with share-friendly starters — think, kingfish ceviche ($24) and crumbed pulled pork ($21) served with pickled onion purée — in addition to vibrant pizzas ($22–26), a daily-changing vegetarian pasta ($25) and mains like the Portuguese-style rotisserie chicken ($33) and a bone-in porterhouse ($55) with bagna cauda (an Italian garlic and anchovy sauce). 

Sides ($11–13) might include the likes of carrots done with burnt honey and Ricotta Salata, and dessert ($15–16) will see you feasting on treats like a flourless chocolate cake matched with rich whiskey cream. And no matter what time of day you visit, vegetarian and gluten-free diners can count on being spoiled for choice.

The Commons at Ormond Collective

Ambitious newcomer The Commons at Ormond Collective has taken over the St Kilda Road site once home to the Belgian Beer Cafe Bluestone.

This multi-faceted, mostly outdoor venue is the latest from The Big Group, which operates a suite of event spaces, including The Glasshouse in Olympic Park and the Myer Mural Hall. Aiming for broad appeal, The Commons features various elements set across its various alfresco spaces, including The Conservatory, The Kitchen Garden, The Garden Cafe and The Beer Garden.

Throughout, expect a heady mix of gingham and floral prints, bold stripes, fresh flowers and wicker, with lots of Euro-style cafe chairs and park benches setting the scene. In keeping with the times, you'll also find quirky lily pad seating positioned 1.5 metres apart and multiple hand sanitiser stations.

There'll be slightly different food offerings available at each of the different spaces. However, as a whole, the menu's built around classic flavours, local produce and lots of ingredients picked fresh from the onsite kitchen garden. Think crisp flatbread crowned with an assembly of confit artichoke, greens, mozzarella and edible flowers ($22); a spring salad featuring seared salmon ($24); and a classic chicken sandwich with lemon mayo and shredded broccoli ($15).

Conclusion

If you're looking for a good meal, Melbourne has no shortage of restaurants and cafes to choose from. With cuisines ranging from Australian to Italian to Indian, there's something to please everyone's palate. 

But with so many options available, it can be tough to know where to start. This guide is designed to help you find the best Australian restaurants and cafes in Melbourne

We've compiled a list of some of our favourites, based on the quality of food, service and atmosphere. So whether you're looking for a casual brunch or an intimate dinner date, we've got you covered. Enjoy!

FAQs About Melbourne Restaurants & Cafes

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.

Top 1 Restaurants of Australia

  • Number 1 - Quay. Peter Gilmore. 
  • Number 2 - Attica. Ben Shewry.
  • Number 3 - Momofuku Seibo.
  • Number 4 - Marque. 
  • Number 5 - Vue de Monde. 
  • Number 6 - Sepia.
  • Number 7 - Est. Peter Doyle. 
  • Number 8 - Tetsuya's.

Melbourne and Sydney may be locked in a battle for dining supremacy, but there's another Australian destination that's now a contender: Adelaide. In a comprehensive study of 100 of the world's top dining destinations, the South Australian capital was ranked higher than the country's most populated city, Sydney.

An Aussie breakfast can take many forms, but the most common is the big fry up! Nothing beats a plate of beautifully cooked farm fresh eggs, smokey bacon, grilled tomato and mushrooms. Sausages, hash browns or beans can be optional extras! ... Modern interpretations of an Aussie breakfast now appear on many menus.

You know the type of place: they roast their coffee beans on-site, in a modern, industrial-style space; they make three coffees – an espresso, a piccolo, and a flat white – and three coffees only; they sell food too, things like eggs benedict and smash avocado on toast with a poached egg. 

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