With its internationally renowned chefs, multi-cultural flavours and a region abundant with great ingredients, Melbourne’s reputation as Australia’s culinary capital remains firm.
From timeless institutions to contemporary fine dining with a twist, the city’s best restaurants are known for their inspired and innovative edge, coupled with a passion for local landscapes and seasons.
A food lover’s visit to Melbourne would be incomplete without dining at one of its famous restaurants, so here are just ten of the best that are sure to satisfy the most discerning foodie.
When it comes to fun restaurants, Melbourne has got you covered. If you’re looking for cool restaurants, Melbourne is essentially a cluster of trendy establishments catering to every eye and palate.
You’ve got your high tea hotspots and your steak sensations, but sometimes you want an outright cool venue at which to enjoy a delicious meal and refreshing beverage while soaking up the eclectic atmosphere.
From the novel, daily-changing menus to Aussie-themed degustations to exquisite Japanese meals with a knife show, there is an incredible array of fun restaurants in Melbourne to add some pizzazz to date night or catch-ups with the boys.
Cool Melbourne Restaurants To Dine The Night Away
If you’re the type of person who seeks out unique restaurants, Melbourne has got your back. Reinvigorate your love of Melbourne’s dining scene with this list of cool restaurants in Melbourne.
The Commune Group are imperative to the Melbourne food scene as they founded Hanoi Hannah, Tokyo Tina, Neptune and now their latest addition, Firebird.
This flame driven restaurant is situated along High Street in Prahran and offers delicious Southeast Asian food. This venue can fit 110 diners with its interiors designed by renowned architecture firm Ewert Leaf, who has created an extremely modern space inspired by Vietnam’s smokey street food stalls.
Go on their website and book now, as this trendy Melbourne restaurant tends to fill up quickly.
Address: 223 High St, Prahran, VIC 3181
If you’re looking for simple, elegant Japanese cuisine, look no further than Future Future. What used to be an old Melbourne art gallery now has transformed into a modern eatery paying homage to Japanese street style and culture.
Future offers a unique dining experience from the moment you’re seated in their exquisite dining room.
To start, you’ll receive some sweet-potato crisps and a cup of chamomile, green and mandarin-rind tea, and a little taste of the mouthwatering food to come.
Address: 191 Swan St, Richmond, VIC 3121
From the ‘Paddock to plate’, Famer’s Daughters curates a memorable dining experience, as this iconic Melbourne restaurant celebrates the fantastic fresh produce coming out of Gippsland, Victoria.
The founder of Famer’s Daughters, Melbourne-based Peruvian chef Alejandro Saravia, first fell in love with Gippsland in 2016 when he went on a tour there and was instantly taken back by the region’s food quality and biodiversity.
This led him to become an ambassador for the area and launch Farmer’s Daughters earlier this year – and we’re so grateful he did.
Address: 95 Exhibition Street, 80 Collins Precinct, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Chris Lucas is the great mind behind Melbourne’s most beloved restaurants, including this gem, inspired by Australian contemporary culture.
A state of Australian design and modernity, this stylish dining room is filled with grey-toned curtains, plush circular booths, crystal chandeliers and conveniently sits on Collins Street in the heart of Melbourne.
If it’s fine dining you’re after, Society is an absolute must-try.
Address: 80 Collins St, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Speaking of Chris Lucas, this fine food and beer hall is one of the restaurateurs best endeavours.
Inspired by the vibrant hawker centres of Singapore & Malaysia, Hawker Hall serves some of the most delectable Asian fusion food, so it’s no surprise it’s one of the best restaurants in Melbourne.
Great food met with a great vibrant, bustling atmosphere. Is there anything more you could ask for?
Address: 98 Chapel St, Windsor, VIC 3181
Tres a Cinco
Frank Camorra of MoVida fame has opened up another great eatery in Hosier Lane, now with a fresh-faced Mexican cantina. What initially started as a side project of takeaway food packs quickly developed into this authentic Mexican restaurant due to its extreme popularity.
Tres a Cinco offers an incredibly satisfying menu that serves up some of the best tacos, tamales and Mexican inspired desserts. However, if you’re looking for an excellent beverage to pair with your meal, Tres a Cinco also has a carefully selected drinks menu of up to 20 cocktails based around tequila or mezcal, including eight different Margaritas.
Address: 3-5 Hosier Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Those seeking out a plant-based menu, listen up because Transformer offers an extensive menu of the most innovative vegetarian and vegan dishes around.
Based in Fitzroy, this vegetarian restaurant by Laki Papadopoulos and Mark Price is the pinnacle of seasonal dining in the Melbourne restaurant scene, as Transformer often gets its produce from small scale growers to offer up the freshest yet tastiest dishes.
After you’ve eaten your main, make sure you try their incredible pumpkin mousse or blueberry compote for dessert.
Address: 99 Rose St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
If you’re looking for a space where soul food, beer, sake and coffee collide, then Kappaya has answered your prayers.
This little gem hidden away in Abbotsford Convent serves up an incredible bento box combining grilled salmon, glazed tofu, marinated eggplant and mincemeat add-ons.
Also, there are many Japanese craft beers supplied from the Sapporo brewery if you’re after an icy cold beverage to down your meal with.
Address: St Mary’s Building, Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford VIC, 3067
Gimlet is Andrew Mcconnell’s (Cutler & Co) latest addition to the Melbourne fine dining scene and was easily one of the 2020s most anticipated new restaurants.
Set inside the Chicago-style 1920s Cavendish House, Gimlet offers a delicious selection of local seafood, hearty wood-fired mains and a cocktail list curated by Head bartender Cameron Paris, who is also the brains behind the restaurant’s catchy name.
Address: 33 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000
If you’re craving exquisite small plates and great live music inside an industrial-chic wine bar, you have to try one of the more unique restaurants in Melbourne, Embla. Head Chef Dave Verheul and wine connoisseur Christian McCabe have joined forces to offer one of the best wine bars that truly feels like an extension of your lounge room.
Are they feeling a bit peckish? Why not start with their quinoa & rosemary sourdough with grain mustard butter or their burrata with spring vegetables and pair it with one of their fine French wines.
What may appear from the outside as a simple inner-city wine bar is a rare and rustic establishment filled with mouth-watering dishes, a buzzing atmosphere and an unparalleled wine list.
Embla describes their wine as ‘slightly weird’ as they focus more on what the wine tastes like and where it’s from rather than the name. Let their knowledgeable staff guide you on an evening of exciting experimentation at one of the most awesome places to eat in Melbourne.
Address: 122 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000
For an adventurous Aussie restaurant in Melbourne, you can’t go past Attica. The twenty-course tasting menu at this trendy establishment features a vegemite pie, a wallaby blood pikelet, giant emu eggs and of course, kangaroo.
Attica frequently appears in lists of the world’s 50 best restaurants, so you know you’ll get world-class cuisine and service with the top locally sourced and appreciated fodder.
Address: 74 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea VIC 3185
Take advantage of a bespoke menu, phenomenal sushi and Japanese specialities while marvelling at the work of famed photographers Nobuyoshi Araki and Polly Borland.
Address: 175 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000
Longsong seamlessly combines historic ambience with modern features and cuisine. Inside the spacious 118-year-old warehouse, you will find kegs of locally distilled spirits (currently vermouth, gin, vodka and moonshine) as well as just one piece of cooking equipment – a woodfire grill.
The constantly evolving menu at this cool Melbourne restaurant features meats and seafood on skewers and other fresh pan-Asian dishes.
Located in: Longrain Melbourne
Address: Upstairs, 44 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
If the combination of Tandoor ovens and Tandoor-trained experts from one of Melbourne’s coolest restaurants doesn’t get your tastebuds tingling in anticipation, perhaps a few of Tonka’s menu highlights will: lamb curry with roasted coconut, vindaloo steak tartare, spicy Kashmiri pork tikka.
Add a comprehensive wine and cocktail list celebrating the world of Indian spice, and your salivary glands don’t stand a chance.
Address: 20 Duckboard Place, Melbourne VIC 3000
This moody underground vino basement is the ideal spot for a few adventurous drinks and delicious nibbles, easily making it one of the best restaurants in Melbourne.
Juliet opens just four whites and reds each night and takes a twist on your standard cocktails with a Tequila old fashioned and a cider sangria.
Expect many more hidden surprises such as spiced mince stuffed into the olives and regular raclette and jazz nights to give you a full sensory overload.
Address: Basement/37 – 41 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
In 2017, Atlas Dining appeared in many lists of the top new trendy restaurants in Melbourne. In 2018 it was already a bona fide Melbourne establishment.
Owner and head chef, has vowed to explore the cuisine of a different country he has visited every four months, adding locally sourced ingredients and touching them with fire to create one of the closest things to magic you can experience on a night out in Melbourne.
Address: 133 Commercial Road, South Yarra VIC 3141
If the sound of the name on your tongue is anything to go by, Mamasita promises to be one of the most fun restaurants in Melbourne.
Mamasita claims partial responsibility for the Mexican craze sweeping the nation. With regular hour-long waits for seats at this innovative and authentic Mexican restaurant, they may have a point.
The space is quaint and quirky, the spirits are artisan and refreshing, and the food is mouth-watering and constantly evolving.
Located in: Collins Place
Address: Level 1/11 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Omakase is an increasingly rare culinary art form that will dazzle the eyes and gratify the stomach. Sushi master Koichi Minamishima has 25 years of experience in this mesmerising display of knife skills meaning that at Minamishima, you will be treated to dinner and a show.
As far as Melbourne’s coolest restaurants go, it doesn’t get much more novel than that.
Address: 4 Lord St, Richmond VIC 3121
When a pop-up restaurant becomes a permanent institution, you know it must be doing something right. And we think chef Peter Gunn’s restaurant is much more than just alright – in fact, one of the best restaurants in Melbourne.
The mere photos of their cucumber boat, salmon caviar and mandarin, honeycomb and clove black box get the salivary glands working overtime. Don’t just treat your eyes. Test out this superb nosh for yourself.
Address: 92 Smith St, Collingwood VIC 3066
Florentino has the perfect formula for an exceptional evening (or daytime) of dining: genuine hospitality, top-quality raw produce and lesser-known Italian wine varieties. No list of cool places to eat in Melbourne would be complete without it.
The cellar bar, grill and Florentino have graced Melbournians with its luxurious style and authentic Italian cooking for nearly a century, meaning it is rooted in tradition but also committed to contemporary, sustainable practices.
Address: 80 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Matilda 159 Domain
One of the newest restaurants in Melbourne, Matilda 159 Domain, is here, and it’s very cool. This smoke focused restaurant in Melbourne is a visual and sensory journey. The kitchen is fuelled by an open fire and hot coals, which delivers great food, strong design and a feeling of comfort and warmth.
More than a labour of love for Chef Scott Pickett, it’s aptly named after his daughter. The restaurant is a bit more relaxed than its usual style, so guests can often visit to find a local piece of meat cooked to perfection over live flames.
Address: 159 Domain Road, South Yarra VIC 3141
Situated in a picturesque 19th-century building with a stunning view of the Carlton Gardens, Epocha is Melbourne’s answer to modern Greek food that combines fresh Australian produce.
Angie Giannakodakis (co-owner of Hellenic Republic) and Guy Holder (The Press Club, Rockpool) have joined forces offering a dining experience from a double-storied terrace that has been restored but still has remnants of the Victorian Era.
Epocha not only serves delicious food, but they have an extensive wine list that showcases Australia’s rich biodiversity.
Address: 49 Rathdowne St, Carlton VIC 3053
Located in Carlisle Street, St Kilda, This iconic Melbourne restaurant has been serving up some of the city’s best tacos, margaritas and beer since 2012. Radio Mexico serves up spicy authentic Mexican flavours that are sure to pack a punch and keep you on your toes. Radio Mexico is all about the finer details when it comes to their food.
Everything from the house-made salsa to their three-cheese nachos featuring roasted pumpkin and toasted pepitas shows this restaurant is the benchmark for Mexican cuisine.
Address: 11-13 Carlisle St, St Kilda VIC 3182
Al Dente Enoteca
In April 2020, Italian pasta chef Andrea Vignali launched her restaurant, Al Dente Enoteca, amid the global pandemic.
This restaurant initially began as a delivery service solely providing pasta dishes to Melbournians stuck in lockdown; however, this little passion project of Vignail’s was immensely popular, leading to the opening of Al Dente Enoteca.
While you’re here, you must try the artichoke filled tortellini or even crab ravioli. Our stomachs
are rumbling just thinking about it.
Address: 161-163 Nicholson St, Carlton VIC 3053
Tucked away inside ACMI is Hero, a place where the ideas of film, food, music and art are combined to create a hotspot where creative minds come together.
This understated yet refined cafe and bar have a seasonally driven menu made with local produce curated by renowned Melbourne chef Karen Martini. While you’re here, make sure you also try their flavoursome range of bespoke cocktails.
Address: Federation Square, Melbourne VIC 3000
Vesper Bistro and Bar
Taken from Vesper Lynd, a famous Bond girl from the James Bond franchise, comes Vesper Bistro and Bar, a new food hub in South Yarra specialising in European cuisine.
Vesper Bistro and Bar will make you feel like you’ve been whisked away to the Mediterranean islands with dishes full of flavour and vibrant colour from the islands of Greece, Spain, Italy and France, fusing a contemporary approach to fine dining.
Their À La Carte Menu is available for bookings for up to 6 people, so make sure you get in quick.
Address: 23/25 Toorak Rd, South Yarra VIC, 3141
Etta defines their menu as Australian with influence from Greek, Italian, Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine.
Suffice to know that it’s varied and delectable. It’s a small neighbourhood restaurant in East Brunswick with a homely atmosphere and friendly staff that want to give you the most memorable dining experience at one of the top cool restaurants in Melbourne.
Address: 60 Lygon St, Brunswick East VIC 3057
Succulent seafood, mouth-watering gnocchi, perfectly grilled zucchini and smoked beetroot is just the start of what you will be treated with at Melbourne restaurant Osteria Ilaria.
If narrowing down options on this Italian menu and the international wine list is not your strong point, opt for the chef’s selection to get the best of the crop.
Address: 367 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
FAQs About Melbourne Restaurants
Attica frequently appears in lists of the world’s 50 best restaurants, so you know you’ll get world-class cuisine and service with the top locally sourced and appreciated fodder.
Embla describes their wine as ‘slightly weird’ as they focus more on what the wine tastes like and where it’s from rather than the name, which is a good thing if you're into 'Natural Wine'. You'll find some of the rarest drops from the likes of Frank Cornelissen.
The best new restaurants in Melbourne
- Old Beijing. Traditional interiors, a modern menu and world-famous Peking duck. ...
- Society. Whether it's your first date or 10th anniversary, Society promises a night to remember.
- Tres a Cinco.
- Gimlet at Cavendish House.
- Chef David.
- Farmer's Daughters.
- Scott Pickett's Chancery Lane.
The Iconic Dishes of Melbourne
- Lamb Roast. There's nothing more Aussie than a Sunday roast.
- Banh mi. Thousands of refugees settled in Melbourne after the Vietnam War, and with them came a wave of incredible Vietnamese bakeries.
- Meat pie.
- Hot jam doughnut.
- Pippies in XO.
- The magic.
- Capricciosa pizza.
Many restaurants put money into the local economy. From paying rent or property taxes to utilities, restaurants pump a lot of cash into the local economy. More and more, restaurants are taking advantage of local suppliers to create farm-to-table menus, and this is more cash that flows into the local community.
A bubbling hotpot of gastronomic indulgence, Melbourne’s buzzing food scene is one that never disappoints. From cult classics to luxurious fine dining, there is no better time than the summer to sample the new and revived eateries around the city.
Whether you're looking for somewhere different to try for date night or casual catch-ups with the girls, the new kids on the block are giving the rest a run for their money. Whatever you're in the mood for – be it lobster and champagne or a new spin on European classics – these slick restaurants in Melbourne have you covered.