restaurants & cafes are reopening

Which Restaurants & Cafes Are Reopening In Melbourne?

It’s been a little while since Melbourne’s foodie scene has had any newsworthy openings. But that all looks set to change, with a slew of new restaurants and cafes preparing to open in the next few months. 

It's pretty exciting news for punters and traders alike, and Melburnians are already scrambling to book that first meal out on the town. Of course, reopening with these restrictions and capacity limits isn't financially viable for all eateries, so some will wait until hospitality restrictions ease further — when Victoria hits the 80 per cent of its double-dose target, expected on.

Some spots may be offering limited walk-ins, but your best bet for capturing a table is to make a booking — early. We've rounded up a stack of Melbourne bars, cafes, restaurants and pubs that are taking bookings from October 26 and beyond. Kick off the group chat, settle on a favourite and secure somewhere memorable for your next long-awaited dining-out adventure.

From hole-in-the-wall joints to upscale dining experiences, there’s something for everyone on the list. So if you’re looking for your next great meal, read on for our roundup of the most anticipated openings in Melbourne this winter!

Melbourne Restaurants and Cafes Reopening

Your favourite venues have spent months either closed or serving stripped-back takeaway-only menus. Some of them have shut for good. 

But many of them are coming right back and can’t wait to see you. If you’re comfortable doing so, it’s time to get ready to get back out there to support them.

Check this live list to see which restaurants are coming back when and what special things they have planned to mark the occasion.

Firebird By Hanoi Hannah

If you’re a true Melbourian, you’ve most definitely heard of Hanoi Hannah, and if you’re a fan of Asian-fusion style eating, you more than likely eat there religiously. Joining the Hanoi Hannah family is Firebird, and it brings plenty of flames and flavour to its prime Windsor location. 

The dining room—with room for 110 patrons—boasts a combination of intimate dimmed lighting and warm, welcoming tones to draw you in off the bustling High Street. The geniuses at Ewert Leaf have worked wonders on the interiors, swapping out the two floors for one and giving the space a modern industrial transformation with raw concrete and exposed beams. 

The Pièce de résistance is the custom-built chargrill and woodfired ovens, sitting in full view of the diners in the open kitchen.

Mister Bianco

Mister Bianco, where have you been all our lives? The casual cool Italian restaurant in Kew has a focus on Sicilian culture, and cuisine—from the relaxed setting and perfectly mixed Aperol Spritzes to the linguine Pescatore and the crumbed veal schnitzel (our favourite), everything here feels as if it's been transported from the Sicilian countryside...but with a Melbourne spin, of course. A great choice for a boozy lunch with friends or for dinner when you want to impress.

Daughter In Law

The perfect place to visit when you’re craving a home-cooked, made-with-love Indian dish, Daughter In Law is the new restaurant on the block that is fast becoming a Melbourne favourite. Located on Little Bourke Street, this unauthentic Australian-Indian bar and grill are founded and owned by internationally acclaimed chef Jessi Singh (Babu Ji NYC).

Daughter In Law's extensive food menu is something you’ll be left dreaming about. They have a whole range of meals for whatever you’re craving, whether it's a light bar snack like scallop ceviches or beef tartare, or indulge in a meal for yourself with their coconut seafood curry or some pork neck vindaloo. 

If you want something simple, try one of their naan pizzas because they are out of this world. They also have an express lunch available between Monday to Friday’s for only $15, so you can be in and out if you’re in a rush.

Now let's talk about drinks. From mocktails to cocktails, both are filled with bright colours and unique ingredients (like beetroot juice) that’ll go down like a treat. They also have beers, don’t worry. Their happy hour runs between 4 pm and 6 pm, and they also have a self-serve bar, so good luck trying to leave here. 

Inside, you’ll feel as though you have stepped foot into a Bollywood movie, and this is not just because of the Bollywood films projected onto the walls or the 70s Bollywood tunes that are playing in the background. With colours inspired by Indian culture, you’ll be able to sit back and relax in one of their velvet, ocean blue booths or their light pink bar lounge. With this 95-seater venue, you’ll be able to find a comfortable place somewhere.

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Chin Chin

Melbourne’s favourite mod-Thai restaurant has just had a massive facelift! We’re talking new floors and lighting design, a royal-blue palette replacing the former greens, an extensive mirrored back-bar in the style of an antique Chinese bookcase, high-backed stools clad in blue leather, new rock posters, new bathrooms, and a new and improved kitchen. 

It’s not just their interiors that I've had an overhaul. The drink lists and food menu have had an upgrade of their own! The cocktail list now uses more South-East Asian ingredients – think Thai Iced Tea and Tom Yum Bloody Mary, and they’ve ditched about 30 per cent of the existing dishes for some new recipes. 

They’ve even added in a new barbeque section that features gay yang (Thai-style grilled chicken), Wagyu rump cap and barbeque pumpkin and broccolini. But for those change-fearing foodies out there, don’t fret because they’ve still kept the classics like the massaman, sashimi, soft-shelled crab and the barra salad.

Chin Chin continues to be our go-to CBD fav to catch up with friends, share some wine and sensational food and enjoy the bustling ambience. Head downstairs to Go Go Bar when you feel like a change of scenery, or if you want to party all night long (they’ve had a killer makeover, too!).

David’s

Shanghai-born David Zhou opened his flagship Prahran restaurant, David's, in 1999 and has been delighting locals ever since. Inspired by countryside Shanghai, David's offers traditional dishes with a contemporary twist – make sure you check out the weekend yum cha; it's considered one of the best and a steal at $38 on Saturday and $40 on Sunday. 

David's is licensed, but you can also BYO (with $10 corkage) every night but Friday & Saturday and Sunday Lunch.  

Marano

When you hear Marameo is from the minds behind Bar Carolina and Il Bacaro, you know you're going to be in for a good time.

“We’re looking to do something different here. When I think about Marameo—a playful Italian hand gesture—I think about a cheeky young girl running around creating mischief. That’s what we’re trying to create, a space where it’s all about having a good time,” says owner Joe Mammone.

Mammone, alongside Michael Badr, has created an all-day Italian diner set away from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne's CBD on Russell Place.

The restaurant can fit 80 diners across the dining room and outdoor courtyard. And is the perfect place for an express lunch between meetings or a spot for after-work drinks and some hearty pasta.

Marano has a dedicated spritz menu, a large range of spirits, a great cocktail list, and a list of more than 300 wines to choose from.

Tetto di Carolina

Tetto di Carolina is serving up premium beverages for all adults. Their cocktail list, designed and created by award-winning cocktail bartender Alex Dysart, features high-quality cocktails for all cocktail lovers. Our favourite has to go to American Beauty, made with Aperitivo, Maidenii Sweet Vermouth, strawberry and jasmine syrup and prosecco. 

They’ve also got premium champagnes and sparklings, as well as a careful selection of Australian and European wines. Match your drink(s) with a meal from their Italian-inspired small plate menu, including pine-smoked mussels and spicy I.R.C. 

All are welcome to step inside a world of first-class service and hospitality. You’ll be treated with the quality and respect that you deserve here, and every need will be met promptly. This European jazz bar is an experience you won’t be able to get anywhere else in Melbourne. There is no reason to entertain at home with this amazing bar on offer, a night filled with tunes, timber and tasty drinks guaranteed.

Bar Carolina

The fading Carousel ice-cream sign still hangs over the main entrance, but Bar Carolina is a world away from double scoop vanilla with extra sprinkles.

This is restaurateur Joe Mammone’s first foray southside, after wowing CBD diners with Il Bacaro and Sarti. It’s an all-class Euro-mod bistro, a friendly Venetian ‘ciao’ to the French eateries that dot this part of Toorak Rd (France Soir, watch your back). And like everything Mammone touches, the devil is in the detail.

Turning a derelict Carousel shop into an expensive Italian restaurant is no mean feat, but it helps when you have Chris Connell and engineer Michael Amore handling the face-lift. The new fit-out feels like you’re dining on the Grand Canal, but circa 2017, not 1957. Mammone deliberately went for a more contemporary feel, with terrazzo floors, handmade leadlights, custom steel from Amore, little specks of azure here and there.

The restaurant’s pride and joy is the woodfire Josper oven, imported directly from Spain. Head chef Paolo Masciopinto is pretty liberal with the old Josper, blazing mains like wild barramundi, crusted in salt and herbs, which comes wrapped in a little steaming parcel. A beastly 700g rib-eye steak lands on your table with a simple scoop of seeded mustard.

If you’re less Flinstonian fare, there’s handmade pasta and delicate vegetarian entrées like beetroot-filled ravioli with goats’ cheese and poppy seeds or maple roasted carrots cashews, pine nuts and fresh cheese. Pasta-wise, keep an eye peeled for the tagliolini with Moreton bay bugs, porcini and dried chilli, or the braised baby goat with broad beans and shaved salted ricotta.

And for afters? It must be the tiramisu. Now we’ve eaten more tiramisu than you’ve had hot dinners. Still, we’ve never seen it like this before: enclosed in a sphere of white chocolate, nitrogen smoke curling around the plate, and inside a sinful mix of coffee, savoiardi and mascarpone. Dee-lish. 

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Tokyo Tina

Tokyo Tina is like a metaphor for the transformative power of Melbourne's restaurant scene. Take one old bong shop on Chapel St (not even a good bong shop), add Simon Blacher, Paul Nguyen and Nic Coulter from the juggernaut Commune Group, and simmer in a wok over low heat. The result? Tokyo Tina. The third alliterative foodie sibling to join Hanoi Hannah and Saigon Sally (RIP). That's one tasty family right there.

Along with Hanoi Hannah, Hawker Hall and (probably) Sash Japanese, Tokyo Tina is one of Windsor's 'it' restaurants. Seriously, it doesn't matter if it's a sub-zero Tuesday in June. This place will be pumping. 

Especially so, ever since chef Scott Lord got his mitts on a 'Bradley Smoker' over Easter. Now he's pumping out lunch bowls of epic smoked brisket ramen. Just what you want as Melbourne slides into another bleak winter, full of long coats and despair.

Neptune

Neptune is two-level seafood and Italian restaurant with a split personality: a casual eatery by day, perfect for a relaxed, mid-afternoon bite, but also an upstairs cocktail saloon with mood lighting, tunes and a whisky locker. 

That’s a pretty slick combo right there, and with such a strong Melbourne pedigree, Neptune looks set to make a name for itself on High St’s buzzing Friday night food scene.

The menu is seafood-heavy, as you might have guessed, with bar snacks like fritti misto (kind of Italian tempura), sage anchovy fritters and fried mussels up for grabs. If you’re after something more substantial, try the market fish baked en papillote or the Aglio e olio anchovy spaghetti. Both are excellent. And vegas, don’t fear—there are a few options on the menu that didn’t swim into a net.  

Drinks-wise, the cocktail list is tight, and the wine menu well-stocked. And if you sip something you like, just let your waiter know: bottles from the cellar are available for purchase. Nice touch, that.

Baby Pizza

From the makers of Melbourne's mod-Asian mecca, Chin Chin comes the sexy Italian half-sister smack bang in the heart of Richmond - Baby Pizza. The décor is simply contemporary - white booths and wooden tables - with a cute outside area lined with green umbrellas. But there are also quirky injections of character via pink neon lighting and cheeky, lip-licking girls.

The authentically Italian menu features 20 pizzas using simple yet tasty ingredients, such as fresh mozzarellas and salty pancettas. You can even come down for breakfast as they do all the old favourites - bircher, eggs etc. Baby's covered all (pizza) bases.

Kisume

Kisume means “a pure obsession with beauty”, which makes sense when you see the space. There’s a hot kitchen in the basement, a sushi restaurant on the ground floor and a bar/omakase space up top (basically a private degustation arena where you’ll be force-fed kingfish sashimi until you plead for mercy). 

The team Lucas has assembled is equally impressive, with head chef Yonge Kim at the helm. If there’s something these guys don’t know about sushi and sake, it is not worth knowing.

The menu features a variety of hot and cold dishes, but expect to munch on plates of beautifully presented Tamago Mushi with egg custard, prawn and shitake mushrooms, steamed King Crab gyoza or grilled mackerel with sesame ponzu. 

We’re saving stomach space for the crispy Wagyu truffles with truffle miso, not to mention the seared Yellowfin tataki with wasabi tofu. Drinks-wise you’re all set too: Kisume has huge glass cabinets devoted to Pinot Noir, Riesling, rare Sake and Japanese Whisky, as well as Australia’s first Chablis bar. Well played, Chris Lucas. Well played.

Radio Mexico

Fusing food trucks and fine dining, Radio Mexico is the Mexican highlight of the St Kilda dining scene. With tacos, quesadillas, ceviche and deep-fried tortilla chips, the well-priced menu full of traditional fare will not only satisfy but have you hanging around enjoying much tequila with your mates. Pop into their bayside bar location and watch a St Kilda sunset as you sip a Mexican draught beer amongst the cacti and graffiti walls.

Horn Please

Every Melburnian should know the name of the best Indian place within driving distance of their front door. It’s just one of those basic life skills. Sometimes nothing else hit the spot quite like a big bowl of goat Bhuna Masala or (statistically more likely) Butter Chicken and A4-sized garlic naan.

Well, if you live even remotely close to 167 St Georges Rd in Fitzroy North, your best bet is going to be Horn Please, a modern Indian restaurant from owner and chef Amarjeet (Amar) Singh. Horn Please is named after the hand-painted slogans that decorate vehicles across India and has been a Fitzroy stalwart since it opened back in 2013.

Singh’s menu is selective, but all your favourites are there. The basic principle is traditional Indian cooking (north and south) with a twist, from crispy little ’Gol Gappa’ puri to coconut fish curry with Blue Grenadier and turmeric and tempered mustard seed. 

Most people will gravitate towards the familiar, but we’d recommend experimenting with some of the entrees. The beetroot paneer tikka (beetroot marinated curd cheese, charred to perfection in the tandoor) is delicious, as is the crab Tikki: golden potato croquettes, stuffed with fresh blue swimmer crab.

A $4 mango lassi is a given, but there’s also a killer dessert menu (if you’re not already wall-to-wall naan). Go for the homemade Kulfi ice cream: a Horn Please specialty in cardamom, Honey & Pistachio or Lychee. Bloody unreal.  

Conclusion 

Melbourne's restaurants, cafes, and pubs will be allowed to reopen from October, with some restrictions still in place.

A maximum of 20 people will be allowed inside a venue, and patrons will need to stick to physical distancing guidelines. It's great to have our venues back, but it's still going to be a while before we get down to the pub and "get on the beers".

Melbourne restaurants have started announcing when they'll be opening and what capacity. We'll keep you updated with the list.

FAQs About Melbourne Restaurants & Cafes

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.

Opening from October 22

  • Old Palm Liquor. 
  • Embla.
  • Pepe's Italian & Liquor. 
  • Capitano. 
  • Mabu Mabu Big Esso. 
  • Farmer's Daughters. 
  • Marion.
  • Lagoon Dining. 

What is open now in Victoria

  • Museums Victoria. Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks, the Immigration Museum and IMAX have reopened.
  • The State Library of Victoria. 
  • Melbourne Aquarium. 
  • Gyms. 
  • Tourist accommodation, caravan parks and campgrounds. 
  • Cinemas. 
  • Dine-in for restaurants, cafés and bars.
  • Melbourne zoos.

Coffee shops can stay open as long as they can 'operate as a restaurant and serve hot drinks. When it comes to who you can go to a cafe with, you shouldn't sit indoors with anyone who's not in your household.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants must remain shut in Tier 3 areas except for takeaway and delivery services, and households cannot mix in public places outdoors.

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