Melbourne restaurants bring flavours from all over the world to our plates, as well as celebrating our own Australian culture; and aren’t we lucky? This year, let’s make a pact to celebrate the best restaurants in Melbourne, and the wonderful people that continue to curate cultural experiences for us through the art of cuisine.
Melbourne’s best restaurants cover a range of different cuisines, from modern Australian to Italian, Korean, and even plant-based options.
Fitzroy The gist: Warm neighbourhood bar, which is both classy and cool. They do the thinking for you. It’s the relax centre of Johnston Street. The food: Elegant and simple dishes, usually with an Italian influence. The flavour combos are simple and inspired. The wine is anything you want it to be; natural, organic, classic Australian or European, rich, dry, fruity—leave it up to the staff. They know how to pair with style. The cost: Bites average around $6ea, starters around $14 and the most expensive main is $34. How to order: Book via website
Toorak The gist: Imagine sexy French waiters in white waistcoats, that passionately open Chenin Blanc while rolling their eyes at you as if you ask for anything but medium-rare. Their wine list is a bound folder, and their menu is A3 and laminated, but underneath the novelty of it all is just good old-fashioned French comfort food, cooked to perfection with many dollops of butter. The food: French bistro comfort food. The cost: You can spend as little or as much as you’d like to at France-Soir. With a wine list of more than 4500 bottles, you can get a $50 Chenin or a $500+ Burgundy. The food is the same, with mains ranging from $17 – $45 and sometimes higher. How to order: Call (03) 9866 8569 for takeaway or bookings
Russell Street, CBD The gist: A chic narrow wine bar/restaurant in the heart of Melbourne-town, known for their quirky ever-changing wine list, super knowledgeable staff, and uncomplicated approach to food. The food: Simple, clean, adventurous and inviting. Ranging from carpaccio to mussels, to homemade bread and cured greens, Embla has it all. It’s a great place to try something new; a wine from a region you’ve never heard of, or a vegetable prepared in a way you’ve never seen. The cost: The cost at Embla can be matched to your budget, as they have a huge variety. You can tell the staff how much you’d like to spend on a bottle of wine and what you think you’re after, and they’ll find you something delish. Food ranges from small plates averaging $18 and larger plates averaging at $30-ish. How to order: book here FYI: The team opening a rooftop cinema on January 30.
Fitzroy The gist: Light-filled, 70’s style bar/eatery with a seasonal menu, extremely fresh produce and unique flavour combinations, their food is some of the best Brunswick Street has to offer. The food: A tiny open kitchen run by chef Shaun Clancy creates a take on Mediterranean rustic, with an underlying Iberian bar food vibe. Think octopus with chickpeas and parsley, saffron cuttlefish and a roughly-chopped steak tartare with paprika. The cost: Anywhere from $7 – $30. Most of the food is share plate style, so they range in sizes and you can eat as little or as much as you want. How to order: book here
Armadale The gist: Rina’s feels like home with its buzzing European-isms, empty magnum bottles, and A-grade banter, set in a small shop front on High St, Armadale, it’s a one-stop-shop for all things homemade Italian. Rina’s Cucina has literally been passed down the generations, from Zia Rina to chef Danny Natoli. Carrying on Zia’s legacy, Natoli makes everything by hand; the old fashioned way. The food: Whether it’s squid ink linguine, passata, ricotta gnocchi or cannoli, you can be sure it’s handmade and fresh. The wines are almost always Italian, but Natoli likes to push the boundaries, including experimental natural blends among an array of Italian classics. The cost: The menu changes daily, to whatever is around and fresh that day. They operate on a $65pp menu at the moment. How to order: book here
Meyers Place, CBD The gist: An Argentinian restaurant tucked within the European end of Melbourne’s CBD. Their menu centres around the Spanish ethos that food is an experience shared between friends, family and lovers. The decor is dimly-lit yet somehow still vibrant, with a dark sexy feel, much like the Argentinian Tango tbh. The food: Think smoked meats, tapas-style plates and fresh, colourful fruit and veg elements. Rich with a cellar of Spanish reds and a 2.5 metre Parrilla charcoal grill, San Telmo delivers true to its roots; named after the oldest neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. Also, possibly one of the best steaks. Ever. The cost: Starters are anywhere from $6 to $18 and mains are mostly in the $30 mark, with the exception of the $88 rib eye. If you’re feeling it though, it’s totally worth the cash. How to order: book here
Richmond The gist: Minamishima is all about the details. Everything from the ceramic vessels to the glass sake jugs, to the handmade cutlery and to the salt, all the way from Okinawa. Chef Koichi Minamishima simply wants to fill you with joy in the art form of sushi and divine aesthetics, and who are we to deny him that pleasure? Tucked down a one-way residential laneway in Richmond you’ll find Minamishima, an omakase-style Japanese restaurant. The food: Omakase-style Japanese goodness. The food is led by the chef, the produce and the seasons The cost: $225 per head for omakase. How to order: At home, dine in here
Thornbury The gist: Not only is 1800-LASAGNE a super kitsch red-brick restaurant serving up all things lasagne and 70’s Italian realness, but it’s also an actual hotline. In certain Melbourne hotspots, you can call 1800-LASAGNE and get lasagne delivered right to your door in a chocolate-coloured minivan. The food: LASAGNE. And other scrumptious euro delights on offer such as a grappa espresso martini and a cos lettuce cup with anchovy cream and Parmigiano. 1800-LASAGNE will transport you into the nonna’s kitchen you never had. The cost: Lasagne is $25 a pop. Other drinks and snacks are very affordable. Everything except bottles of wine is under $30. How to order: Book here, order here or call 1800 LASAGNE
Carlton North The gist: Gerald’s Bar is about as classic as it gets. With one here in Melbourne and one in San Sebastian, Gerald’s operates with a “We Cook, You Eat” mentality, writing their menu on big scrolls of brown paper throughout the venue and opening whatever wine they feel like serving on the night. Welcome to Melbourne, the city of bars you’ll go for “one drink” and stay for the entire evening. Gerald’s Bar is yet another fantastic place to eat that might be more commonly known as a bar. The food: At Gerald’s, you can find European beer you haven’t seen since you were last overseas, an extensive euro wine list, great classic cocktails and the best white anchovies in North Fitzroy. For snacks, think cured meats, braised liver, salmon tartare and Caprese salad. Everything is made to be shared. The cost: It changes daily. If you’re really hungry it’s about $100 a head. How to order: Call (03) 9349 4748
Brunswick East The gist: We love Old Palm Liquor’s Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom feel, with a mix of high ceiling fans, golden timber beams, the-real-deal brown 70’s tiles and hanging ferns. It’s the sort of lush, wholesome cabin setting that makes you feel at ease right away. It even has that beautiful pine ski-lodge smell. Although a restaurant, you’re always welcome to just go in for a drink. It’s open till midnight, which is at least an hour or two longer than many of its neighbours and makes it the perfect place for a nightcap or one last wine. The food: You’re looking at South African and Argentinian influences, with lightly smoked meats, fish and king oyster mushrooms, contrasted by seasonal grilled veg, oysters and ceviche. As for drinks, they have it all. With a visible wine collection of over 300 wines, you’ve got your pick from Japanese wines to Guinness on tap. The cost: With such an extensive wine list it’s honestly hard to go wrong; everything has its place no matter the price point. You can go big, or cheap and cheerful. The food is pretty standard prices; anywhere from $14 for a starter and in the $30s for a main. How to order: Order takeaway via Deliveroo, book via The Fork
Ripponlea The gist: Attica is a creative experience in dining that you can’t afford to miss. Launching into the spotlight after his Chef’s Table episode in 2018, New Zealand native chef Ben Shewry has become renowned for his experimentation with native and foraged ingredients, now a pinnacle in defining Australian cuisine. The food: Combining a farm to table attitude with fine dining, Shewry’s Attica offers a degustation that will give you a fresh understanding of your edible surroundings. The cost: $320pp How to order: Book here
80 Collins, CBD The gist: Farmer’s Daughters is Melbourne CBD’s first true farm-to-table restaurant, bringing a little piece of Gippsland to the city. It has fast become one of Melbourne’s best restaurants. With a simplistic approach to food, chef Alejandro Saravia is passionate about showcasing the flavours of country-Vic at their absolute best, with zero wastage. Part of the new 80 Collins development, the fit-out is breathtaking, taking inspiration from the colours of Gippsland; gum-green, bark-nude, cold soil-charcoal. Farmer’s Daughters is three levels of magic, with each level a different mood: a deli, provedore and casual eatery on the ground floor, a degustation restaurant with sophisticated views on the first floor and a rooftop cocktail up top, complete with a native herb garden. The food: Farm to table goodness, made completely from Gippsland produce and hero-ing Australian cuisine. The cost: A $75pp or $110pp offering in the dining room, or a la carte downstairs. How to order: Book here
Rialto Towers, CBD The gist: In a word, it is drama. Vue de Monde has been a Melbourne institution of dining luxury for almost 20 years. There’s one set menu that changes daily, with each dish brought out and explained to you by any one of the notoriously charming chefs. Set in one of the most gorgeous locations imaginable; the 55th floor of Melbourne’s iconic Rialto building, if you get there at the right time of day, you can feel the sunset over you and watch the Melbourne city skyline transform. The food: Native Australian with a side of theatrics. The cost: $310pp chef’s menu How to order: Book here
Flinders Lane, CBD The gist: Supernormal exists among the office bustle of Flinders Lane. It’s an all-day eating house with a menu influenced by the cuisine and restaurants of Tokyo, Shanghai, Seoul and Hong Kong, with classic dishes revisited and some new beauties created. Supernormal is a classic mix of neon cherry fun, and a light-filled, plant-filled and modern food hall feel. The food: Asian-fusion done right. If you take nothing else away from this list, just please, go and eat the Supernormal lobster roll. The cost: The plates are all made to be shared, ranging from $10 – $80 How to order: Book here
Fitzroy The gist: It’s loud, it’s sweaty, it’s pumping with Spanish salsa music and trays of mescal shots. Often mistaken for “taco”, as the light-up sign reads out the front of their Brunswick Street eatery, and true to the signage, they deliver simple, affordable and authentic Mexican street-style food, specialising in tacos. The food: A taco list, enchiladas, quesadillas, corn chips and homemade guac, paired with a range of craft beers, mescals and spicy margarita variations. The pulled pork taco is especially moreish. The cost: Tacos are about $6ea. How to order: Walk-in or call (03) 9078 2252
Clifton Hill The gist: A warm and welcoming neighbourhood wine bar/eatery, serving up spritzes, local wines and real tasty plates. Spensley’s is located in the middle of suburban Clifton Hill, just up the road from the train station. It’s created a buzzy corner, with tables outside in the sun and all the neighbours catching up for a vino, the atmosphere is homey while also fabulous. The food is simple yet still adventurous and also comforting? Literally the perfect neighbourhood spot. Incredible quality everything, with none of the snob. The food: Burrata, oysters, squid with confit tomatoes, green beans with lemon milk… you get it. The cost: $14 – $35 for a la carte share plates. They also offer a $65pp chef’s menu which has pretty much everything on the menu on it. Pretty solid value. How to order: Book here.
Since 2020, we all have a new appreciation for the magic of home delivery. Not only do you not have to miss out on your favourite local products, but it also allows you to support small businesses, which has never been so important in a post-covid economy.
Also, if you’re like us and sometimes forget important occasions due to the business of daily life, same-day delivery can be a real life-saver.
Here are our favourite places that offer fun deliveries in Melbourne.
Goldeluck’s delivers boxes of doughnuts, with everything from a Nutella doughnut bouquet, to vegan Valentine’s doughnuts, to giant Nutella and rocher cronuts for literally any occasion. Whether it’s for a birthday, a lover, or just a little note to say thank you, no one has the power to resist doughnuts, especially when they’re boxed and wrapped beautifully. You can browse endless options on their website. Goldeluck’s can do same-day delivery in Melbourne for these products.
Fancy having brownies, cakes, biscuits, and more sweet treats delivered to your door same day? Ox Rabbit has a range of baked goods ready to delivery to mum this Mother’s Day if you’re planning on getting her sorted last-minute. Place your order by Friday 6 May for delivery by Mother’s Day.
Plants are the gift that keep on giving. Born on the inspiration that plants continue to grow past any actual occasion, The Indoor Plant Co delivers a plant of your choice in a beautiful ceramic pot. With sustainability at their core, they even use Australian-designed and sustainably sourced wrapped paper. They also offer add-ons, such as chocolates and body scrubs, making this gift go the extra mile. The Indoor Plant Co provides same-day delivery from Monday to Friday. Check out the range here.
Co-Lab Pantry provides all things yummy from all Victorian producers. With everything from the Everleigh bottled cocktails and fresh cuts from Meatsmith, founders Danielle Lebon, Natasha Buttigieg and Avin Chadee bring you all your favourite food things from the people that do it best in Victoria. Venues and brands include the likes of Chotto Motto, Drumplings, Fancy Hank’s, Gingerboy, Meatsmith, Messina, Piccolina, Four Pillars and the Everleigh. This is the perfect place to construct a lush gourmet hamper for those special friends that appreciate local, handmade goodies. Co-Lab Pantry offers next-day delivery for orders placed before 2pm. Order via their website here.
Nothing says “you’re loved” more than a good box of chocolate. Melbourne Cocoa’s gift bundles are a great way to show someone you care with a beautiful selection of Australian-made choccies. They’ve got everything from caramel to honeycomb, from block to truffles, from chocolates for lovers to chocolates for empowered singles. It’s an all-stop-choccie-shop. Packs start at $45 and you can pick one up here.
A gift in the form of charcuterie and cheese is our favourite kind of gift, tbh. There’s nothing a good meat and cheese board can’t fix, whether it be the lockdown blues or a bad day at work, everything is better over a cheeseboard. That’s Amore has a selection of moreish hampers with true Italian portions and we reckon, the bigger the better. You can choose one of theirs or build-your-own with their selection of award-winning cheese, wine, gin, meats, biscuits, pastes and… you guessed it, more cheese. Shop the gift boxes here.
Want to send a bouquet but tired of ya classic native floral arrangement? Edible Blooms is the perfect way to up your bouquet game. They can make you a bouquet out of just about anything; doughnuts, chocolates, fruit, cheese and booze, they cater to every and all dietary needs and even offer “healthy treats” for those on a diet. They also offer same-day delivery, which is perfect if someone is in immediate need of chocolate or if you remembered an important occasion last minute. Order on their website here.