Melbourne’s best restaurants. That’s a loaded term. Ask anyone on the street for they’re favourite Melbourne eatery and you’d better bring a couch, coz it’ll take a while. And how do you even weight restaurants right at the tippy-top? It’s not an exact science, and we’ve had a lot of fun eating our way across town.
This list will grow and shrink over time (it’s a work in progress), but for now, this is it: the best restaurants in Melbourne. Get ready to tuck in.
We’ve written about Tipo 00 many times, and there’s a reason. Delicious, tasty, scrumptious, delectable Italian food. Probably the best in Melbourne, depending on who you ask. Most people head straight for the ragu, but the gnocchi di patate is also delicious—perfectly cooked gnocchi, duck braised to perfection, porcini mushroom and pecorino pepato. Now stop reading about it, and go try it. This is number one on your Melbourne bucket list. Check out the latest menu here.
Vue de Monde
Potentially Melbourne’s most iconic fine dining restaurant, Vue de Monde still delivers in spades. Head chef Shannon Bennet (that friendly face popping up on Masterchef here and there) makes sure you never leave his restaurant disappointed. It’s not cheap but it will be memorable. Prep your wallet, and your stomach, and sign up for the tasting menu. It ranges from $230 to $275 per person. Totally worth it.
If you’ve never been to Chin Chin, we can almost guarantee you’ve seen the queue at the very least. And it’s justified. South-East Asian food so good it’ll blow your mind is delivered each and every day. We’re going for the Miang of spanner crab with ginger, peanuts, pomelo, scud chilli and curry spiced coconut cream. And don’t get us started on the coconut pork roll-ups. Get in line early or prepare to wait.
IDES is almost blink-and-you’d miss it, but any hungry Melbournian should head down to Collingwood for a feast they won’t soon forget. Chef Peter Gunn brings refined, technical dishes that change with the seasons (but always deliver the goods). IDES used to only open its doors once a month, so we’re all pretty lucky we can rock up any day of the week now. Definitely sit down for the tasting menu with matched wines. It’s actually relatively affordable, given the quality.
Yep, another easy one for the list. But can you blame us? Just down the road from Chin Chin (the other queue) is this bustling Asian hot spot—Supernormal. The celebrated brainchild of Andrew McConnell. The menu is constantly updating, but it’s always intended to be shared, so bring along your fellow foodies. We doubt you’ll have to do much to convince them. And don’t dare leave without trying the New England lobster roll. Best $16 you’ll ever spend.
Nope, we didn’t repeat ourselves. The younger sibling of Supernormal, Supernormal Canteen is actually McConnell’s pop-up that started the whole Supernormal experience. Expect the same mouth-watering pan-Asian flavours, plus a charcoal yakitori bar serving up prawns, chicken and, for the adventurous, duck hearts. They’ve just brought back a winter ramen that will blow your mind, but for the ultimate spoonful, try their sweet corn congee with smoked butter and nori. We could bathe in a pool of this stuff.
This one practically screams fine dining. With a distinguished, refined tone of course—right down to the price tag of $275 a person. That’s not to say it’s unjustified, Attica having earned itself three hats—a feat only done by five other restaurants in 2018. Expect the unexpected ingredients-wise, with dishes like whipped emu egg and black ant lamington on offer. Lock this one in for a fancy date night (and by lock we mean book—tables fill up weeks in advance).
Picking Melbourne’s best Japanese restaurant is like its own mini-game. There are at least half a dozen restaurants that could lay claim to the title. But here’s one we’re going to chuck in the ring. Minamishimia in Richmond serves the omakase of Chef Koichi Minamishima. This guy’s got 25 years’ experience in slicing up A-grade sashimi. You get one piece at a time, prep’d with loving care and incredible attention to detail. If you want to impress some out-of-towners, this is a pretty good place to start. We don’t throw around terms like ‘Melbourne’s best sushi’ lightly, but we’re doing it here.
Yep, another familiar face making the list. Cumulus Inc is one of Melbourne’s favourite all-day eateries, serving up well-balanced dishes like tuna tartare with goats’ cheese and crushed green peas, parmesan tart with truffle and endives, and snapper with braised leek and clams. Did we mention that they also have a wine bar? Also, they do brunch. Perfect. Last tip: keep an eye out for their monthly free wine tastings in Cumulus Up, the wine bar upstairs.
Cutler & Co
Hello again, Andrew McConnell. Yep, he’s also the mastermind behind Fitzroy fine-dining venue Cutler & Co. Is there anything this guy can’t do? Inside this old metal works factory your tastebuds will be tantalised by either a seasonally-changing a la carte menu or a daily Chef’s special menu. Or get both, we won’t tell anyone. Personally, we struggle to go past the roast suckling pig with radicchio, anchovy sauce and turnip. Delish.
Time to throw some seafood into the mix, and what better restaurant to offer up than Stokehouse? With a menu thoughtfully tailored by Richard Ousby and Ollie Hansford, you can expect clean, zesty flavours with every dish you order. Our pick? The watermelon and tomato tartare with pickled chilli and umami dressing to start, followed by seared tuna with wasabi cream, sesame and soy. Pair it with views of St Kilda beach and you can’t go wrong. And if you had a big one on Friday, rock up to Pontoon downstairs—they’re running Hair Of The Dog brunches.
Nestled away in Carlton, Epocha is one for the people that want a bit of a change from the phrase “Let’s go grab pasta on Lygon Street”. With a four-course dining menu for $75 per head, you get a range of French-inspired goodness like kingfish crudo with crème fraiche, espelette, lemon and wild fennel and moreish desserts such as Apple Tart Tatain. They also have a longer menu labelled ‘Surrender’. That’s a nine-course degustation menu, and trust us, you’ll need to bring your stretchy pants for that one.
One of South Yarra’s staples, Ramblr has been the favourite of many, so much so that they have recently launched a lunch menu (which you can read about here). Their dinner menu features smoked cauliflower salad and whole salt and pepper fried baby snapper with xo sauce. If you’re still feeling peckish from your feast, the pumpkin custard cheesecake with white chocolate ice-cream looks divine. Nick Stanton, you’re a genius.
Dinner By Heston Blumenthal
Known for his creative flair, Heston Blumenthal’s ‘Dinner by Heston’ showcases some of the best in culinary creativity—after all, where else could you find a dish called ‘Meat Fruit’? The restaurant offers both a lunch menu and dinner menu, with À la Carte being served from mid-day and a five-course lunch (with an option for vegetarians) setting you back $160 per head. It’s pricey, and let’s be honest, you’re paying an extra 30% for the name. But it’s still one of the most exciting nights out in the city.
Rockpool is still the undisputed king of Southbank dining. Offering some of their best signature dishes such as the wood fire lamb chops, the mac and cheese, southern calamari with chorizo + hummus or king prawns with goat’s cheese tortellini and burnt butter. It’s also one of the only places in town where you’ll find a 62-day aged 750g rib eye on the bone for $125...with a 9+ marble score. Make sure you eat here at least once in your life. It’s the little things.
It’s time to get spicy, Melbourne, and the Crown’s famous hot spot, Spice Temple, is some of the best Chinese in the city. Mostly because it focuses on those culinary regions you don’t often see staring back at you from a box of noodles: Yunnan, chilli-loving Jiangxi, Hunan and Sichuan. Try out the cold shredded potato salad with coriander and chilli or the hot and numbing duck for size. Wash down the heat with one of their twelve cocktails on the menu, each named after a Zodiac sign.
Known for their ‘freelance’ Australian cuisine, Ezard has been serving up delicious food in the CBD since the days when ‘Melbourne dining’ meant a focaccia with sun-dried tomato. The menu boasts dishes like Ora salmon with braised daikon, pancetta with cauliflower, pork belly with caramelised pineapple and to top it all off, a glazed lemon tart for dessert. Still the perfect date night in the city, if you ask us. Much thanks, Teage Ezard—keep doing what you’re doing.
Still our favourite Scott Pickett venue (although his new Matilda is seriously messing with our loyalties). Saint Crispin is the champion of modern Australian cuisine in the north, featuring hearty dishes like sweet potato with buckwheat, cashew and sumac. If you’re feeling a bit peckish, don’t go past the venison with smoked beetroot, quince and radicchio. If you’re after a sweet treat, go for the frozen rhubarb custard with sheep’s yoghurt or the Pyengana cheddar with spiced carrot pickle. But TBH there are no bad choices at Saint Crispin.
How does Quinoa Hummus, Braised Wagyu Spring Roll or Silken Tofu with seaweed, fried shallots and jalapeños sound? They’re all on the menu at Pastuso, a Peruvian-style grill with a twist. If sharing is more your style, tuck into any dishes on the menu or opt for the $65 ‘feed me’ which is the selection of Chef Alejandro’s picks for the evening. Make sure you wash it down with one of their signature pisco sours. You won’t find better in Melbourne.
Mr Miyagi is like your friend’s cool older sister. It’s a fresh take on traditional Japanese food paired with sake and killer cocktails (how does a frozen gin & tonic sound?). House favourites are the salmon nori roll, schnitty bao and the prawn and ginger dumplings. Whisky lovers will be happy with the excellent selection of Japanese amber behind the bar. Pour of two fingers of the Hibiki, my good man...
Entrecote is almost a victim of its own success. The menu is full of Frenchy surprises (included a snog of Crème Brûlée that’ll knock your socks off), but 90% of people still come here for the steak and pomme frites. And that’s no bad thing—you won’t find better anywhere. And it also comes with bottomless fries. Yep, your waiter will rock up and ask if you want more fries. The smart answer is yes. Entrecote also does brekkie, lunch and dinner – so you won’t go hungry at any time of day. And there’s a great coffee bar out the back. Oui, oui.
The true definition of a suburban gem. There’s nothing flashy about Da Noi. It’s a quaint and cosy wine bar on Toorak Rd, tucked between about 17 other (most bustling) restaurants. Quaint and cozy, Da Noi brings home-cooked Italian to South Yarra. With a heavy focus on using produce from their organic farm, creating fresh and seasonal dishes depending on what’s available, you never know what to expect. Their menu is a degustation-only, with the chef’s best picks taking the spotlight. With a family run restaurant like this, you know you’re in good hands. Saluti!
This one’s for you, Eastsiders. Navi is an intimate, degustation-only (no la carte) restaurant that racks up an impressive wait list on weekends. Head chef Julian Hills serves up experimental, weird and wonderful delights you won't get anywhere else like brook trout roe macarons, sow-roasted tamarillo and truffle ice cream and wattleseed chocolate caramel. This phrase might get thrown around often but, trust us, when we say that this is a dining experience like no other. If you're not in Yarravile, it's worth the drive. And if you are, well, you lucky ducks.
Tucked away in Flinders Lane, Coda has been labelled a number of cuisines: Modern Asian Fusion or French-Vietnamese. You know what we think it is? God Damn Delicious. It’s hard choosing between dishes like Hà Nội style fried rice paper roll with pork, truffle and nước chấm (uhh, yum!) and O’Connor’s Black Angus strip loin, served with gribiche and green peppercorn sauce. If you’re not being rolled out of there already, don’t skip past the desserts, with rum-roasted pineapple, Thai basil sorbet, whipped mascarpone cream and sable Breton being a standout.
Image credit: Griffin Simm