Restaurants

The Best Restaurants In Melbourne Right Now (Updated 2024)

By Rick Stephens

Melbourne's Best Restaurants In July 2024

Melbourne is absolutely teeming with top restaurants, fine dining options and trendy eateries offering fine dining experiences.

But if you're feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of cool restaurants, our shortlist guide is here to help. If you're after the city's newest and trendiest spots, check out our Best New Restaurants section.

For near me options, explore The Directory to find good restaurants in Melbourne tailored to your location, whether you're in the CBD, north, east, south, the suburbs or the coast. And don't forget, stay in the know by subscribing to Urban List Insiders.

THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN MELBOURNE AT A GLANCE

Here are the best restaurants Melbourne has to offer as of July 2024:

Molli

20 Mollison Street, Abbotsford

Share pates at Molli in Abbotsford, featuring a glass of white wine, a potato rosti, a pork neck skewer and some flat bread.Image: Molli | Tim Harris

Molli is an ode to modern Australian cuisine with a heavy focus on fresh, sustainably sourced ingredients and technique. The restaurant is part of Melbourne's new wave of suburban dining, located in the heart of Abbotsford, just a short walk up from Victoria Street.
And when you walk in, you realize, Molli is cool.

To start, there’s the conversation pit, casual bar seating, or tables by the window where you can sip on a martini and snack on seaweed crackers with mushroom ketchup. If you’re with mates, the clarified milk punch (so hot right now) is an affair, built to serve four and completed by chunky 1920s-style ice bricks. 

The menu reads like a who's who of incredible dishes.  Combos like mussels and nduja, delicate but fiery, offer a take on traditional mussels with the bread fried and tossed through, rather than on the side. Their Josper grill (read: big charcoal oven) locks in the flavors of octopus skewers with yuzu kosho, and the beef short ribs topped with crispy chicken skin are moreish and rich. The potato rosti takes you down memory lane, reminiscent of a childhood treat (potato cakes, of course), and then into the future with the whole alpine trout with pork crackling. The trout, much like the punch, is best shared between friends.

The comforting smell of charcoal wafts through the dining room from time to time, as the somm (who is wandering around—can we make this a thing again, please?) offers excellent recommendations from a tight, revolving, and most importantly, accessible wine list.

INSIDER INTEL

  • The chef's menu is $85 per person and featuers an excellently curated selection but if you're ordering a la carte, take friends, those big dishes are *BIG*.
  • Molli's drinks list is ultra-refined, with curated wines to go perfectly with the menu and a stack of non-alc options it will be easy to find something to your taste. If you're stuck, ask the somm!
  • Just next door is Little Molli, the restaurant's sister cafe / deli / sandwich joint and if you're not heading there for breakfast after dining at Molli, we'll be really surprised.

READ MORE

Reine & La Rue 

380 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD

A large dining hall with a stain glass window.Image credit: Reine & La Rue | Supplied

Arguably the biggest opening of the last few years and already being touted as one of the best restaurants Melbourne has to offer, Reine & La Rue is the grand French diner housed inside a heritage-listed stock exchange building along Collins Street. 

It’s from the team behind NOMAD, so it goes without saying that the menu is elite. Start with the unapologetically rich bone marrow with mash, swing by the seafood bar for a plate of queen scallops, and of course, don’t skip out on the premium steak selection, like the seriously impressive 1kg O'Connor dry-aged T-bone. If you really want to go the full mile, get the cheese trolley to finish the night, curated to perfection by premium cheese destination, Maker & Monger. Also, feel free to dip your toe in the water and do the bar seating for some snacks, the bar is easily one of the best bars in Melbourne.

INSIDER INTEL

  • Order up on the pomme puree with bone marrow, a side that is truly a star of the show
  • Those wanting to dip their toes into one of Melbourne's best fine dining experiences can kick off with the $180pp set menu (tables of four or more)
  • Reine & La Rue's Jersey Milk soft serve dessert really is worth the hype

READ MORE

Prince Dining Room

2 Acland Street, St Kilda

A booth seat snakes in the centre of a light and bright dining room with fish-shaped water jugs sitting on the edge of the seat.Image credit: Prince Dining Room | Supplied

The Prince has long held its grip as a true Melbourne icon, but we’re here to shine the spotlight on Prince Dining Room. In this new iteration of the finer diner that was born earlier this month, Sydney’s Mitch Orr has come into the fold, leading the charge as Creative Director alongside newly recruited Ben Parkinson as Head Chef, and Beverage Manager Paul Beresford. We dined, we loved, and we’re here to tell you it’s a Melbourne-must.

Boasting two separate menus, one for the bar and the other for the dining room. Both follow the same ethos—licked by fire, and inventive-led creations. Go to linger at the bar for a cocktail or two, before taking a seat in the unpretentious dining room. Lean into the staff recommendations akin to your taste, but make sure you go to the grilled Abrolhos Island scollops. 

INSIDER INTEL

  • Cocktails can be miniaturised, and Beresford has put a great deal of care into the sober curious list of non-alc options.
  • There's no bad seat to perch on, but if you can, go the tables moulded to the snaking booth in the dining room.
  • Dish picks by our Editors: at the bar, it’s the dashi braised onion rings with smoked mayo, and in the dining room, you cannot pass up on the grilled blackmore wagyu flat iron.

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Grill Americano 

112 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD

A huge fresh-off-the-grill rib eye is plated on a Grill Americano branded dish, served with a wedge of lemon and roasted garlic.
Image credit: Grill Americano | Supplied

Positioned in good company where the best restaurants in Melbourne CBD sit, Grill Americano is the marble and leather-clad fine diner from restaurateur Chris Lucas. 

Steak is the name of the game at this Italian-leaning charmer, with the showstopping Bistecca Alla Fiorentina—a 1.2kg T-bone cooked over charcoal—being the go-to if you’re looking to impress. Those wanting to meet in the middle can tap into several primi plates or hand-made pasta, like the lobster saffron Taglioni or Spanner crab linguini. 

INSIDER INTEL

  • The Instagram-famous tiramisu served tableside really is all that—order up!
  • If you're only having one drink, make it their namesake, The Americano 
  • The classic chef's selection menu comes in at $165pp, and yes, it includes a serve of the tiramisu

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Flint

199 Smith Street, Fitzroy

Two people working behind the bar with plates set up.Image credit: Flint | Annika Kafcaloudis

It’s just straight fire at Fitzroy’s Flint—each dish is cooked purely with charcoal, smoke and flames over their custom-built hearth. 

So naturally, you’d be remiss not to order the 5+ wagyu if steak is your thing. That said, it’s Flint’s meticulously cooking methods that elevate the most simple of ingredients—like their signature carrots that are fermented, smoked and then charred. Other inventive dishes include the beef tartare with beetroot cashew cream and pickled kohlrabi, with a rice nori cracker—served up just as slick as the fit-out of the moody diner. 

INSIDER INTEL

  • Do yourself a favour and order Melbourne's dish of the moment, the smoked carrots
  • The private mezzanine dining room overlooks the open hearth—great for group dining 
  • Order Flint's take on the Negroni to kick things off

READ MORE

Lagoon Dining

263 Lygon Street, Carlton

A charming dining room with people enjoying a meal inside.
Image credit: Lagoon | Supplied

Lagoon Dining is truly one of those if-you-know-you-know spots. An institution in its own right, head chef and co-owner Keat Lee brings a modern interpretation to Chinese culinary traditions in a moody, intimate setting. 

Don’t miss Lagoon’s playful take on sticky lamb ribs on garlic-buttered white bread, and then dig into their chewy stir-fried rice drop noodles, with Xinjiang spiced beef. The swanky cocktail list welcomes you to fully settle in, especially their house sour shaken up with amaretto, whiskey, osmanthus and lemon. 

INSIDER INTEL

  • Ask nicely to see if they're cooking up what is usually a staff-only meal, Lagoon's ever-so-slick take on mie goreng
  • See if you can score the window seat by the neon light, it's a real vibe
  • There's no shame in ordering their Feed Me menu—it's a real best-of-the-best situation

READ MORE

 
SEE HERE FOR OUR FULL GUIDE TO THE BEST OF CUISINES

Poodle Bar & Bistro

81 – 83 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy 

A spread of dishes at Poodle Bar And Bistro as part of their new Sunday Prix Fixe menu
Image credit: Poodle Bar & Bistro | Supplied

Poodle Bar & Bistro stepped into Melbourne’s dining scene only a few years ago, in all its swanky art-deco glory. The dual-level space offers a charming dining room on the ground floor that’s skirted by a front bar, a courtyard primed for Melbourne’s summer and a more intimate upstairs cocktail bar.  

The modern Euro-leaning menu brings a hint of nostalgia with dishes like zucchini and ricotta bake, or the prawn scotch egg. For something more substantial, opt for the charcoal-grilled 500g steak, with Poodle’s signature butter and fries. And if you happen to dining on a Sunday, check out Poodle's new prix fixe menu. You're up for a premium selection of sharable snacks, mains and desserts for a pretty reasonable $60 per person. The menu changes on the weekly, so be sure to check out their Instagram to find out what's on offer for the day.

INSIDER INTEL

  • The off-menu white Negroni, aka white Ferrari, is a must-drink
  • Don't want to break the bank? Book in for their $60pp Sunday prix fixe menu
  • Keep an eye on their Instagram for entire venue parties, which happen once every few months

READ MORE

Society

80 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD

A giant chandelier hanging over one of best restaurant in Melbourne, Society.
Image credit: Society | Supplied

It’s big, it’s bold, and after a martini or two, you might feel like you’re in one of NYC’s top-tier bistros. Society is the latest exercise in opulence from restaurateur Chris Lucas of Lucas Restaurants, flaunting crystal chandeliers, a wine cellar with more than 10,000 bottles, and a menu decked out with first-class Australian produce. 

Get started with the likes of caviar and crème fraîche served with a fresh brioche roll, then head to the far end of the menu for the showstopping smoked wagyu striploin or salmon en croûte that’s served tableside. 

INSIDER INTEL

  • The wine-inclined are encouraged to stroll through Society's wine hall—it's a real marvel
  • Lillian Brasserie, Society's sibling diner within the same building, is great for those after a more casual dining experience
  • Or, go all out in the Society Dining Room and order the boeuf en croute served tableside.

READ MORE

Vue de Monde 

55 Rialto Towers, 525 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD

A restaurant with black tables and brown chairs boasting cityscape views.
Image credit: Vue de Monde | Jason Loucas

A stalwart of the city’s dining scene for over 20 years, Vue de Monde has long been considered one of Melbourne’s best, with an international reputation. Located on the 55th floor of the Rialto building, the city skyline views are just the beginning of Vue De Monde’s theatrical dining experience. 

After its three-month closure last year, a cutting-edge private dining room was unveiled, along with a major refresh to the main diner and adjoining boozer Lui Bai—all fit for the reinterpreted menu, led by award-winning executive chef Hugh Allen. 

Expect the likes of macadamia purée accompanied by caviar and kelp to kick things off, before moving into hero dishes like the two-part marron serving—marron tail grilled with fried native herbs paste, followed by a warm marron head custard. It's one of Melbourne's top dining experiences, and for that reason, bookings are in demand.

INSIDER INTEL

  • Don't miss the marron dish—for the photo opp and for one of Melbourne's top dishes
  • Get there early, or stay later, and have a cocktail at sibling cocktail spot Lui Bar
  • Expect to spend $360pp for the set menu—a bold price for a bold meal

READ MORE

Yūgen Dining

505 Chapel Street, South Yarra

A beautifully lit dining room with a warm, golden hue and a grand chandelierImage credit: Yugen | Marcel Aucar

Yugen Dining emanates an air of exclusivity—after descending underground in a glass elevator, diners walk into a dual-level sleek 85-seat restaurant, with warm lighting illuminating 6-metre concrete walls. There’s also a six-seater Omakase bar and private Golden Orb—a dining area suspended from the ceiling. 

Now headed up by Samuel Chee (Kisumé, Nobu) after Alex Yu passed the along the baton earlier this year, Yugen features modern interpretations of Asian dishes, be it the raw red snapper and jamon sashimi, the Australian wagyu ribeye or their scallop fried rice. 

You might also like: 

New Quarter 

79 Swan Street, Richmond

A dining room with sleek and modern, golden-lit interior. People are sitting at the bar having a drink.
Image credit: New Quarter | Supplied

From The Commune Group empire (Hanoi Hannah, Tokyo Tina, Firebird), New Quarter packs a punch with its Neo-Vietnamese flavours, hefty cocktail list, and swish yet approachable interiors. 

The menu is best shared, with small plates like kaffir lime cured kingfish and chicken skin banh mi fingers, followed by more substantial editions like the duck floss egg noodles and lemongrass pork cutlet. 

INSIDER INTEL

  • Book in for 'Non-Stop Noods' for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays, where you'll score two starters and bottomless noodles for a modest $49pp
  • Don't miss their take on beef tartare with pho jelly
  • Expect to spend around $80 – $100pp for a couple of starters, sides, something from the wok and a main

READ MORE

Gimlet 

33 Russell Street, Melbourne CBD

A waiter wearing a white suite pouring a Campari seltzImage credit: Gimlet | Jo McGann

Channelling the charm of early 20th-century eateries of New York and Paris, restaurateur Andrew McConnell’s Gimlet has quickly established itself as one best restaurants in Melbourne CBD. You could peruse the immaculate Euro-leaning menu all evening at this charming fine diner, but you can’t visit Gimlet without ordering the signature 1/2 southern rock lobster with saffron rice and rouille sauce. 

To add to the glitz, Gimlet is now pouring an untouched century-old Campari Seltz recipe. It’s a thing in Milan and Berlin only, but Melbourne’s Gimlet has managed to get their hands on the extra-spesh machine.

INSIDER INTEL

  • Head in after 10pm on Friday and Saturday for the elusive cheeseburger on their supper menu
  • Gimlet's sibling bar, Apollo Inn, is just around the corner, visit before or after dinner, or both
  • Order the affogato as dessert rolls around you won't regret it

READ MORE

Totti's Lorne

176 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne

A pillowy piece of freshly-baked flatbread coming out of a wood-fire oven.Image credit: Totti's Lorne | Ashley Ludkin

Whilst Totti's Lorne is technically outside of what might be considered Melbourne, it absolutely deserves to sit amongst the stalwarts on this list as one of the best. The highly anticipated opening was part of the Merivale Group's expansion of the century-old Lorne Hotel, with Totti's being a major component of the development. 

The menu showcases local produce through the range of new dishes courtesy of executive chef and Surf Coast local, Matt Germanchis, along with a little help from Merivale’s executive chef Mike Eggert. You've got hand-made fettuccine, whole-roasted fish and a ton more.

INSIDER INTEL

  • Don't worry, Totti's flatbread made famous in their Sydney venues is available here too
  • Great for groups, with $92 banquet menus available for parties of 10 or more
  • Totti's signature digestif, the Totti's Limoncello, is a must for after dinner

READ MORE

Attica

74 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea

A portrait of Chef Ben Shewry, from one of Melbourne's best restaurants, Attica.
Image credit: Attica | Josh Robenstone

Attica doesn't need much of an introduction, and considering it's been awarded three hats, it's no surprise it’s one of the best restaurants Melbourne has to offer. Led by chef and restaurateur Ben Shewry, Attica challenges the status quo with creative cooking that celebrates native Australian ingredients. Earlier this year, the famed and certified B-Corp restaurant celebrated a huge nineteen years.

Expect the unexpected with dishes like marron with wattle soy, crocodile ribs, whipped emu egg and black ant lamington on offer. Defying traditional fine-diner conventions, you're encouraged to ditch the cutlery at times and eat directly with your hands. The best part? The rotating pop-up outside—when we checked it out, it was an American-style carnival with Attica's spin on the retro corndog, complete with a ball-throwing game and boozy slushies. 

INSIDER INTEL

  • You'll be spending $360pp for a multi-course set menu
  • Want to learn more? Ben Shewry has his very own cookbook, Origin: The Food Of Ben Shewry. Definitely worth a read.
  • If you're looking for a hallmark venue to take that special someone, Attica is it

READ MORE

Lona Misa

234 Toorak Road, South Yarra

Vegan tapas at Lona Misa under the Ovolo hotel in South Yarra.Image: Lona Misa | Chege

The Latin-inspired Lona Misa, nestled under the Ovolo South Yarra is a celebration of vegan cuisine, albeit with some vegetarian additions. The food is crafted with fresh, seasonal ingredients, emphasizing sustainability and ethical sourcing. The venue's commitment to quality and innovation places it among the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Melbourne. The restaurant takes its decor from the hotel itself, a modern twist on mid-century with glorious green and comfortable seating. The ambiance is both cozy and chic, and perfect for a vegan-friendly breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. The venue also has a stack of non-alcoholic options for those abstaining for Dry July.

INSIDER INTEL

  • The restaurant leans heavily vegan but if you're in need of some dairy there's optional additions for some dishes.
  • Check out their non-alcoholic optons for Dry July, or anyone who abstains, it's extensive and pairs pefectly with their set menu; but you can also order a la carte.
  • If you haven't stayed at an Ovolo, it's definitely worth it, they're an incredible chain of hotels and can be found all over Australia.

READ MORE 

Moonhouse

282 Carlisle Street, Balaclava

A person drinking a glass of wine with several dishes on the table at Moonhouse.
Image credit: Moonhouse | Supplied

Another feather in the cap from the storied Commune Group, Moonhouse is Balaclava’s Chinese-inspired bistro. The dimly-lit heritage-listed building brings all the charm needed for date night, yet it’s relaxed enough for dinner with mates. 

The menu is laden with modern takes on timeless classics, from chicken and prawn wontons with just the right amount of kick, to an outright banging bowl of scallion noodles.

INSIDER INTEL

  • Book in for bottomless yum cha on weekends for a modest $59pp
  • Great for functions: the stunning upstairs private diner can be tailored to almost any event
  • Don't miss: the Sichuan spiced beef tartare

READ MORE

Grossi Florentino

80 Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD

Grossi Florentino, one of the best restaurants Melbourne has to offer.
Image credit: Grossi Florentino | Kate Shanasy

Grossi Florentino opened nearly a century ago, cementing itself as a classic fine dining institution. Under the guidance of Guy Grossi, Florentino pays attention to those smaller details—like crisp white tablecloths and sparkling cutlery—and that’s why it’s considered one of the best restaurants Melbourne has to offer. 

With true Italian attention to flavour and precise wine pairings, this institution is a must for every Melburnian.

INSIDER INTEL

  • Opt for the caviar service, and don't forget the ricotta hot cakes
  • $210 will get you a multi-course set menu, with a classic wine pairing an extra $130
  • The menu evolves from time to time, but if the vitello is there, order it stat

READ MORE

Chin Chin

125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD

A neon light shaped line a rabbit in a dining room buzzing with people at Chin Chin.
Image credit: Chin Chin | Supplied

You can’t talk about Melbourne’s culinary scene without mentioning the neon-lit institution that is Chin Chin. Over a decade in the game and you’ll still see punters lining up for those signature cocktails, punchy South-East Asian flavours and upbeat vibes. 

Like all of Chris Lucas’ restaurants, this locale adapts to the times without forgetting its heritage—like the jungle chicken curry with eggplant, tomato and peanuts that’s been on the menu for quite some time. And do

INSIDER INTEL

  • It's a Chin Chin rite of passage to take a cocktail in Chin Chin's subterranean watering hole, GoGo Bar
  • $88pp will get you the OG feed me menu, synonymous with Chin Chin where you'll get to try all their classics
  • A staple for many a Melburnian, The twice-cooked beef short rib is still on the menu, and you should order it at every visit to Chin Chin

READ MORE

Supernormal

180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD

Two lobster rolls from one of the best restaurants in Melbourne, Supernormal.
Image credit: Supernormal | Supplied

Nestled in with several of Melbourne’s culinary elite is Supernormal—another gem from restaurateur Andrew McConnell who makes the best restaurants Melbourne list more than once.

The menu is often evolving, however, you can expect flavours and techniques from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and China. One dish that won’t be leaving the menu anytime soon is the New England Lobster roll—a Supernormal icon that’s worth wrapping your hands around. 

INSIDER INTEL

  • Head in weekdays at lunch for Supernormal's limited ramen, which doesn't disappoint
  • Expect to spend $80pp – $130pp for a generous feed, drinks will set you back extra
  • Or, take the hassle out and order a multi-course banquet starting at $85pp

READ MORE

tipo 00 

361 Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD

A plate of squid ink pasta served at Melbourne dining institution tip00 on Little Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD.
Image credit: tip00 | Supplied

Named for the type of flour, double zero flour, typically used in pasta-making, tip00 is amongst the most sought after Melbourne CBD dining experiences. And by sought-after, we mean you need to be on it to get a dinner reservation, but the wait is worth it. 

The restaurant, which has climbed its way to fame since it opened in 2014 is a stalwart on Melbourne’s dining scene and holds a dear place in many locals’ hearts. The menu consists of rich traditional pastas with streamlined ingredients to let each shine; think squid ink tagliolini, squid and bottarga, or braised duck, mushroom and pecorino pappardelle. Entrees range from peppers, salumi and stracciatella with fermented honey to porterhouse tartare and charred octopus and cherry tomatoes. There’s also a handful of secondi; wagyu cap and market fish to fill the bellies of the hungriest of diners. 

For those seeking a heavier meal, sibling venue just up the road on Little Bourke Street Osteria Ilaria has you covered with bigger plates. The owners, the Conferre Group also have an imprint in Brunswick East with Figlia, serving up sourdough pizzas, and neighbouring Grana, a petite (or should we say piccola?) deli and wine store worth a visit when you’re snacky. 

INSIDER INTEL:

  • Dinner seatings are often booked out well in advance, try for a lunch seating or a walk-in if you’re feeling brave and impulsive, but rezzies definitely recommended.
  • Sibling venue Osteria just up the road on Little Bourke Street offers bigger plates and has a bit more room for seating if you’re looking for a similar vibe but you’re with a group.
  • Editors picks? If you ever see the rabbit papa. rdelle you must, otherwise kick things off with a sbagliato (no, we’re not over them) and hook into the duck papardelle. Yes, we like papardelle.

BOOK NOW

Cumulus Inc.

45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD

A high-ceiling restaurant that's dimly lit at Cumulus.
Cumulus Inc | Kristoffer Paulsen

Thriving on Flinders Lane for nearly two decades, Cumulus Inc. is another one of Andrew McConnell’s acclaimed establishments.

While the all-day eatery offers an approachable and communal atmosphere, the menu elegantly celebrates Victoria's finest produce. Expect a mix of well-balanced small and large plates, like the tuna tartare with goat’s cheese and crushed green peas. 

INSIDER INTEL

  • The true showstopper is the 1.2kg slow-roasted lamb shoulder—it’s topped with zesty red pepper and almond sauce and pulls apart with just a fork
  • $88pp will get you a set menu...and it includes that lamb shoulder
  • A fan of their Madeleine dessert? You can try the recipe at home here

READ MORE

Stokehouse

30 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda

A golden hued restaurant over looking the beach in St Kilda.
Image credit: Stokehouse | Supplied

The St Kilda seaside dining institution, Stokehouse opened back in the 80s has long stood as one of the best restaurants in Melbourne, and still does in 2024. 

Resting right on the foreshore, the floor-to-ceiling windows provide vistas of Port Phillip Bay. Meanwhile, dining here plays on its coastal aesthetic with a Modern Australian menu laden with fish and seafood as well as top-grade cuts and local produce.

INSIDER INTEL

  • Stokehouse is Barack Obama approved, who dined there around a year ago
  • Try and nab a table on the outdoor terrace overlooking the beach
  • Lean into the seafood focus on the menu, The Stokehouse team nail it

READ MORE

Embla

122 Russell Street, Melbourne CBD

A person with tattoos on their arm holding a freshly baked bread sliced into two pieces.
Image credit: Embla | Supplied

Embla is the intimate 20-seat diner on Russell Street that sits somewhere between a casual wine bar and a sophisticated restaurant. 

With a modern menu bolstered by local produce, the dishes evolve as the seasons do, and are best paired with wine. Kick off with small plates like the braised zucchini flowers with ricotta, basil and salted meyer lemon, and if you’re sticking around, opt for the 300g Angus scotch fillet with horseradish and sauce bordelaise. 

With a stellar range of wines and a menu of modern cuisine, it’s an award-winning pair and has established itself as one of the best restaurants in Melbourne’s CBDPay a visit to the Embla rooftop bar while you're there, too.

INSIDER INTEL

  • Embla first-timers can dip their toes in with a $70 three-course Sunday lunch
  • Embla is known for its stellar wine list, so don't drive in 
  • The bread, order the damn sourdough bread—it's insane

READ MORE 

Smith St Bistrot 

300 Smith Street, Collingwood

An exterior image of a golden-lit restaurant along Smith Street.
Image credit: Smith Street Bistrot | Supplied

One of the best restaurants in Melbourne that’s opened recently, Scott Pickett’s marble-rich, chandelier-heavy 70-seat French diner, Smith St Bistrot harkens back to the 20th-century brasseries and speakeasies of Paris. 

The menu unsurprisingly is a celebration of French cuisine, with several contemporary twists straight from Pickett. Start with a selection of different origin caviar, then move onto the vol-au-vent D’Escargot, and tackle the timeless, dry-aged eye fillet with a rich peppercorn jus.

INSIDER INTEL

  • Smith Street Bistrot can be an expensive—albeit very worthwhile—affair. Friday through Sunday, indulge on a budget with their $55 two-course prix fixe menu
  • Request the window table for prime people watching while you wine and dine
  • Or, opt for the charming mezzanine

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France-Soir

11 Toorak Road, South Yarra

A quiet dining room at one of the best restaurants in Melbourne, France Soir.
Image credit: France-Soir | Supplied

This authentic French brasserie is not for the faint-hearted. It’s busy and noisy and chaotic, but that’s all part of the charm. 

The food in this South Yarra establishment screams classic French sophistication and the wine list reads like a book. Don’t stress if you don’t know your French wines though, the waiters at France-Soir are there to point you in the right direction.

INSIDER INTEL

  • Order up on the entrecote, or steak frites, a classic that hits every time
  • Expect to spend around $150pp for a generous meal, drinks on top
  • France-Soir is another spot where the window seat is hot property—do your best to request

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Il Bacaro 

168 – 170 Little Collins Street, Melbourne CBD

Two people walking past Il Bacaro.Image credit: Il Bacario | Kristoffer Paulsen

In lieu of typical large-portion pasta dishes and carb-heavy entrees, Il Bacaro and its menu is focused on regional Venetian cuisine, providing a more refined and elegant approach. Helmed by Chef David Dellai, a curated selection of dishes showcases the region’s classical pairings such as venison tartare and spanner crab risotto.

INSIDER INTEL

  • Order up on the crowd-favourite Spaghettini with Moreton Bay Bugs
  • Expect to spend $120 for a three-course set menu, extra for drinks
  • The ricotta semifreddo dusted with prosciutto crumble is a sight to behold, and a delight to eat

READ MORE

IDES

92 Smith Street, Collingwood 

A person pouring a yellow sauce next to a fancy dish.
Image credit: Ides | Supplied

A true chef’s chef, Peter Gunn has quite the CV in Melbourne. Formerly the sous chef of prized-diner Attica, his restaurant IDES on Smith Street in Collingwood is an exploration of progressive dining—technique-heavy dishes that are delivered with skill.

The intimate space is the ideal backdrop for modern interpretations straight from the mind of Gunn. The menu rotates, however,  the white-cut pork belly with a spicy prawn dressing has become a bonafide crowd-pleaser over the years.

INSIDER INTEL

  • Keep an eye out for the Masterchef-famous Black Box dessert
  • Looking for the IDES experience, but more casual? Check out sibling bar next door, March.
  • Book in ahead here. Seats fill up weeks in advance

READ MORE

​​NOMAD

187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD

A burrata being cut into by a fork at Nomad.
Image credit: NOMAD | Supplied

Sydney’s famed Middle Eastern-inspired diner in Surry Hills has made the trip south and set up its second locale in Flinders Lane. Hospitality royalty Nomad made its bones impressing Sydney diners with their quirky reinterpretations of classic Euro-style cuisine—including their insanely popular duck mortadella.

The second Nomad iteration is situated on the ground floor of the Adelphi Hotel and features the signature wood-fired oven and house flatbread that helped the diner rise to fame. 

INSIDER INTEL

  • The burrata is a must-order, no question
  • As is the duck mortadella
  • Try out the express lunch menu for $75

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Lee Ho Fook 

11 – 15 Duckboard Place, Melbourne CBD

A spread of multiple dishes on a white table clothed table.Image credit: Lee Ho Fook | Supplied

Follow the neon light down the alleyway and step into the dimly lit, rendered brick walls of chef Victor Liong’s Chinese restaurant Lee Ho Fook. Here, Victor’s modern approach pairs the legacy of traditional dishes with his own creative interpretation.

Take the smoked eel foie gras with candied konbu and pink peppercorn or pork jowl with Warragul greens, and a star anise roast duck sauce. There’s also a dizzying amount of wines on offer if you know what you want, otherwise, leave it to the sommelier on service to pair the plonk with your meal.

INSIDER INTEL

  • On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, there's no corkage charge on byo wine
  • For a truly unique experience, try the Chinese tea pairing at $50pp
  • Want to take Lee Ho Fook home? Their red vinegar sauce, XO sauce and more are available to purchase

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Rocco’s Bologna Discoteca 

15 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

A hefty, parmesan covered meatball sub from Rocco's Bologna Discoteca
Image credit: Rocco's Bologna Discoteca | Annika Kafcaloudis

Famed throughout lockdown for their meatball sub, Rocco’s Bologna Discoteca, and its ‘Italian Maccas’ aesthetic burst onto the scene, winning hearts and filling stomachs all over town. 

Opened by the Poodle team, the Gertrude Street diner has put its own stamp on Italian cuisine with a menu that is daring and inventive and breaks the norms of what we’ve come to expect from a Trattoria or Osteria-inspired restaurant. 

INSIDER INTEL

  • Rocco's iconic meatball sub is now available at lunch and dinner—get there early as this one sometimes sells out
  • Don't skip dessert at Rocco's—their soft serve is next level
  • Opt for a booth if they're available

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Cutler & Co

55 – 57 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy 

A spread of dishes including a negroni, bowl of baked bread, and a freshly cut opened crab.Image credit: Cutler & Co. | Supplied

Another Fitzroy institution, Cutler & Co. set the scene for the culinary destination that is Gertrude Street. Andrew McConnell opened this place over a decade ago and has since stood as one of the best restaurants in Melbourne.

The idea was to celebrate local produce and execute it with flair and sophistication. Think timeless classics fused with a contemporary accent like the kangaroo tartare tart to the wood-grilled Gundagai lamb.

INSIDER INTEL

  • Expect to spend $150pp for the four-course chef's selection menu
  • Or, for something more modest, the Sunday lunch menu comes in at $95
  • Keen to impress guests? Cutler & Co's private dining room is your end-game function space 

Leading image credit: NOMAD Melbourne | Supplied

Urban List Best Of: has our highest stamp of approval—curated lists of the very best recommendations for you to eat, do, see, buy or book, carefully chosen by our Editors.

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