We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to fine dining in Melbourne. The city is a melting pot of cuisines and influences, not to mention some seriously sleek interior design. Melbourne’s best restaurants though are the ones that leave an impression, that keep you coming back for more. They’re the whole package from the menu and the drinks list, to the decor and the service.
They’re not all in the CBD though, some of Melbourne’s best restaurants can be found in the most unexpected suburban streets, or they might be hidden underground, or on the 55th floor of the Rialto building. We’ve scoured the city for you to create the ultimate guide, all you need to do now is book.
It’s no lie that Melburnians love pasta, and Tipo 00 pasta bar definitely know their audience. Tucked away in Little Bourke Street, they’ve turned homemade pasta into an artform. Each item on the menu is lovingly created and garnished to perfection, from the gnocchi to the rabbit tagliatelle. Make sure you leave room for their classic Italian desserts though because you’ll want one of each.
Vue de Monde
Remember that 55th floor I mentioned? This is dinner and a view like no other. Potentially our most iconic fine-dining spot, no ‘best restaurants Melbourne’ list would be complete without Vue de Monde. Created by Shannon Bennet, you'll never leave this restaurant disappointed. It’s not cheap but it will be memorable. Prep your wallet, and your stomach, and sign up for the tasting menu ranging from $230 to $275 per person.
If you’ve never been to Chin Chin, we can almost guarantee you’ve seen the queue at the very least. This South-East Asian menu has Melburnians lining up down Flinders Lane for a seat. Try the crispy skin duck with ginger, coriander, and black vinegar sauce, and the pork roll-ups are a must-have as well. Get in line early or risk that queue, but it’ll be worth the wait.
The Florentino venue has been bringing classic fine dining to Melbourne since 1928. This mainstay on Melbourne’s foodie scene still pays attention to those small details from the white tablecloths to the shiny cutlery. The iconic building with its timber panelled walls and heritage details plays host to the restaurant, the cellar bar and the grill. With true Italian attention to flavour and wine pairings, this restaurant is a must for every Melburnian at least once in your life.
Just down the road from Chin Chin is the bustling Asian hot spot Supernormal—the brainchild of culinary extraordinaire Andrew McConnell. The menu is constantly changing, but it’s always designed for sharing. You can go a la carte or order the banquet if you’re feeling fancy. Supernormal is perfect for a family feast or dinner with foodie friends. They’re also on Providoor for the ultimate lazy Friday night takeaway.
Cumulus Inc. is another one of Andrew McConnell’s establishments, so you already know it’s going to be good. It’s 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 there’s also a wine bar?
Pure South Dining
Pure South Dining seafood lover’s paradise is right on the edge of the Yarra in the heart of Southbank. The menu celebrates local produce from King Island, Flinders Island and Tasmania—hence the name. The team has a passion for sustainable and ethical sourcing, so with thirteen years of building relationships with farmers and fishermen behind them, you can tuck in knowing exactly where your food has come from.
You could be forgiven for walking right by this restaurant without even noticing it, but walking through the unassuming terrace entrance is like stepping into a culinary Narnia. The Lûmé menu is inspired by Victoria’s ecosystems, drawing on native and wild ingredients. Each plate of food on their degustation menu is like a work of art, it’s almost too pretty to eat—almost. It’s definitely up there among the best restaurants Melbourne has to visit, if you can find it.
Inspired by global travels and flavours, Charlie Carrington and his team of chefs at Atlas have created an evolving restaurant which brings the world to Melbourne. Every few months, the restaurant is transformed according to the cuisine. Travel the world through your taste buds in this fine dining experience like no other—reserve your seats in advance because this globe-trotting restaurant is regularly booked out.
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.
You’ll find this moody french restaurant along Swan Street, just a short walk from the hustle and bustle around Richmond station and the Corner Hotel. Noir’s modern menu has been cultivated by Irish head chef Peter Roddy and is inspired by the bistros of southern France. With over 100 beverage options to choose from, you can settle in here for an indulgent evening with some of the best french food in Melbourne.
Minamishimia in Richmond serves the omakase of Chef Koichi Minamishima. With 25 years’ experience behind him, this chef is known for his A-grade sashimi. You get one piece at a time, prepped 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 this might just qualify.
As the more sophisticated big sister to Fitzroy favourite Veggie Bar, Transformer takes vegetarian food to a whole new level. The tasting plates are enough to make even the biggest carnivores question their preferences. The green walls and high ceilings with exposed beams will make you feel like you’ve stepped into New York, but with that Brunswick Street style we all love. Definitely one of the best vegetarian restaurants Melbourne has to offer.
Tucked away in the sleepy south-east suburb of Burwood, Acre is one of the best new restaurants in Melbourne, offering farm to table meals with pristine views out across the Dandenong Ranges. Ingredients are picked fresh from the rooftop garden and greenhouse surrounding the restaurant, creating an urban oasis on the roof of the Burwood Brickworks shopping centre. You can wander through the veggie patches and say hello to the quail coop in this urban farm before sipping a G&T and tucking into a deliciously fresh lunch or dinner.
Navi is an intimate, degustation-only restaurant bringing fine dining to the inner-west. Head chef Julian Hills serves up experimental and wonderful delights you won't get anywhere else—we’re talking brook trout roe macarons, slow-roasted tamarillo and truffle ice cream and wattleseed chocolate caramel.
Attica doesn't really need much of an introduction. It's got three hats and regularly features as one of the World's 50 Best Restaurants. Expect the unexpected with dishes like whipped emu egg and black ant lamington on offer. Lock this one in for a special occasion—plan ahead here because tables fill up weeks in advance.
Nestled away in Carlton, Epocha is an old favourite for dinners and weddings alike. With a four-course dining menu for $75 per head, the menu is a fusion of European flavours from Greece, France, Spain and Italy. It’s like a meditarranean tour on a plate, all served up in a welcoming atmosphere overlooking the iconic Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens.
Image credit: Navi | Griffin Simm