Restaurants

The Best Restaurants In Melbourne CBD (Updated 2024)

By Urban List Writers
24th Jan 2024

Looking for the best restaurants Melbourne CBD has to offer? You've come to the right place. This city is home to some of the best restaurants in the world, our innovative and ever-expanding dining scene continues to flourish and year on year we’re treated to standout to new spots planting their flag in the culinary ground.

It can be hard to navigate this gastronomic community so we’ve saved you the time. From cheap to charm-the-heck-out-of-them, here’s where to find the best restaurants Melbourne CBD is serving up for 2024. 

Reine & La Rue

380 Collins Street, Melbourne


Image credit: Reine & La Rue | supplied

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

It’s from the team behind NOMAD, so it goes without saying the menu is elite. Opt for the unapologetically rich bone marrow with mash to kick things off, swing by the seafood bar for a plate of queen scallops, and of course, don’t skip out on the premium steak selection. 

Society

80 Collins Street, Melbourne

A giant chandelier hanging over one of Melbourne's best restaurants, Society.
Image credit: Society | Supplied

A crown jewel of Melbourne’s culinary scene, Society is an experience beyond dining. The latest exercise in opulence from LUCAS Group set within the Collins Street precinct is completely multi-sensory, from the elevator up to the entrance, to the chandelier-adorned restaurant, a cavernous space that somehow still feels vibey and intimate. Society’s charm is in the way it disarms any pretentious notions. 

The menu is considered in choice but looms large in variety and flavour. Starters like caviar served up alongside brioche rolls and crème fraîche is a no-brainer, and show-stopping mains like the Bouef En Croute (which is hand-carved tableside) make the journey all the more memorable, and is just one reason it makes it to the top of best restaurants Melbourne list in 2024.

Stalactites

177 – 183 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

A busy dining room of one of the best restaurants Melbourne CBD has.
Image credit: Stalactites | supplied

If you haven’t been to Stalactites yet, are you even a Melburnian? This iconic family-owned restaurant in the CBD is definitely one of the best Greek restaurants Melbourne has going for it, from the literal stalactite-covered ceiling to the fast-paced service, it’s one-of-a-kind. 

There’s usually a line for a table in the evenings, but it’s worth the wait. Start off with the pita and dips before gorging on souvs and gyros. They also have a pretty great kids’ menu with far more options than your standard selection of burgers and chips. 

Butcher's Diner

10 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Those after a quick feed at any time of day—or night—need look no further than Butcher's Diner. First things first, as the name eludes to, they take their meat seriously with much of it aged in-house.

Get started with the basics done right, like steak and eggs or a cheeseburger that has to be one of the best in the CBD. otherwise, try something different like a pork tongue skewer and pair it up with one of the many brews on offer.

Pellegrini’s 

66 Bourke Street, Melbourne

One of the best restaurants Melbourne CBD has to offer, illuminated by neon lights on a street corner.

Image credit: Pellegrini's | supplied

A mainstay to Melbourne CBD and for good reason. This casual Italian diner is a go-to for the 9 to 5ers and the after-hours warriors alike. Here you’ll find classic bolognese and hefty slabs of lasagne at a very, very reasonable price point.

Don’t forget to wash it all down with a glass of the house granita or grab a slice of cake from the Pelligrini's cabinet. 

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Hutong Dumpling Bar

14 – 16 Market Lane, Melbourne 

Possibly one of the most well-known dumpling purveyors in Melbourne, HuTong pumps out dumplings faster than you can eat them, although you’re welcome to have a go. 

As well as Xiao Long Bao, there's their famous Szechuan hot and sour soup, Wuxi style braised pork ribs, and the scallop and eggplant clay pot. The dishes are designed to share, so get a whole range of plates and crack open that bottle of vino you picked up on the way over.

Aru

268 Little Collins Street, Melbourne 

One of the CBD’s most anticipated openings was Khanh Nguyen’s ARU, and in 2024, it's still considered one of the best. You’ll find plenty of flamed-licked meats, seafood and fish on the menu where the team employs foundational processes like fermentation, smoking, curing and preserving to create one of Melbourne’s most unique menus.

Embla 

122 Russell Street, Melbourne

Since Embla opened in Melbourne’s CBD it has ingrained itself in the fine dining scene. Widely popular due to the laid-back vibe that it emits and the distinctly modern Australian dishes that rotate through seasonal menus like Pipis, butter beans, butter beans, and basil—stracciatella, oyster mushroom, almond xo there’s always something beautifully paired to dive into.

The intimately spaced dining of Embla and waitstaff devoid of pretentiousness is the perfect environment for sampling share plates among friends or dividing a set menu amongst a significant other. 

Din Tai Fung

Level 4, 287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

A bamboo dish with dumplings from a Melbourne CBD restaurant
Image credit: Din Tai Fung | Supplied

On the top floor of Emporium, juggernaut Din Tai Fung lets you combine two of the best things in the world: shopping and dumplings. This Chinese haven was founded by dumpling master Din Tai Fung, who opened his first restaurant in Taiwan back in 1974, and now has a mu stores across Asia, the US and Sydney.

It's safe to say these guys know what they're doing. The crab meat and roe with pork dumplings are glorious. We recommend trying the fried rice and pork buns too. 

 

BKK

Level 3/270 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

A table with dishes and cocktails, a best cbd melbourne restaurant.
Image credit: Flower Drum | Supplied

Situated on level three of HERBKK is the in-house diner centred around their self-described style of 'elevated Thai BBQ'. Headed up by chef Sungeun Mo, it may be new but BKK has developed as one of the best Thai restaurants in Melbourne's CBD.

The city local features a fiery menu that pairs up with an intimate moody interior inspired by the night markets of Thailand. Cooked over a five-metre-long charcoal grill and oven, steaming dishes of barbecued pork skewers, Chang Mai sausage and a flame-grilled T-Bone steak with a Nam Jim Jaew (Thai dipping sauce) swing around the sleek restaurant.  

Tippy-Tay

101 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

A Negroni fountain from a best CBD restaurant.
Image credit: Tippy Tay | supplied

Tippy-Tay is far from a one-trick pony. The detail on the fit-out, that Negroni button, and the menu is something to marvel at. The commitment to the theme can first be seen in what’s plated up in front of you with a 600g Bistecca Fiorentina (a Tuscan-style T-bone steak) as one of the hero dishes; this one’s of course challenged by the to-be crowd favourite known as ‘last night’s lasagne’. 

It’s all been curated by Garden State’s head chef Dylan Evans, who’s worked with Ashly Hicks (Executive Chef at sibling venue The Espy) on those hefty numbers right down to those starters. 

Botswana Butchery

66 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

A rare-cooked steak inside a best CBD Melbourne restaurant
Image credit: Botswana Butchery | supplied

Botswana Butchery has long been known as a stalwart for steak since its opening in New Zealand. The Butcher’s Block is a sight to behold, a menu within a menu—and arguably Botswana Butchery’s showpiece—that features a selection of specialty cuts from around Australia. 

Household names (for anyone who likes their steak) all make an appearance; expect the likes of Cape Grim’s grass-fed selects sitting comfortably next to cuts from Blackmores, CopperTree Farms along with a 1.6kg Tomahawk from Ranger’s Valley that truly is a spectacle in itself. 

Dom’s Social

1/301 Swanston Street, Melbourne

An aperol spritz at one Melbourne CBD's best restaurants.

Image credit: Dom's Social | supplied

Hidden up an inconspicuous staircase off Swanston Street, Dom’s Social is three levels of good times and stellar pizza. The dining room is vibey enough for a date, while the pool room is perfect for you and a few mates; you can choose your own adventure when it comes to the bill at the end of the night with a pizza and a drink coming in at under $50 with the right selections.

Those willing to go all out will relish in a killer selection of Lambrusco by the bottle that’ll balance out that porcini and truffle pie, or maybe you’re more inclined toward a mortadella and honey number. 

Gimlet at Cavendish House 

33 Russell Street, Melbourne 

A long and grand dining room lit up by natural light, at Gimlet, often considered one of Melbourne CBD's best restaurants.
Image credit: Gimet | supplied

Step back almost a century into the very definition of the word ‘swank’. Gimlet is the latest addition to the Andrew McConnel empire and joins the ranks of other highly-praised AMC favourites (Supernormal, Cumulus, Marion, Cutler & Co).

Praise as one of the best restaurants in Melbourne by many, Gimlet Modelled with an early nineteenth-century design that harkens back to grand hotels of 1920’s era London and New York Gimlet is a fanciful affair. The menu is significantly more modern than the space, it’s a fusion of traditional European cuisine with a classic McConnell flair of modernity, for example, the Southern rock lobster, wood-roasted in saffron rice with “bisque” sauce.  

Shujinko

225 Russell Street, Melbourne

If you just can’t get enough ramen in your life, then let Shujinko be your late-night supplier in Melbourne CBD. Go for the classic Shujinko ramen—a pork broth with grilled pork belly, spring onion, bok choy, marinated egg and bean sprouts.

Try the Black Ramen if you’re after (and can handle) an added chilli kick. Either way, you'll be scoring some of Melbourne's best Japanese ramen.

Serai

Racing Club Lane, Melbourne

A large wine wall at one of the best restaurants Melbourne CBD is dishing up in 2023 Serai.
Image credit: Serai | Cbass Creative

Serai opened around 18 months back, but the groundswell of noise has been almost deafening coming into 2024, and for good reason, owners Ross Magnaye, Shane Stafford and Ben Waters are serving up some of the most interesting food in Melbourne. You’ll find a Filipino influence across the menu, though the ethos to what’s on the plate is more about open-fire cooking than anything else.

A prime example of this is one of the hero dishes, a bone marrow which Ross comments is 'very Australian' and even uses Kangaroo which is smoked in the woodfire and then covered in a coconut vinaigrette, 'Kinilaw-style' which is similar to a ceviche.

Book ahead at one of Melbourne CBD’s best new restaurants here.

Farmer’s Daughters

95 Exhibition Street, Melbourne 

Farmer’s Daughters launched in early last year with a simple concept of celebrating the diverse and dynamic produce that the Gippsland area of Victoria has to offer. Its three-storey space is a complete homage to the plentiful and dynamic region, incorporating native wood into the fit-out from the area’s vast bushland.

Featuring a deli, a restaurant, and a rooftop there’s plenty to experience. All menus have been inspired by founder and executive chef Alejandro Saravia Pastuso, and offer a taste into culinary-rich Gippsland through tasting plates and wines.

The Hardware Club 

43 Hardware Lane Upstairs, Melbourne

A simple pasta dish from a best CBD restaurant Melbourne
Image credit: Hardware Club | supplied

If you've ever been in Melbourne and searched 'Italian restaurants near me', this CBD Italian restaurant would have likely popped up. Squirrelled away on the very-chic Hardware Lane (thus the name) the Hardware Club is one of Melbourne's top spots.

 Part bar, part Osteria, The Hardware Club puts a focus on 'Italian Specialities' these are the regional dishes of the boot-shaped nation, a menu imbued with Cucina Povera-style dishes like their now-famous roasted bone marrow toast which is accompanied with a salsa verde and fried capers, the perfect zesty addition to cut through the decadent fatty flavours of the beef. 

Rising Embers

Level 1/139 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Ascend the stairs to the sister venue of the Dainty Sichuan team, Rising Embers is all about involved dining with a grill plate front and centre of every table. You are immediately served up with a motley collection of spice mixes, sauces and pickled condiments which pair effortlessly with every menu item that sizzles across the hot plate be it strips of A5 wagyu to whole-skewered squid, eggplant with minced chilli and the simply unforgettable fried rice. 

Yakimono

80 Collins Street, Melbourne

A neon-lit room of a best CBD Melbourne restaurant.
Image credit: Yakimono | supplied

Anyone looking for the best Japanese restaurant cbd-side has likely come across Yakimono. If you like your Japanese food grilled to perfection, then you’re going to love this new restaurant specialising in all things fire.

Opening a few years back and quickly climbing many best Japanese restaurant lists, Yakimono is the brainchild of owner Chris Lucas, who spent three years living and working in Japan and exploring their late-night izakaya restaurants. Located over two floors with an outdoor terrace, this Japanese bbq is nestled in the heart of Melbourne’s fashion district and packs a stylish punch—food and decor alike. 

Ronnie's 

525 Collins St, Melbourne

A person grating cheese onto a plate of pasta at a best melbourne CBD restaurant.
Image credit: Ronnie's | Supplied

An exploration of Italo-American dining, although Ronnie's skews to the New York-styled flavourings of Italian cooking, it is still very much rooted in traditional Italian cuisine.

Helmed by acclaimed NYC chef and die-hard Yankee fan, Anthony Dispensa has imbued the restaurant with his collective culinary experience (CarboneDinner By Heston, Fat Cow) which has resulted in an exciting array of Cicchetti like his signature compressed cucumber with Straciatella or perhaps his own grandma's gnocchi Bolognese recipe which is a decadent and outright banger. A worthy addition to the best CBD restaurants in Melbourne. 

Lee Ho Fook 

11 – 15 Duckboard Place, Melbourne  

Follow the neon light down the alleyway and step into the dimly lit, rendered brick walls of chef Victor Liong’s Lee Ho Fook. Dining here will rid you of your preconceived notions of Chinese fine dining as Victor’s modern approach pairs the legacy of traditional dishes with his own creative interpretation like smoked eel, foie gras, candied konbu, and pink peppercorn or pork jowl, baby bok choi cooked in mussel water, Warragul greens, star anise roast duck sauce.

There’s also a dizzying amount of wines on offer but with wine pairing menu options you can leave it to the in-house experts. This is one city restaurant to consider next time you’re in the big smoke. 

Supper Inn

Level 1/15 Celestial Avenue, Melbourne

The Supper Inn has been around for a while. We're talking roughly 40+ years, but it's still just as popular as ever. This is the place to come if you're looking for some good, budget Chinese delight.

Even better—they don't close until 2:30am, so you can embark on a drunken, Chinese food expedition without killing your bank account and hating yourself the next day.

Chancery Lane 

430 Little Collins St, Melbourne 

A dimly lit, moody dining room at one fo the best restaurants in Melbourne CBD, Chancery Lane.
Image credit: Chancery Lane | supplied

Another for your 2024 hitlist is Chancery Lane The Euro-leaning bistro that joins the alumni of must-hit CBD destinations. With their own signature approach to European-based fine dining Chancery is backed by a team of hospitality veterans and led by Scott Pickett (Longrain, Matilda, Estelle).

One of the most unique dining experience’s that Melbourne has on offer, the menu is refined to perfection with options including  John Dory fish on the bone with Café De Paris butter as a main, and the decadent Pedro Ximénez (Spanish dessert wine), sultana, chocolate tart to round things out. Can’t have the best restaurant CBD list without this newcomer. 

Tipo 00

361 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

A true pioneer in the pasta space, Tipo 00 exploded onto the scene with its quaint and intimately spaced restaurant on Little Bourke Street back in 2014 and in 2024 it's still a favourite for many. Tipo earned its best CBD restaurant status by introducing curious diners to pasta house-made and cooked to perfection with a series of different sauces and accompaniments. 

For an entrée, treat yourself to beef carpaccio with black figs & vincotto (cooked wine), and follow it up with the gnocchi with braised duck, porcini & pecorino pepato. Don’t forget the name-sake dessert ‘tipomisù’ a clever interpretation of the Italian staple. 

Soi 38

38 Mcilwraith Place, Melbourne

People lining up for a best CBD Melbourne restaurant in a car park.
Image credit: Soi 38 | supplied

Soi 38 is basically an institution. They serve world-class street food, most of the menu is $15, and it’s hidden away in a car park. An absolute favourite is Tum Tang, spicy cucumber salad dish that is packed full of flavour with salted crab, fermented fish sauce and a hard-boiled egg.

They also do hotpots, so go on an empty stomach. Be prepared to wait during the lunchtime rush though, as there’s no doubt this is one of the best Thai restaurants CBD Melbourne has right now. 

Chin Chin

125 Flinders Ln, Melbourne

The busy dining hall of Chin Chin, a cbd melbourne restaurant.
Image credit: Chin Chin | supplied

If you’ve ever walked down Flinders Lane and wondered what that massive queue was all about, congratulations—you’ve just found Chin Chin.

Still the city's most buzzing pan-Asian eatery, and one of Melbourne CBD's best restaurants. Just on the other side of that door is some seriously tasty South-East Asian cuisine, in a seriously funky setting. We’re ordering the crispy barramundi and green apple salad, with caramelised pork, peanuts, chilli and lemongrass. And then the Isaan-style spicy hot BBQ chicken. And that’s just for starters...get in early if you want to avoid the crowds. 

Supernormal

180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

The glass exterior of one of Melbourne CBD's best restaurants, Supernomal.
image credit: Supernormal | Supplied

It's only a short stroll to Flinders Lane's other Asian masterpiece—of course, we're talking Supernormal.

Andrew McConnell's crown jewel and home to the most famous lobster roll in Melbourne. The Supernormal menu is changing all the time, but it's always designed to be shared, so grab a couple of mates and try a serve of duck bao, a whole snapper with burnt butter sauce, wild watercress and shaved kombu, some beef tartare, and whatever else you can fit in.

Cumulus Inc.

45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

People standing at the bar of one of CBD Melbourne's best restaurants.
Image credit: Cumulus Inc. | supplied

From one McConnell venture to another. Cumulus Inc. is one of Melbourne's fanciest all-day eateries: part cafe, part wine bar, and part restaurant. A staple resident on Flinders Lane, Cumulus has defined itself as one of Melbourne's best CBD restaurants and accordingly is filled throughout the day and well into the night. 

If you're at a loss as to what to choose, go for the flatbread with Barletta onion, anchovy & cultured butter, followed by the slow-roasted lamb shoulder with almond and smoked paprika. 

Vue de monde

55 Rialto Towers, 525 Collins Street

Vue de Monde is one of the most iconic classical fine-dining restaurants that Melbourne has. Its legacy as a catalyst for Melbourne's culinary boom has been well documented and its creator Shannon Bennett has risen to a supreme figure in Melbourne's hospitality community. 

The menu at one of Melbourne CBD's best restaurants is sleek and refined, with simplistic yet rich pairings with some of the city's best fine dining, paired with carefully selected wines by the team's sommeliers it's an experience as much as it is a meal. It certainly won't be cheap, but it's one you'll remember forever. 

Ishizuka

Basement Level b01/139 Bourke St, Melbourne

An opulent interior in one of Melbourne CBD's best restaurants, Ishizuka.

Image credit: Ishizuka | supplied

If you’re rolling with a big budget and ready to spend at one of the best Japanese food Melbourne has to offer, boy have we got the restaurant for you.

Ishizuka screams indulgence, with the menu changing seasonally. And we’re talking a revolving nightly set menu of 11 unbeatable dishes. And here's the kicker: it only serves a small cluster of lucky diners each evening. Book ahead for this one. It fills up like weeks in advance. 

Longrain

44 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Originally opened for reasons more than a decade ago Longrain once again reigns supreme in the Melbourne CBD restaurant scene. It's all thanks to restaurateur, chef and hospo veteran Scott Pickett. Book into this longstanding Thai-inspired favourite here.

Old Beijing 

31-37 Artemis Lane, MelbournThe colourful entrance to Melbourne's best CBD restaurant.

Image credit: Old Beijing | supplied

It may be on the higher end of your dinner budget, but Old Beijing and its elevated take on traditional Chinese dining is a true spectacle. The 200-seat diner is located in an unlikely place, the fringe alcove of QV in the CBD. It is intricately decorated and spaced.

Lanterns hang from above, diffusing the light across the room. Artful wall dividers split the table areas. The level of craft here is top-notch, and that's why it's considered one of the best restaurants  Melbourne CBD has to offer. 

Grill Americano

112 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

one of the best restaurants Melbourne CBD has to offer, complete with exposed concrete and blue leather chairs, Grill Americano.
Image credit: Grill Americano | supplied

On the menu at this slick American steakhouse which opened earlylast year, you'll find dishes celebrating three essential elements of Italian cooking: charcoal, woodfired and steam.

It begins with the likes of fresh-baked focaccias served with housemade green olive butter, plenty of Cicchetti and a top-shelf mozzarella selection. Somewhere in the middle sits the handmade pastas—don't miss the pappardelle of slow-cooked Wagyu beef and porcini ragu—while rounding out the main event are several showstoppers in the form of Bistecca steaks on and off the bone.

Meanwhile, at the Grill Americano bar, you'll find nods to Italian classics such as the smoked Negroni, while the 2,000+ bottle cellar will bring local and international producers to that glass on your table—and as the name would suggest, you’ll also find a healthy grip of Americano’s. Hands down one of the swankiest restaurants in the CBD, and one of the best, too. 

Coda

Basement/141 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Coda's French-Vietnamese fusion menu is all about innovation and carefully balanced flavours. Nab the crispy tapioca and prawn betel leaf with kaffir lime and green chilli for starters, and chase it down with Beijing crispy aromatic chicken with plum salt.

The rum-roasted pineapple and Thai basil sorbet with whipped mascarpone cream and Sablé Breton are also absolutely insane. Check it out on Flinders Lane.

Pho Bo Ga Mekong

241 Swanston Street, Melbourne

For cheap and cheerful, you can’t go past Pho Bo Ga Mekong on Swanston Street. This CBD pho spot has been around for a minute now, and in 2024 many a Melburnian still consider it their go-to for a bowl of beef or noodle soup.

The team at Mekong think it’s one of the best restaurants in Melbourne because Bill Clinton once ate two bowls there (and that’s immortalised by a written sign on the wall, but we think it’s the best because of their commitment to outstanding Viet cuisine.

Nomad 

187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

A person cutting into Burrata from one of Melbourne CBD's best restaurants.

Image credit: Nomad | Supplied

Sydney’s famed Mediterranean diner in Surry Hills has made the trip south and set up its second locale in the swank-filled Flinders Lane. Hospitality royalty in New South Wales’ culinary community, Nomad made its bones impressing Sydney diners with their quirky reinterpretations to 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. 

Flower Drum

17 Market Lane, Melbourne

We’d be remiss not to mention Flower Drum, one of Melbourne’s most iconic restaurants.

As it should be—with the ultra-high standard of Chinese dishes being served up daily. A dim sum selection to die for, quail san choi bow, crispy pork ribs with a crunchy garlic crumble, whole fish, flavour-packed hot and sour soup—you can see why we get excited about this one. A lot of Melbournians wait for a special occasion to check out Flower Drum, but it's really good any time you're hungry. Worth the splurge. 

Maha 

21 Bond Street, Melbourne

A table of meze at one of the best restaurants in Melbourne, Maha Bar.
Image credit: Maha | Supplied

The flagship of chef/cooking icon, Shane Delia, Maha opened up on Bond Street in the CBD over a decade ago. Rising with Melbourne's culinary boom, Maha established itself as a dining institution continuously evolving and developing its offering.

Centred around Middle-Eastern flavours and drawing on Delia's own heritage, Maha is a spice-filled journey into his own interpretations on regional specialities and staples. Be it the tantalising array of mezze dishes, the now-famous Slow roasted lamb shoulder, or the simply ground-breaking Turkish delight doughnuts, Maha's continued excellence has firmly secured itself a spot among the best restaurants of Melbourne. 

Kisumé

175 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

A private dining room of a Melbourne CBD restaurant.
Image credit: Kisumé | Supplied

Let’s round this out with one more Asian restaurant because Melbourne's CBD does Asian food better than almost anywhere.

We mentioned the queues on Flinders Lane for Chin Chin, but we forget to mention the lines going the other way to get into Kisume. Helmed by head chef Yonge Kim, their extensive knowledge of sushi and sake leads to an award-winning dining experience, and that's why many consider it one of the best restaurants Melbourne CBD has to offer. 

You could spend an entire evening exploring this split-level Japanese restaurant and sake temple. Don't expect a cheap feed though—this is as fancy as Melbourne gets. 

Ling Nan 

207 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Ling Nan knows exactly what it is and its lo-fi simple interior provides the perfect blank canvas for the array of expertly crafted Cantonese cooking, seamlessly streaming from the kitchen at the back of the restaurant.

After operating for over 15 years and experiencing and short-lived closure and relocation, this contender for the best Chinese restaurant in CBD Melbourne continues to reign as a favoured culinary destination.

Be it the clams with XO sauce or the deep-fried pork spare ribs with chilli and spicy salt, there’s always something that’ll you keep you coming back for more. 

Freyja 

477 Collins Street, Melbourne

A tall gothic looking building which houses one of Melbourne's best restaurants for 2023, Freyja.
Image credit: Freyja | Supplied

Taking on the culinary movement of Scandinavian cuisine, popularised by overseas institutions like Noma and FavikenFreyja will be the newest addition to the Collins Street dining precinct. 

The name Freyja comes from the Norse goddess, who was responsible for beauty and love, residing inside the 130yo heritage-listed Olderfleet building, there’s a strong Scandinavian aesthetic with a collection of minimalist stylings including raw timbers and metallic flourishes with rich contrasting colours.

Leading the charge in the kitchen are Jae Bang and Aaron Caccia who both hail from Michelin-starred diner, Re-Naa in Norway as well as Daniel Gordon, former head chef at Lee Ho Fook. Together the collective team are developing a menu incorporating plenty of the traditional cooking methods of the Nordic region including fermenting, smoking, and pickling.

Sunda

18 Punch Lane, Melbourne

Sitting up on Punch lane on the top end of the city Sunda is a truly unique experience, its wide glass shop front leads into a seated area that wraps around an open-plan kitchen. Sunda’s dining offering is a unique combination of Vietnamese-based dishes with heavy Malaysian and Indonesian influences, two cuisines previously underrepresented in Melbourne’s fine dining space.

The menu features two tasting menus, with Sunda classics like smoked scallop, betel leaf, desert lime, and cucumber—egg noodles with xo sauce, chicken crackling, and pepperberry. Sunda is easily one of the best CBD restaurants Melbourne’s got, and will have you reconsidering your perception of South-East Asian cuisine. 

Florentino

80 Bourke Street, Melbourne

A person putting a fork into pasta at a best CBD Melbourne restaurant.
Image credit: Florentino | Supplied

The Florentino venue has been bringing classic fine dining to Melbourne since 1928 and into 2024. This mainstay on Melbourne’s foodie scene under the guidance of Guy Grossi still pays attention to those small details from the white tablecloths to the shiny cutlery. and that's why it's considered one of the best restaurants in Melbourne.

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.

Il Bacaro 

68-170 Little Collins Street, Melbourne 

The Italian restaurant with a longstanding history in Melbourne’s CBD, after a recent refresh it has become a staple of fine dining. In lieu of typical large portion pasta dishes and carb-heavy entree’s Il Bacaro and its menu is focused on regional Venetian cuisine providing a more refined and thoughtful approach to its culinary offering.

Helmed by Chef David Dellai, who has curated a selection of dishes that showcase the region’s classical pairings such as beef tartare with bone marrow Brulee and wild mushrooms— or their crowd favourite Spaghettini with Moreton Bay Bugs, garlic, chilli, and rocket. In atmosphere and cuisine, Il Bacaro has cemented itself as not just one the best Italian restaurants Melbourne has to offer, but one of the best restaurants Melbourne has to offer too.

Make a day of it and hit up more of Melbourne's best spots for breakfast, lunch and dinner:

Melbourne's best restaurants
Melbourne's best cafes
Melbourne's best bars
Melbourne's best breakfast

Image credit: Supernormal | supplied

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