It's been a long, cold winter full of virtual dinners, make-at-home meal boxes and Uber Eats meals that may or may not have arrived. But now, the time has finally come to round up your mates (probably four of them, with booking limits and all) for a night on the town—albeit checked-in and seated service only.
A grip of your favourite diners have already opened up bookings, and we'll likely see more in the coming days. Lock in your first after-lockdown meal at one of Melbourne's best below.
Richmond’s sweetheart, Baby, will be taking walk-ins for outdoor dining from Tuesday 26 October, while indoor dining will commence on or around Friday 5 November. Their books are open here.
Celebrating family-style French cooking, the bistro will invite guests in for outdoor seatings on Tuesday 26 of October and indoor service Friday 5 November. Book here.
Whisky, Whiskey and booze of the malt variety is having a real moment in Melbourne, so it's no doubt that bookings will be hot property at Boilermaker House. Make yours from Friday 5 November here.
A mainstay to the city, and a rite of passage to Melburnians, Chin Chin is set to reopen on or around Friday 5 November. At this point, you’ll be able to make your booking on Monday 4 October here.
Home to traditional and authentic pasta, Ciao Mama might be one of the best pasta bars in Melbourne. Head over from Tuesday 26 of October for outdoor seating and from Friday 5 November for indoor dining. Book here.
The one with the whisky lair hidden behind a bookshelf is taking bookings from Friday 5 November onwards. The 5-course degustation isn't to be missed, unless of course you're exploring some of the rarest whiskies found in Melbourne. Book here.
One of Melbourne’s favourites, Entrecôte, the home to French food, is reopening on Friday 5 November for 2-hour seatings. Book here.
Estelle is back with their fine dining menu filled with hearty steaks and the freshest quality fish. They are commencing bookings from Friday 5 November. Book here.
DOM’s Social Club
Enjoy crisp woodfired pizza on their rooftop with a set menu from Tuesday 26 October or in their indoor space from Friday 5 November. Book here.
Another beloved southside haunt from the Hanoi Hannah stable, the flame-driven Firebird is coming in hot with bookings available from Friday 5 November. Lock in a table here
From Friday 5 November Frédéric’s all-day European style dining will return to Melbourne’s food scene. Don’t forget to check out their specials like Wellington Wednesday’s and Duck and Mushroom Monday’s. Book here.
CBD, Eastland, Essendon, Brunswick, Mornington, Norwood
For woodfired pizza that has the perfect cheese-to-napoli ratio, Gradi will recommence service from Friday 5 November. Book here.
Dedicated to great pho and filled with vegan-friendly options, the Vietnamese Diner is opening doors on Friday 5 November. Book here.
Hanoi Hannah Vol. II
As always, the Hanoi Hannah brand will be bringing those big, bold and punchy Vietnamese flavours to the plate in front of you. We'll see you at the table—book here.
Southside stalwart, Hawker Hall, is set to reopen their doors on or around Friday 5 November. At this point, the books will be open Monday 4 October. Get in here.
Hemingway's Wine Room
East Melbourne's charming vino haunt is opening up bookings from Friday 5 November and beyond. You can't go wrong with the entire menu, but someone really needs to find out who their oyster supplier is, because damn... book in here.
Ishizuka is Japanese at its finest—it's led by Michelin Star Chef Masahiko Yomoda after all—and you can book in for Friday 5 November and beyond right now.
Japanese cuisine in Melbourne doesn’t get much better, delivered or when dining in, though we’d be lying if we weren’t hankering for the latter. Kisumé will open on or around Friday 5 November, with books opening on Monday 4 October. Lock in a spot at the table here.
Renowned for serving up some of the best Laksa in Melbourne, this Malaysian restaurant will open up from Friday 5 November. Book here.
Vegans, this one is for you. For an entirely plant-based kitchen head over to Lona Misa for scrumptious eats from Friday 5 November. Book here.
From Saturday 6 November you can return to Longrain and devour some of their bespoke asian-inspired dishes. Book here.
Dedicated to french cuisine and perfectly pairing wines to their charcuterie boards, L’Hôtel Gitan will reopen outdoor seatings on Tuesday 26 October and indoor service Friday 5 November. Book here.
If you miss Scott Picket’s relaxed-style cooking featured at Matilda, they will reopen on Saturday 6 November. Book here.
The two-level Norse-leaning Mjolner is something every Melburnian should experience, and if you missed out in the before time, now's your chance to book in for an evening of pure escapism. Tables can be reserved now from Friday 5 November here.
For classic woodfired pizza and a cosy environment, Neighbourhood Pizza will open doors to Melbournians from Friday 5 November. Book here.
Hanoi Hannah's refined South East Asian sibling venue, New Quarter, is arguably one of Swan Street's crown jewels, and you can bet your bottom dollar bookings will be snapped up damn quick throughout November and beyond. Lock in a table here from Friday 5 November.
Nick & Nora's
CBD charmer Nick & Nora's is opening up their books so that you can open up one of the city's most considered cocktail lists come Friday 5 November. Lock it in here.
For Turkish food that is simply tasty and provides hearty portions, Nicosia will open doors from Friday 5 November. Book here.
Pietro Gallus Estate
For a dining experience with flavours and views reminiscent of the Italian countryside head over to Pietro Gallus. They will be reopening doors on Friday 5 November. Book here.
Poodle was open for a total of maybe six minutes before lockdown round one, but in between, they've managed to charm their way into the hearts of Melburnians with a stunning menu and a venue to match. The odd pop-up over the past 18 months has also proved a success—Book in for a table at Melbourne's northside obsession from Friday 5 November here. The team will also be opening up their courtyard fro Tuesday 26 October if you need your fix a few days earlier.
For authentic Spanish tapas and live music on Friday and Saturday’s, you can enjoy the food at Remy’s outdoor from Tuesday 26 of October and indoor from Friday 5 November. Book here.
If you have been longing to dine in and enjoy a good pizza, this is one of Melbourne’s best spots in the West. Scoozi will be serving up their gourmet pizzas from Friday 5 November. Book here.
A well-known local favourite for authentic Japanese food. Try their eggplant nigiri to be mind blown. Reservations are open from Friday 5 November. Book here.
Another southside faithful is opening their books for Friday 5 November and beyond, and we're as keen for their cocktails as we are for that beef rib bun—get in here.
Up In Smoke
For flaming a BBQ joint that serves the best ribs and hot chips, head to Up In Smoke. The restaurant will open outdoor seating from Tuesday 26 of October and indoor dining from Friday 5 November. Book here.
Check out more movements happening around the grounds of Melbourne's hospo scene here.
Image credit: Derek Swalwell