Restaurants

Now Open | Market Lane Coffee’s OG Location Is Now Slingin’ Baguettes And Sangas

By Claudia Goundar

It’s called the dining capital for a reason, Melbourne continuously enriches its culinary landscape with a plethora of new restaurants and bars sprawling the city and emerging almost every week. From charming neighbourhood wine bars nestled on leafy street corners to heritage building takeovers and bakeries dabbling in all-day service, the best new restaurants for 2024 and beyond can be found right here—including bars, cafes, and delis, too.

The Latest Scoop (June 2024): Winter is upon us and instead of staying in, our expert editors have braved the cold to hunt and gather Melbourne's latest and greatest restaurant openings, bringing back the word back to you. First up this month, indulge in winter warmers like Black Angus bavette and fries at a New York-style bistro in the CBD. And don't forget, for all the latest on restaurant, bar, pub and venue openings, join our Urban List Insiders.

Market Lane

Prahran Market, Shop 13/163 Commercial Rd, South Yarra VIC 3141
The entrance to Market Lane at Prahran Market. The Melbourne coffee institution has had a refurb and is now roasting small batches on site.

Image: Supplied | Market Lane
Brunch is now on the cards and cupping is back at the original Market Lane in Prahran Market after a sleek renovation bringing it inline with other outlets. Offering a space to relax, rejuvenate and caffeinate after doing the groceries, patrons can indulge in other iconic Melbourne brands such as hot chocolate from Mörk, teas from Assembly and Indigiearth, all while enjoying a delightful range of baked goods—some from Baker Bleu, and fresh sandwiches, using ingredients from the market’s top traders. The institution will also return to small-batch roasting on premises at Prahran near the shop entrance.

Ruby Dining

1/189 Queen Street, Melbourne CBD

A bistro meal, including tuna crudo and a mini chicken Caesar salad at Ruby Dining, on Queen Street in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia's CBD.Image credit: Ruby Dining | Simon Chin

The classics are the classics for a reason—but lauded ex-Cumulus chef James Cornwall has taken them to the next level at his latest opening, Ruby Dining. 

Situated on Queen Street, the moody New York-style bistro offers up gems like its Black Angus bavette steak and fries, ricotta ravioli, and smaller treats like its signature chicken oyster (a refreshingly crispy one-bite Caesar salad, please, stop!) and brown butter madeleines, served with whipped goat cheese and honey, which are baked fresh to order.

Ruby Dining has dining options from breakfast to dinner, and is definitely one to put on your cheeky work lunch, or weekend treat list.

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Yaki Nau

370 Queens Place, Melbourne CBD

A chef preparing premium wagyu at a new restaurant opening in melbourneImage credit: Yaki Nau | Supplied

Winter is looking fresh for new openings in Melbourne, and our sights are set on Yaki Nau with doors due to swing open in June. We don’t know a ton yet but we do know it’s a Japanese diner with BBQ taking centre stage, and food is by Chef Hugo Mai who’s dipping into his wealth of experience from Nobu to bring Yaki Nau to life.

It promises to balance the fine diner experience with a relaxed atmosphere to get the best of both worlds. The wagyu is cream of the crop, sourcing 100% fullblood wagyu beef, so you know it’s the real melt-in-your-mouth good stuff. 

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Pinchy’s

200 Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD

A small but fancy lobster roll sits on a green plate next to a cup of french fries and a yellow cocktail in a martini glassImage credit: Pinchy's | Jana Langhorst

In 2024, Pinchy’s is lookin’ extra fresh. After four years on the scene, the seafood restaurant and bar is ushering in a renewed era for itself. Finger-food bites are out, and substantial share-style plates are in, including a luxe lobster roll that rivals Melbourne’s best. Whether you go à la carte or leave it up to the seafood tasting menu, you’re in good hands with executive chef Barret Jones.

The refresh extends to the drinks list, and we highly suggest you give the Winter Spice a crack—spice-infused gin, orange shrub, cinnamon syrup, ginger juice, lemon, and a touch of tonic. Pinchy’s is now open, Wednesday to Sunday.

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Farro

30 Puckle Street, Moonee Ponds

Mirrors line the wall and green leather booth seating rests underneath—this is Farro, who just opened a new restaurant location in Moonee PondsImage credit: Farro | Supplied

Location number seven is here, and Farro has taken its famed pizza and pasta to the humble suburb of Moonee Ponds. The health-conscious joint has been a certified Melbourne go-to for years—and it’s time Moonee Ponds scored its own.

You can count on established favourite dishing its all-natural menu, exclusively using organic spelt flour for all its hand-tossed pizza, fresh pasta and bread goods. For those with pesky dietaries, the vegan and gluten-free items will also make an appearance.

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Le Martini

8 Whiteman Street, Southbank

A line of vodka bottles sit along the blue wall at a bar dedicated to martini, another new restaurant opening Melbourne scored in May 2024Image credit: Le Martini | Supplied

You’re in for a treat if your go-to is a martini. Le Martini is the latest spot Crown has welcomed into its stable of venues. Paying homage to its namesake, Le Martini is everything luxurious as it is intimate. We’re talking plush velvet drapery, banquette seating, aged mirrors, and deep blue hues, seating just 34 people. You can take your martini exactly how you like it—shaken, stirred, dry, or dirty—or opt the rotating specials that accompany the resident bartender. Kicking the show off is award-winning Dale DeGroff, who brings ‘Harry’s Original’, a zesty twist on a classic inspired by a historic 1888 recipe.

The luxe ethos runs deep into the bar snacks, sourcing indulgent plates from neighbouring Bistro Guillaume. Go for the gildas, whipped cod roe baguettes, a swish Caviar experience, and freshly shucked oysters.

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Bang Bang

315 Hampton Street, Hampton

Image credit: Bang Bang | Jessie Evans 

Bang Bang is a certified banger. The bustling hawker-style Pan Asian restaurant is bold, fun, and not pretentious in any sense of the world. The Mordialloc joint was met with lines out the door on the reg, so the team felt it was only right to open the doors on another location—this time, taking the Bang Bang name bayside in Hampton.

Inspired by Asia’s street food culture, the menu is packed full of flavour and stacked with options, from small bites and plates, to substantial servings and a section dedicated to bao. If making decisions isn’t your strong suit, opt for the set menu—$57.70 per person, or $89 per person. The space is deceptively big, and perfect for groups. And if you’re getting a cocktail (which you should), the Lemon Drop will go down a treat. Bang Bang is now open for dinner Monday to Thursday, and from 12pm Friday to Sunday.

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Emilietta

1 Gills Alley, Melbourne CBD

A person wearing a pink t-shirt preparing a sandwich made from flat bread, mortadella mousse, mortadella, baby onion and pistacchioImage credit: Emilietta | Atti.Co

A cornerstone in the Melbourne Italian scene is undoubtedly Trattoria Emilia, and after a decade of dispensing an outstanding menu, the team have opened the door on a sister venue, Emilietta. Residing in the bar area of Emilia, this lunch spot is all about fried flatbread made into quick bites—something you might liken to a sandwich. Some call them  Crescentina, but at Emilietta, they’re calling it Tigella, which is the type of stone used for cooking.

Ingredients are both local and imported straight from Italy, and while there are a few seats up for grabs, the joint primary runs under a take-and-go ethos. Don’t be mistaken—take-and-go doesn’t mean pre-prepared. Emilietta is making seven variations as they’re ordered, so you know it’s fresh as fresh can be. Tucked away in the CBD, Emilietta is open Tuesday to Friday, 10:30am to 3pm.

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Longrain Canteen

430 Little Collins Street, Melbourne CBD

Image credit: Longrain Canteen | Alex Squadrito

The Little Bourke Street institution, Longrain, just scored a lunch-forward sister in Melbourne CBD, serving up reimagined versions of the restaurant's most popular dishes into take-and-go bites. Take the crispy pork hock for an example—what is usually served up in a bowl has now been thrown into a brioche bun with pickles, coriander and sriracha mayo. 

At Longrain Canteen, prices are on par with what you’d expect for a CBD lunch: $16-18 for a salad, $18 for the crispy pork bun, and $21 for the red beef curry. The drinks front covers all bases, from thai coffee and coconut juice to alcoholic options like canned wine and Chang beer. It’s all led by Head Chef Le and restaurateur Scott Pickett (Chancery Lane, Smith Street Bistro, The Continental Sorrento). It’ll only be around until Spring, open Monday to Friday, 11am to 2:30pm. More details and menu over here.

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Dutch Rules Distilling Co.

1/586 Whitehorse Road, Mitcham

Image credit: Dutch Rules Distilling Co. | Supplied

In most recent news for new openings in Melbourne, the ‘burbs have just scored a slick distillery door and gin bar called Dutch Rules Distilling Co. The focus is, as one would expect, all about the gin with a few bar snacks on offer to soak up the booze. 

The gin itself celebrates the origin of the spices that have influenced the modern iterations. Leaning into owner and founder Danny Perera’s Sri Lankan roots and upbrining with a Dutch influence, the gin highlights the complex flavours of juniper, cardamom and coriander. 

The house gin, New World Dry Gin, has been in the works since 2022, and after launching mid-last year, it quickly nabbed silver in the Australian Distilled Spirits Award, so it's bound to be bloody good. Try it neat in a tasting flight or in one of the bar’s speciality cocktails.

We’re keeping a close eye on this space, as they crew have plans to expand Dutch Rules' offering to include a full-blown kitchen and dining room, headed up by ex-Naked For Satan, Dan Greenwood.

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Prova

822 High Street, Thornbury

Image credit: Prova | Supplied

Pastificio Sandro by day, and now Prova by night. The northside grocer that’s all about handmade pasta has opened their back door to welcome in a handful of diners in every Friday and Saturday evening.

It’s the coming together of Umberto Group behind the likes of Umberto Espresso Bar and Gigi Rooftop, head chef Adrian Bressanutti with Stokehouse and Tipo 00 creds, and industry veteran Andrew Barry of Gingerboy, to create an intimate (by its very definition) Italian dining experience.

Decision fatigue isn't in Prova's vocabulary. The hidden restaurant is serving the one six-course set menu at $125 a head, or an additional $75 for pairing wines. The dishes will change as per the seasons, but you can expect plates along the lines of house-made spaghetti with skull island tiger prawns, thinly sliced zucchini, with pistachio, basil and pecorino.

Prova can only seat 14 punters at a time, so not only do you need to book, you should do so well in advance. Right this way.

Pasta Bambino

159 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Image credit: Pasta Bambino | Arianna Leggiero

Adrian Richardson’s Bouvier Bar is changing faces for the cooler months, dishing up an all-pasta menu with recipes passed down from his Nonna.

You can count on plates like casarecce bolognese, rigatoni beef ragout, pappardelle creamy mushroom, spaghetti marinara, and ricotta gnocchi pesto, and keep an eye out for weekly specials like a delightful three-cheese lasagna. The wine list is everything Italian as it is Australian, covering all fronts including superb reds akin to the winter palate. A typical glass of vino will set you back just $9, and majority of the pasta dishes sit under the $20 mark.

Find Pasta Bambino io Brunswick East, open Wednesday through to Saturday from 4pm ‘till the early AM.

FOC Melbourne

432 Little Collins Street, Melbourne CBD

Image credit: FOC Melbourne | Supplied

The team behind Melbourne’s beloved Sloppy Joes Deli—who we reckon are making some of the best sangas in town—has changed the drapes at their Little Collins digs to make way for their new venture, FOC. The main focus here is chunky focaccia rolls, which you might have already seen plastered across your social feeds. There’s about eight sando variations on offer, from mortadella, porchetta, and rare beef to green beans, and mushrooms. 

The quaint shop is also serving sweet treats and good coffee to cover all craving fronts. The space can take a few dine-ins at a time, but primarily FOC is designed as a take-and-go kind of thing. Open Monday to Friday from 8am ‘til 3pm.

Wally’s Albert Park

67 Cardigan Place, Albert Park

Image credit: Wally's | Pete Dillon

Situated on a serene corner along Cardigan Place is Albert Park’s newest neighbourhood wine bar, Wally’s. Designed by Studio a.mi, the interior radiates an ageless French influence, while the outdoor seating area takes centre stage, with quaint tables spilling over Wally’s covetable corner location. 

Helmed by head chef Damon Mclvor (Waxflower and Vex Dining0), the establishment is whipping up seasonal European-inspired cuisine expertly matched with an extensive selection of wines. Wally's is now open Tuesday to Sunday.

Banshō

960 High Street, Armadale 

Image credit: Banshō | Jana Langhorst

High Street Armadale introduces its latest restaurant to its eclectic dining scene, Banshō—a unique fusion of French bistro and Japanese cuisine. Enlisted chefs Tomotaka Ishizuka (Kisumé) and Yoonho Chang (Lume), blend the timeless sophistication of French gastronomy with the artful mastery of Japanese flavours, evidenced in the choux au craquelin—a matcha cream puff, among other dishes on the menu.

With brass details, tan leather seats and intimate circular booth and counter seating, Banchō’s interior echoes its culinary harmony and draws inspiration from Japanese minimalism and French elegance, making for a warm art deco fitout.

D.O.C St Kilda 

14-16 The Esplanade, St Kilda

Image credit: D.O.C St Kilda | Pete Dillon

In its seventh venture, Lygon Street icon, D.O.C, extends its authentic Italian charm to St Kilda’s esplanade. The team have curated a fresh menu, showcasing new and exclusive items, reflecting the evolution of Italy’s progressive culinary scene while remaining rooted in the essence of its flagship venues.

In classic fashion, the menu is divided into Antipasto, Primi and Secondi, with signature pizza and pasta dishes retained alongside new additions complemented by a selection of top-shelf wines from the cellar. The 100-seat diner, featuring a semi-open kitchen and beachside-adjacent outdoor dining, elevates the simple Italian dining with retro olive seats juxtaposed with elegant marble white masterpieces. 

Lucia 

11 Eastern Road, South Melbourne 

Image credit: Lucia | Arianna Leggiero

Situated at the foot of Eastern Road in South Melbourne, Lucia is a quaint Mediterranean restaurant and wine bar exuding Renaissance charm. From the team behind Riserva, Baia Di Vino and San Lorenzo, this neighbourhood gem promises the same warm hospitality and authentic food.  

With Head Ched Jordan Clavaron (Society, Cutler & Co), son of a Michelin star chef, crafting the menu from his travels in France, Italy and Spain, the dishes are elegant yet unpretentious. 

Anticipated crowd favourites include the Fremantle octopus skewer complemented with red pepper sauce and the Riserva menu highlight—beetroot ravioli. The experience is elevated by a novel-like wine menu boasting over 400 bottles and its sleek interior comprising floor-to-ceiling windows, banquette seating and mood lighting, making for an intimate ambience.

Red Chilli House  

119 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD 

Image credit: Red Chilli House | Supplied

Occupying three levels within a once-abandoned historic building, Red Chilli House breathes new life into Chinatown with its fiery Southern Chinese fare. Owner Steve Xu’s commitment to his home province sees chilli-spiced stir fries and seafood soups taking the menu spotlight.

Drawing from over a decade of experience at Red Cliff, his new venture innovatively blends flavours and reimagines traditional recipes using ingredients from different regions. The menu showcases both signature dishes as well as a slate of new offerings, with highlights such as Sauerkraut fish— a sour and spicy Sichuan soup made from freshwater catfish and pickled mustard greens simmered in green peppercorn broth, alongside other seafood specialties. 

Baker Bleu

65 Dover Street, Cremorne

Image credit: Baker Bleu | Supplied

In its most ambitious venture to date, Baker Bleu is making its way to Cremorne later this year, establishing this outpost as an all-day cafe and bakery destination. The household favourite bakery will continue churning out its cult status and signature baked goods such as their buttery almond croissants as well as newcomers—loaded sandwiches and sourdough pizzas.

The venue’s fit-out has been meticulously designed to accommodate all-day dining, featuring  20 seats indoors with additional outdoor alfresco seating that spills onto Dover Street’s pavement. With a commitment to providing a comprehensive experience, Baker Bleu will also offer catering service, making it a one-stop shop.

Mill Place Merchants  

2 Mill Place, Melbourne CBD

Image credit: Mill Place Merchants | Bonnie Savage

Tucked away in one of the CBD’s endless laneways, Mill Place Merchants is quite literally a hidden gem that's recently opened its doors. Residing within a heritage-listed edifice dating back to the 1840s, the entrance masquerades as a vintage dressing room, complete with a full-length mirror door, inviting guests to step through the wardrobe akin to Narina.

Reigning in the allure of the golden age, the speakeasy bar and eatery emanates clandestine charm accentuated by chandeliers, nautical lights and a melodic backdrop of smooth jazz and blues standards. With award-winning mixologist, Giancarlo Mancino, carefully crafting the drinks,  cocktails are at the heart of the experience, while the concise food menu offers morsels, enticing bar snacks and delicate desserts. 

Sky SQR

Box Hill

Image credit: Sky SQR | Supplied

Melbourne’s newest east-meets-west culinary precinct is taking up residence in the leafy suburb of Box Hill. The project is called SKY SQR and it is set to be a vibrant but diverse celebration of food, family, life and culture. It is designed to engage the wider community of Melbourne by providing an inclusive precinct that shares the traditions around food. The Asian-inspired Hawker Lane will take you through a journey through Asia with street-style food offerings before crossing over to a European-esque courtyard hosting a restaurant and cafe dining scene reminiscent of the famous plazas of Europe.

The details around specific vendors are still in the works but early info looks to point to a range of noodle, Pho and Bao bun options. But the centrepiece of the three-level project will definitely be the outdoor plaza and entertainment area which will host exciting events, art installations and cultural activities. Meanwhile, the upper floor will feature lifestyle, retail and services. In a true Melbourne style, SKY SQR will be completed with a central plaza and laneway concept that hopes to awaken visitors' senses through sight, taste and sounds at every turn. Head over here for more. 

Image credit: Lucia | Arianna Leggiero

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