Food & Drink

South Yarra, Melbourne: What To Eat, Drink And Do In 2023

By Maya Varadarajan

There’s no doubt that South Yarra is one of the more glitzy suburbs in Melbourne. Home to a myriad of boutique stores, stylish streets and of course, some truly quality dining, South Yarra is a haven for a chic day out.  

Whether you’re looking for a choice setting for the perfect date night, or you’re wanting to kick back after work with a few drinks, we’ve rounded up all the best that South Yarra has to offer. 

Here’s what to discover in South Yarra for 2023:

Restaurants in South Yarra
Cafes in South Yarra 
Things to do in South Yarra 

South Yarra Restaurants


Atlas

Inspired by global travels and flavours, Charlie Carrington and his team of chefs at Atlas have created an evolving restaurant that brings the world to Melbourne. Every few months, the restaurant is transformed according to the cuisine, so you can travel the world through your taste buds.

France Soir

This authentic 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 the dining institution of France Soir is a perfect addition to South Yarra, as this establishment screams classic French sophistication, and the wine list reads like a book. 

48h Pizza e Gnocchi Bar

There is a lot to love about this place - not only were they the first official gnocchi bar in Australia, these guys have a solid appreciation for quality ingredients. Exactly like how it's done in Italy, 48h Pizza e Gnocchi Bar let their dough rise for a minimum of 48 hours, which makes for a crust that's light, fragrant and aromatic. 

Yūgen Dining

Resting right above the now infamous speciality tea destination Yugen Tea Bar, Yugen Dining is a two-level eatery with three unique spaces, each one evoking a sense of intimacy mixed with innovation and newness. The menu features modern interpretations of Asian dishes, be it Jamon and snapper sashimi to a Wagyu beef hotpot with mushroom and spicy Sichuan butter.

Lona Misa 

Lona Misa is an entirely plant-based Latin restaurant, helmed by two of Melbourne's culinary elite, Shannon Martinez of Smith & Daughters and Ian Curley of Kirk’s Wine Bar. The menu plays on the bold flavours and diverse vegetable integration of the region's cuisine; take the Patatas Bravas with smoked tomato and fermented chilli sauce, and the roasted broccoli cooked in seaweed butter with a smoky almond romesco sauce. 

Thirty-Eight Chairs

We’d be remiss to skip the institution that is Thirty Eight Chairs from an article focused on South Yarra and for good reason, the Italian bistro has been a mainstay of dining in the region for quite some time. Nestled just a stone's throw from the bustling noise of Chapel Street, the cosy atmosphere and the food is always stellar. Think zucchini flowers, grilled octopus, gnocchi with gorgonzola dolce sauce and crispy leek.

Oriental Teahouse 

Oriental Teahouse has been a South Yarra staple for well over a decade. As much a part of the furniture as The Jam Factory’s familiar red brick facade or a late-night Lamb On Chapel garlic kebab. The corner-resting diner has styled itself as a premier Shanghai-style dumpling and teahouse, an old dog with a few new tricks—including a banquet menu that quite honestly never misses. 
A bamboo steamer with three steamed dumplings with slices of chives and chilli resting on top.

Miss Chu

South Yarra staple Miss Chu is always bursting at the seams (in true hawker form) with patrons patiently waiting for their feed. With a relaxed style of food, eclectic interiors and a casual attitude towards dining, Misschu is definitely one of the best restaurants South Yarra has to offer.

Yakikami 

Yakikami is the pinnacle of Japanese restaurants in South Yarra. This 70-seat diner, focusing on Japanese BBQ, is spread out across 350sqm of sleek marble flooring and features a dedicated Yakitori bar with charcoal Josper (Hibachi) grills that churn out skewers of chicken, seafood and vegetables. 

Bar Carolina

Bar Carolina’s pride and joy is the woodfire Josper oven, imported directly from Spain. Chefs Akela Nevelli and Vincenzo Di Giovanniello are pretty liberal with the old Josper, blazing mains like Negroni salt-crusted barramundi or beastly 700g rib eye steaks. There are plenty of veggie options too, including their famous handmade pasta.

A25

Pizza & pasta natives A25 take their gluten-free pizza options incredibly seriously - not only are they incredibly delicious, but they’re also endorsed by Coeliac Australia so you can rest easy knowing you’re getting the best. All pizzas on the menu can be re-made with gluten-free bases including their famous ‘Bunga Bunga’ an Italian pork sausage and mushroom homage to the former Italian president. 

Beverly

Perched atop the Goldfields building, this brand-new venue is bringing a refreshing breezy vibe back to the southside metropolis. The menu at Beverly is contemporary, centred around the more playful sharing-style ideal for long boozy catch-ups from prawn ceviche with a jalapeno cream to spanner crab pasta, pulled pork belly ragu and more.

Young Hearts

Led by the same team behind Neptune Food & Wine just a few doors down, Young Hearts has a bit of a twist going for it - with rotating chef residencies every six months, the menu is ever-evolving. Right now, the talented team from Freddy's Pizza will be dishing an array of Italian-leaning snacks from Abruzzo-style lamb Arrosticini skewers, to Cacio e Pepe croquettes. 

Omnia

With a European brasserie-style menu, Omnia aims to present elegant but familiar and comforting meals to their customers. Led by head chef Stephen Nairn, who’s also behind Yugen Dining, Omnia is South Yarra’s go-to spot for the best quality produce, which in turn leads to some of the best dining you’ll find south of the river.

Stella

It's a hot contender for the best rooftop bar in Melbourne, nestled right on the corner of a sleepier stretch of Chapel Street in South Yarra, Stella's fourth-storey rooftop is the cherry on top of the Italian bar and diner. Boasting a cocktail list littered with prime aperitivo hour classics, a rotating selection of live musical acts and colourful sunsets over the city.

South Yarra Cafes 


Market Lane 

So it's technically in Prahran but postcode semantics aside, Market Lane has always maintained a high-quality and refined approach to their coffee. The tidy aesthetic of the stores has become a calling card of the caffeine empire and there's always a tasty selection of brews, and snacks as well as a full retail space to load up for your coffee needs at home. 

The Terrace 

Deep inside the Royal Botanic Gardens, The Terrace is the cafe, kiosk and event space taking over the custodianship of the 170yo venue. Inside you'll find familiar favourites from the Darling Group, foremostly the blueberry and ricotta pancakes as well as brunch plates like an avocado Tarte Tatine, chilli-scrambled eggs, fresh-made baguettes and more. 

Ned's Bake 

Set one foot inside Ned’s Bake on Toorak Road in South Yarra and you can tell it’s all about the bread. Batons of light rye, slashed ‘Chef’s Loaves’ of white sourdough and multigrain, gnarly green olive grissini sticks stuffed with olives the size of your fist (give or take). There's also properly good coffee, pastries and bloody good brunch options. 

Rustica 

The Rustica empire is renowned for their baked, and well, rustic goods. With perfectly cooked croissants and sourdough that is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, it's a good spot to grab a coffee and something to go. Alternatively, dine in and go for something a little fancier like the spanner crab scramble or croissant french toast.

Commonfolk 

Pride of the Mornington Peninsula, the coffee empire from the coast has inhabited a tidy caffeine-filled store just off Toorak Road on Murphy Street. Inside Commonfolks' intimately-curated space is a collection of different single origin and filter brews alongside a tasty selection of bagels, toasted sangas, and a few sweet treats. 

Q Le Baker 

From a CV that includes the likes of Vue De Monde and Chez Drez, this quaint bakery's stewardship knows a thing or two about bread and pastries. On the cards here are handmade pies, apple turnovers, croissants, dark choc brownies topped with a sprinkle of sea salt, even a range of Q Le Baker chutneys and pickles.

Things To Do In South Yarra 


Royal Botanic Gardens 

A true treasure of South Yarra and Melbourne for that matter, the Royal Botanic Gardens is an incredible experience year-round. Be it parking up at many of the different stretches of grass, ingratiating yourself with the native flora and fauna, or cutting laps around the track the tan has something for everyone. 

Hommey 

If you're in need of levelling up your headquarters, Hommey develops homewares and lifestyle products with an impeccable craft. Inside their newly opened brick-and-mortar store on Toorak Road, you'll find a tidy collection from their high-calibre range from their textured pillowsrobes and even a full range of pet-centric goods

Como House Gardens

South Yarra's Como House is one of the original stately homes in Melbourne, and it’s got a suitably lush garden to match. Even now in 2023, these gardens continue to get some love, with none other than renowned local garden designer Paul Bangay redesigning the perennial border. 

Yugen Tea 

Taking up residency in the Capitol Grand in South Yarra, Yugen Tea Bar is an accelerated take on the antiquated high tea experience; there are over forty speciality teas to choose from which can range anywhere from $6 to $110 for two cups. The sleek design of Yugen is one of its major attractions, the almost dystopian interior aesthetic provides a relaxed space and ushers in a new standard for tea drinking.

Check out some of Melbourne's best:

Melbourne's best restaurants
Melbourne's best bars
Melbourne's best brunch
Melbourne's best breakfast
Melbourne's best Japanese

Image credit: Josie Withers (VisitVic) 

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