The fact that Melbourne is such a global city has contributed to the cities highly varied culinary traditions, which is one of the city’s many advantages. Approximately half of all people who currently call Melbourne home were born in other parts of the world. The Chinese, Italian, and Greek communities have all contributed to the city’s gastronomic landscape.
Melbourne is known as the gourmet cuisine capital of Australia, and it boasts an incredible and diverse food scene. These are just a few of the many fantastic eateries found in Melbourne, located in Australia. In my experience as someone who describes themselves as a foodie, one of the best ways to get to know a new location and its inhabitants is to try out the local eateries and cuisine, and Australia did not fail in this area. The following are the top 20 restaurants I discovered while travelling across Melbourne, Australia.
1. Transformer Fitzroy
Transformer, a modern vegetarian restaurant in a renovated warehouse in Fitzroy, is informal enough for a fast meal yet sophisticated enough for a night out. Cocktail enthusiasts will enjoy the appetizers, including zesty dips and small snacks that complement the beverages. However, head directly to the shared-plates section if you want a complete meal. The vegetable plates are the headliners; order two portions of the grilled pears with chestnuts and white beans and the cumin-braised eggplant with chermoula, smoked labneh, and quinoa chips, and mint.
A cookie is like that forgotten garment at the back of the closet: you’ll never forget how good it is once you eat it. Because Cookie has been there for so long and has been consistently delicious, Melbourne treats it as a given rather than a treat. A vast area that’s half bar, half restaurant and one of our favorite places to eat in town serves some of our famous Thai cuisines.
Since 1928, the Florentino restaurant in Melbourne has served traditional French cuisine. With Guy Grossi at the helm, this Melbourne staple’s white tablecloths and gleaming cutlery are still a point of pride. The restaurant, the grill, and the cellar bar are all housed in the historic building’s timber-paneled walls. Thanks to its authentic Italian cuisine and wine pairings, at least one visit to this restaurant is necessary for any Melbournian.
The terms “fine dining” and “comfort cuisine” are not often used interchangeably; nevertheless, you will find that this is not the case at Amaru, a restaurant that will convince you differently. At Amaru, you won’t find any tricks or smoke and mirrors; instead, you’ll find nothing but pure ingenuity combined with good intentions. If this is the beginning of the revival of comfort food, then we are ready to dive headfirst into it.
5. Flower Drum
Flower Drum is a household name in Melbourne, so you’ve heard of it. The Chinese restaurant in Melbourne is one of the city’s best. For decades, the fine-dining establishment has served as a Chinese culinary icon thanks to its opulent décor, top-notch service, and extensive Cantonese menu. Lunch and supper banquet menus eliminate the guesswork and leave you with many dishes that will leave a lasting impression on your palate. Spring onion pastry packed with pork and sesame marinated jellyfish is two must-try containers.
Shannon Bennett, the acclaimed chef and restaurateur, has opened a new restaurant on Collins Street called Iki Jime, which will only serve seafood and other products from the ocean. Iki Jime’s oysters and red-wine-braised octopus appetizers are excellent, but the less apparent items shine the most. The yabby tart is held together with creamy seaweed “fudge” and fresh truffles nestled between calamari noodles like treasure in a cave. It’s up to the chefs to dress up your fish for the main course.
A meal at Victoria’s most decorated fine-dining restaurant is like a mini-vacation in the time it takes to get out to the gently sloping paddocks of Birregurra (an easy two-hour drive from Melbourne), dines at Dan Hunter’s famous farmhouse restaurant in rural splendour at a pace that fits the setting, and then go back home. You’ll be treated with such warmth and confidence those five hours will fly by while you’re in suspended happiness.
Attica, which is uniquely Australian in every aspect, redefines fine dining. Fine dining, to them, is about an open, conversational atmosphere rather than pricey plates and cutlery. Fine dining is more about the inventive use of indigenous Australian foods than the most expensive ones. Because of its commitment to local produce, they are a business that substantially impacts the local economy.
You won’t find a gold leaf on your plate. Still, you will taste authentic modern Australian cuisine highlighted by indigenous delicacies such as Marron, a lobster-like crayfish unique to Australia.
9. Gimlet At Cavendish House
Getting into the top 10 on this list is a risky move. On the other hand, Gimlet is courageous in the sense of “not hesitating in the face of actual or probable danger or rebuke.” Gimlet opened its doors against the possibility of vacant city streets and worn-out Melbournians during a pandemic when the hotel industry was struck worse than others.
The Cavendish House Gimlet was an institution before serving a single drink. Andrew McConnell and a famous 1920s structure as the foundation make it almost impossible to go wrong. They don’t, either. There is nothing wrong with Gimlet at all.
This always-packed, decidedly casual establishment in Melbourne’s central business district, owned by Melbourne tycoon Andrew McConnell, perfectly encapsulates the neighborhood: Several Asian cuisines are combined on the menu, and the restaurant is packed with well-dressed international students. The service is also lightning-fast. Oysters and kingfish, among other seafood, are always of the highest quality and served with a nod to Japanese tradition at the restaurant’s raw bar. The char-grilled Wagyu strip-loin, paired with green pepper, spinach, and caterpillar mushrooms, is a standout main course.
Acre is one of the best newly formed restaurants in Melbourne. It is tucked away in the quiet southeast suburb of Burwood and has a beautiful view of the Dandenong Ranges. Fresh ingredients come from the rooftop garden and greenhouse that surround the restaurant. This makes the roof of the Burwood Brickworks shopping centre an oasis in the city. You can walk through the vegetable gardens and say hi to the quail coop on this urban farm before having a G&T and deliciously fresh lunch or dinner.
12. Matilda 159 Domain
The latest addition to Scott Pickett’s culinary empire, Matilda 159 Domain, features a sleek South Yarra location and an innovative menu of fire-cooked treats. The meal is rich and satisfying, made with high-quality ingredients yet with a Smokey, burned flavor. Do not miss out on the salmon roe tartlets with bonito cream baked in a wood-fired oven or the excellent spanner crab made tart by citrus juices and served with prawn-buttered flatbread. The Tarte Tatin served with smoked vanilla ice cream is a must-have.
13. Gray And Gray
It looks like Dennis Denuto’s boring office in “The Castle” from the outside, but once you get past this old lawyer’s office’s shady blinds and dark gold lettering, things get much more “in style.” You can see a lot of this magic at Gray and Gray, the fascinating brainchild of Boris Portnoy (All Are Welcome Bakery) and winemaker Mitch Sokolin. They took over a run-down law firm and turned it into a beautiful Georgian and Russian wine bar that Melbourne has wanted for a long time.
For five years, Embla’s cooking bar has been one of Melbourne’s most excellent restaurants. The continual line for walk-in spaces for “the disorganized or those seeking spontaneity” proves that the other seats aren’t bad. Embla’s cuisine and wine are anchored in the earth, and eating in the wood-fired kitchen is an excellent example. It’s all about letting the ingredients shine, like sour cucumbers with dill and feta, fermented porcini mushrooms with an adequately cooked bavette steak, or a passion fruit posset with pineapple ice. Like wine. Embla’s list rocks. Embla was one of the first to promote natural, less processed wines in Melbourne’s dining scene.
Fine food is brought to the inner-west neighborhood by the exclusive degustation menu at the little Navi restaurant. We’re talking about brook trout roe macaroons, slow-roasted tamarillo and truffle ice cream, and wattle seed chocolate caramel. We talk about the unique and unforgettable pleasures that head chef Julian Hills offers. You won’t find these anywhere else.
If you’re looking for an authentic Italian pizza experience in Melbourne, look no further than Carlton. With handwritten menus and red wine stains all over them, you’re sure to be a part of the relationship debrief at the table next door. Wine is served in tumblers. Pizzas are the show’s star at this restaurant, so don’t eat too many kinds of pasta before you get to the thin crust ones. Dessert pizzas are included as well.
17. Grossi Florentino
Since the 1920s, Melbournians have come to this beautiful Chinatown restaurant for Italian food. However, it didn’t become a big name in fine dining until 1999, when the Grossi family took over. Expect classic dishes made with luxurious ingredients and touches of modern flair. The menu changes with the seasons, but seafood is always a big part. A recent dish of seaweed taglierini with prawn and bottarga reminded me of waves crashing in late summer. The “Grand Tour,” which has six courses, never lets you down, but picky eaters might prefer the three-course prix-fixe instead.
18. Osteria Ilaria
Locals in the Central Business District fell in love with Osteria Ilaria’s Mediterranean cuisine, inventive cocktail list, and shoulder-rubbing intimacy. Porcini croquettes have become a local fad, while the calamari with fava beans and paprika stands out among the menu’s starters. Don’t overlook this excellent bunny sausage if you’re not a fan of pasta and prefer a more rustic meal. This restaurant is a quiet gem for a fulfilling lunch or dinner because of the welcoming ambience, hearty fare, and wide range of drinks.
We know that Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai food are good in Melbourne, but Japanese food has never been a strong point. Too many $3 hand rolls are made with canned tuna, to say anything else. Minamishima, on the other hand, is a real outlier. It has one of the only omakase menus in town and uses local seafood and fish from the Tokyo fish market. Locals love it, so make sure you reserve a spot at the sushi bar before you get there.
Kazuki teaches disruptive subtlety. The monochrome shop front on Lygon Street’s busiest section opens to minimalist, mustard-carpeted quiet. The contrast would be unsettling if the atmosphere weren’t so calm, as would the tasting menu’s nine-part snack course. Its light-years away from the cuisine outside and the perfect introduction for chef-owner Kazuki Tsuya’s Japanese-European fusion spanning eight-ish practices. Squid ink gnocchi fritto with jamón, ox tongue with soy and pepper berry glaze, abalone with sesame mayonnaise, oysters with Tasmanian sea urchin. The quality doesn’t decrease post-snack, whether Moreton Bay bug wontons with soy butter foam or subtle, active service.