Inspiration Destinations Australia Where Flavours Collide: 20 of Melbourne’s Best Restaurants

Where Flavours Collide: 20 of Melbourne’s Best Restaurants

June 3, 2024
Food at Gimlet at Cavendish House, one of the best restaurants in Melbourne - Luxury Escapes

Arguably Australia’s original culinary capital, Melbourne has always been known for its remarkable restaurants. Here's our pick of the best.

From bustling Lygon Street to colourful city laneways and suburban icons, Melbourne is a melting pot of flavours, with influences from every corner of the globe. The city's vibrant culinary scene sees locals and visitors alike break bread down laneways, on rooftops and in basements, with every cuisine on offer.

Home to chefs with a burning passion for their craft and a community of foodies, a visit to Melbourne might seem overwhelming, so we’ve done the hard work for you.

Here are Melbourne’s best restaurants for 2024.

Best Italian restaurants in Melbourne

Hardware Club

Tucked away in the famous lane that inspired its name, The Hardware Club delivers an inspired Italian menu, serving dishes like burrata with nduja and chilli jam, gremolata and focaccia, and a ragu of the day.


You can't have Italian in Melbourne without visiting Lygon Street, and the family-run Tiamo has been serving affordable Italian favourites from its central spot on the stretch for more than 40 years.

Super Norma

Serving up eight generational family pasta recipes and cyclical daily specials, this cosy hole-in-the-wall spot strikes the perfect balance of flavour and a casual-cool, ‘Nonna's home’ atmosphere, with Italo-disco records on rotation 24-7.

Best French restaurants in Melbourne

Bistro Thierry

Be whisked away to the streets of Paris at Bistro Thierry, pairing fine wines with resplendent classics like French onion soup and buttery, garlicky baked snails that will have you escargot-ing back for a second helping.

Reine & La Rue

Food at Reine & La Rue, one of the best restaurants in Melbourne - Luxury Escapes
Reine & La Rue. Source: Visit Victoria.

Set in the heritage, neo-gothic Melbourne Stock Exchange building, this fine dining restaurant is nothing short of opulent, with an adjoining speakeasy bar, a sophisticated French menu and an extensive wine list to match its ornate vaulted ceilings and stained-glass windows.


With its warm, intimate setting and a menu that celebrates French gastronomy, this beloved institution is bustling from the moment it opens each day with patrons eager to try freshly shucked oysters, a rich 750g rib eye steak with bearnaise sauce and the quintessential steak tartare.

Best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne


Without the frills but with all the flavour, Kenzan’s authentic menu is an ode to Japanese simplicity. Expect some of Melbourne’s finest sushi, sashimi, agedashi tofu and much more, all prepared by expert chefs who trained in Japan.


Elevate your senses over three levels at this sleek Flinders Lane restaurant, with a fine-dining restaurant on the top floor, a sushi bar with an open kitchen on the ground floor – where sushi masters can be seen slicing fresh sashimi – and an intimate basement area dedicated to an indulgent ‘hot menu’.

Mensho Tokyo

At Mensho Tokyo, it’s all about the broth. Having perfected the umami soup paramount to good ramen, the restaurant often has lines forming out the door for a taste of its creamy tori paitan broth, made from simmered chicken, seaweed and vegetables and paired with fresh noodles and a tender duck char siu.

Best Chinese restaurants in Melbourne

Flower Drum

Known for its signature Peking duck dish – brought out on an open flame and prepared with pancakes, fresh spring onion and plum sauce before your eyes – this ambient high-end restaurant is a true Melbourne icon, with decades of impeccable service and a delicious Cantonese menu. 

ShanDong MaMa

Hidden away in an old shopping arcade in Chinatown, ShanDong MaMa has fed Melbourne’s dumpling obsession for decades, serving delicately wrapped parcels to please any palate. Varieties include pork and cabbage, Yu Shiang eggplant and pan-fried mackerel fish.

Best fine dining restaurants in Melbourne


Securing a table at this world-renowned restaurant may be difficult, but this Melbourne icon’s degustation menu aims to deliver not just a meal, but an experience. Attica’s talented chefs use an array of local ingredients to pay homage to our homeland’s rich culinary heritage.


Be transported to the glamourous 1920s in the heart of the CBD at the grand Gimlet, where you’re invited to settle into plush maroon booths for freshly shucked oysters, before indulging in dishes roasted over hot coals. The food offering is delightfully enhanced by its extensive drinks menu, with gimlets a must-order to begin.

Smith + Daughters

The all-vegan Italian menu at Smith + Daughters swaps dairy for soy, meat for mushrooms and much more, without sacrificing flavour. Expect dishes like fresh ceviche with fermented red shishito or a warming rigatoni with cavolo nero for dinner, and a creamy dulce de leche and almond frangipane for dessert.

Best casual dining in Melbourne


Enjoy a taste of Thailand at this unassuming restaurant, hidden within the concrete walls of a multi-level carpark off Bourke Street. First opened almost a decade ago with only two items, Bangkok boat noodles and Tom Yum soup, Soi38’s menu now includes a sumptuous Thai barbecue served on a hotplate.

Bun Bun Bakery

Catch the train out to the suburbs to try the humble banh mi at one of Melbourne’s most famous Vietnamese bakeries. Bite down into a fluffy yet crunchy bread roll with all of your favourite fillings –homemade pate, roast pork and crackling, and a snappy spring onion.


Offering a blend of modern and traditional Indian cuisine, this Flinders Lane eatery entices patrons with fragrance, spices and a view of the bustling Flinders Street from its banquette seating. Book in advance for the full a la carte experience or stop by and sit at the bar for a light bite.

Best brunch restaurants in Melbourne

Higher Ground

Housed in a grand heritage-listed building with exposed brick walls, this central spot screams ‘Melbourne’ – from the graffiti murals on its exterior to its meticulously crafted coffee menu and fresh take on avocado toast.


It’s worth fighting for a spot at this busy Carlton eatery – its signature breakfasts are famous for a reason. Try the eggs Florian topped with smoky braised kale, or the gravlax on toast paired with whipped ricotta and a soft egg.

Green Refectory

With all the charm of a Victorian country bakery, a legion of loyal visitors, pastries and cakes arranged along the counter and an extensive breakfast menu of eggs your way and moreish all-day burritos, this Sydney Road spot is perfect for both brunch on-the-go or a Sunday sit-down.

Feature image: Gimlet at Cavendish House courtesy of Visit Victoria.

Looking for more inspiration? Here are 20 of Sydney’s Best Restaurants.

About Siri Smith
Lover of trinkets and a wistful sentimental, Siri likes to collect tiny things and craft playlists to commemorate her favourite places. When she's not daydreaming, find this self-described polymath picking up a new hobby.

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