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Best New Restaurants in Melbourne: Where to Dine in 2022

From contemporary Japanese to classic Italian, these are the best new restaurants in Melbourne to add to your hit list.

Warabi
Warabi

When it comes to dining, Melbourne delivers everything under the sun – from world-class Australian food to traditional Sicilian, modern Vietnamese and Latin American with a twist. We are absolutely spoilt for choice on the food front, and despite two years of upheaval and lockdowns the scene is showing no signs of slowing down. Whether you're dining for a date, a wholesome family catch up, work do, or girls' night, we've rounded up the best new restaurants in Melbourne to cater to the occasion.

Yakikami

Yakikami invites guests to settle in for night of fiery food cooked over hot charcoal grills, showcasing their precision in craft in a rambunctious atmosphere in a way that only the Japanese can master. Bringing over 50 years of culinary skill to their authentic barbequed dishes, Emily and Roy Yu (of South Yarra's Wagyu Ya and Niku Ou) cook their Wagyu beef, broths and locally-sourced chicken to absolute perfection. If you're happy to splurge, opt for the chef's selection menu ($285 per head) and sample A5 Wagyu Tartar with caviar, Chawanmushi - a prawn, ikura and crab dish and an ox tail, clams and chicken bone ramen.

150 - 152 Toorak Road, South Yarra

LOTI

St Kilda's newest seaside eatery LOTI boasts a dreamy Mediterranean vibe and an approachable menu to match. From the décor to the dishes (and of course, the location), it's all about the coastline at this luxe restaurant. Architecturally, the curved banquette seating and high ceilings mirror the ocean's waves, with soft pinks and whites balanced by natural, earthy materials. In the kitchen Elijah Holland, formerly of Lume and NOMA Australia, inventively cooks local seafood and produce over fire. The masterful menu caters to all dining occasions: sip cocktails and order sharing plates, settle in for a long-lunch and make your way through a whole butter poached lobster, or warm up on a cool night with a baked l’artisan raclette and pumpkin vol au vent.

14-16 The Esplanade, St Kilda

Osteria Renata

The team behind Park Street Pasta & Wine have launched a shmick new Italian diner on High Street complete with its own "pasta lab". A celebration of simple flavours and classic Italian hospitality, Osteria Renata's fresh pasta is paired with comforting flavours from a tagliatelle with pork and ‘nduja ragu to a quadratti with porcini mushroom. Behind the cool olive bar, rotating wine taps bring complimentary drops from local winemakers – and they make a stellar winter negroni to warm you up on a cool night.

436-438 High Street, Prahran

Farro Hawthorn

We're going to go ahead and say it: pizza is the best dish on the planet. With its bases stretch, flipped and woodfired to perfection, its toppings catering to every taste and palate, and its cheese ample and gooey...there's nothing else like it.

Those who agree will be familiar with Farro, the Italian restaurant group whose health-conscious cooking and classic flavours have won the hearts of North-side locals. Farro's newest restaurant (the fourth in its growing empire) opens next week in the heart of Hawthorn. The restaurant will serve its renowned spelt flour pizza, pasta and bread, a full menu dedicated to vegan dishes, and a weekend bunch with the eatery's own sourdough toast specialty. 

Opens Wednesday 15 June

842 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn

Moonhouse

Balaclava has made a name for itself on the brunch scene, but its restaurant offering is fast catching up. Inside a gorgeous heritage-listed art deco building on Carlisle Street you'll find its newest addition: Moonhouse, a modern Chinese restaurant from Commune Group that beautifully balances old with new. Illuminated by globe moons and a rich red palette, the restaurant celebrates the area's cultural history – pairing authentic Chinese cuisine with Australian wines. Moonhouse's flavoursome and filling dishes include beef and black bean with medium-rare sirloin, a crispy skin half chicken with Moonhouse sweet chilli and grilled Murray cod with a Shaoxing broth.

282 Carlisle Street, Balaclava

Best New Restaurants in Melbourne: May

Freyja

Known for their sophisticated interior design, progressive values and next-level pop music, the Scandinavians get many things right. And, as it turns out, contemporary dining is no exception. Freyja, a new Nordic restaurant on Collins street, puts Michelin-trained chef Jae Bang and his team's superior skills on show through traditional Nordic cooking methods such as pickling, curing, smoking and preserving. The result? An inventive menu of well-balanced, beautifully-plated dishes that celebrate Scandinavian flavours using the best local produce.

477 Collins Street, Melbourne

Botswana Butchery

After a two-year delay thanks to COVID-19, New Zealand's premier steak and seafood restaurant Botswana Butchery has opened its doors on Flinders Lane – and we couldn't be more excited. The three-story venue, which seats 300, is every bit as luxurious as its rich, warm colour palette. It's premium yet relaxed, blending opulent furnishings with cosy carpets and plush seating you can sink back into. Designer Charlotte Spary has worked her magic with the interiors, borrowing signature elements from the New Zealand venues – think hanging meat cleavers, velvet seating, and moody navies – with quintessentially Melbourne touches.

The star of the show is, of course, the meat. Angel Fernandez, fresh from a successful stint at New York's Dante, heads up the kitchen. In it, you'll find a hive of activity with the chefs cooking premium cuts of locally-sourced produce to absolute perfection. From the Butcher's Block, there's Rangers Valley wagyu, CopperTree Farm sirloin and a moreish four-hour slow cooked whole roasted lamb shoulder, which is our favourite dish on the menu. Pescatarians need not fret, the seafood is equally sensational – a stand out is the yellowfish tuna crudo. When it comes to wine, Head Sommelier, Piers Haszard, is sourcing a whopping 1000 different drops to pair with your meals, carefully curated to hero the best local producers from Victoria and across the pond.

66 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

The Postina

The Posty has taken a permanent trip to Italy, relaunching as a delicious celebration of the comforting cuisine and its top-notch flavours. Slinging stone based pizzas and a curated list of Australian and imported wines, The Postina has a noteworthy line up of weekly specials to keep St Kilda locals satiated. There's pasta and vino Wednesdays for $22, a rotating Sunday wood fired spit roast, and $11 negronis, martinis and margs to ease the Sunday scaries from 4pm.

 304-306 St Kilda Road

Best New Restaurants in Melbourne: April

Rosella

When Rocco Esposito, the passionate Puglian behind Rosella, laid eyes on 229 Gertrude Street he knew he'd found the restaurant's new home. Rosella made the move from Collingwood to Fitzroy in December 2021, and the inviting space is already attracting hungry diners in droves. Not your average wine bar and Italian eatery, the welcoming restaurant tells a story at every twist and turn. There are the tea towels hanging in the gravel courtyard transporting you to your nonna’s backyard, the intimate upstairs dining room adorned with black and white family photos and recipe books from Puglia, and then there’s the food...  

Much like the décor, the rustic plates of pasta and melt-in-your mouth meats and seafood are plucked from Rocco’s home in Puglia. Pick and choose your starters from vibrant octopus and salmoriglio, an insanely fresh stracciatella and refreshing ribbons of squash, celery and oregano. Then, dive into our favourite meal – the spaghetti all’assassina, a simple yet sensational spicy dish where the pasta is cooked in the sauce like a risotto. Because no meal is complete without good vino, Rosella serves an exclusive selection of small-batch wines from Victorian and Italian producers, curated by seasoned sommelier Rocco, of course.

229 Gertrude Street

Connie's Italian Diner

Heartbreaker's hole-in-the-wall pizza joint Connie's is getting its own diner – and you won't have to venture far to find it. Located directly above Heartbreaker, the 100-seater space is a love letter to Melbourne hospo guru Michael Madrusan's nonna and the Italian restaurants he grew up in. Expect feel-good traditional dishes, world-class cocktails, live music, a fresh fit out which blends old with new, and a glorious rooftop with views of Melbourne CBD.

Upstairs 234B Russell Street, Melbourne

Elchi

As the weather starts to cool down, a generous serving of Indian food is just what we're all craving. Luckily, Elchi has arrived in the former house of Press Club on Flinders Street to serve timeless Indian in a vibrant yet sophisticated setting. From the mastermind of classic Indian cuisine Manpreet Sekhon – owner of Eastern Spice in Geelong and Masti in Fitzroy – the restaurant dishes up elegant share plates perfect for a light meal and flavour-filled signature mains including chicken mussalam, lamb shank, a kofta korma, butter chicken and kovalam fish curry.

72 Flinders Street, Melbourne

Best New Restaurants in Melbourne: March

Grill Americano

Chris Lucas's newest venue has arrived in Flinders Lane, and it's already thrilling foodies with its North-Italian inspired steakhouse offering and opulent interior. Arrive hungry as you'll feast on rich and decadent dishes – think freshly shucked oysters, arancini bolognese with pea puree, handmade pappardelle with slow cooked Wagyu beef and porcini ragu, woodoven pork belly, and more charcoal, woodfired and steamed sensations. With plenty of buzz surrounding this new opening, we suggest you reserve a table, pronto! 

112 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Lulu After Dark

South Yarra boozy brunch spot Lulu White has upped the ante and introduced an eclectic new evening sharing menu perfect your next girls' night. Sip on nostalgic signature cocktails including the pink gin based Candy Fantasy, which is topped with a sour strap and 100s and 1000s, as you make your way through dishes like torched Atlantic salmon with poppy seed dressing and build your own bao with confit duck leg. Or go big with the all-in Drink Me and Feed Me option and keep the food, drinks and fun times flowing for two hours. 

Launches March 17

4 Yarra Street, South Yarra

Yarra Botanica

Occupying prime real estate in Southbank on the Yarra River, this expansive new restaurant – which is decked out with native plants – is already a hit with Melbournians. Seating up to 690, the slick two-level floating bar and eatery serves an 100% Victoria beverage menu and 90% Victoria produce. Expect dishes such as 90-hour sourdough pizzas, hand stretched burrata, pickled Portarlington mussels, and haloumi with new season fig. Creative concoctions for dessert include a plant-based hemp soft serve and plenty of botanical cocktails, of course. 

Sandridge Bridge, Southbank

Best New Restaurants in Melbourne: February

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This new multi-level Richmond restaurant is home to stepped-up dishes and décor. Architectural experts Flack Studio have brought their distinctive style to the space, with plenty of warm tones, intimate lighting and contradicting textures giving the space a romantic, elevated feel. The Mediterranean inspired menu is artfully curated by former young chef of the year Tim Martin, with highlights including a Murray cod fillet, duck ragu gnocchi, a seafood spaghetti with little neck clams, calamari and prawns, and honey cake with amaretto for dessert. 

236 Swan Street, Cremorne 

BKK

Opening as part of HER Melbourne, a glamorous multi-level venue in a CBD heritage building, BKK serves Bangkok street food and tropical cocktails in a quintessentially Melbourne setting. With everything from spicy ocean trout salad to barbecue skewers, charred meats and Thai curries on the menu, we recommend sharing multiple dishes and sampling them amongst friends. Wines are picked to match the flavour profiles of the food, so you can rest assured you're washing down your dish with an appropriate drop. Don't forget to head upstairs to the stylish European-inspired rooftop for a nightcap and a dance afterwards.

Level 3, HER, 270 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Smith St Bistrot

Welcoming romantics into its doors for the first time on Valentine's Day, Smith St Bistrot is the newest restaurant from award-winning chef Scott Pickett. Enjoy classic French cooking with inner-north Melbourne vibes in an elegant space which has been reimagined to transport diners to Paris. A lover of French food himself, Pickett has added his signature style to the dishes which draw on his training and flavours from all over Europe. The mouth-watering menu has everything from croque madame, tuna tartare and steak frites baguette for brunch and mussels, tuna, escargot and a rump of lamb with ratatouille for dinner.

300 Smith Street, Collingwood

Kata Kita

Bringing their fresh, flavourful Indonesian dining to Melbourne city for a second venue, Lie Lie and her two sons, Michael and Dion Sanusi have opened Kata Kita. The modern dining experience will have your palate jumping for joy as you enjoy tongue spiking chilli, flavour bombs of zesty lemongrass, and homemade aromatic sambal underscored with zesty lemongrass. The extensive menu features everything from a burger to traditional Nasi Goreng and must-try Babi Guling, which heroes a 5-hour slow cooked Balinese pork roast. 

266 La Trobe Street, Melbourne

Best New Restaurants in Melbourne: January

Bonnie 

Bonnie, the new casual dining venue on the All Saints Winery estate, is a labour of love passionately brought to life by the Brown family. A picturesque venue in the old bottling building in All Saints Winery, Bonnie is as beautiful as it gets. The gem of the Rutherglen foodie scene, this venue is all about estate-grown wines, produce and traditional wood-fired pizzas. Our favourite pizza? The Alexander with Jamon serrano, tomato, bocconcini, Gana Padano and a St Leonards Vineyard 20-year Muscat vinegar.  

All Saints Winery, 205 All Saints Road, Wahgunyah Victoria   

Photo by @jacquismelltron
Photo by @jacquismelltron
Manzé

Melbourne foodies will be familiar with the delicious offerings of Manzé, as the Mauritian meals have been popping up across the city for some time now. But as of late 2021, the delightful dishes have a permanent home in Northern Melbourne. Seating just 24 people, the cosy space has neighborhood vibes and sustainability at its heart. Meals are mixed up seasonally, but on the current set menu you'll enjoy daikon, cucumber and pineapple, fermented chilli, malabar spinach and ginger broth, pork cutlet with Manzé masala, yoghurt, and more.

2/1-5 Errol Street, North Melbourne

Mongkok Tea House

Step back into the golden years of 1970s Hong Kong with Mongkok Tea House. Seamlessly blending eastern and western traditions, the tea room is the perfect place to relax with inventive treats from bubble waffles topped with konbu and avruga caviar, elderflower sweet and sour pork belly and brunch of enoki french toast. Their drinks list is full of deliciously aromatic cocktails and an impressive selection of whisky. Open for brunch and dinner, the world is your oyster at Mongkok!

734 Burke Road Camberwell

Warabi

The latest stylish spot to grace W Melbourne hotel, Warabi is a modern Omakase Japanese restaurant which seats a mere 37 diners. The evolving nine-course menu explores the Kappo philosophy of cuisine, with ingredients including Zensai abalone, eel, black truffle, and Glacier 51 toothfish marinated in sake. Expect a contemporary food offering, delicious sake, and a full theatrical experience as you watch the chefs work their magic.

408 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Hope St Radio

Part community radio station, part wine bar and Italian eatery, Hope St Radio is the coolest new venue at Collingwood Yards. On the seasonal menu you'll find cheesy bowls of fresh pasta with loads of veggies, oysters, salads, sourdough and an extensive list of wines to pair your meal with. Hope St Radio hosts diverse local DJs every night so there's always a lively buzz and party vibe in the industrial space. 

35 Johnston Street, Collingwood

Looking for more of the best new restaurants in Melbourne? We've got plenty of delicious eateries to fuel your appetite. From gourmet burgers and Italian pizza joints, to romantic date nights and boozy brunches, we've whittled down the coolest things to do in Melbourne to make sure your next dinner date is a complete success.