Best New Restaurants in Melbourne: Feast Your Way Through 2021
From Mexican to modern Australian, these are the best new restaurants in Melbourne to add to your hit list
A bubbling hotpot of gastronomic indulgence, Melbourne’s buzzing food scene is one that never disappoints. From cult classics to luxurious fine dining, there is no better time than the summer to sample the new and revived eateries around the city. Whether you're looking for somewhere different to try for date night or casual catch-ups with the girls, the new kids on the block are giving the rest a run for their money.. Whatever you're in the mood for – be it lobster and champagne or a new spin on European classics – these slick new restaurants in Melbourne have you covered.
Vegan or not, you’ll fall in love with the deliciously colourful fare at Marko, a new plant-based eatery on the perimeter of South Melbourne Market. Head chef Nabin Shrestha has worked at veg-friendly legends including Rumi and Vegie Bar, making the kitchen well versed in delivering meat free winners. Drop in for spicy cauli burgers, fluffy falafel pitas and crisp corn ribs, or feel the health flowing through you as you munch on a bowl of seasonal greens drizzled with cashew cream. On the drinks list you’ll find a range of refreshing cocktails, natural wines, local beers and Moon Dog seltzers to quench your thirst.
Shop 99/116 Cecil Street, South Melbourne
Seafood restaurant Kickin’Inn has opened its first Melbourne outpost, offering the same finger-licking food as its eight stores in NSW. It’s a deliciously messy experience, requiring you to don bibs and gloves as you dig into lobster, crab, prawns, pipis and more tossed in their signature 55-spice cajun sauce. Choose your spice level from mild to inferno and add in sides like buttery potatoes and corn to round out your feast.
309 Bay Street, Port Melbourne
Richmond’s Waygood is the ideal wine bar – a place where you can buy a bottle to go, but also drop in for a hearty, refined meal. Drink from a cellar of almost 100 bottles while grazing on oysters with gin caviar, salt baked celeriac, slow braised beef cheeks and a daily pasta special. They’ve gone for a warm and welcoming feel, decking the place out in honey-yellow hues and vintage art deco lights that’ll make you feel right at home.
213 Swan Street, Richmond
Best New Restaurants in Melbourne: August
Melbourne’s most anticipated restaurant is finally here. Martin Benn and Vicki Wild are icons of Australian hospitality, with their Sydney fine diner Sepia one of the country’s most fêted restaurants. In 2017 they moved to Melbourne to open a new venue and the result is Society, a gleaming temple to culinary artistry.
Guests will be treated to lavish, experimental dishes that nod to Japanese cuisine and celebrate local produce, while world champion bartender Orlando Marzo has designed a cocktail list that includes vintage spirits sourced from collectors. The space itself is a sight to behold – infused with art deco, art nouveau and brutalist features, it includes a jaw dropping bar carved from a single piece of marble.
80 Collins Street, Melbourne
Torres Strait Islander chef Nornie Bero made waves with her Yarraville café Mabu Mabu, and now she’s back with an all-day bar and kitchen opening at Fed Square. Expect vibrant examples of Indigenous food and culture, with Bero and her team weaving magic out of native ingredients alongside a heavily Australian drinks list.
Dishes on the opening menu will include chargrilled king prawns with sea succulents, fried crocodile with saltbush, and zurra, an island fish broth Bero grew up eating. On the stereo they’ll play ‘Island Radio’, featuring blak musicians and Australian classics to get you in the mood
Federation Square, Melbourne
‘Delicious things on sticks’ has to be one of our favourite ways to eat – snacky, fun and interactive, it captures everything great about dining out. If you agree you’ll will be delighted to know the folks behind beloved South American restaurants Pastuso and San Telmo are now branching out into Japanese robatayaki.
Robatayaki is a style of cooking in which different cuts of meat and vegetables are skewered, then grilled over charcoal and paired with a dressing to enhance their flavours. The sleek venue seats over 100 guests, but the most sought after spots will be at the kitchen bar where you’ll get a close-up view of chefs working the grills.
2 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
Best New Restaurants in Melbourne: July
Three storeys of delicious wood-fired pizza, pool room fun and rooftop cocktail relaxation, Dom's is the place to be. Start on the ground floor with a delicious dinner of wood-fired pizza and charcuterie, then move to the pool room for some fun and games, before retiring to the rooftop bar to take in the city skyline views.
Unit 1/301 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Melbourne’s newest cicchetti (Italian tapas) haunt – diners will be hit with a wave of nostalgia, warmth and familiarity. Its menu of easy-to-share New York-Italian-inspired food is refined yet soulful. Think big flavours with zero pomp.
Behind the heritage façade rooted on Collins Street is culinary
visionary and restaurateur, Matthew Butcher. The name, Ronnie’s, pays homage to his father, a country boy and humble cook with a heart of gold and values to match.
525 Collins Street, Melbourne
The new Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street is home to a delectable dining destination. Luci restaurant is located in the building’s former grand banking hall and is accessed via the hotel’s Bourke Street entrance. The restaurant serves contemporary Australian cuisine, and nods to Melbourne’s history of Italian immigrants and its evolution into a cosmopolitan culinary city. The menu by Executive Chef Sam Moore is designed to appeal to locals and travellers alike.
18 Little Queen Street, Melbourne
Best New Restaurants in Melbourne: May
The Grand Dining Room in Richmond is set to re-open its doors this month for the first time since closing last March. After a 14-month hiatus, the award-winning pub and dining room has made a few small tweaks to their sophisticated space which champions the contemporary and traditional in equal measure. The menu features a range of classic Antipasti and modern Italian mains including newly appointed Head Chef Maro Kobayashi’s signature dish - Tiger Prawn Ravioli, Chilli Butter & Pangrattato.
333 Burnley Street, Richmond
Vesper Bistro & Bar has just opened on Toorak Road, offering Melburnians a taste of the Mediterranean islands. The Aegean-inspired menu has a seafood slant, and has been created by Francesco Castellana, whose resume includes New York’s Per Se and Melbourne’s Vue de Monde. The space also has a running nod to James Bond, which the owners can explain if you ask the right questions. The venue has an extremely luxe fit-out, with marble tabletops, gold-gilt Christian Lacroix wallpaper, plush brown leather banquettes, mirrored finishes, and accents of Aegean blue.
23-25 Toorak Road, South Yarra
Now open, Swan Street restaurant New Quarter now serves up Vietnamese-influenced modern cuisine. The restaurant located on the prominent corner of Swan and Lennox street, once known for its street food vibes and takeaway, has relaxed its offering releasing a shorter, tighter menu led by Head Chef Scott Lord (Sunda Dining, Tokyo Tina and Cumulus Inc). Lord has stamped his own style onto the menu. The new iteration presents four distinct dining areas to choose from, the low seating area accommodates 58 diners, with space for eight in the high-backed wooden booths. For those who would like a seat at the bar, there are 10, along with some prime high seats with windows to the action on Swan Street.
79-83 Swan Street, Richmond
Having opened its doors in January, respected Melbourne chef Alejandro Saravia has brought his vision to establish an embassy for Gippsland in the heart of the CBD. All areas of the striking three-level concept champion the true essence of Gippsland, celebrating the diversity and richness of produce from the region. You'll find the restaurant on the middle floor, and the food is more formal; best suited to long business lunches, formal dinners, and special occasions. The open kitchen is fuelled by charcoal and wood, bringing a sense of theatre to the rustic yet elegant dining room.
6/80 Collins Street, Melbourne
Chancery Lane, a European bistro by Scott Pickett, has been welcoming diners since December within the historic Normanby Chambers building. Suited for any occasion, from a glass and a bite at the bar to a private dinner party, you can expect classic European dishes with a twist. The 100-seater bistro is ensconced in a rich palette of dark green, checkerboard tiling and dark timber, emulating old-world charm and opulence of La Belle Epoque. Antique brass and textured gold details are featured throughout.
430 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
Best New Restaurants in Melbourne: April
You can’t go wrong with Tapas and tequila and lucky for us, Elwood’s newest eatery has both. The menu designed by Head chef Adrian Gonzalez offers worldly interpretations of Latin American cuisine with a cheeky little Australiana flare. On the menu, you’ll find unexpected additions like kangaroo tataki nestled between tacos and empanadas. Did someone say frozen margaritas? A round for the table should definitely be on the cards or choose from one of the many Don Julio Tequilas that can be enjoyed as you like (we didn’t say shots, you did).
201 Ormond Road, Elwood
After a year-long hiatus, popular Italian restaurant Massi in Melbourne’s CBD is set to re-open its doors this April. Loved for its modern take on Sicilian cuisine, Chef Jason Lear (formerly of Pilu @ Freshwater and Di Stasio) will be joining the kitchen alongside owner/chef Joe Vargetto. The dynamic duo has created a brand new Autumn menu for the launch featuring fried zucchini flowers, slow-cooked beef short rib and of course, homemade pasta.
Re-opening 12 April 2021
445 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
Best New Restaurants in Melbourne: March
Transforming the front of the iconic Collins Quarter building, Melbourne's newest Sri Lankan and Southern Indian Restaurant is far from your standard South Asian eatery. Moody, aromatic, and with a menu inspired by its region's coast and villages, INDU is a multi-sensory feast for foodies. Standout dishes include Amma’s daal and Thilaka’s potato curry as well as smoked Yarra Valley goat’s leg dosa and the signature ‘Great Lamb Raan’. Gin is the hero on the drinks list, with an impressive curation of signature G&Ts that just so happen to pair perfectly with the food.
86a Collins Street, Melbourne
We'll give you one guess on what Frankie (ex 400 Gradi) is in the business of. The by-product of a two-year burger tour of North America, Meat Frankie is once again upping the steaks of Melbourne's championed burger scene. Flippin' custom blend beef patties that you can stack as high as you like between Martin’s Famous Potato Rolls, this 40-seater retro burger bar has a no-fuss approach to Australia's favourite comfort food. Be sure to customise your burger with your choice of lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, jalapenos, and grilled mushrooms that come at no extra cost.
93-97 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
Best New Restaurants in Melbourne: February
Middle Eastern in flavour and stylish in design, Melbourne's Elma is set to become the newest dining hotspot. Perfect for a catch up with your lady loves or a romantic date night, you'll find it hard to order with such delicious share dishes like their Turkish style lamb dumplings, warm eggplant salad, and charred flathead in vine leaves.
320 Plummer Street, Port Melbourne
Launching this month, James Said Bistro is set to pair beautiful food with their already beautiful furniture. Open for breakfast and lunch every day of the week, and dinner Thursday through to Saturday, be sure to book in a seat so you can indulge in exquisite cuisine and retail therapy at the same time.
926 High Street, Armadale
Best New Restaurants in Melbourne: January
To all the guac loving, tequila shotting and margarita drinking legends out there – this one is for you. Melbourne’s newest Mexican restaurant Mejico is serving up tableside guac, late-night margs and over 260 varieties of tequila and mezcal. The two-storey restaurant includes a downstairs dining space in an edgy courtyard and glasshouse setting. Upstairs, the tequila bar and margarita lounge are perfect spots to nestle in for late-night drinks.
90 Collins St, Melbourne
The perfect combination of flavours wrapped up into a convenient parcel of deliciousness, souvlaki has solidified its place and in our hearts (and stomachs) as the ultimate late-night indulgence. But let's be honest, souvlaki is the perfect snack no matter what time of day. The crew from Hella Good have launched their brand new flagship store and we're hella happy about it. No longer do you have to wait for the sun to go down to get your fix as all your greek favourites like giros, snack packs and spanakopita are on the menu.
Level 3 Food Court, 287 Lonsdale St, Melbourne
There is no doubt about it - lasagne is the ultimate comfort food. With ragu, perfectly al dente pasta and gooey bechamel, the beauty is in its simplicity. As cheesy as it sounds (pun intended), the secret to good lasagne is the love that goes into making it and no one knows this better than owner Joey Kellock. What started out as a humble Instagram pasta delivery service is now a fully-fledged eatery on Thornbury's High Street. The menu is naturally centred around their signature pasta plates, with a couple of new additions like salumi and garlic bread. Better wear your stretchy pants for this one...
653 High St, Thornbury
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.
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