Melbourne is a fantastic city packed full of exciting things to do and experience. Voted the 'World's Most Liveable City' from 2015-18, it is a modern, cosmopolitan and vibrant hub with a distinctly cultured vibe.
This is particularly true when it comes to food, with Melbourne home to some of the most creative and impressive restaurants in the world.
Whilst Australia, to the outside world, is often most commonly associated with delicious barbecue food, there is a huge number of different cultures and cuisines that are just as predominant throughout the country.
So, whether you’re in the mood for a spicy Indian-style curry, a Vietnamese pho or a tasty seafood pasta dish, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from in the bustling city of Melbourne.
With this in mind, our ultimate guide will take a look at some of the best restaurants in Melbourne to help you decide where to eat. You’ll be sure to thank us later!
This cafe-style restaurant is the ideal place to eat for both hardcore vegetarians, as well as meat-eating individuals who like to enjoy delicious, high quality vegetarian dishes from time to time.
Matcha Mylkbar is focused on providing the very best when it comes to healthy and flavorsome food and drink, with fresh smoothies, matcha lattes, and plenty of other drool-inspiring drinks complimenting an impressive vegetarian menu.
Some of the tastiest options include creamy gnocchi, poached eggs on toast, and a soy chicken burger - all of which are so good that even your meat-eating friends will want to come back time and time again!
1000 Lire Pizza & Stuzzichini is a must visit if you love pizza and you’re in Melbourne. What makes it such a great spot is due in part to the stunning wood fire oven located in the rustic and warm interior of the restaurant.
They also use super thin and crispy dough to make the pizzas, while all the traditional toppings, as well as a handful of more unique ones, are all available to choose from.
What’s more, if you’re sharing with some friends or out on a dinner date, you can buy two pizzas and a portion of chips for a reasonable price of just $40. There are several other deals on certain days such as $10 pizzas!
Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co. is a chain that originally started in Queensland, but has since opened up in Melbourne, and quickly developed a passionate and appreciative fan base.
Unlike many other burger restaurants in the city, this popular joint makes sure that the burgers they serve aren’t too overdone, meaning the flavor is as strong and delicious as possible.
Whether you prefer a traditional Angus-beef burger or something a little different like a crispy pork belly burger, Betty’s will have you covered with their excellent range of different meats. For example, the fried chicken burger has built up a particularly impressive reputation.
For those looking for an Indian restaurant that offers a top-of-the-range culinary experience, there are few better options than Tonka which is located in the central business district of Melbourne.
This restaurant is considered among the best in the city, as it takes a range of classic Indian dishes and gives them an extra twist with innovative cooking techniques and flavors.
Some of the most popular dishes from Tonka include their Goan curry with barramundi and the Mooloolaba prawns that are served with Kashmiri chilli.
Aside from the delicious food, Tonka offers a high-end experience for every customer, with classy decor, white napkins, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Izakaya Den is a superb Japanese restaurant that’s especially renowned for its Gyozo. The interior of the restaurant consists of a sleek wooden bar as well as an incredible open grill, which provides the perfect ambiendence to enjoy the selection of Japanese treats on the menu.
Not only does this gem serve a range of traditional Japanese dishes like tofu and grilled octopus, they also have a comprehensive vegan menu which is packed full of different vegan sushi options.
Just keep in mind that it’s worth booking in advance if you’re planning on visiting Izakaya Den over a weekend. This is because it can get incredibly busy - and for good reason!
Lee Ho Fook is located in the center of Melbourne, and offers a wide variety of delicious Chinese dishes with the added input of some ingenious skill and imagination.
This genius is mainly down to head chef, Victor Liong, who was the first to turn many of the traditional recipes seen on the menu into the culinary masterpieces they are today.
Aside from the classic Chinese dishes that Lee Ho Fook serves to an incredibly high standard, this unique establishment provides a range of fascinating recipes - none more so than their signature Chinese-inspired pizza that’s served with shallot pancake and buffalo cheese.
Meatmaiden is a trendy steakhouse that combines excellent, high quality meats with a convivial atmosphere. It’s located in the central business district and is slightly different to most steak restaurants in the city, given that it aims to provide a unique smokehouse twist to classic steakhouse dishes.
In terms of their menu, Meatmaiden has a wide selection of delicious starters to choose from, including chargrilled prawns, wagyu tartare, scallops with pork belly, rib rolls, and fried zucchini.
Considering the fact the restaurant uses both a custom grill and a wood-fired barbecue, they have the ability to serve 20-hour smoked wagyu brisket, in addition to other tasty treats like smoked fish veloute and grilled clams.
Some of Meatmaiden’s most popular cuts of beef include their specialty porterhouse, as well as eye fillet, wagyu rump, and dry-aged rib-eye. Moreover, they also have a wide range of incredible sides to try alongside your meat such as hand-cut fries with garlic aioli and lobster mac and cheese.
Claypots Barbarossa is the place to go if you’re looking for an excellent selection of Mediterranean seafood at a reasonable price. Not only is the food of the highest quality, you’ll also be guaranteed an enjoyable experience as the restaurant places a considerable amount of its focus on hospitality.
Most of the seating is positioned among stocked bookshelves giving the inside of the restaurant a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. Furthermore, if you’re in the mood for some live entertainment to supplement your meal, a jazz band plays for a couple of hours most evenings.
In terms of the food itself, the menu constantly changes from one month to another, which in turn, allows the chefs to keep things fresh and be as creative as possible.
Some of Claypots’ most popular dishes that are worth keeping an eye out for include their clam spaghetti with squid ink, the stingray in sambal sauce, and the greenlip abalone.
Despite the fact that Radio Mexico offers both delivery and takeaway options, the restaurant still provides one of the best eat-in experiences you’ll find anywhere in the city.
You can choose from a wide range of traditional Mexican sides and combine them with different plates, bowls, and sharing platters - all of which are packed full of flavor and color.
What’s more, you can also try their cook-at-home taco kit. They’ll give you all the ingredients you need to serve a delicious feast from the comfort of your own home.
To complement their excellent offering of food, Radio Mexico also has a fully stocked bar that’ll keep you topped up, from wines and cocktails to liqueurs and international beers.
This excellent fish and chip restaurant brings the best of British cuisine to Melbourne. Hooked Fish And Chipper have three different locations across Melbourne, and also offer an online pickup service - so you shouldn’t have any trouble trying out their delicious food.
They have an extensive menu to choose from which is suitable to pretty much all palates, and also provide gluten-free options for those who have an intolerance.
Their fresh, high-quality fish is the healthiest option and the delicious batter they serve is light, crispy, and more importantly, not overwhelmingly greasy.
This stylish breakfast spot is perfect for curing the hangover and setting you up for the day ahead. Lagotto provides a stylish Italian breakfast menu that’s full of intricate flavors and excellent choices.
One of the biggest pulls of this breakfast restaurant is their popular pork and fennel sausage dish which is served with fried eggs, avocado, braised greens, and yoghurt pancetta. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll be desperate to come back!
If the stylish food isn’t enough to convince you to try out Lagotto, the top-end service and welcoming atmosphere is another significant string to the bow of this superb establishment.
While Hector’s Deli may not be the fanciest of the sandwich restaurants in Melbourne, the beauty of this joint lies in its simplicity. There’s nothing overly extravagant about Hector’s Deli, but it’s the very best in terms of delivering excellent food at a good price.
The establishment only opened as recently as 2017, but it’s since become one of the most popular sandwich spots among Melbournians.
There are several sandwich fillings to choose from, however one of the most widely recommended ones is Hector’s very own tuna melt sandwich. This consists of a house-made tuna mix which includes white onion and American cheese.
So, if you’re looking for a fresh alternative to the traditional tuna sandwich, there’s no need to look any further!
How To Find The Best Restaurant
If you’re new to Melbourne, and want to be able to find the best-suited restaurants without having to go out and visit them all in person, there are a number of ways you can do all the necessary research online beforehand.
Listed below are seven of the best tips for finding the right restaurant for your specific needs.
1). Make the most of Google Maps as this online tool will show you all the locations of the restaurants in your area.
2). Check the reviews and feedback of a restaurant before visiting to see if it provides what you’re looking for. It’s always a good idea to choose a restaurant that has lots of reviews.
3). Along the same lines as the previous point, make the most of local publications and food blogs.
4). If you know people that have already visited the area, don’t be shy in asking for their recommendations.
5). Try to plan and book ahead as much as possible in order to avoid disappointment. This is particularly important if you’re looking to visit some of the most popular restaurants during peak times such as the weekend.
6). If you’re looking for a specific cuisine (i.e. Chinese or Italian food), make sure you set your parameters so you’re only searching for suitable restaurants in the area.
7). Keep an eye out for award-winning restaurants! They’ll often advertise this somewhere on their website, and needless to say, these are always among the best places to try if you have the budget for it.