If you’re in Melbourne and you love seafood, you’ll want to know all the best places you can go to get your fishy fix. Seafood is a great holiday option as it’s something a bit exotic and extravagant, or maybe you live in the area and just want that vacation feel.
Picking a specific cuisine for your dinner doesn’t mean limiting your food choices – seafood encompasses a vast array of spectacular dishes, from melt-in-your-mouth salmon to luxurious lobster and seductive oysters.
There can be something for everyone in a seafood restaurant, which is one of the reasons why it is such popular dining fare.
Melbourne is a big place, so you can be sure it caters to a wide range of tastes and budgets, but how can you be sure you’re making the right decision when there are so many to choose from?
Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the 15 best seafood restaurants in the city, to save you from option paralysis. This way, you can enjoy your seafood meal to the fullest.
What Makes A Great Seafood Restaurant?
The restaurants we have selected in this guide are all highly reviewed and have specific selling points that set them apart from the crowd. Before we dive into the list, we discuss a number of factors to consider when finding your perfect seafood spot.
Many of the best seafood restaurants offer freshly-caught fish and crustaceans, which makes a noticeable difference to the taste. Melbourne is situated on the coast of Australia, meaning there are plenty of such restaurants around and clamoring for customers.
Safety is paramount when serving food, but this is especially a concern with seafood, as it can cause all sorts of nasty health issues if not prepared correctly. Restaurants must have high food hygiene ratings to ensure they prioritize customer safety.
Like any restaurant, the ambience is important to a customer’s overall experience. If they love the food but feel out of place or undervalued, that will put a dampener on their whole time. Look for reviews that mention decor, staff hospitality, music and lighting.
Claypots serves a delightful menu of Mediterranean seafood dishes at reasonable prices. The main focus of the restaurant is hospitality, and guests feel at home among stocked bookshelves and a cosy atmosphere.
A jazz band provides live entertainment in the evenings to supplement a romantic meal, but this is an equally great place to come for a quick bite at lunchtime.
The menu changes from month to month to allow the chefs to work their creative magic and keep things fresh. Highlights have included Stingray in Sambal sauce, clam spaghetti with squid ink, and greenlip abalone.
This vibrant restaurant on Hardware Lane is a favored spot for tourists and locals alike. Seating is available indoors and outdoors, and there are also function rooms ready to cater for your special occasion.
Outstanding service is the order of the day here, with a plethora of reviews singing the praises of the waiting staff and owners. Previous guests particularly recommend the seafood paella and the barramundi fillet, which can be difficult to find in other places.
As well as seafood, Hooks at the Yarra’s varied menu includes pizza, pasta and steaks so there is something for everyone. However, this restaurant is most known for its seafood offerings, with tantalising dishes from ginger prawn dumplings to Atlantic salmon.
Happy hours here are every Thursday-Friday from 5pm-7pm, so grab your favorite drinks to enjoy with your meal.
If you’re looking for fine dining, Bacash in South Yarra is the place to go. This lavish restaurant has been awarded Chef’s Hats in the Australian Good Food Guide from 2005-2014, so you know it comes recommended by experts for over a decade.
The varied seafood menu is complemented with a high-quality wine menu, which is presented to guests on arrival. Try the yellowbelly flounder or the Lebanese snapper to really tickle your tastebuds.
Everything served here is selected daily from the fish markets, then prepared in the onsite kitchen by skilled chefs. A range of fresh seafood platters is available for takeaway, allowing diners to experience the finest seafood from the comfort of their own home.
If you want to book for a private function, staff offer an exclusive function room with menus tailored to your event to ensure your experience is unforgettable. Rubira’s is famous for its chilli tiger prawns, so you could give these a try alongside one of the premium fish of the day options.
Another Claypots venue, Evening Star is situated in Cecil Street, South Melbourne, and is based on the principle that food should be enjoyed for its own sake. All dishes served here are presented at face value, with no hidden meanings or forced symbolism.
Particular highlights on the menu here include the grilled king prawns and the Singapore shellfish stir fry – make sure you turn up 15 minutes before you want to be seated, as they do not take bookings for groups smaller than 10 people.
What began in 1959 as a simple oyster and fish store, founded by two local brothers, has grown into a thriving seafood establishment that impresses its guests every day.
They have a comprehensive menu serving quality seafood, but will endeavour to source anything else you wish to have there.
As well as tasty restaurant fare, Richmond’s also offers outside catering options – make your next party an event to remember by booking an oyster shucking station or ice sculpture prawn bar.
Visit this iconic family restaurant to enjoy stunning views of the Yarra river while you eat. These are combined with attentive staff and exquisitely presented dishes for the perfect dining experience.
The à la carte menu offers a wide range of quality seafood, including succulent pink ling fillet and a signature seafood chowder, to ensure you’ll leave feeling satisfied. This is also a great spot for Japanese seafood, including sushi and sashimi platters.
This restaurant serves high-quality seafood in a friendly environment, with an ever-evolving menu that keeps customers coming back for more. The starter options are especially varied, so you can split several between your group if you can’t decide.
RST holds a number of events throughout the year, including Christmas Lunch and New Year celebrations – why not pop along to one of these to enjoy the festivities in style?
A local fish and chip restaurant with a twist, The Fish House Australia Sea Company serves up tasty seafood dishes for dining in or taking away. They have a great selection of fish, as well as exotic and gourmet options such as octopus legs and blue swimmer crabs.
Try the fish of the day, which is always selected daily according to supply and weather conditions to ensure premium quality. Choose from fillet fish or whole fish; these can be served either on their own or as a combo with fries and salad.
Situated in the Central Business District of Melbourne, Box Seafood Restaurant serves an exciting menu of fresh local produce. The oyster options are especially varied and can be ordered either natural or cooked, catering to every oyster connoisseur.
If you can’t choose, why not try the tasty hot platter? This includes an indulgent selection of seafood bites you and your guests can enjoy together.
If you want simple, casual seafood, Hunky Dory represents excellent value for money in a welcoming atmosphere. Customers marvel at the large portions presented, which allow them to stuff their faces with delicious seafood.
The founder, Greg, has fishing in his blood – he grew up on the water and was taught the ropes by his attentive father and grandfather. He now applies his knowledge and skills in his very own restaurant, pouring his heart and soul into every dish.
Opened in 2013 by chef Katie Marron, Miss Katie’s Crab Shack is a relatively recent addition to Melbourne’s seafood landscape. As the name and decor suggest, this is the place to go if you want American-inspired fare.
This is more of a casual diner than a fine dining establishment, offering a range of tasty “Shackatisers” and “Shack Snacks” to tempt you. The Crab Boil is a customer favorite, and you can add extras like corn on the cob – definitely a must for any crab lover.
Champagne makes an excellent accompaniment to fine seafood, as the proprietors of this champagne bar and seafood restaurant know well. The luxurious fare is coupled with a casual atmosphere to create an indulgent yet accessible experience.
Dishes are served in small bites to eat with your fingers or with a special Pinchy’s fork, so you can really savour every mouthful. The Pinchy’s lobster roll is regarded especially highly by patrons, who come back to enjoy it time and time again.
Escagrill serves an elegant blend of Italian and seafood, culminating in an exquisite dining experience. Entrees such as spicy baby calamari whet your appetite, before tucking into main courses of grilled flounder or battered King George whiting.
Finish off with one of their sumptuous desserts – with plenty of Italian-inspired choices, there is something to satisfy every sweet tooth.