The best restaurants and cafes in Melbourne

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The best restaurants and cafes in Melbourne

best restaurants melbourne
words by benjamin lamb

Here are the best restaurants and cafes in Melbourne, perfect for high class dining, quality wines, live music, and nightlife.

When you think of Melbourne nightlife, there’s a lot that comes to mind. Live music, coffee, parties, festivals, and much more. We’ve also got some of the best restaurants this side of the equator, the world’s best coffee, and a great melting pot of many different cultures.

Melbourne’s CBD is one of our most popular spots, full of many landmarks like Fed Square, the Arts precinct, and Melbourne Town Hall. Today we’re diving into Melbourne’s (Naarm’s, The Big M’s) best restaurants and cafes. There’s a bit of everything, from French to Chinese cuisines, and everything in between. The capital is also considered as a bit of a foodie’s playground, with many original and interesting dining experiences for any type of person.

With our food offerings being as bountiful as they are, deciding where to eat out can be an overwhelming task in this city. So we thought it best to assemble a little guide for our trusty Beat readers, highlighting an array of haunts across Melbourne for you to sink your teeth into. From vegan-friendly Mexican to un-Italian Italian and a barbeque-lovers dream, there are plenty of choice cuts in here for everyone. Dig in, folks.

If you’re looking to down a couple of bevs and a Parma instead, check out our lists of the best bars and pubs in the Docklands here, Melbourne here.

The best restaurants and cafes on Flinders Lane and in Melbourne laneways


If you’re a food lover and a Melburnian, there’s no question you’ve visited Tonka for a feed. It’s one of our most popular and well-regarded Indian restaurants, offering all the favourites.


There’s not too many food spots out there specialising in Filipino inspired cuisine, so it’s exciting when one comes along like Serai, who excel in everything. There’s delicious menu items available, check out more info here.

Roule Galette

If you are looking to travel to France but don’t feel like getting on a plane just yet, Roule Galette is the spot for you. There’s all the French classics like escargot, crepes, flambée, and plenty more.

NOMAD Melbourne

It’s always awesome to see when restaurants use local ingredients and care about what goes into the meals you eat. Located right near Melbourne’s theatres, it’s the perfect spot for a pre-show feed. 

Cumulus Inc

  • Address: 45 Flinders Lane
  • Vibe: Modern Melbourne
  • Dedicated Menu: Locally inspired

Open every day from midday, Cumulus Inc provides their loyal customers with a selection of the nicest meals across the CBD. Highlighted menu items include Spring bay mussels, tuna tartare, ad wagyu bresaola, among plenty more. 

Tom Thumb

Using the best coffee on this side of the equator, Tom Thumb is a must-visit spot for your morning cup of joe. Buy a snack alongside your coffee here for an ideal way to start your day. 


Supernormal has quickly become one of Melbourne’s most popular restaurants, offering mouth-watering Asian cuisine. There’s minimalistic tables inside, perfect for catchups with mates. 


The phrase ‘hidden gem’ is used a lot these days, but Pastuso is a spot you wish you’d heard of earlier. It’s one of few Peruvian restaurants in the state, offering items like kingfish and tuna loin. 

Grill Americano 

With many delicious menu items sourced from local ingredients, Grill Americano is easily one our greatest restaurants. On top of that, there’s more wines on offer here than you can shake a stick at. 

Chin Chin

After recently being namechecked by Phoebe Bridgers, Chin Chin has been getting a lot of attention as of late. There’s a selection of Asian inspired meals on offer here, find out more info over on their website.

Hardware Societe

Breakfast and Brunch are always two of the hardest meals to make at home, so why not have it out? Hardware Societe specialises in meals, producing scrambled eggs, brioche, and plenty more. 

League of Honest Coffee

No, it’s not a team of coffee related superheroes, rather one of our best spots for all things java. There’s breakfast items, lunches, and of course amazing coffee. 


  • Address: 16 Punch Lane
  • Vibe: Upper class
  • Location: Southeast Asian

Nestled away in Melbourne’s always popular Theatre district, Sunda is the perfect spot to stop in before a pre-show eat. There’s items like chicken, rice, lettuce, and scallops, among many more. 

The best restaurants and cafes on Little Collins St and Collins St 

ARU Restaurant 

ARU is another spot that features sharing plates, perfect for big groups of people. There’s items like roast chicken, king salmon, forbidden rice sourdough, and lots more. 


It’s a staple of many Melburnian’s café travelling lives, so it’s definitely worth a spot on this list. Coffee and croissants are here, need we say more?

Vue de monde

It’s one of our most well-known and well regarded restaurants, Vue de monde is definitely a contender for a Melbourne eating bucket list. It takes a while to lock in a booking here, so get on it over on their website here.  

Bar Lourinhã

Nestled away among the many fine restaurants and food vendors of Little Collins St is Bar Lourinhã, a spot you need to check out. They offer customers Mediterranean meals, like kingfish pancetta, chickpeas, and even duck. 


Liminal isn’t just one of our nicest cafes, but one of the most popular event spaces as well. There are all the tasty options here, from anchovy toasties to beef baguettes. 

Tengu Melbourne 

Tengu Melbourne is a quick and easy spot for a lunch bite, and you can grab tasty takeaway from here too. Check out their full menu over on their website here. 

Rice at Collins 595

There’s not too much online about this spot, which just makes it all the more desirable. Check out their Instagram here for pics of their dishes, and make sure your mouth doesn’t water onto your phone. 


  • Address: 80 Collins St
  • Vibe: Very fancy
  • Dedicated Menu: Exclusive

Society won 2022’s RCA Award for Excellence, so it’s a definite worthy contender for this list. Their highlighted meals include Marron, Wagyu Striploin, Lobster Tortellini, and much more. 


Yet another staple of the fancy Collins St eating precinct, Freyja is one of few Nordic inspired restaurants in the Melbourne. There’s seasonal menu items, like mushrooms, prawns, beef tartare, and lots more. 

Chancery Lane

Not too often does a restaurant come along like Chancery Lane. There’s many delicious items here, like gnocchi, bouillabaisse, and lamb. Or if you come here on date night, there’s shareable items too. 

The best restaurants and cafes on Russell St

Gimlet at Cavendish House

  • Address: 33 Russell St
  • Vibe: Classic
  • Dedicated Menu: European inspired

Yet another spot showcasing classic meals, Gimlet at Cavendish House is one of the favourite restaurants among many in Melbourne. Alongside European meals, there’s fun cocktails here too. 


Address: 122 Russell St
Vibe: Classy
Dedicated Menu: Wine bar

Nestled away near Melbourne’s theatre district, Embla has quickly become one of Australia’s most popular food vendors, offering things you can’t really find anywhere else. One of these highlighted meals include rabbit. 

Postal Hall

  • Address: 116 Russell St
  • Vibe: Standard cafe
  • Dedicated Menu: Standard café fare

Every nook and cranny of Melbourne seems to have a killer café, featuring the nicest coffee in the region. Postal Hall is a must visit spot. 

The best restaurants and cafes on Bourke St and Little Bourke St

Bottega Restaurant 

  • Address: 74 Bourke St
  • Vibe: Modern and Elegant
  • Dedicated Menu: Italian

Once again, one of Melbourne’s best restaurants is dedicated to providing customers with high class Italian fare. Like all good Italian restaurants, there’s tasty wine on offer here too. Check out more info on Bottega restaurant here.  


  • Address: 80 Bourke St
  • Vibe: Classic and Classy
  • Dedicated Menu: Italian

There aren’t too many restaurants out there anymore like Florentino. The popular Guy Grossi restaurant has many delicious menu items, the full menu can be checked out here. 

MoVida Aqui

  • Address: 500 Bourke St
  • Vibe: Hustle and bustle
  • Dedicated Menu: Spanish tapas

While it’s still warm out there, it’s still time to get out there, enjoy Melbourne’s nightlife and share food with friends. MoVida Aqui is perfect for catching up with mates, providing customers with delicious Spanish shareable tapas. 

Osteria Ilaria

Osteria Ilaria is a staple of many food lovers in Melbourne, their approach to Italian foods unlike many else out there. There’s items like spaghettini, semolina pappardelle, and much more. Like all good Italian spots, Osteria Illaria also excel in wine matching too. 

Tipo 00

Close to Osteria Ilaria on Little Bourke St is Tipo 00, another popular Italian restaurant. This spot is classed as a pasta bar, providing customers with a plethora of different pasta types. 

Higher Ground

Higher Ground Is one of Melbourne’s most ornate and chic spots for all things café and café food, really turning the world of breakfast on its head. It holds a unique place among the best restaurants in Melbourne.

The best of the rest

Di Stasio Citta

  • Address: 45 Spring St
  • Vibe: Classic
  • Dedicated Menu: Italian

Yet another Italian restaurant, Di Stasio Citta can be found on Spring St. Their classic interior will make you feel like you’ve walked into little Italy. If you can’t get enough of their food while you’re here, they also offer takeaway, not a given among the best restaurants in Melbourne.


It’s exciting to see that Vegetarian restaurants have been getting a lot of attention lately, making sure that there’s options for all types of food lovers. There’s a few inexpensive items available here, like rice and curry, lasagne, and salad. 

Ginger Olive

Address: 2/38 Manchester Lane
Vibe: Chill
Dedicated Menu: BBQ

Ginger Olive is nestled away in Manchester Lane, and is one of our most popular restaurants and critically speaking, one of the best restaurants in Melbourne. You can chow into high quality BBQ meals, ribs, grill, and Asian fusion, among much more.

White Mojo

  • Address: 115 Hardware St
  • Vibe: Laid back
  • Dedicated Menu: Café fare with a twist

Yet another popular café, White Moho sums up the best restaurants in Melbourne with a laid back interior, and smooth coffees. 

San Telmo

Address: 14 Meyers Place
Vibe: Classic
Dedicated Menu: Argentinian

There aren’t too many Argentinian restaurants out there, but San Telmo is one of the best out there. There are dishes like fish of the day, lamb rump, hanger steak, and desserts like Argentinian cookies, crepes, and plenty more. 

Maha Restaurant 

  • Address: 21 Bond St
  • Vibe: Modern Melbourne
  • Dedicated Menu: Middle Eastern

Coming to our nightlife scene courtesy of popular celebrity chef Shane Delia, Maha is easily one of the best restaurants in Melbourne. Open for lunch and dinner, there’s shareable Middle Eastern delicacies available here.

Check out more info on Maha Restaurant here.

The most underrated cafes and takeaway in Melbourne

Aunt Maggie’s

Aunt Maggie’s is bringing back their vegan high tea

Aunt Maggie’s vegan high tea is bringing a cheeky dose of English opulence to suburban Melbourne. The organic grocery store and café have lovingly curated the perfect Sunday indulgence – a high tea fit for the Queen that comes vegan friendly and freshly made from high quality products.

Benny Burger

The local burger joint using Australia’s best produce

Ethical and sustainable aren’t exactly the words that come to mind when you think of a burger, however, Benny Burger is working hard to change all that. They boast the motto “the ethical burger”, utilising organic, sustainable, ethical, and most importantly delicious ingredients to create an exciting twist on the traditional burger.

Cabinet Bar & Balcony

Cabinet Bar & Balcony is a hidden CBD gem

Tucked away in Rainbow Alley, behind Swanston and Little Collins, is Cabinet Bar & Balcony. A small doorway with a speakeasy vibe leads to a staircase littered with framed portraits of patrons (with a bunch of cocktails also named after their regulars).


Mukka brings Delhi cuisine to Fitzroy

Prateek and Aditya Dhawan are two brothers from Delhi, a city in the north of India known for its diverse cuisine. Together, they are the forces behind Mukka, which means ‘punch’ in Hindi slang – but in Fitzroy, it’s all about authentic Indian food.

Piggery Café

Piggery Café: A Melbourne gem that’s as ethical as it is delicious

Armed with their no-frills philosophy, Piggery Café is churning out exquisite simple fare.

Melbourne’s menus are awash with edamame, bonito flakes, yuzu curd and other ingredients that have diners reaching for the dictionary. The Piggery Café, tucked away in the small community of Sherbrooke, 45 minutes outside Melbourne, is pushing back against excessive culinary fanciness with a rigorous and straightforward approach to food.

Pizza Religion

Pizza Religion is far from your average pizzeria

There’s no doubt that Melbourne is awash with fine pizza purveyors, yet there’s one brand making sure that everyone knows their name by keeping one step ahead of the pack. Taking delight in doing things differently, Pizza Religion are determined to make sure that they are always bringing new things to the table, literally.

Dandenong Market

Exploring Dandenong Market: A mecca of culture and produce

If you’re seeking that authentic market experience outside of Melbourne’s CBD, then look no further than Dandenong Market. Known as the “cook’s market”, Dandenong Market is a mecca of fresh produce and delicious cuisine that has been serving the south-east for over 150 years.

Making your way through over 200 market traders, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a souk or hawkers market with fresh produce in every direction. When you arrive at the centrepiece of the facility, the Market Square, you’ll discover the true treasure of the market – a multicultural hub offering authentic tastes from around the globe, cooked fresh from homemade recipes.

The Que Club

The newest kid on the block, and also the topic of many conversations. The venues stands tall as the first Australian barbecue superstore, where the answer to any barbecue-related query you may have is sure to be a resounding “We’ve got it”. Not only is the venue a restaurant that serves delicious meats and treats, but they’re also a butcher, a supply store – yes you can buy an actual barbecue here to start smokin’ for yourself –  a bar, and even a cooking school. Located right in the heart of Fitzroy North, The Que Club is our new local barbecue headquarters. When talking food on offer, their menu hosts the usual suspects –  brisket croquettes, brisket samosas, pork with slaw, and salt and vinegar chicken to name a few – with sides to pair such as slaw and pickles, potato tots and Texas beans. The team are known for starting their days with creative flair, offering dishes of the day and other dreamy meat creations. Recent specials have included lamb cutlets rubbed with tree bark, beef cheeks with parsnip, and homemade beef sausages. So, welcome to the block The Que Club – we very much appreciate what you’ve brought to the area.

The Que Club is a unique, multidimensional go-to hub for all things barbecue. The café could be considered the ideal entry point for most people, as diners are offered a glimpse – and a taste – of what The Que Club is all about.

The café is open for lunch every day other than Monday, and dinner on Friday nights, while you’ll want to make time for a return visit, noting The Que Club’s rotating menu. The Pitmaster’s Plate with entrees makes for the perfect introduction, offering a complete picture of the barbecued brilliance that The Que Club has to offer. A key highlight of the entrees has to be the brisket, jalapeño and cheese croquettes; the spheres of molten, gooey deliciousness matched with smoked garlic aioli. Later, the saltbush lamb ribs with dill yoghurt are the cause for salivation, and the explosively-tangy, pickle-brined chicken wings prove particularly moreish. The sensational chopped free range Borrowdale pork also rates a mention. If you’re a ravenous meat eater with a love of all things barbecue, The Pitmaster’s Plate is the clear go-to option.

Le Bon Ton

Le Bon Ton is Melbourne’s slice of the American South

Situated down the historically industrial streets of Collingwood – sits near the top of my Favourite Melbourne Venues list. The never-empty pub ticks every single box for a fantastic time but it’s their late night relaxed vibe that most flock here for. And of course their incredible meats. You can float on in at any odd hour – three, four, even five AM – and indulge in cocktails and power-food aplenty.

My order always tends to follow the same path. Southern-style buttermilk-soaked chicken tenders with cracked white gravy, or a pit-smoked brisket sandwich with dill pickles, cheddar cheese, onions and BBQ sauce. For sides, I’ll never turn away mac and cheese, and at Le Bon Ton, the dish works with three cheeses: American, Swiss and Cheddar. The tangy coleslaw is a refreshing side-order, and the potato salad is also worth trying. Yes, this all sounds incredible, but the truth is I’m only just touching the sides of what’s on offer. Le Bon Ton have plenty of menus depending on the time and manner you dine, all inspired by multiple regions of the American South, and each is as delectably delicious as the last. Oh, and their espresso martini with Whiskey should be your go-to cocktail order.

The best cheap eats and meal deals in Melbourne

We’ve compiled the best cheap eats in Melbourne in this master list of affordable restaurants, because saving money doesn’t have to mean staying in.

Whether you’re on a budget or just trying to dedicate less of your paycheck to eating out, you don’t have to resign yourself to eating homecooked meals seven days a week with this list of the best cheap eats in Melbourne.

There are ample meal deals around town! We’ve hunted down the best spots around Melbourne to eat for cheap every night of the week, so you can wine and dine yourself with nothing but pocket change.

The best cheap eats in Melbourne every night of the week

The best meal deals in Melbourne on Mondays

The best meal deals in Melbourne on Thursdays

The best cheap dumpling restaurants in Melbourne

The best food challenges in Melbourne

The best food challenges in Melbourne

We hope you’re hungry! Have you ever watched Man VS Food and thought to yourself, “I could do that”? Well, why not put your face-stuffing skills to the test. Melbourne is renowned for its food scene, so it should come as no surprise that we’ve got some pretty epic eating challenges.

From pizzas (almost) as big as a motorcycle wheel to over 5kg worth of burger and fries, these gut-busting food challenges are not for the faint of heart.