What makes a great restaurant? At Broadsheet we’re interested in how well a place lives up to its own ambitions, regardless of its age, price point or cuisine.

Maybe it’s good value for money and a reliable source of fun. Maybe it pioneered a trend, and remains the most vital example of it. Or maybe, after several decades in operation, it still feels as fresh and relevant as ever.

All are equally valid answers when it comes to determining the best restaurants in Melbourne. That’s why our list includes lively wine bars and other dressed-down eateries alongside the usual fine diners. The remit may be wide, but if you’re looking for restaurants that both define and capture our city’s culinary spirit, stop right here. These are Melbourne's absolute best.

Related pages:
Best New Restaurants in Melbourne
Best Regional Restaurants in Victoria
Quiet Restaurants in Melbourne
Best Special Occasion Restaurants in Melbourne

Attica

Restaurant

Life experiences told through native ingredients and multiple courses. Chef Ben Shewry's approach is unusual, world-recognised and utterly captivating. We're blessed to have a restaurant of its calibre in Melbourne.

74 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea

Ides

Restaurant

Running a multi-course degustation menu requires a lot of long-term planning and refinement – unless you're Ides' chef-owner Pete Gunn. While certain dishes, such as his famous Black Box dessert, do recur, he likes to be spontaneous. You never know what you’re going to get, which is part of what makes this such a thrilling place for dinner.

92 Smith Street, Collingwood

Minamishima

Restaurant

There are a lot of noisy dining rooms on this list. Minamishima's hushed, reverent atmosphere is better suited to owner-chef Koichi Minamishima's awe-inspiring knife skills. He works with both local seafood and fish flown direct from Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo to produce his peerless sushi.

4 Lord Street, Richmond

Matilda

Restaurant

“Modern Australian cuisine” has always been a vague, hard-to-define term, but this articulation, from chef and restaurateur Scott Pickett, may be the most lucid we've yet seen in Melbourne. Take a seat at the bar and enjoy the fire-driven show.

159 Domain Road, South Yarra
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Cutler & Co.

Restaurant

Chef and restaurateur Andrew McConnell is behind several of Melbourne’s leading restaurants. Gimlet notwithstanding, this is the group’s flagship. Visit the dimly-lit, luxurious dining room for a three- or five-course set menu that showcases some of Victoria’s very best produce treated more simply than you might expect for a restaurant of this bearing.

55-57 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
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Sunda

Restaurant

This CBD restaurant, from chef Khanh Nguyen, takes the flavours and spices of Asia’s Sunda region – a catch-all that includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and other nations attached to the tectonic plate of the same name – and remixes them as thoughtful, nuanced, high-definition dishes.

18 Punch Lane, Melbourne

Aru

Restaurant

Khanh Nguyen’s second restaurant takes everything that made Sunda great, and dials up the theatre. It’s bigger, moodier and more suited to big occasions. Again, though, a visit here is about Asian flavours remixed in thoughtful, creative, surprising ways (like this Bunnings-inspired duck sausage in bread).

268 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

Navi

Restaurant

Restaurants don't get any more personal than this 25-seater from chef Julian Hills, who created all the plates himself. On top of them, he combines rigorous European technique with native ingredients and Eastern philosophy for dishes such as smoked blue mackerel marinated in honey and white soy, then aged for a week in beeswax.

83B Gamon Street, Yarraville

Stokehouse

Restaurant

This seaside institution, founded in 1989, has never really lost its shine. Current chef Jason Staudt continues to do magical things with seafood; sommelier Wil Martin has the whites and light reds to match; and that sparkling view is as magnificent as ever. We can think of no better spot for a long lunch.

Upstairs 30 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda

Embla

Bar

Forget sous-vide baths or Pacojets. This wine bar's chef, Dave Verheul, does extraordinary things with his ferocious redgum-fired oven. Especially so when it comes to vegetables. His talent is complemented by a team of genuine wine-lovers, including business partner Christian McCabe, who'll guide through the list with wit and sensitivity.

122 Russell Street, Melbourne

Tipo 00

Restaurant

Italian is Melbourne's most widespread and essential cuisine. And though it's not fancy, Tipo nonetheless manages to stand out from the pack. Years down the track, it's still beset by queues of people keen to get a taste of its simple yet meticulously assembled pastas. Arrive early – very early – if you don't have a booking.

361 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Osteria Ilaria

Restaurant

The follow-up to Tipo 00 stretches beyond the pasta-bar concept to deliver meat and seafood dishes that are merely Italian-ish, in a slightly more buttoned-up environment. But like Tipo, its subtle culinary innovations and familiar yet attentive service push the experience beyond expectations.

367 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Marion

Bar

Look up at the wall and pick a bunch of shared dishes from the day's menu. Order some wine with help from the switched-on staff. The format's simple, but as we've come to expect from Andrew McConnell's restaurants, everything is just right.

53 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
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Bar Liberty

Bar

Quiet, efficient and attentive. That's the kind of service you get from Manu Potoi and ex-Attica assistant manager Michael Bascetta. Paired with a modish wine list and chef Casey Wall's deceptively simple food, they're a force indeed.

234 Johnston Street, Fitzroy

Anchovy

Restaurant

Fusion's not a dirty word. Not here, anyway. Chef and co-owner Thi Le spent several years working across Andrew McConnell's restaurants. She draws on that experience and her Southeast Asian upbringing to create clever, surprising dishes you won't find anywhere else (tempura vegemite, anyone?).

338 Bridge Road, Richmond

Cumulus Inc.

Restaurant

Remember when we didn't share every dish on the table? This all-day spot was one of the first to show us how good communal meals can be. It's still one of the best at it, whether you visit for a boozy brunch or a late-night snack.

45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
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Chin Chin

Restaurant

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Chin Chin has a lot of admirers. But its raucous atmosphere and Benjamin Cooper's fresh, vibrant take on Thai food aren't so easy to copy. There's a reason it's had nightly queues since 2011.

125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Bar Lourinhã

Bar

It's more than a decade old but Matt McConnell's top-of-the-city bolthole hasn't been forgotten by Melbourne diners. Describing it as "tapas focussed" doesn't do justice to the delicacy and thoughtfulness of what appears on either the short regular menu, the expansive list of specials, or what's poured by the bar's excellent staff.

37 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
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Florentino

Restaurant

There aren’t so many restaurants left in Melbourne where they’ll open the door for you, hang your jacket, pull out your chair and fold your napkin across your lap. Florentino's commitment to old-world hospitality and classic Italian dishes is timeless.

80 Bourke Street, Melbourne
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Tonka

Restaurant

Drawing on their Indian heritage, executive chef Adam D’Sylva and head chef Hendri Budiman give Tonka a flavour that's far too uncommon at this level of dining. The wine list is a cracker, but we're more partial to the smart cocktail menu and its wealth of refreshing, South Asian-inspired mixes.

20 Duckboard Place, Melbourne
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Di Stasio Citta

Restaurant

When Rinaldo di Stasio’s first restaurant Rosati opened in 1985, it took eating standards in the CBD to a new level. Arriving 34 years later, Di Stasio Citta marked a fittingly blockbuster return to the city centre. Beyond the colourful mural and sleek grey brutalist facade is a restaurant that bears all of the Di Stasio hallmarks. There’s contemporary art, schnitzel sandwiches and big plates of pasta, and impeccable service throughout.

45 Spring Street, Melbourne
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