It’s easy to overlook Melbourne’s city centre when trying to decide where to eat. These days you’re likely to find yourself around the corner from several terrific local restaurants, wherever you live.

But the CBD’s still at the heart of food in Melbourne. Some of these places are iconic and have been serving great office lunches or special dinners for years. Others are newer, with inventive menus designed by exciting young chefs earning their stripes. All of the places in this guide continue to set the tone for how Melbourne eats. And thanks to the insane amount of competition, many of these venues are far more reasonably priced than you would expect.

There’s a lot of choice here. If you’re looking for something more specific, try one of the pages below.

Related Pages:
Best Restaurants in Melbourne
Best Restaurants on Flinders Lane
Best Special Occasion Restaurants in Melbourne
Best Cheap Eats in Melbourne

Embla

Bar

Nominally it’s a wine bar, but Embla’s charms are far more profound than those two words suggest. Come here for some of the city’s best food, paired with an idiosyncratic wine list poured by staff who give a damn.

122 Russell Street, Melbourne

Tipo 00

Restaurant

Tipo 00 has an offering too good to refuse: carb-loaded, butter-drenched pasta.

361 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Osteria Ilaria

Restaurant

A largely pasta-free zone next door to wildly popular older sibling, Tipo 00.

367 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Cumulus Inc.

Restaurant

Andrew McConnell's all-day eating house combines excellent food with interior design.

45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
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Gimlet at Cavendish House

Restaurant

Star chef Andrew McConnell's signature is evident on every Eurocentric plate here, from the clams, mussels and squid with Trapanese pesto; to the dry-aged duck with baby fennel and blood orange sauce. You’ll find us at the black-and-gold marble bar, Martini in hand.

33 Russell Street, Melbourne
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Supernormal

Restaurant

Beautifully executed pan-Asian offerings by Andrew McConnell. Come for Korean-style barbequed meats, Shanghai dumplings and Melbourne’s most famous lobster roll.

180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
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Mamasita

Restaurant

There were many Mexican restaurants before this one, but owners Nick Peters and Matt Lane were the first restaurateurs to bring a faithful representation of Mexican food to Melbourne. This "hot babe" has been around since 2010, and there are still queues on the stairs for its elotes (grilled corn) and flavoursome tacos.

Level 1 11 Collins Street, Melbourne

The European

Cafe

Top notch European food and wine.

161 Spring Street, Melbourne

Coda

Restaurant

An energetic bar and restaurant serving modern Euro-Vietnamese fusion dishes.

Basement 141 Flinders Lane (corner Oliver Lane), Melbourne

Tonka

Restaurant

A CBD dining hot spot serving modern Indian.

20 Duckboard Place, Melbourne
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Florentino

Restaurant

The big gun classic in Italian dining in Melbourne.

80 Bourke Street, Melbourne
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Movida

Restaurant

The restaurant responsible for igniting Melbourne's love for modern Spanish food.

1 Hosier Lane, Melbourne

Aru

Restaurant

This sultry sibling to Sunda is every bit as stellar. At Aru, chef Khanh Nguyen is effortlessly blending Southeast Asian flavours, native Australian ingredients and ancient techniques. And while there are unexpectedly playful riffs on classics – like banh mi, Peking duck and mi goreng – they never feel gimmicky, just modernised and expertly refined.

268 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

Sunda

Restaurant

Innovative Southeast Asian cuisine from one of Sydney’s most exciting young chefs.

18 Punch Lane, Melbourne

Maha

Restaurant

Refined Middle Eastern from celebrity chef Shane Delia.

21 Bond St, Melbourne
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Lee Ho Fook

Restaurant

Moving from Collingwood to the city has only taken this energetic Chinese restaurant to greater heights.

11-15 Duckboard Place, Melbourne

Hazel

Restaurant

This pared-back eatery from the Higher Ground, Top Paddock and Liminal team specialises in woodfired dishes that are unfussy, yet easily live up to the gold standard set by their other Melbourne venues.

164 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Mrs Singh

Restaurant

An Indian(ish) wine bar on Flinders Lane, where cheesy flatbreads star.

88 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Marameo

Restaurant

A laid-back Italian eatery in the space which once housed Sarti. The voguish menu taps into pasta obsessions such as cacio e pepe and cavatelli with prawns, tomato and garlic; bolstered by larger, protein-heavy mains.

6 Russell Place, Melbourne
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Daughter In Law

Restaurant

A vibrant pan-Indian diner serving sweet-and-sour fried cauliflower, “unauthentic” butter chicken and Tandoori-fired-pineapple cocktails.

37 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Nomad

Restaurant

Jacqui Challinor's hotly anticipated Melbourne outpost is everything we've been waiting for. The Sydney original's focus on open-flame cooking and locally-sourced produce has been replicated here, but there are local signatures, too – baked ricotta and anchovies, dry-aged pork cutlets and a big lean on Victorian vino. Find it in the former Ezard space on Flinders Lane.

189 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Cookie

Bar

A beer hall, cocktail bar and modern Thai restaurant all in one.

First Floor, Curtin House 252 Swanston Street, Melbourne

Magic Mountain Saloon

Restaurant

Punchy Thai food and cocktails.

62 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

Di Stasio Citta

Restaurant

Restaurateur Rinaldo Di Stasio is back in the city with an extraordinary restaurant that blends high art, high drama and high cuisine.

45 Spring Street, Melbourne
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Chin Chin

Restaurant

The fiery Thai diner Melburnians and tourists have been queuing for since 2011.

125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Vue de Monde

Restaurant

Some of the best dining and views in the country.

Level 55, Rialto Building 525 Collins Street, Melbourne
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Grill

Restaurant

A casual, fast-paced alternative to Florentino.

80 Bourke Street, Melbourne
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Flower Drum

Restaurant

A serene Cantonese fine-diner that's been cooking since 1975.

17 Market Lane, Melbourne
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Kisumé

Restaurant

This is one of Melbourne's best Japanese restaurants. It's certainly its most ambitious. There's a New York-style sushi bar at street level, a pumping izakaya-style basement and an upstairs private dining room – Kuro – for intimate kaiseki-style meals.

175 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Bomba

Restaurant

Thanks to Jesse Gerner (Green Park, Añada), the old Aylesbury is all about tapas now. Plus, there are spectacular views out over the city to enjoy while you eat. It's no surprise this place is held dear by so many Melburnians.

103 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Society

Restaurant

At this sprawling restaurant by Chris Lucas, there’s an experience for just about every taste. Grab a seat at the angular marble bar for cocktails by one of the world’s best bartenders (or nab a banquette in the walk-in only lounge); take a seat in the expansive, chandelier-lit dining room to try the dazzling Japanese and European-inspired menu; or get some friends together to book one of the striking private dining rooms.

80 Collins Street, Melbourne

Izakaya Den 2029

Restaurant

Izakayas are Japanese bars where the eating is just as important as the drinking. That's true at this CBD favourite. There's a selection of drinking-friendly dishes that accompany the excellent sakes and Japanese-influenced cocktails.

Basement 114 Russell Street, Melbourne

Meatmaiden

Restaurant

A bona fide meat dungeon.

The Basement 195 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
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Yakimono

Restaurant

Chris Lucas’s two-level, charcoal-fired Japanese diner sits right beside the group’s new crown jewel, Society. Stylistically though, it’s a world away. The cyberpunk fit-out is almost as impressive as the action happening inside the sprawling open kitchen, where chefs turn skewered meat over jumping flames. Visit for elevated rice and noodle dishes, spanner-crab-filled hand rolls and cocktails named after the neighbourhoods of Tokyo.

80 Collins Street, Melbourne

Gingerboy

Restaurant

The chic space for palates that crave Asian hawker-style food.

27-29 Crossley Street, Melbourne
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Makan

Restaurant

Tasia and Gracia Seger might be reality TV stars, but their Indonesian restaurant proves their talent is definitely not just for show.

360 Collins Street, Melbourne

Dom’s

Restaurant

This three-level spot, from the guys behind Dexter and Takeaway Pizza, bears little resemblance to its former self (Peaches, Dexter). Go for focaccia-like pizza with house-made mortadella and garlic-fermented honey, chevre-stuffed potato skins, plenty of Aussie spirits and a pool table.

1/301 Swanston Street, Melbourne

Kirk’s

Restaurant

This venue from the European Group is not quite a pub, not quite a wine bar. And it’s open late.

Corner Hardware Lane and Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Longrain

Restaurant

Since 2005, this CBD restaurant has been at the forefront of modern Thai dining. Now under the stewardship of star chef Scott Pickett, it’s resharpened its focus and feels as good as ever.

44 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
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Tres a Cinco

Restaurant

The Movida team's lively cantina brings home-style Mexican to Hosier Lane. Led by Mexican chef Sarai Castillo, expect beef tacos exactly how they're served in Mexico, plus eight different Margaritas to prime your fiesta.

3-5 Hosier Lane, Melbourne

China Chilli

Restaurant

With its neon lights and polished fit-out, this all-you-can-eat hotpot joint in the heart of Chinatown is straight out of a Wong Kar Wai film.

15 206 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Miznon

Restaurant

Eyal Shani’s Israeli pita haven came to Melbourne, via Paris and Vienna.

59 Hardware Lane, Melbourne

Pascale Bar & Grill

Restaurant

Fun and a little brash, QT’s restaurant raises the bar on hotel dining.

Level 1 133 Russell Street, Melbourne
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Palermo

Restaurant

An Italian-influenced Argentinian spot by the San Telmo and Pastuso team.

401 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
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Westlake

Restaurant

This Chinatown eatery has been serving the classics – including yum cha and peking duck – and satisfying midnight cravings for decades.

189 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Fancy Hank’s

Restaurant

One of Melbourne's original American barbeque joints.

Level 1 79 Bourke Street, Melbourne
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Pentolina

Restaurant

At this CBD pasta bar, you'll find an extensive menu of hand-rolled pastas, bolstered by a fun line-up of wines and cocktails. It's all set within a sleek, modern space.

2/377 Little Collins St, Melbourne

Uncle Collins Street

Restaurant

The second location for a south-side favourite.

Level 1 15 Collins Street, Melbourne
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Cecconi’s

Restaurant

The perfect place to bask in luxury and tradition.

Cellar Bar 61 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
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Farmer’s Daughters

Restaurant

This three-storey love letter to Gippsland and its produce is by Alejandro Saravia, the chef behind CBD classic Pastuso. There's a deli with house-made terrine; a suave restaurant with a focus on cooking with flames; and a greenhouse-like rooftop oasis.

80 Collins 95 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

Chancery Lane

Restaurant

Scott Pickett's take on a mod-French brasserie brings old-world European elegance to a heritage-listed CBD building. There's ritzy deep-green marble, dramatic arched windows and candelabras throughout. Visit for caviar by the gram or tin, bistro-style mains and baba for dessert.

430 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

Secret Kitchen CBD

Restaurant

You can’t walk past the live seafood tank – one of the largest in the city – without doing a double-take. Seafood is the specialty, but the menu has got a bit of everything.

222 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

The Hardware Club

Restaurant

Two childhood friends are behind this upstairs Italian spot that pays homage to the neighbourhood eateries of their hometown. On the menu? Osso bucco ravioli, cacio e pepe toasties, and a daily dessert that’s best paired with some house-made amaro.

Level 1 43 Hardware Lane, Melbourne
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Lollo

Restaurant

At the W Melbourne's in-house restaurant, Coda chef Adam D'Sylva is drawing on his Italian-Indian heritage. The star chef has created a globe-trotting menu that includes luxed-up lasagna, pasta-less cacio e pepe (a surprising triumph), and fragrant, spicy duck curry. Plus there's an excellent and fun roster of theatrical cocktails.

408 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

HuTong CBD

Restaurant

Some of the best dumplings you'll have outside of Shanghai.

14-16 Market Lane, Melbourne

Philippe

Restaurant

Classic-but-contemporary dishes from Melbourne’s French-cuisine master.

115-117 Collins Street, Melbourne
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Thai Tide

Restaurant

This CBD eatery offers traditional Thai and has an extended takeaway service that infuses Australian seafood with the flavours of Thailand.

171 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Mabu Mabu Big Esso

Restaurant

Big Esso is the bigger CBD follow-up to Yarraville's beloved Torres Strait Islander cafe Mabu Mabu. Expect dishes from chef-owner Nornie Bero’s childhood, such as tamarind pipies, buckets of chargrilled prawns, and fried crocodile with saltbush and pepperberry. There's also a retail section stocked with pantry fillers to take away.

Federation Square , Melbourne

Polepole Kitchen

Restaurant

An African beer and barbeque joint in the city.

236 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
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Mr Ramen San

Restaurant

A bastion of exemplary Hakata-style ramen in the city centre. Visit for house-made noodles (with free top-ups), consistently excellent broths and a creation known simply as the “cocktail draft beer”. If you drink too many, do as the shop prescribes: keep calm, eat ramen.

Shop 12A 200 Bourke Street, Melbourne

San Telmo

Restaurant

An Argentinean restaurant and wine bar that features a traditional parrilla barbeque.

14 Meyers Place, Melbourne

Lollo

Restaurant

At the W Melbourne's in-house restaurant, Coda chef Adam D'Sylva is drawing on his Italian-Indian heritage. The star chef has created a globe-trotting menu that includes luxed-up lasagna, pasta-less cacio e pepe (a surprising triumph), and fragrant, spicy duck curry. Plus there's an excellent and fun roster of theatrical cocktails.

408 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Indu

Restaurant

You'll find this intimate Sri Lankan and South Indian restaurant behind a Victorian terrace frontage. Owner Sam Prince might use his Sri Lankan mum's recipes for aromatic, coconut-y red-lentil dal and potato curry. But the menu here isn’t strictly traditional. Find hoppers with goat’s curd and pomegranate pearls, dosas with bacon jam, and smoky, chai-infused Old Fashioneds.

86a Collins Street, CBD

Yulongfu

Restaurant

This Shanghai-style restaurant’s recipe for xiao long bao has been passed down through the family for more than a century. Get the black truffle and pork version, plus pan-fried pork buns, chicken wontons in chilli-sesame oil and more.

136 Bourke Street, Melbourne