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

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

Lesa

This restaurant eschews the quick, noisy, share-plate format. Slow down with the important people in your life, aided by some of the best food and wine Melbourne has to offer.

Level 1 122 Russell Street, Melbourne

The European

Top notch European food and wine.

161 Spring Street, Melbourne

Florentino

The big gun classic in Italian dining in Melbourne.

80 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Tipo 00

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

361 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Osteria Ilaria

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

367 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Cumulus Inc.

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

45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Mamasita

Melbourne's first proper taqueria still has it.

Level 1 11 Collins Street, Melbourne

Daughter In Law

A vibrant pan-Indian diner serving naan pizzas, sweet-and-sour fried cauliflower and Tandoori-fired-pineapple cocktails.

37 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Hazel

This restaurant from the Higher Ground, Top Paddock and Liminal team specialises in house-made sourdough with fancy toppings, you’ll also find seafood over hot coals and vanilla sundaes with smoked caramel.

164 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Coda

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

Basement 141 Flinders Lane (corner Oliver Lane), Melbourne

Tonka

A CBD dining hot spot serving modern Indian.

20 Duckboard Place, Melbourne

Vue de Monde

Some of the best dining and views in the country.

Level 55, Rialto Building 525 Collins Street, Melbourne

MoVida

The restaurant responsible for setting off Melbourne's love of Modern Spanish tapas.

1 Hosier Lane, Melbourne

Cookie

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

First Floor, Curtin House 252 Swanston Street, Melbourne

Massi

Simple Italian in intimate surrounds.

445 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

Magic Mountain Saloon

Punchy Thai food and cocktails, from breakfast until late.

62 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

Supernormal

Beautifully executed pan-Asian offerings by Andrew McConnell.

180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Di Stasio Citta

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

35 Spring Street, Melbourne

Chin Chin

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

125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Sunda

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

18 Punch Lane, Melbourne

Lee Ho Fook

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

11-15 Duckboard Place, Melbourne

Maha

Refined Middle Eastern from celebrity chef Shane Delia.

21 Bond St, Melbourne

Longsong

David Moyle’s atmospheric venue above Longrain will transport you someplace else.

40-44 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Grill

A casual, fast-paced alternative to Florentino.

80 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Kisumé

The most ambitious Japanese restaurant in Melbourne.

175 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Bomba

Spectacular city views and tapas until 1am. It’s no surprise this place is held dear by so many Melburnians.

103 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Ezard

The quietest achiever in Melbourne’s flashy fine-dining scene.

187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Izakaya Den

A long, narrow, cement and wood underground Japanese-inspired bar.

Basement 114 Russell Street, Melbourne

Meatmaiden

A bona fide meat dungeon.

The Basement 195 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

Bar Saracen

Try raw Wagyu kofta and cardamom-spiked coffee at this bar/restaurant serving up lesser-known Middle Eastern.

22 Punch Lane, Melbourne

Gingerboy

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

27-29 Crossley Street, Melbourne

Makan

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

French Saloon Bar & Bistro

A very French city spot where you can snack and drink for hours on a balcony.

Level 1 46 Hardware Lane, Melbourne

Kirk’s

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

At the forefront of contemporary Thai dining.

40-44 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Flower Drum

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

17 Market Lane, Melbourne

Cheek

This stark, futuristic restaurant might be inspired by American barbeque, but its Asian-accented highlights – duck, mapo tofu empanadas – are totally original.

Level 1 301 Swanston Street, Melbourne

Annam

Charcoal-grilled Chiang Mai pork sausages, vintage kung-fu movies and a rice-paper station by Pho Nom’s Jerry Mai.

56 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Saxe

A two-storey restaurant that’s refreshingly old school, from former St. Crispin chef Joe Grbac.

211 Queen Street, Melbourne

Miznon

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

59 Hardware Lane, Melbourne

Pascale Bar & Grill

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

133 Russell Street, Melbourne

Palermo

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

401 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Iki Jimē

Shannon Bennett’s moody seafood restaurant.

430 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

Fancy Hank’s

One of Melbourne's original American barbeque joints.

Level 1 79 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Pentolina

After 19 years behind the counter at Pellegrini’s, Matt Picone opened this pasta bar dedicated to his late father.

2/377 Little Collins St, Melbourne

Uncle Collins Street

The second location for a south-side favourite.

Level 1 15 Collins Street, Melbourne

Cecconi's

The perfect place to bask in luxury and tradition.

61 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
false