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

Marameo

A laidback Italian eatery in the space which once housed Sarti. Here your spritz comes with a limoncello kick, and cannoli is stuffed with Wagyu tartare. But the rooftop terrace? It’s not going anywhere.

6 Russell Place, Melbourne
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Gimlet at Cavendish House

Star chef Andrew McConnell's signature is evident on every Eurocentric plate here, from the clam-topped flatbread to the anchovy Danish to the wood-fired rhubarb cheesecake. You’ll find us at the black-and-gold marble bar, Martini in hand.

33 Russell Street, Melbourne

Mrs Singh

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

88 Flinders Lane, 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

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

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

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
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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
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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
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Vue de Monde

Some of the best dining and views in the country.

Level 55, Rialto Building 525 Collins Street, Melbourne
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Movida

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

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
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Supernormal

Beautifully executed pan-Asian offerings by Andrew McConnell. Come for Melbourne's most famous lobster roll, steaming bowls of ramen at lunch, Korean-style barbequed meats and Shanghai dumplings.

180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
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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
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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
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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
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Grill

A casual, fast-paced alternative to Florentino.

80 Bourke Street, Melbourne
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Kisumé

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

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
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Izakaya Den 2029

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

A bona fide meat dungeon.

The Basement 195 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Palermo

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

401 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Fancy Hank’s

One of Melbourne's original American barbeque joints.

Level 1 79 Bourke Street, Melbourne
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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
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Cecconi’s

The perfect place to bask in luxury and tradition.

61 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Farmer’s Daughters

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

80 Collins Street, Melbourne

Chancery Lane

Scott Pickett's take on a mod-French brasseries brings old-world European elegance to a heritage-listed CBD building. There's ritzy deep-green marble, dramatic arched windows and candelabras throughout. Start with black truffle and foie gras toasties, then move onto French-style gnocchi, and finish with a gin-and-raspberry baba.

430 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
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