The Best Restaurants on Flinders Lane

Updated 6 months ago

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Flinders Lane has long been a culinary destination. Ronnie di Stasio (Cafe di Stasio) got his start here in 1985, with the fabled Rosati. (And now runs Di Stasio Citta just up the street.) Restaurants have come and gone in the interim, but the eight-block stretch remains a dining powerhouse, particularly the Spring Street end. Contemporary Chinese diner Lee Ho Fook is a favourite for its inventive flavour combos. While Cumulus Inc. continues to offer all-day dining at a high culinary level. These are our knockout picks on the iconic street itself, and very close by.

  • Andrew McConnell's signature flair is all over this grand bar and dining room, from the exacting service to the comforting European dishes. It’s named after the classic cocktail, and the calibre of drinks here speaks to that.

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  • The CBD sequel to the St Kilda institution goes just as heavy on the hand-made pastas. But it also throws high art into the mix, with video installations and dramatic artworks lining the walls.

  • Venetian elegance, New York energy and Melbourne nostalgia collide at Chris Lucas’ lavish brasserie and grill. Sit in the grand dining room for charcoal-fired bistecca, show stopping tiramisu, Italian cocktails and plenty of tableside theatrics.

  • This is one of Melbourne’s best Japanese restaurants. 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.

  • Beautifully executed Japanese (and other east Asian cuisines) by celebrated chef Andrew McConnell. Come for Melbourne’s most famous lobster roll, Korean-style barbequed meats and Shanghai dumplings.

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  • This upmarket New Nordic restaurant occupies two levels of a Gothic 1880s building. Find standout savoury waffles, not-your-average beef tartare and other dishes where simplicity tempers innovation.

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  • Andrew McConnell’s all-day eating house combines the star chef’s typically excellent food with smart interiors. The polished service, considered wine list and inventive dishes at Cumulus Inc. are still worthy of celebration after all these years.

  • This sequel to one of Sydney’s top restaurants has the same magic, but with the distinctly Victorian spin. Descend into the smart basement for fire-driven European cuisine, plus a renowned charcuterie program.

  • Moving from Collingwood to the city has only taken this energetic Chinese restaurant to greater heights. Find the discreet entrance off Flinders Lane, then settle in for elegant, big-flavoured dishes drawing influence from all corners of China.

  • The fiery Southeast Asian diner Melburnians and tourists have been queuing for since 2011. The service remains fast and efficient; the energy is always high; and Benjamin Cooper’s food continues to nail that sweet spot between flavour, tradition and fun.

  • It’s tricky to pin down Coda’s flavour-punching dishes. Modern Asian? Euro-Vietnamese fusion? Pop in pre-theatre for some scallops and a glass of wine, or do your next special occasion here.

  • Pastuso brings Peruvian flair with a menu of ceviche, grilled meat and plenty of pisco. The dining room is a riot of colour, but we say grab a seat at the marble-clad bar and take in all the action, Pisco Sour in hand.

  • The flavours at celebrity chef Shane Delia’s opulent Maha are familiar, but they’re assembled with more finesse than your average Middle Eastern restaurant. Expext vibrant mezze, a must-have lamb shoulder and an affordable wine list.

  • Indian flavours are far too uncommon at the top-end of dining, an issue Tonka has been smartly redressing for years. 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.

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  • The restaurant responsible for igniting Melbourne’s love of modern Spanish food. If you’re feeling adventurous, let the kitchen order for you and sample a cross-section of signature dishes and seasonal specials.

  • The little sibling to Movida delivers a classic tapas experience not unlike what you’d find in Spain. Sit at the bar, have some sherry and work your way through the tapas and racion menu – without next-door’s big-room energy.

  • This lively cantina is all about home-style Mexican. Expect beef tacos exactly how they’re served in Mexico, prawn-and-chorizo tamales and a jiggly chocolate flan. Plus: eight different Margaritas and hard-to-find agave spirits.

  • Top-quality sushi and sashimi since 1981. The 12-seat counter is a recommended spot, not only to have your order hand-delivered straight from the experts themselves, but to watch their art form in action.

  • The Garden State Hotel’s good-time Italian eatery takes its cues from the Amalfi coast. Pop in for cacio e pepe arancini, a retro dessert cart and – when you ring the doorbell – Negroni fountains delivered to your table.

  • Luxury and tradition collide at Cecconi’s, where Venetian food is the star of the show. The kitchen grows its own herbs, fruit and vegetables to use across the board, be it a seasonal risotto or garlicky seafood linguine.

  • Lively cocktails and refined snacks are on the cards at this daring basement bar. But it’s really the wine list you come for – it’s an adventure in unfamiliar regions and varietals, and focuses on biodynamic and sustainable drops.

  • 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.

  • Sit at the omakase bar for robata-grilled marron with kombu butter; and fried rice amplified with Wagyu, shiitake and cod roe. All in a heritage-listed building full of original bluestone features and brooding black marble.

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  • Quincy Melbourne’s fun Southeast Asian diner is helmed by a former Chin Chin chef. Come for playful takes on traditional curries, stir fries and dim sum, served in a sleek dining room overlooking Flinders Lane.

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  • Choose your own adventure at this cosy underground institution. If you fancy casual Italian dining, pull up a table in the cafeteria opposite the bar. For a more refined atmosphere, make your way to the dimly lit trattoria lined with bottles of vino.

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  • At the W Melbourne’s in-house restaurant, Coda chef Adam D’Sylva draws on his Italian-Indian heritage. His globe-trotting menu includes luxed-up lasagna, pasta-less cacio e pepe (a surprising triumph), and spicy duck curry. Plus, an excellent roster of theatrical cocktails.

  • At this homely restaurant, find popular Thai dishes alongside lesser-known Phuket delicacies. Bring a group and order comforting dishes like pad thai and tom yum as well as specialties including snail coconut southern curry.