Where to Take Dad on Father's Day 2023

Updated 3 months ago


There’s no ideal restaurant to celebrate Father’s Day. Your dad could be a stereotypical steak-loving bloke, or a vegetarian. He could be a wine connoisseur or a guy who likes nothing better than to put away six pots at lunch. Whatever kind of dad you have, Father’s Day is uncomfortably close (Sunday September 4), which means it’s time to get booking.

We’ve assembled a diverse list of bookable restaurants, with an emphasis on quieter, more classic spots where the family won’t have to yell to make conversation. Stick to the top dozen entries if you’re keen to splash out and make your dad feel special. Look further down if you’re after a more relaxed, communal environment, such as a pizzeria, neighbourhood bistro or pub.

Read more:
Best Special Occasion Restaurants in Melbourne
Best Restaurants in Melbourne

  • It’s easy to push the boat out with Dad at Stokehouse, with its stunning ocean views and high-quality seafood. Book some seats for its three-course Father’s Day lunch ($185). Or head to its pasta bar downstairs for an Italian-leaning spread that beckons to be shared ($95).

  • Forget the day. It’s going to be Father’s week at the subterranean Japanese fine diner Yugen. From Wednesday, it’s serving $45 whisky flights, including a collab with Suntory. Upstairs, Yugen Tea Bar is offering $48 tea and whisky flights on Saturday and Sunday.

    Book a Table
  • From its award-winning wines to its striking Robin Boyd-led design, there’s plenty to love about this esteemed regional winery. Its $49 Father’s Day lunch special – which might feature porchetta and pinot noir, or Wagyu steak and shiraz – certainly makes it worth the drive. Book a table and make a day of it with dad.

  • The flagship of celebrated chef Andrew McConnell’s restaurant empire is a lesson in refined elegance. From the leather booths to the chic front bar, it’s a perfect spot to celebrate with dad. Experience McConnell’s renowned fine-dining experience with the degustation.

  • Venetian elegance, New York energy and a kick of Melbourne nostalgia collide at restaurateur Chris Lucas' lavish brasserie and grill. Pull up a seat with dad in the grand dining room for charcoal-fired bistecca, quintessentially Italian cocktails and plenty of tableside theatrics.

  • The fiery Southeast Asian diner Melburnians and tourists have been queuing for since 2011. This Father’s Day, book one of its fun feasts for punchy Thai-style mains, and a rhubarb-and-lemongrass Negroni. Banquets start at $88 a head.

  • Andrew McConnell’s signature flair is all over this grand bar and dining room – from the exacting service to the comforting European dishes. Dine with dad at the marble bar on wood-roasted rock lobster on a saffron rice bed, or an O’Connor T-bone steak, followed by the namesake cocktail.

  • Tucked beneath an apartment block, an ex-Kisume and Nobu chef perfects the Japanese art of robatayaki using a charcoal-powered parrilla grill. Book some seats at the bar for a dinner of yakitori served every way and a diverse selection of sake by the glass.

  • If the dad in your life loves meat, La Luna Bistro is a fun and fire-fuelled spot to celebrate. Its three-course menu ($125 per adult, $35 per child) ranges from prosciutto, porchetta and its signature succulent steaks, to a cracking crème brûlée.

    Book a Table
  • Follow the black-and-white striped awning to find this smart French bistro. Enjoy signature dishes the team has mastered over 20 years: French onion soup; escargots served in a buttery, garlicky sauce; boeuf bourguignon; and crème brûlée. Bookings are recommended.

  • This little slice of Venice is big on protein, firing everything from barramundi to Scotch fillets in its blazing Josper oven. Celebrate Father’s Day here over its three-Negroni lunch, which profiles the classic cocktail alongside Scotch fillet with potato and truffle puree. It’s all served in a terrazzo-and-timber space that’s casual and contemporary at once.

  • Lagoon’s menu takes most of its influence from Chinese cuisine while drawing on Thai and Malaysian dishes and techniques. Book some seats for its Father’s Day snack menu ($45pp), which includes salted cucumbers with shiitake mushroom, spruced up fried chicken and more.

    Book a Table
  • Kick off Father's Day with a Cantonese banquet with a view, set above Melbourne’s iconic Esplanade Hotel. Pair duck pancakes, spicy pork chilli wontons and sesame prawn toast with a fusion cocktail.

  • 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 a lunch of elegant, big-flavoured dishes drawing influence from all corners of China.

  • Bring dad to Shane Delia’s moody restaurant for interesting takes on Middle Eastern classics. Go for crispy burek buns filled with duck fesunjun (a classic Persian stew) and the signature Pomegranate Sour cocktail. Its siblings Maha North and Maha East are also worth your time.

  • This Vietnamese-style diner is all about smoke and flames. But your old man’s off smoke alarm duty today. Dad jokes aside, there’s a fire-fuelled and reasonably priced Sunday lunch here. A set price of $59pp buys a feast of charcoal chicken with burnt chilli nuoc mam, squid noodles, greens, grilled oysters and fries. Tack on $35 for bottomless booze.

  • Tell dad to bring an empty stomach to this upscale American barbeque joint. That way you can both make the most of the signature share platter, which might include hearty beef brisket or pork shoulder. Pair it with the beer tasting of Australian and American lagers.

    Book a Table
  • Chibog is all about recreating Filipino comfort food with modern, cheff-y techniques. The signature dish is triple-cooked pork, but there’s also osso bucco cooked in tamarind and deep-fried custard flan for dessert. Plus three kinds of rice, including one made with crab fat.

  • In a heritage-listed south-side building, this alluring bistro does Chinese favourites in new ways. And on Sundays, it serves $59pp yum cha all afternoon. Enjoy a Father’s Day feast with 12 dishes on repeat, like char siu bao (pork buns), prawn dumplings and roast duck pancake. There’s an alternative vegan menu, too.

  • A long lunch at this north-side spot is still one of our favourite ways to spend an afternoon. Luckily for you and dad, it also puts on a cracking three-course Sunday roast ($65pp). Book in for porterhouse steak, comforting pasta and picks from its tome-like wine list.

  • You and dad could easily stop by this bar for a Sunday pint. But you’ll probably want to eat once you’re here. Book ahead for a hearty meal featuring mussels, slow-cooked lamb shoulder and flatbread. And for $60 extra, you’ll get endless refills of house vino. There’s also Guinness on tap.

  • Whatever the weather on Father’s Day, this waterfront diner is an excellent spot to mark the occasion. Book a table for a four-course feast with unobstructed ocean views. There’ll be lamb belly skewers, scallop crudo and duck confit with tangy tonkatsu. Lap it up.

    Book a Table
  • Book a couple of seats at this reinvigorated St Kilda icon for its hearty steak specials this Father’s Day. Order plates of tomahawk rib-eye steak or slow-cooked Scotch fillet prime rib, with pots of ale on the side. Or head to its smart all-day diner upstairs for express lunches starting at $59 all weekend.

  • At Andrew McConnell’s classy Gertrude Street bar and bistro, the food is just that bit better than dad might expect from a trip to the pub. Throw back easy-drinking lagers and cocktails with a burger, rotisserie of the day or the semi-famous fish pot pie.

  • This buzzing food and beer hall is inspired by Singaporean and Malaysian hawker centres. Bring Dad and work your way through a hit list of market dishes. Expect prawn spring rolls, grilled barramundi with punchy sambal and fragrant herbs, striploin steak and sticky honey-date pudding.

    Book a Table
  • Shrouded by a striking copper veil, this award-winning gin distillery is a sight to behold. Find a cellar door, a glowing gin shop, a very green gin garden, multiple events spaces and more at this unmissable Healesville distillery.

  • With a family-friendly restaurant, shed-like dining area and cellar door, this 100-acre winery has something for your whole crew. Order woodfired pizzas, pasta and Italian desserts. Dad gets a free wine with lunch and the seat with the best views over the vines.

    Book a Table
  • If you or your old man are really into burgers, hit up Leonard’s – this ’70s log cabin-themed burger bar serves some of Melbourne’s best. Expect American-style burger combos centred around beef, chicken and mushroom. Plus, there’s easy-drinking beer and a pool table to sink dad’s gold coins into.

  • Bluebonnet’s owner and pitmaster Chris Terlikar learned his craft in Austin, Texas. So naturally, he smokes a mean salt-and-pepper brisket. But everything else on his menu is gold, too – from smoky lamb ribs marinated in coffee rub to corn bread with bone marrow butter. Book a spot in the brick-clad dining room for fine American barbeque.

    Book a Table
  • This schmick brewery specialises in hop-driven hazy IPAs and high-alcohol styles, but with 22 beers on tap, there’s something for every dad. The beer also makes its way into the food, from beer-battered fish (blue grenadier) to a stout brownie.

  • Take Dad back in time at this secluded, old-timey spot, which has elevated pub staples and taps showcasing independent breweries. There are Sunday roasts, double-decker burgers and juicy porterhouse steaks (which one Broadsheet editor describes as their all-time favourite).

  • Follow the smoky scent to find this American barbeque joint, which goes through a whopping 200 kilos of brisket a week. Order share-friendly trays of all the classics (think pulled pork and that grass-fed brisket) with house-made sides like mac’n’cheese. Plus, add Victorian beers by the pint or in a tasting paddle.

  • Roll up to this big burgundy boozer for its mix of crowd-pleasing pub classics and bistro-style fare, courtesy of the Marquis of Lorne team. The grand old pub has plenty of dining nooks, a robust wine list and a bustling vibe right through the weekend.

    Book a Table
  • Pass under the glowing neon sign to find this vibrant North Indian diner. Its comprehensive menu will keep veg-loving dads happy – with meat-free dishes like crispy honey-chilli cauliflower and aloo gobi. Plus, find Indian-leaning cocktails levelled-up with ingredients like turmeric, mango and cardamom.

  • A Sunday roast at this pub built in 1874 is just as comforting as a home-cooked one – especially if you bring your family along to help you down its share-friendly dim sims, sizeable pies and cheesy parmas. Every meal here comes with a side of west-side pride.

    Book a Table
  • Follow the neon-red glow to find this low and slow diner, where fire and smoke make magic with meat cuts. Pork ribs are cooked over three days then glazed with caramel, and there are the famous meat doughnuts, an unholy pairing of sweet and savoury. Back them up with ales from local breweries or, if Dad's feeling daring, a round of pickleback shots.

    Book a Table
  • This double-decker haunt is full of cosy nooks. This Father’s Day, sink into a leather banquette or gold velvet couch and order zhooshed-up hotel classics. The $95pp feast includes stout-pickled mussels, beef tartare with salted egg yolk and roasted pork loin with gremolata. Bookings essential.

    Book a Table
  • This all-day diner at Tullamarine’s surfable wave park is putting out all the stops for Father’s Day lunch and dinner. Book a table and order share-friendly chargrilled prawns and lamb shoulder, before finishing with whisky-cream eclair. Naturally, bring your boards for after.