The Best Chinese Restaurants in Melbourne

Updated 2 weeks ago


Chinese is one of the most ancient and varied cuisines in the world, yet it’s often oversimplified in Australia. Case in point: while Cantonese and Sichuan feature heavily here, they’re just two of the “eight great cuisines” (the others are Jiangsu, Zhejian, Fujian, Hunan, Anhui and Shandong). Indeed, despite Australia’s long history of Chinese immigration, some lesser-known Chinese cuisines have only appeared in Melbourne in recent years. And they’re largely in Chinese-community enclaves such as Springvale or Box Hill.

Whether you’re after the signature Peking duck from internationally acclaimed Flower Drum, a fiery hotpot at Sichuan import Panda Hot Pot or Shandong’s signature mackerel dumplings at Shandong Mama, this curated guide has a spot for you.

  • One of the true icons of Melbourne dining, Flower Drum’s low-lit, seductive ambience and consistently impeccable service are reasons to visit alone. But if you’re after the gold standard for Cantonese cuisine in the city, look no further.

  • From the mind of acclaimed chef Victor Liong, this diner reimagines traditional Chinese flavours through a refined modern lens. Look for it down a graffiti-covered alley off Flinders Lane.

  • Rustic Shanghainese dishes worthy of the accolades. David Zhou’s casual eatery hits all the beats for flavour, atmosphere and service. But best of all, this is the kind of place that won’t hurt your wallet.

  • Take a seat at the black granite bar for hot and sour shredded potato, charcoal-roasted char siu and cured pork belly with rolled rice noodles in XO.

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  • Innovative Chinese-Australian fusion in a low-lit underground restaurant. More than a decade on, it remains one of the best places in Melbourne to try the lesser-seen cuisines of China's Yunnan, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces. While Sichuan food is king here, the entire menu is stylish, vibrant and well-balanced.

  • This 160-seater used to be a hotpot spot, but now it's a grill-yourself Sichuan restaurant. Come for sizzling skewers, whole grilled cod and dozens of side dishes.

  • A bonafide local institution, this spot is known equally for its cheap-and -cheerful dining and flock of Peking ducks hanging in the window. Also in Flemington and South Yarra.

  • Working with top-grade produce such as green lip abalone, snow crab and full-blood Wagyu, Crown Casino’s in-house Cantonese restaurant is largely geared towards visiting high rollers. But the luxurious dining room and its sweeping Yarra views are within reach of the average punter, provided they order wisely.

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  • Supper Inn is a BYO Melbourne institution. Just ask Melbourne’s top chefs – especially after a closing shift. Cantonese food at its best, and least pretentious. Come for chicken congee, XO pippies with Chinese doughnuts and roasted suckling pig.

  • Offering no-nonsense Cantonese dining in the heart of the CBD, Ling Nan has been satisfying Melbourne’s late-night cravings for around three decades. New location, same must-order XO pippies.

  • Under the watchful eye of a 1.5-tonne steel dragon, Australia’s first outpost of international chain Panda Hot Pot is serving fiery DIY soup with a choice of 80 ingredients. Also in Carnegie.

  • With 20 locations spread across Asia and Australia, this Hong Kong dumpling giant must be doing something right. The answer? A Michelin-starred barbeque pork bun, dusted with sugar and baked to crisp perfection.

  • The other dumpling chain on this list with a Michelin star and outlets all around the world. Here, soup-filled xiao long bao are fastidiously prepared by masterful hands in full view of the dining public.

  • Enjoy an authentic 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. Yum Cha Sundays here are a highlight.

  • You can’t walk past the live seafood tank – one of the largest in the city – without doing a double-take. This Cantonese joint specialises in fresh seafood and seats up to 150 people. Aside from the seafood, the rest of the menu has the usual dim sum favourites. You might eat Peking duck pancakes, fried rice in an omelette pouch, and steamed buns decorated like piglets.

  • Look for the crisp red ducks in the window. Enter for a sumptuous feast cooked by Cantonese chefs who have more than three decades of experience. There are two dinner sittings and the restaurant is BYO.

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  • Release your inner grill master – or leave the cooking to the pros – at this Sichuan barbeque spot. Your spread might include spicy pork ribs, squid tentacles and, for dessert, matcha tiramisu.

  • Cheap, delicious and fun, as all great malatang joints should be. Fill your golden pot with meat, tofu, noodles and vegetables from the self-serve fridge, then bathe your spoils in hot-and-sour Sichuan-style broth.

  • Shanghainese food from eastern China, where dishes are small and designed for sharing. Visit for great drunken chicken and the classic xiao long bao. Also in Prahran and Southbank.

  • A bustling city eatery that's part of the growing Hu-Tong dumpling empire. Ordering a double-serve of xiao long bao via touch screen never gets old here.

  • It’s all in the name at this Chinatown favourite. Shandong province is known for its superlative seafood, and the mackerel dumplings here don’t disappoint. The vegan zucchini version has a cult following all its own.

  • A high-end restaurant serving contemporary Chinese fare. Though many of these dishes aim to elevate tradition, there’s plenty of nostalgia to be found here.

  • This stall in Box Hill has got cooked meat, entrees and vegetable dishes pre-packaged in takeaway containers, ready for you to grab and take to work or reheat at home. Just add rice.

  • This casual diner – by the Dainty Sichuan crew – is dedicated to Chongqing-style noodle soup. So everything here is hot, spicy and slurpable. Make sure to get here nice and early, because it gets busy fast. Also in Preston, Glen Waverley and the CBD.

  • For lunch, take your pick from any of the roaming yum cha carts that pass by every few minutes, or dig into an à la carte dinner featuring black bean sauce-slathered prawns or seafood in clay pots. Also in Docklands, Preston, Sunshine and Springvale.

  • This Uyghur restaurant serves springy hand-pulled spicy noodles, beef dumplings, and flaky pastries filled with lamb and cumin.

  • This small eatery is dedicated to cuisine from Shaanxi province, in northwest China. On the menu you'll find dishes such as saucy biang biang noodles and Shaanxi-style sandwiches, among the world's oldest varieties.

  • This “little” sibling of hotpot institution Dainty Sichuan uses the same rich broths and variety of ingredients, but specialises in malatang style – or hotpot for one.

  • Choose your own hotpot adventure at this all-you-can-eat Sichuan joint. The dark, red-lit interior feels like it’s straight out of a Wong Kar Wai film. Complex flavours define its Sichuan hotpot, assorted grilled seafood dishes and steamed and braised meats. Also in Box Hill.

  • Daily yum cha, live seafood from the tank and crispy fried noodles are all designed to share at this Cantonese restaurant. Take a seat in the courtyard for a view of the Yarra through bamboo stalks, while sipping jasmine tea or a Singapore Sling.

  • A Chinese institution, West Lake has weathered the test of Chinatown's high turnover rates for decades. There’s excellent all-day yum cha, then tasty classics like scallops in XO sauce and stir-fried vegetables until well past midnight. Late-night cravings? Satisfy them here.

  • This southern-Chinese family restaurant – by Lau’s Family Kitchen alumni – serves crowd favourites like lamb spring rolls, fluffy crab omelette and Peking duck. Plus, there are plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.

  • Find this low-key Chinese restaurant just around the corner from Preston Market. It's all about hand-pulled Lanzhou-style wheat noodles (made from scratch every day) served in hot, spiced broth with a side of chewy dumplings.

  • The entirely halal diner specialises in Gansu cuisine from northern China. In particular, deeply comforting Lanzhou beef noodle soups with a clear, consommé-like broth and hand-pulled wheat noodles available in nine different widths.