Where to Book Lunch or Dinner for a Big Group in the CBD (and Surrounds)

Updated 4 months ago

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When you need to cater for a group, Melbourne’s CBD is a no-brainer. It packs in most of the city’s best restaurants, plus a swag of premier private dining options to really dial up the special occasion vibes. Go on, get booking.

  • 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.

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

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

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  • The fiery Southeast Asian diner Melburnians and tourists have been queuing for since 2011. So why's it still such a hit after all these years? 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.

  • Scott Pickett's take on a mod-French brasserie 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.

  • Sit at the communal table and devour a menu of decadent share plates influenced largely by Chinese cuisine.

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  • At 24 storeys high, this bar and diner boasts some of the finest views of Melbourne, extending from the CBD as far as the Dandenong Ranges. The retractable glass rooftop ensures you can enjoy its Cali-cool style and al fresco dining all year round.

  • Embla feels like an extension of your lounge room – with better food and booze.

  • Art Deco light fixtures effuse a moody glow over wooden tables, banquette seating and many, many shared pizzas.

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  • Andrew McConnell's all-day eating house combines the star chef's typically excellent food with smart interior design. While it's not his most famous venue these days, the polished service, considered wine list and inventive dishes at Cumulus Inc. are still worthy of celebration after all these years.

  • 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. You’ll find us at the marble bar, Gimlet in hand.

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  • Set inside Chris Lucas’s fine diner, Society, this European-inspired brasserie retains the strong seafood focus of its sibling, but offers it in a more casual space primed for long lunches and late-night cocktails. Pull up at the bar for signature drinks and exceptional drops from Society’s peerless wine cellar.

  • Enter the cyberpunk facade to find Chris Lucas’s two-level Japanese diner. Watch chefs turn skewered meat over jumping flames, slurp your noodles and call it good manners (it is in Japan), and sip cocktails named after Tokyo’s neighbourhoods.

  • There aren’t many Melbourne restaurants left where they’ll open the door for you, pull out your chair and fold a napkin on your lap. Impeccable service is a fine backdrop to a three-course meal of traditional Italian decadence.

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  • An upmarket New Nordic restaurant occupying two levels of Collins Street’s Gothic 1880s Olderfleet building. Stop by when the sun is up for various smorrebrod, or Scandi open sandwiches. Later on, you’ll find standout savoury waffles, not-your-average beef tartare and other dishes where simplicity tempers innovation.

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  • At this sprawling restaurant by Chris Lucas, there’s an experience for just about every taste. Grab a seat at the marble bar for cocktails, sit in the chandelier-lit dining room to try the luxe European menu, or book one of the striking private dining rooms.

  • 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 for a special occasion. Experience McConnell’s renowned fine-dining experience with the degustation.

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

  • The large communal dining hall is lit with lightsaber-like vertical lighting, with the kitchen’s mission is to create pub classics at a restaurant level.

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  • Recline on plush (and very large) peacock-feather blue couches while digging into an epic set menu.