Even the most successful operators tend to refresh their business every now and then. From superficial renovations to completely new concepts, it’s a rare restaurateur who doesn’t feel the need to change things up.

That’s what makes the venues on this list so impressive. Many have sailed past their 50th anniversary on the same foundations they started with. Some have never changed what they do, and the oldest has been running since 1891.

As a group, they’ve weathered recessions, gentrification, rising rents and fluctuating tastes. We think that’s worth celebrating.


Although the menu changes often at this neighbourhood restaurant, regulars keep coming back for the beautiful dining room, old-school Italian hospitality and extensive wine list.

533 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy North
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This personable institution has been around since 1995 and retains a huge base of regular customers who love its classic, consistent menu.

40 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda
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Originally started in 1928. Taken over by the Grossis in 1999.

80 Bourke Street, Melbourne
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Flying the flag for opulent, old-world charm since 1996.

23 Bank Place, Melbourne
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Punch Lane

A pre- and post-theatre favourite since 1995.

43 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
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Caffe e Cucina

Another Italian stalwart, established in 1988.

581 Chapel Street, South Yarra
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Flower Drum

Fine Chinese since 1975.

17 Market Lane, Melbourne
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Even a catastrophic fire couldn't keep this 1989 kid down.

Upstairs 30 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda
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It's doubled in size since first opening in 1988.

400 Lygon Street, Carlton
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Izakaya Chuji

Japanese barbeque and pop music since 1989.

165 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
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Jim’s Greek Tavern

Noisy. No menus. Affordable. It's been this way since 1977.

32 Johnston Street, Collingwood


Vlado Gregurek founded this uncompromising steakhouse in 1964. Now his son Michael runs it.

61 Bridge Road, Richmond

Tofu Shop International

Started in 1982, before anybody even knew what tofu was.

78 Bridge Road, Richmond


Lebanese classics since 1979.

109 Elgin Street, Carlton

Jimmy Watson’s

Melbourne's first wine bar, opened in 1935.

333 Lygon Street, Carlton

Andrew's Hamburgers

Melbourne's original burger joint, established in 1939.

144 Bridport Street, Albert Park


This one arrived in 1945, right on the heels of Andrew's.

360 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North

T. Cavallaro & Sons

The family has been making cannoli since 1956.

98 Hopkins Street, Footscray


Italian comfort food since 1954.

66 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Mediterranean Wholesalers

Started life as a milkbar in 1941; evolved into a wholesaler in the '70s.

482 Sydney Road, Brunswick


Started cooking souvlakis in 1978. Still does it 24/7.

177-183 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
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Gin Palace

One of Melbourne's original laneway bars, founded in 1997.

10 Russell Place, Melbourne

Shakahari Carlton

Founded in 1972, in the midst of the hippie movement.

201-203 Faraday Street, Carlton

Tiamo Coffee

Once known as La Perla Nera ("The Black Pearl"), then Tamari's. Became Tiamo in 1977.

303 Lygon Street, Carlton

Enoteca Sileno

An Italian grocer established in 1953.

920 Lygon Street, Carlton North

France Soir

Steak frites since 1986.

11 Toorak Road, South Yarra

Hopetoun Tea Rooms

Okay, it's pretty twee. But it's also been there since 1891.

Shop 1 & 2 282 Collins Street, Melbourne

The Waiters Restaurant

Born in 1947, as a place for waiters to unwind after work.

20 Meyers Place, Melbourne


Founded in 1986, by two blokes named Mario.

303 Brunswick Street,, Fitzroy

Cafe Di Stasio

Opened in 1988; still a benchmark for food and service.

31 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
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A1 Bakery

A pillar of the Middle Eastern community since 1992.

643-645 Sydney Road, Brunswick