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.

Matteo's

Restaurant

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

Donovans

Restaurant

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

Florentino

Restaurant

Originally started in 1928. Taken over by the Grossis in 1999.

80 Bourke Street, Melbourne
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Syracuse

Restaurant

Flying the flag for opulent, old-world charm since 1996.

23 Bank Place, Melbourne

Punch Lane

Restaurant

A pre- and post-theatre favourite since 1995.

43 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Caffe e Cucina

Restaurant

Another Italian stalwart, established in 1988.

581 Chapel Street, South Yarra

Flower Drum

Restaurant

Fine Chinese since 1975.

17 Market Lane, Melbourne
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Stokehouse

Restaurant

Even a catastrophic fire couldn't keep this 1989 kid down.

Upstairs 30 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda

Jim’s Greek Tavern

Restaurant

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

32 Johnston Street, Collingwood

Vlado’s

Restaurant

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

61 Bridge Road, Richmond

Abla’s

Restaurant

Lebanese classics since 1979.

109 Elgin Street, Carlton

Jimmy Watson’s

Bar

Melbourne's first wine bar, opened in 1935.

333 Lygon Street, Carlton

Andrew's Hamburgers

Restaurant

Melbourne's original burger joint, established in 1939.

155 Franklin Street, Melbourne

Danny's

Restaurant

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

360 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North

T. Cavallaro & Sons

Shop

The family has been making cannoli since 1956.

98 Hopkins Street, Footscray

Pellegrini's

Cafe

Italian comfort food since 1954.

66 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Mediterranean Wholesalers

Shop

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

482 Sydney Road, Brunswick

Stalactites

Restaurant

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

177-183 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Gin Palace

Bar

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

10 Russell Place, Melbourne

Shakahari Carlton

Restaurant

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

201-203 Faraday Street, Carlton

Tiamo Coffee

Restaurant

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

303 Lygon Street, Carlton

Enoteca Sileno

Shop

An Italian grocer established in 1953.

920 Lygon Street, Carlton North

France Soir

Restaurant

Steak frites since 1986.

11 Toorak Road, South Yarra

Hopetoun Tea Rooms

Cafe

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

Shop 1 & 2 282 Collins Street, Melbourne

The Waiters Restaurant

Restaurant

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

20 Meyers Place, Melbourne

Marios

Restaurant

Founded in 1986, by two blokes named Mario.

303 Brunswick Street,, Fitzroy

Cafe Di Stasio

Restaurant

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

31 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
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A1 Bakery

Cafe

A pillar of the Middle Eastern community since 1992.

643-645 Sydney Road, Brunswick

Moroccan Soup Bar

Restaurant

This Fitzroy North icon moved into a larger space in late 2020. It’s got the same classic menu filled with hearty, all-vegetarian soups, tagines and salads – but now, with six dining rooms, getting a table is a whole lot easier.

316 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North

Claypots

Restaurant

Fresh and varied fare to rival that of any Southeast Asian island.

213 Barkley Street, St Kilda

Araliya

Restaurant

Traditional Sri Lankan cuisine married with modern techniques.

157 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda

Afghan Gallery

Restaurant

This Brunswick Street institution is one of Australia’s oldest Afghan restaurants. Adored by homesick Afghanis and BYO-loving uni students alike, the veggo- and vegan-friendly spot is one of Fitzroy’s most unique dining experiences.

327 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Jerry's Milk Bar

Cafe

This Barkly Street icon has stood for over four decades. And after a brief Covid-enforced closure, it's in new hands and is better than ever. It's doing meatball subs, thickshakes and vegan cakes.

345 Barkly Street, Elwood

Trivelli Cakes

Cafe

This Coburg cake shop has been baking cakes and piping cannoli since 1965. Visit for those, and the huose cartocci: doughy yet light Italian doughnuts coated in sugar and filled with a fluffy custard-and-ricotta cream.

369 Sydney Road, Coburg