As we return to dining in at restaurants again, many of Melbourne’s best restaurants and institutions feel like brand new openings to us. Especially considering most of them have had to reinvent the way they look and feel to comply with these strange times.

It’s important we support these icons, but the pull of a truly new place is hard to deny. And believe it or not, plenty of new restaurants have actually opened recently.

So here it is: our edit of the best new restaurants in Melbourne from the past 12 months, updated monthly. Some of these places opened on the precipice of the pandemic, others opened in the limbo between lockdowns. Either way, these are the spots we’re enjoying eating and drinking at right now.

Related Pages:
Best Restaurants in Melbourne
Best Restaurants in Melbourne’s CBD

Attica Summer Camp

A charcoal-fired rotisserie turns out hasselback potatoes like you’ve never had before, succulent Milawa chook and more. Plus, a majestic dessert trolley with unmissable cakes, Ben & Shewry’s Cherry Ripe-inspired ice-cream and smashable reisling slushies. Your average camp cuisine this is not.

45 Davross Court, Seville

Farmer’s Daughters

This three-storey love letter to Gippsland and its produce is by Alejandro Saravia, the chef behind CBD classic Pastuso. There's a deli with house-made pastrami rolls; a suave restaurant with a focus on cooking with flames; and a greenhouse-like rooftop oasis.

80 Collins Street, Melbourne

Hero

This elegantly understated all-day diner – by celebrity chef Karen Martini and dessert queen Phillipa Sibley – is the ACMI’s flagship restaurant. Visit for uncomplicated dishes such as potato focaccia with a Noma edge, an exceptional crumbed-fish sandwich and spicy crab cavatelli.

ACMI Fed Square , Melbourne

Chancery Lane

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.

430 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

Lollo

At the W Melbourne's in-house restaurant, Coda chef Adam D'Sylva is drawing on his Italian-Indian heritage. The star chef has created a globe-trotting menu that includes luxed-up lasagna, pasta-less cacio e pepe (a surprising triumph), and fragrant, spicy duck curry. Plus there's an excellent and fun roster of theatrical cocktails.

408 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Cappo Sociale

This Italian restaurant – in the former Village People Hawker Food Hall space – is the flagship of the Hotel Fitzroy. Come for classic pizzas, salumi, pastas, and a punchy cocktail list. Plus, there's private dining and a terrace balcony.

1/127 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Gray and Gray

This wine bar from the owner of All Are Welcome is in a former lawyer’s office. Step behind the original gold-leaf signage and vertical blinds for left-of-centre wines and Russian and Georgian dishes. You might get breads with “various fats”, beetroot-stained dill pickles, flaky puff-pastry pie or a lofty 10-layer honey cake.

188 High Street, Northcote

Gimlet at Cavendish House

Star chef Andrew McConnell's signature is evident on every Eurocentric plate here, from the clam-topped flatbread to the anchovy Danish to the wood-fired rhubarb cheesecake. You’ll find us at the black-and-gold marble bar, Martini in hand.

33 Russell Street, Melbourne

Va Penne

To find this dimly lit Italian bar and eatery, look out for a flashing red neon hand in the window. Inside, you’ll find old-school breadbaskets (loaded with carbs to salsa-verde-doused burrata); garlicky spaghetti vongole swimming in oil; a cocktail list centred around Vermouth; and more.

493 High Street, Nortcote

Poodle Bar & Bistro

This double-decker spot is full of cosy nooks. Sink into a leather banquette or one of the gold velvet couches and order zhooshed-up hotel classics (thinly sliced beetroot-dill cured trout, pan-roasted chicken topped with truffle) from a former Cumulus Inc and Marion chef.

81-83 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Waxflower

Blending elements of Melbourne cafe, European wine bar and Tokyo-style “listening bar”, this buzzing spot hosts vinyl-only DJs five nights a week, with no cover charges. It’s one of the best places in town to hear recorded music.

153 Weston Street, Brunswick

Thin Slizzy

At this rock'n'roll pizzeria and bar you'll find punny, Neapolitan-style pizzas such as the Meatallica, the Smashing Pumpkins or the Brockin' in the Free World – by an ex-Rita's chef.

115 Johnston Street, Collingwood

Zymurgy

It’s like a summer barbeque in your mate’s backyard – but with a charcoal-fired menu by a top Melbourne chef, 10 Hop Nation beers (and Negronis) on tap, and more.

561 Barkly Street, West Footscray

Abbiocco

This swish, well-polished Italian diner reps lesser-known pastas such as paccheri and tortelli, and obscure wine varieties to drink with them. Plus there’s house-made limoncello, Aperol Margaritas and an unmissable tiramisu.

501 Highett Road, Highett

Three Blue Ducks

An all-day diner at Tullamarine’s surfable wave park from the popular cafe chain. Get spanner-crab scramble and a Bloody Mary for breakfast; pizzas, Portuguese-style chook and tomato-and-chilli mussels with garlicky Baker Bleu sourdough after midday; and non-alcoholic cocktails and beers pre-surf.

Airport Drive, Melbourne Airport

Dakota

This seafood-centric bayside diner is headed up by chef David Green, formerly of Daylesford’s Lake House. Local seafood and ingredient foraging reign supreme here. On the menu you’ll find fire-roasted clams, charry octopus and whisky-glazed Basque burnt cheesecake.

67 Beach Street, Port Melbourne

Hemingway’s Wine Room

This lavish, split-down-the-centre space was designed with the spirit of 1920s Paris and New York in mind. Have a cheese trolley wheeled to your table, sip Ernest Hemingway-inspired cocktails, or settle in for a long lunch with free-flowing magnums.

150 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne

New Quarter

In 2021, New Quarter got itself a new chef, menu and fit-out. Enter this warmly lit space for pho-inspired beef tartare, banh mi “fingers” and a dish featuring Laughing Cow cheese – from an ex-Sunda and Cumulus Inc chef. Plus, spring roll-topped Bloody Marys and a cocktail with a Vietnamese-coffee ice cube.

79 Swan Street, Richmond

Firebird

Firebird opened in March, about a week before Covid-19 upended everything. With its fun cocktail range and its fire-cooked mod Vietnamese menu, the diner – from the restaurant group behind Tokyo Tina and Hanoi Hannah – was poised to become a southside staple. Now, it still feels brand new and primed to receive the long overdue attention it deserves.

223 High Street, Windsor

Longrain

When CBD icon Longrain (and its upstairs bar, Longsong) announced its permanent closure back in May, it was set to be one of Covid-19’s highest-profile restaurant scalps. Fortunately, chef Scott Pickett (Estelle, Matilda) stepped in to save it. Longrain ran a takeaway menu of classic dishes throughout Melbourne’s second lockdown; now that we’re dining in again, we’re looking forward to seeing Pickett put his own stamp on this institution.

40-44 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

1800 Lasagne

This was the lockdown success story of 2020. Man spends five years delivering lasagne in his ’91 Holden Barina. Pandemic envelops country; lasagne becomes national crisis dish. Man turns said side-hustle into a bar and restaurant in Thornbury, but keeps the delightfully one-track focus. The idea of a place that’s confident enough to serve nothing but great lasagne and sides, plus spritzes and tap wines, is something we can get behind.

653 High Street, Thornbury

Mr Brownie

Mr Brownie is Jessi Singh’s (Horn Please, Daughter in Law) Indian rendition of a classic British pub. It’s four storeys, with a different, eclectic bar on each floor. In the basement, there’s a cocktail den; on the ground floor, a bottle shop with counter seating; level one is a dining room; and up top is an open-air tiki-style bar with knockout CBD views. The menu’s intent is to demonstrate how well curries and beers can work together – that proves itself across the samosa burgers, curry pies, spice-dusted fries and Singh’s signature thali deals.

343 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne

Zsa's

During Lockdown 2.0, this all-day bistro, bar and deli could only legally be a deli. Luckily for anyone living within its five-kilometre radius at the time, Zsa’s was very good at being a deli. Its sandwiches, the porchetta roll especially, regularly drew (socially-distanced) crowds. Now that Zsa’s has the green light to fulfil its original vision of cheeseboards, charcuterie, wine and European bistro classics, we’re predicting a whole new legion of fans will be joining the sandwich-lovers in the queue.

202 High Street, Northcote

Chibog

Chibog (a slang term meaning “to eat”) is a neon-lit West Footscray eatery hoping to appeal to homesick pinoys while simultaneously introducing Filipino food to a wider audience. The signature here is sisig, a sizzling plate of pork “secret cuts” and chicken liver. Kinilaw, a raw tuna dish similar to ceviche, is also popular. There are three kinds of rice: plain, garlic-fried (sinangag) and an orange-tinged number cooked in rich aligue (crab fat). For dessert, try a classic leche flan (crème caramel) that comes in spring roll form.

553 Barkly Street, West Footscray

Ollie’s Pizza Parlour

Spitfire, Stay Gold bandroom’s front-bar and diner, was replaced by Ollie’s earlier this year. The pies here fall somewhere between Neapolitan and New York styles: enough structural integrity to eat folded by hand and just the right amount of cheesy-saucy in the centre. The crusts are basted in extra oil and salt, and you can add dipping sauces to your order too. Sides include fried mozzarella sticks and crispy broccoli. Each week, a guest “PJ” (pizza jockey) creates a one-off special that usually involves over-the-top ingredients and flavour combinations.

133 Sydney Road, Brunswick
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