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

Mabu Mabu Big Esso

Restaurant

Big Esso is the bigger CBD follow-up to Yarraville's beloved Torres Strait Islander cafe Mabu Mabu. Expect dishes from chef-owner Nornie Bero’s childhood, such as tamarind pipies, buckets of chargrilled prawns, and fried crocodile with saltbush and pepperberry. There's also a retail section stocked with pantry fillers to take away.

Federation Square , Melbourne
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Aru

Restaurant

This sultry sibling to Sunda is every bit as stellar. At Aru, chef Khanh Nguyen is effortlessly blending Southeast Asian flavours, native Australian ingredients and ancient techniques. And while there are unexpectedly playful riffs on classics – like banh mi, Peking duck and mi goreng – they never feel gimmicky, just modernised and expertly refined.

268 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

Superchido

Restaurant

From Baja fish tacos to al pastor, this colourful Seddon diner is covering Mexican cooking styles from across the country – with as little westernisation as possible.

82 Charles Street, Seddon

Robata

Restaurant

Departing from San Telmo's Latin American flavours, here the group focuses on yakitori and kushiyaki cooked over traditional binchotan charcoal. Also, masterfully-sliced sashimi and sake, in a fit-out that resembles a scene straight from the streets of Tokyo.

2 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

Farmer’s Daughters

Restaurant

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 95 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

Lulu's Char Koay Teow

Restaurant

A cafe-style restaurant on Hardware Lane inspired by – and using the special sauce from – the owner’s mother-in-law and her hawker stall in Malaysia.

27-31 Hardware Lane, CBD

Hero

Restaurant

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

Hope St Radio

Bar

A glowing wine (and pasta) bar at Collingwood’s mammoth arts hub, which doubles as Hope St Radio’s home. Settle in for rigatoni all’amatriciana, Fernet-Branca-and-cola sorbet and plenty of juicy lo-fi wines.

35 Johnston Street, Collingwood

Chancery Lane

Restaurant

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

Al Dente Enoteca

Restaurant

What began as a lockdown pasta-delivery service by a stood-down chef is now a swish restaurant and wine bar. Come for spanner crab ravioli, cacio e pepe-filled tortellini; Wagyu bistecca and standout desserts.

161 Nicholson Street, Carlton
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Dom’s

Restaurant

This three-level spot, from the guys behind Dexter and Takeaway Pizza, bears little resemblance to its former self (Peaches, Dexter). Go for focaccia-like pizza with house-made mortadella and garlic-fermented honey, chevre-stuffed potato skins, plenty of Aussie spirits and a pool table.

1/301 Swanston Street, Melbourne

Bar Romanee

Restaurant

This swish bar – decked out in emerald marble and plush velvet – was once a Bakers Delight. Now, it's a buzzy bistro and wine bar from a former Fitzroy Town Hall head chef and the owner of nearby wine bar Barkley Johnson. Visit for a caramelised-onion baguette, whole fish swimming in miso butter and a peachy aperitif cocktail.

25 Anderson Street, Yarraville

Lona Misa

Restaurant

Shannon Martinez's all-vegan, all-day diner inside the luxury Ovolo hotel is a symbol of the group's commitment to plant-based eating. Alongside celebrated chef Ian Curley, Martinez is serving Josper-fired peri-peri cauliflower, steamy tamales and "blood" sausage that might freak you out.

230 Toorak Road, South Yarra

Riso

Restaurant

This all-day diner and wine bar is from an ex-Vue De Monde chef known for his sell out vegetarian pop-up dinners. Come for an a la carte menu that changes daily (pastas are the star of the show) and a wine list curated by an ex-L'Hôtel Gitan and Movida sommelier.

60 Rose Street, Fitzroy

Lollo

Restaurant

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

Restaurant

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
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Gray and Gray

Bar

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

Tres a Cinco

Restaurant

The Movida team's lively cantina, in the former Bar Tini site, brings home-style Mexican to Hosier Lane. Led by Mexican chef Sarai Castillo, expect beef tacos exactly how they're served in Mexico, prawn-and-chorizo tamales and a jiggly chocolate flan. Plus eight different Margaritas and hard-to-find agave spirits.

3-5 Hosier Lane, Melbourne

Gimlet at Cavendish House

Restaurant

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
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Waxflower

Bar

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

Va Penne

Restaurant

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

Thin Slizzy

Restaurant

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

Restaurant

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

Restaurant

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

Restaurant

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

Restaurant

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

New Quarter

Restaurant

Enter this warmly lit space – by the owners of Tokyo Tina, Hanoi Hannah and Firebird – for playful takes on classic Vietnamese dishes and drinks.

79 Swan Street, Richmond

1800 Lasagne

Restaurant

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

Poodle Bar & Bistro

Restaurant

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
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Zsa's

Shop

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, Zsa's is fulfilling its original vision of cheeseboards, charcuterie, wine and European bistro classics.

202 High Street, Northcote