“What good new restaurants should I try?”

Broadsheet’s editors field this question, or a variation on it, most days. While we’d just as soon recommend one of Melbourne’s straight-up best restaurants or a long-standing institution, the pull of a hot new place is hard to deny.

So here it is: our edit of the best new restaurants in Melbourne from the past 12 months, updated monthly. Some of these places are redefining the way we eat and will go on to become classics. Others will be shorter lived. Either way, these are the spots we’re enjoying eating and drinking at in September.

Related Pages:
Best New Bars in Melbourne
Best New Cafes in Melbourne
Best Restaurants in Melbourne
Best Restaurants in Melbourne’s CBD

Bar Margaux

From the folks who gave us The Everleigh and Heartbreaker, Bar Margaux goes well beyond just being a bar. It's a subterranean late-night bistro with a substantial, unapologetically French menu. And with its red leather banquettes, subway tiles and forgiving lighting, it's the kind of place you could lose a whole night in.

Basement 111 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Di Stasio Citta

This refined new eatery from restaurateur Rinaldo Di Stasio (Cafe Di Stasio) is all about old-school Italian hospitality. There’s a real minimalism to the menu, with dishes such as angel-hair pasta with briny hunks of crab and grilled radicchio served fanned out on the plate, dressed simply with lemon and oil.

35 Spring Street, Melbourne
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Agostino

Wine bar Agostino is modelled on a classic Italian enoteca. Here, the compact menu will always include some salumi (such as Wagyu bresaola or culatella, a punchy Italian ham served with thinly sliced salted persimmon), and a handful of house-made pastas. It's all set in a moody ground-floor space in the heritage-listed King & Godfree building.

297 Lygon Street, Carlton
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Omnia

Omnia's elegant, produce-driven menu is all about European flavours and techniques. That's clear in standout starters such as the beef tartare with beef tenderloin, dried capsicum and smoked egg yolk. Another highlight is the quail, deboned and filled with chicken mousse, then roasted, chopped and reassembled in the shape of the bird. Omnia is a year-long pop-up, so be sure to get a booking before it's too late.

25 Toorak Road, South Yarra
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Bodriggy Brewing Co

This mammoth new brewery in Abbotsford is also the best new spot in Melbourne for Mexican cuisine (with some Peruvian influences). Order one of the cocktails on tap, then settle in for dishes such as jalapenos stuffed with smoked swordfish or anticuchos – a sort of Peruvian satay or shish kebab, which combines beef heart and grilled potato.

245 Johnston Street, Abbotsford
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Eazy Peazy

Chef Dan Chan, formerly of Hong Kong's Yardbird, heads up Eazy Peazy's kitchen. His yakitori menu offers wings with salty yuzu spice, and tender thigh skewers complemented by juicy charred leek. Eazy Peazy's owners also own Toji Sake, and the Japanese spirit is available here by the glass or bottle. It also shows up in cocktails such as the MSG: matcha, sake and gin.

108 Swan Street, Richmond

Mono-XO

Everything about Mono-XO – from its 22-seat room to its single 60-centimetre by 30-centimetre charcoal grill – is small. But the atmosphere and flavour in the food and drinks? All huge. Chef and co-owner Sam Stafford is focusing exclusively on Japanese kushiyaki-style cooking (food grilled on skewers). The flavours across all the skewers here are bold, sweet and salty, a perfect accompaniment to the outstanding wines and cocktails on the drinks list.

Rear 191A Smith Street, Fitzroy

Daughter In Law

A vibrant rose-coloured and peacock-feather-blue Indian restaurant from chef Jessi Singh. Order the yoghurt kebab – a slightly sour yoghurt patty coated in salted breadcrumbs and fried, served on a sweet beetroot sauce. Another essential is Colonel Tso's Cauliflower, a mound of fried sweet-and-sour cauliflower.

37 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
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Lagotto

This all-day Italian restaurant and cafe from the team behind Congress is striking: lipstick-red leather couches, marble counters and burnished timber tables practically beg to host long lunches, and that's what they've been doing. It's worth trying while the weather's still miserable, because as soon as Melbourne starts warming up, getting a table here will be difficult.

1 York Street, Fitzroy North

Half Acre

Half Acre feels like a friend's dinner party. It combines the drop-in spirit of a pub with the atmosphere and food of a restaurant across an enormous, multifaceted space. The food is comforting and familiar, whether you're sitting in for half a chicken with morels or a pumpkin roasted and served with its own spiced seeds.

112 Munro Street, South Melbourne
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Maha East

Low-key Middle Eastern wine bar Maha East opened in May on Chapel Street. The 40-seater has a wine list that spans new and old-world wines from Israel, Turkey, Lebanon and Morocco, alongside a few local drops, with a food menu that deftly balances heat and spice.

36 Chapel Street , Windsor
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Pretty Little

At this new diner, every guest sits around a single 20-seat communal table. At the far end of this table, head chef Josep Espuga presides over a little robata grill. The menu changes each night, but expect dishes with a modern Australian mantle, flecked with hints of Spain and France.

296 Carlisle Street, Balaclava
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Kazuki's

It's rare for a regional restaurant to move to the city. Usually, it's the other way around. It's rarer still for a restaurant to make this change and be better than ever. That's just what Kazuki pulled off earlier this year, when the Euro-Japanese restaurant moved from Daylesford to Carlton Street. Sleek and restrained amidst the gaudy glitz of Lygon Street, this is destination dining hidden in plain sight.

121 Lygon Street, Carlton

Prince Dining Room

Steered by head chef Dan Cooper, Prince Dining Room's menu is broad strokes Mediterranean, with a heavy emphasis on seafood and vegetables. Just as confident and relaxed is the design, which revels in the space it's afforded. Tables are generously spaced apart, walls and floors are light and bright, and art-deco lines throughout make everything feel smart-casual.

2 Acland Street, St Kilda
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Leo's by the Slice

Chef Nick Stanton's love letter to New York slice shops combines classic pizza toppings with quality ingredients and produce. The slices here come out thin, crisp, piping hot and, most importantly, foldable – just like the paper plates they're served on. Leo's serves the Chapel Street late-night set well – slices are available until 3am on Friday and Saturday nights.

363 Chapel Street, South Yarra

Cheek

To get to Cheek, step off Swanston Street and ascend the stairs painted in gradated shades of peach. Inside, you’ll find a crisp all-white space decorated only by a wall of wine-bottles and dry-ageing cabinets filled with pork, beef and duck. Cheek doesn’t look anything like the barbeque restaurants we’re used to and it’s the same story on the menu. It lists dishes such as mapo-tofu and pork-cheek empanadas, duck with smoked hoisin sauce, and onion rings with coffee-smoked mayo.

Level 1 301 Swanston Street, Melbourne
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Citrus

This new Sri-Lankan restaurant is all owned and run by one family. There’s an a-la-carte menu here, but the star attraction is the all-you-can-eat buffet: a nightly carnival of 15 or so dishes from across Sri Lanka. It changes daily, so you might find anything from yellow-lentil curry, devilled chicken and fried soy beans to spicy coconut sambol. Mixing and stirring everything together is encouraged. The buffet is $15 every night except for Saturday, when it’s $19.90.

252 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North

Sonny Chiba

This neighbourhood spot combines traditional Japanese fare such as karaage chicken with more adventurous alternatives, such as a curried beef brisket doughnut. In-between those two poles you’ll find everything from thinly sliced kingfish in a truffle vinaigrette to a prawn and pickled daikon sandwich. Sonny Chiba expertly treads the line between the classic and the experimental. Pair it with an immaculate saké list and a moody minimalist space, and you have a sure-fire date-night winner.

14 Beatty Avenue, Armadale
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Super Ling

This is one of the few places in Melbourne serving Hakka food, a cuisine from a nomadic people originally from northern China. Chef Mike Li is Mauritian, but his mother was Hakka. The result is a menu with a colourful take on traditional Hakka dishes that also draws inspiration from Mauritian food. Standout dishes include hakien – spring rolls made with carrot, onion, barramundi and pork – and the must-order mapo-tofu jaffle, which involves Sichuan minced pork and soft tofu stewed in a fiery red sauce.

138 Queensberry Street, Carlton
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Leonardo’s Pizza Palace

When it opened last December, this non-stop pizza party – with all the garlic bread and disco balls that entails – was at the crest of a wave of new Italian openings in Carlton. Leonardo’s stands out though, thanks to its emphasis on quality ingredients and fun-times, all wrapped up in a nostalgic ’70s wood-panelled space. And judging by the queues that spill out onto Grattan Street almost every night, everyone still wants a piece of the party.

29 Grattan Street, Carlton

Good Times

$9 pasta, $9 Negronis, $9 carafes of wine. Need we say more? This sunny Fitzroy North Italian diner – which is only open on weekends – changes its seven-dish menu weekly. And while some dishes sniff around the $14 mark, the $9 pasta special isn’t going anywhere. There’s no website or social media, so your best bet to nab a table here is to show up as soon as this place opens for the evening.

214 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North

Pizza Meine Liebe Two

It took 14 years for Elena Bonnici and her partner Sean Keenan to open up a second spot for Pizza Meine Liebe – and it’s only 900 metres away from the mothership. Still, this is a sequel that we can get behind. It’s everything we loved about the original in a sleeker, punchier package: BYO and good pizza at great prices, paired with a ripper atmosphere.

493 High Street, Northcote

Shop Ramen Preston

This noodle house was originally intended as an off-site kitchen to cope with demand at the Smith Street original. There’s only four ramen on the menu: pork belly, beef brisket, barbeque chicken and vegan. Most importantly, the portions are enormous. Come hungry.

143 Plenty Road, Preston

Wakenbo

Where some Japanese diners in Melbourne hew close to tradition, Wakenbo takes the opposite approach. The inventive menu includes miso and coconut milk braised rabbit with marrow ravioli. And green tea smoked duck breast with duck neck chorizo. This 30-seater restaurant is hidden down a side street. Inside you’ll find fluid stonework melded with fluid lines and brown and cream tones.

69 Victoria Street, Fitzroy