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 right in the middle of lockdown, others opened in those small windows between stay-at-home orders. Either way, they're worth celebrating.

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

Aru

Restaurant

This sultry sibling to Sunda is every bit as stellar. Chef Khanh Nguyen effortlessly blends 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

Gimlet at Cavendish House

Restaurant

Star chef Andrew McConnell's signature is evident on every European plate here, from the bright seasonal seafood to the sterling cuts of beef from the grill. You’ll find us at the black-and-gold marble bar, Martini in hand.

33 Russell Street, Melbourne
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Grill Americano

Restaurant

Venetian elegance, New York energy and a kick of Melbourne nostalgia collide at the Lucas Group’s lavish brasserie and grill. Take a seat in the grand dining room for charcoal-fired bistecca, a show stopping tiramisu, quintessentially Italian cocktails and plenty of tableside theatrics.

101 Collins Street, Melbourne

Nomad

Restaurant

The hotly anticipated Melbourne outpost of the Sydney original was everything we hoped it would be. The focus on open-flame cooking and locally-sourced produce has been replicated here, but there are also Melbourne signatures: baked ricotta and anchovies, dry-aged pork cutlets and a big lean on Victorian vino. Find it in a sleek, contemporary space on Flinders Lane.

187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

BKK

Restaurant

Small, lively and theatrical, this barbeque-powered restaurant on the third level of Her is a top spot to try dishes from all over Thailand, paired with highly complementary beers, wines and cocktails.

Level 3 270 Lonsdale Street (enter via Drewery Lane), Melbourne

Smith & Daughters

Restaurant

Fire-based cooking reigns supreme at the second iteration of Shannon Martinez’ pioneering vegan diner, suitably housed inside an old red-brick fire station. Choose from Mediterranean-inspired dishes and booze à la carte, or grab a seat at the intimate chef’s table and let the experts choose for you.

107 Cambridge Street, Collingwood

Enter Via Laundry

Restaurant

Just 20 diners a night are admitted to this inimitable Indian restaurant, where owner-chef Helly Raichura cooks vibrant banquets faithful to her home state of Gujarat (plus others) using top-quality local produce and native ingredients.

Street number given on booking Nicholson Street, Carlton North

Society

Restaurant

There’s an experience for every taste at the Lucas Group’s grand palace of seafood. Pull up at the marble bar for cocktails by one of the world’s best bartenders; take a seat in the chandelier-lit dining room to try the dazzling Japanese and European-inspired menu; or get some friends together to book one of the striking private dining rooms.

80 Collins Street, Melbourne

Parcs

Restaurant

Helmed by one of Melbourne’s most exciting young chefs, this low-waste bar and kitchen by the Aru and Sunda team transforms rescued ingredients into ferment-forward dishes and experimental cocktails. It’s also selling fancy pantry products to take home.

198 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

Yakimono

Restaurant

The cyberpunk facade of this two-level Japanese diner is almost as impressive as the action in the sprawling open kitchen, where chefs turn skewered meat over jumping flames. Visit for elevated rice and noodle dishes, spanner-crab-filled hand rolls and cocktails named after the neighbourhoods of Tokyo.

80 Collins Street, 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 lamb rigatoni, hibiscus-and-Davidson’s-Plum sorbet and plenty of juicy lo-fi wines.

35 Johnston Street, Collingwood

Auterra

Bar

This warmly lit bolthole, by Amaru's Clinton McIver, is all about fun fine-diner snacks – minus the degustation price tag. And most dishes are made to be eaten without cutlery. So, raise a spanner-crab doughnut or aged-Comte eclair in one hand, and a glass of splash-out-worthy champagne in the other.

1160 High Street, Armadale

Entrecote Prahran

Restaurant

After seven years in South Yarra, this well-loved brasserie found a new home in Prahran. Alongside the restaurant’s signature dishes, you’ll find a roving caviar trolley, a raw seafood bar, a late-night supper menu and French-inspired cocktails from the brain behind Romeo Lane.

142-144 Greville Street, Prahran

Di Stasio Pizzeria

Restaurant

For the first time, the prolific restaurateur behind Di Stasio Citta is serving pizza – from the classic margherita to a luxurious lobster option – as well as an exceptional fior di latte soft serve. The green-toned interior is studded with impressive works of art, but the 17th-century Italian stone fountain in the courtyard is hard to top.

224 Faraday Street, Carlton

Mabu Mabu Big Esso

Restaurant

Big Esso is the CBD follow-up to Yarraville's beloved, now-closed Torres Strait Islander cafe Mabu Mabu. Expect dishes from chef-owner Nornie Bero’s childhood, brought to life with locally sourced native ingredients. There's also a retail section stocked with pantry fillers to take away.

Federation Square , Melbourne

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. Visit for caviar by the gram or tin, bistro-style mains and baba for dessert.

430 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
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Moonhouse

Restaurant

In an iconic southside building, this alluring bistro does old Chinese favourites in new ways – like reimagined prawn toast and a Hainanese chicken club sandwich that took 30 attempts to perfect.

282 Carlisle Street, Balaclava
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Public Wine Shop

Shop

What started as a pop-up bottle shop is now a fully fledged bar and eatery – with an all-organic wine ethos and a simple but seriously good menu of French-leaning plates by ex-Agrarian Kitchen head chef Ali Currey-Voumard.

179 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North

Smith St Bistrot

Restaurant

Scott Pickett draws on his classic French training at this sexy Parisian-style bistro. But it’s not a special occasion restaurant – more a neighbourhood spot done well, where you can revel in Gallic standards, house-cured meats and a French-leaning wine list.

300 Smith Street, Collingwood
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Connie’s Italian Diner

Restaurant

This Italian disco diner is a “cinematic experience” – with a jukebox, disco balls and red vinyl everywhere. Ascend the stairs for supersized pastas and grandma pies, “tirami-sundaes” and cocktail pitchers.

Upstairs 234b Russell Street, Melbourne

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

Al Dente Enoteca

Restaurant

What started as a lockdown pasta-delivery service by a stood-down chef is now a swish restaurant and wine bar. Come for spanner crab ravioli, Wagyu bistecca and standout desserts. The cacio e pepe-filled tortellini that started it all? It’s available by request, so make sure you call ahead.

Restaurant 161-163 Nicholson Street, Carlton
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