Supernormal, Melbourne, Victoria © Trader House Restaurants, Nikki To
10 of Melbourne's best restaurants
From stylish and sophisticated to inspired and experimental, Melbourne’s renowned restaurants are in a league of their own.
By Lana Bogunovich
With its internationally renowned chefs, multi-cultural flavours and a region abundant with incredible ingredients, Melbourne’s reputation as Australia’s culinary capital remains firm. From timeless institutions to contemporary fine dining with a twist, the city’s best restaurants are known for their inspired and innovative edge, coupled with a passion for local landscapes and seasons. A food lover’s visit to Melbourne would be incomplete without dining at one of its famous restaurants, so here are just ten of the best that are sure to satisfy the most discerning epicurean.
Where: 95 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
Bringing the fresh flavours of regional Victoria to the city, Farmer’s Daughters is a celebration of Gippsland’s seasons and the bounty they produce. The seasonally-driven four- and seven-course menus are designed to take the diner on a journey through the region, showcasing a treasure trove of ingredients, wine and spirits, producers and stories, from the coast to the mountains. Dishes are created in the open campfire kitchen, cooked over charcoal and wood to bring out the rustic country flavours of each ingredient. The restaurant is housed on the first floor of the three-level venue, which also features a deli on the ground floor and a greenhouse-inspired rooftop bar, lush with native plants and herbs used in many of the cocktails and dishes.
Where: 125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
This eclectic South East Asian diner is one of Melbourne’s most popular restaurants, where you’ll often be met with a queue of both locals and visitors congregating outside. It certainly lives up to the hype, serving up expressive and experimental Thai-influenced dishes that are as dynamic as the restaurant’s rambunctious ambience of upbeat music, highly efficient staff and contemporary art-adorned walls. Dishes at Chin Chin are made to share, with a varied menu of zesty salads, spicy curries, punchy stir fries, smoky barbecued meats, plenty of vegetarian options and everything in between. Arrive early, leave your name at the door, then go have a drink at GoGo Bar underneath the restaurant and you’ll get a call when your table is available.
Where: 80 Bourke St, Melbourne
Since opening in 1928, Florentino has had a significant impact on the Melbourne dining scene and remains one of its most renowned restaurants. Helmed by esteemed chef and owner Guy Grossi, Florentino’s cuisine is proud of its Italian and Australian cultures, showcasing the best locally sourced ingredients through classic Italian dishes. The menu is designed to offer a choice of three or five courses, and there’s also a discerning wine list to match, spanning Italy, Australia and France, so you’ll want to allow plenty of time to enjoy this fine dining experience. Florentino is part of the iconic Grossi Florentino dining venue, which is also home to Italian wine bar Cellar Bar, and casual diner Grill, which offers Tuscan-style dishes cooked over a wood fire.
VUE DE MONDE
Where: Rialto Towers, 525 Collins St, Melbourne
Located on level 55 of the famous Rialto Towers, renowned chef Shannon Bennett’s Vue De Monde has been one of Melbourne’s most sought-after fine dining experiences for nearly 20 years. As you step out of the elevator, you’ll be greeted in the restaurant’s climate-controlled wine room, featuring around 2,000 bottles mostly from Victoria. The dark interiors, dim lighting and mirrored walls create a sultry, mysterious environment, while enhancing the magical view of twinkling city lights from wrap-around windows at every turn. The signature Chef’s Tasting Menu is ever-changing, highlighting uniquely Australian ingredients and presenting them in imaginative and theatrical ways to ignite a sense of wonder and curiosity. Arrive early and enjoy a pre-dinner drink to sweeping sunset views at adjoining Lui Bar.
Where: 33 Russell St, Melbourne
Housed inside the beautiful heritage building Cavendish House, Gimlet oozes classic European charm from the moment you step inside. The ultra-high ceilings, dark wood floors, plush booths, black marble bar and Art Deco columns and light-fittings set a glamorous yet comfortable scene, making this cocktail bar and restaurant ideally suited to any occasion. Serving lunch, dinner and supper, the Mediterranean-style menu features fresh seafood, seasonal vegetables and wood-fire roasted meats, while the bar serves up fresh and inventive cocktails alongside local and international wines and beers. For the ultimate indulgence, treat yourself to the decadent Caviar service.
Where: 74 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea
Helmed by internationally-acclaimed Australian chef Ben Shewry, Attica has regularly graced the covetable World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, making it one of the top dining destinations in the world. It offers a fine dining experience with an adventurous yet relaxed approach, favouring native Australian ingredients. The multi-course tasting menu highlights rare and unique ingredients such as finger limes, bunya nuts, marron and murrnong, also known as yam daisy. Each course is designed to reflect the stories and landscapes of the local region, instilling a sense of place into every dish. The drinks list is just as exciting, featuring innovative cocktails, wine from Australia and beyond, and notable non-alcoholic beverages such as Salted Melon and Cold-smoked Granny Smith Apple juices.
Where: 361 Little Bourke St, Melbourne
Named after the super fine Italian flour, Tipo 00 is a modern Italian restaurant where the spotlight shines brightly on its fresh, house-made pastas. The clean and simple interior design of concrete floors, window benches and white marble bar is reflected in its uncomplicated menu of understated yet impactful Italian dishes. Choose from starters such as chargrilled calamari and beef carpaccio, then move on to pasta and risotto, followed by a couple of different options as Secondi. But leave room for dessert with the likes of ‘Tipomisù’ and ricotta doughnuts offered under Dolci. Alternatively, go for the Chef’s Menu and leave it up to the kitchen staff to select for you.
Where: 180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Supernormal is as hard to miss for its brightly glowing neon-red cherries in the window as it is for the queue of hungry diners lining up outside. This casual and contemporary restaurant is one of the most popular joints in Melbourne, loved for its pan-Asian cuisine inspired by the gastronomic gems of Tokyo, Shanghai, Seoul and Hong Kong. On the menu you’ll find the likes of crowd-pleasing dumplings, Korean BBQ pork, bao, spicy pickled vegetables, piping-hot bowls of ramen and creative desserts like the peanut-butter parfait. The fit-out is just as fun as the food, with Japanese vending machines, bright neon signage and an open kitchen lending its high energy to the lively ambience.
Where: 1121 High St, Armadale
Loosely translating to “a beautiful place”, Amaru is exactly that. This suburban restaurant is small and intimate yet sleek and stylish in its design, with warm earthy colours reminiscent of the Australian landscape. There are two multi-course tasting menus, both just as considered and sophisticated as the décor. Offering predominantly modern Australian cuisine, the two menus, named ‘Insight’ and ‘Sensory’, are influenced by different cuisines from varying regions and cultures. Each dish is beautifully executed, but the focus is on delicious tasting food which plays on a harmony of textures and sweet and savoury flavours, such as the Smoked Duck Liver with onion, buckwheat and rose geranium.
Where: 226 Coventry St, South Melbourne
If you’re a curious and adventurous diner, you’ll be captivated at Lûmé. The restaurant’s philosophy is centred around foraging and being at one with nature, with wild Australian ingredients taking centre stage. Applying an experimental approach, the innovative 12-course degustation menu is designed to take you on a tasting journey through Victoria, celebrating its landscape and biodiversity in every dish. Each dish is categorised under a different region, with reference to the type of landscape and eco-system found there, encompassing forests, rivers, mountains, plains, the ocean and more. There is also a shorter nine-course degustation menu, with alternative vegan menus also available.