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



Left-of-centre pizzas are the drawcard at this big, industrial-chic room from the owners of Tipo 00 and Osteria Ilaria. Post up at the big central bar for snacks and natural wines by the glass, or share bistecca and nebbiolo at a bistro-style table.

331 Lygon Street, Brunswick East



This paddock-to-plate cafe and bistro sources much of its produce directly from the owners’ Gippsland farm, and uses it to serve up hearty breakfasts, plus harvest dinners with local DJs and booze.

158 Rathdowne Street, Carlton



Generous, home-style Laotian food is the draw at this relaxed restaurant from chef Thi Le and partner Jia-Yen Lee. Roll in for crisp rice salad with sour pork and freshly grated coconut, and whole spatchcock with pineapple salsa.

338 Bridge Road, Richmond



While sibling restaurant Farmer’s Daughters is all about Gippsland, this sophisticated eatery brings the best of the entire state’s produce to Melbourne’s epicentre. Find an interactive ingredients table, a 3000-bottle “wine library” and a terrace with river views.

Ground Floor, Yarra Building Federation Square, Melbourne

Maalu Maalu


A homey Sri Lankan buffet where $20 gets you meat and veggie curries, rice, sambol and more. Plus, unlimited hoppers for $5 extra.

246 Sydney Road, Brunswick



Tucked beneath an apartment block, an ex-Kisume and Nobu chef perfects the Japanese art of robatayaki using a charcoal-powered parrilla grill. Take a seat at the bar overlooking the small but efficient kitchen for yakitori served every way and a diverse selection of sake by the glass.

Shop 1 22-30 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Osteria Renata


Look for the lush olive-green facade on Prahan’s High Street to find this handsome restaurant and bar. Inside, a dedicated “pasta lab” produces all shapes and sizes, with a big emphasis on egg-based pastas specific to northern Italy. The wine list includes a handful of Italian varietals produced here in Victoria.

436-438 High Street, Prahran



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



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



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



There’s an experience for every taste at Chris Lucas’ 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 take in the terrace views from Lillian Brasserie, Society’s more relaxed sibling.

80 Collins Street, Melbourne

Enter Via Laundry


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

Connie’s Italian Diner


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



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

Grill Americano


Venetian elegance, New York energy and a kick of Melbourne nostalgia collide at restaurateur Chris Lucas' 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.

112 Flinders Lane, Melbourne



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

Smith & Daughters


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



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


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



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
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Entrecote Prahran


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
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Di Stasio Pizzeria


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


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

Public Wine 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


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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Al Dente Enoteca


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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