10 Unmissable Restaurants in Melbourne’s Coolest Neighbourhoods

Melbourne is renowned for its inventive food scene
Melbourne is renowned for its inventive food scene | © Magdalena Bujak / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Jessica Dellow
24 June 2019

Melbourne’s thriving food scene attracts millions of visitors every year, but there’s more to the cool Aussie city than great coffee and brunches. Whether you’re seeking a Michelin-starred meal or street food to shout about, here are the must-visit restaurants in the city’s hippest areas.

Ezard

Restaurant, Australian, $$$
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Ezard
Expect beautiful, inventive dishes at Ezard | Courtesy of Quandoo

Any Melburnian will tell you that Ezard is a must-visit restaurant. Owned by Teage Ezard, one of Australia’s most renowned chefs, the restaurant in CBD serves what many consider to be the best tasting menu in Australia. If you’d rather stick to the à la carte, confections such as the signature oyster shooter or mouthwatering pork hock are sure to impress.

David’s Hotpot

Restaurant, Chinese, $$$
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David’s Hotpot
David’s Hotpot is a vibrant convivial space ideal for group dining | Courtesy of Quandoo

One for those who don’t plan on venturing too far away from central Melbourne, David’s Hotpot serves up bubbling Sichuan broth with a variety of unusual dipping options – from tofu to ox penis. The experience of the restaurant is top notch, thanks to the kitsch atmosphere and passionate staff. Reservations are essential.

Munich Brauhaus

Restaurant, German, European, $$$
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Munich Brauhaus
Beer and bratwurst are a winning combination at the Munich Brauhaus | Courtesy of Quandoo

A German beerhall that seats an impressive 900 people, Munich Brauhaus is as much an event as it is a restaurant. That doesn’t mean the owners are scrimping on taste, though: the menu features suckling pig, sourced locally and then cooked over a charcoal spit before being sprinkled with cardamom and fennel salt. Plus, there’s strudel aplenty.

Neighbourhood Wine

Restaurant, Australian, Wine, $$$
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Neighbourhood Wine
Neighbourhood Wine serves up simple dishes executed to perfection | Courtesy of Neighbourhood Wine

Fitzroy is undoubtedly Melbourne’s coolest neighbourhood – but among all the Instagram-worthy pop-ups are some reliable gems, including Neighbourhood Wine. The sustainable menu at the restaurant changes daily, but you can expect comforting dishes such as potato and ricotta gnocchi with goat’s cheese, or grilled octopus with fried purple potato – all served with excellent wine pairings, of course.

Macelleria

Restaurant, Steakhouse, Australian, $$$
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Steak at Macelleria
Hand-pick your steak at Macelleria | Courtesy of Quandoo

Meat-lovers: this one is for you. Macelleria literally translates as “butcher shop”, and customers browse the meat before selecting their cut and how they want it cooked. Owner Peter Zaidan aims to educate diners about meat, but even if you’re not up for a lesson, you can expect one of the best steaks of your life.

Gerald’s Bar

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Wine Bar, Cocktails, $$$
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Dish made with seasonal vegetables such as winter squash and shiitake mushrooms
The European menu at Gerald’s Bar is characterised by bright, fresh dishes made with seasonal ingredients | © Magdalena Bujak / Alamy Stock Photo

The ’70s decor in Gerald’s Bar adds to the homely vintage vibe of this well-loved restaurant and bar. It’s garnered such a following over the years that the owners have even expanded to the foodie paradise that is San Sebastian in Spain. The North Carlton offering, however, serves up daily seasonal dishes, or an excellent degustation menu, with drinks, for 60 Australian dollars. Book in advance.

Los Hermanos

Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
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Prawn tacos with avocado and lettuce
Prawn tacos at Los Hermanos pack a punch | © Magdalena Bujak / Alamy Stock Photo
Los Hermanos Mexican Taqueria, a tiny little restaurant in the hip suburb of Brunswick, serves up out-of-this-world tacos and delicious homemade guacamole. If you’re visiting during winter, make sure to try the truly memorable sopa de fideo (Mexican soup made with noodles). The watermelon margaritas, however, are perfect all year round.

Penny Young, Moonee Ponds

Restaurant, Italian, European, $$$
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Pizza at Penny Young
Pizza’s at Penny Young are cooked in the oven imported from Italy | Courtesy of Quandoo

What looks like a traditional Australian bottle-o (read: off-licence) turns out to be a treasure trove of great beer and cider in Moonee Ponds, along with some of the best pizza around. Cooked in an oven imported from Italy, Penny Young’s pizzas go down beautifully with a local bottle of ale or wine from the carefully curated list.

Lezzet’s Anatolian Kitchen

Restaurant, Turkish, $$$
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Lezzet’s Anatolian Kitchen
Visit Lezzet’s Anatolian Kitchen with friends to best enjoy the sharing plates | Courtesy of Quandoo

St Kilda is known for being the closest beach suburb to central Melbourne, but locals will tell you that Lezzet’s Anatolian Kitchen is just as good a reason to venture away from the CBD. A fragrant combination of traditional Turkish and modern Australian flavours, the banquet menus feature delicious meze, best enjoyed with one of the signature cocktails.

Amok Restaurant

Restaurant, Cambodian, $$$
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Amok Restaurant
Sample authentic Cambodian cuisine at Amok Restaurant | Courtesy of Quandoo

Modern Cambodian cuisine reigns supreme at Amok Restaurant on hip Chapel Street in Windsor. There’s a focus on local produce, with fruit and veg sourced from nearby markets and fish caught on the Australian coast. The quality shows – chef Woody Chet’s fragrant dishes such as the Cambodian duck curry won him Most Outstanding Apprentice Chef at the Australian Culinary Federation’s Fine Foods competition.

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These recommendations were updated on June 24, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.