by James Ridenour
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Melbourne’s Best Restaurants

Melbourne is renown around the world for being one of the world’s great foodie cities.  What’s special about Melbourne is that not only do we have great restaurants, Melburnians also have a passion for  dining out.  Restaurants are one of the main social outlets for our city and Melbourne’s culinary arts are showcased in kitchen shops, gourmet food shop, cook book stores, TV shows, food festivals, cooking classes, public markets, farmers markets and of course restaurants.  Our love affair with food and dining out sets an extremely high benchmark for quality.

Here are my personal favourites (in alphabetical order).  I have tried each of these restaurants and I regularly recommend them to my guests.  You can be assured of a great culinary experience at any of these fine establishments.

The list is ever changing as I explore our great city so check back regularly for updates!

  • Acland Street Cantina – Mexican – (Diner with some of Melbourne’s best Mexican food and drink)
  • Bar Nacional – Spanish – Dockland (Wonderful food and even better desserts)
  • Becco – Italian – City (my favourite Italian restaurant) read my review
  • Bistro Vue – French – City (a French masterpiece) read my review
  • Bomba – Spanish – City (a casual spot with awesome food and a great rooftop bar) read my review 
  • Brooks – Contemporary – City (excellence in presentation in a stylish bar/restaurant combination) read my review
  • Cafe e Cucina – Italian – South Yarra (a romantic classic)
  • Cafe Di Stasio – Italian – St Kilda (the standard for classic Italian cuisine for over 25 years, superb)
  • Circa, The Prince – Contemporary – St Kilda (newly refurbished dining room and menu, a fresh new menu)
  • Cumulus Inc. – Contemporary – City (great breakfast, awesome veggies and a communal table to make new friends)
  • Cutler & Co – Contemporary – Fitzroy (culinary excellence at the top of my favourites list) read my review
  • The Deck – Modern European – Southbank (great food and value with superb hospitality) read my review
  • D.O.C. – Italian/Pizzaria – Carlton (great food and family friendly)
  • Donovans – Contemporary – St Kilda (huge menu with best seafood in town, with amazing sunsets) read my review
  • Elyros – Cretan – Camberwell (Greek Island food and wine at its best) read my review 
  • Epocha – Modern European – Carlton (one of my favourite Melbourne experiences) read my review
  • Estelle Bar & Kitchen – Northcote (contemporary excellence with a beautiful garden dining area, very romantic) read my review 
  • Ezard  – Contemporary – City (another must try – fine dining at its best, superb options for a vegetarians and excellence for non-vegos too) read my review
  • 400 Gradi – Pizzeria – Brunswick (voted best pizza in the world, the Margarita is a must try) read my review 
  • France-Soir – French – South Yarra (wonderfully done traditional French favourites)
  • The French Brasserie – French – City (one of my absolute favourites, highly under rated)
  • Gingerboy – Modern South East Asian – City (modern Asian flavours)
  • Grossi Florentino – Italian – City (a Melbourne institution)
  • Hare & Grace – Contemporary – City (a pop-up restaurant in a historic building – great steaks and comfort food)
  • Il Bacaro – Modern Italian – City (Italian elegance exemplified)
  • La Luna Bistro – Modern Mediterranean – Carlton North (cozy comfort food)
  • Ladro – Italian/Pizzeria – Fitzroy (trendy Italian at its best)
  • Lupino – Italian – City (wonderful food and service and great value) read my review
  • Longrain – Modern Thai – City (a modern twist on Thai in a historic warehouse dining room)
  • Maha – Contemporary – City (a fun twist on fine dining, great if you craving a chance from the usual)
  • Matteo’s – Contemporary – Fitzroy (a classic neighbourhood restaurant) read my review
  • Mediterraneo – Croatian Charcoal Grill – Albert Park (Croatian grilled steak and seafood)
  • Merchant – Italian – City (the perfect celebration of Italian hospitality, great for a family/friends night out)
  • Movida – Spanish – City (iconic Melbourne tapas bar, great atmosphere)
  • Movida Aqui – Spanish – City (the sister restaurant to Movida, great location and terrace)
  • Mr Huang Jin – Taiwanese Dumplings – City (the best dumplings and Taiwanese food in Melbourne) read my review
  • Moon Under Water – Contemporary – Fitzroy (one of the best fine dining experiences around at a very reasonable price) read my review
  • Number 8 – Contemporary – Southbank (the seafood platter is wonderful)
  • Panama Dining Room – Trendy eatery/bar – Level 3 – 321 Smith Street, Fitzroy (a great place to meet up with friends or to make new ones)
  • Pei Modern – Contemporary – City (sophisticated menu for foodies in a more casual atmosphere, another must try) read my revie
  • The Point – Contemporary – Probably Melbourne’s best wine list with food and views to match! read my review
  • Portello Rosso – Spanish – City (great tapas in a historic coffee warehouse, a hidden gem)
  • Pure South – Contemporary/Steak House – Southbank (steaks and seafood with a city view, great value) read my review
  • Red Spice Road – Modern Asian – City (fun, modern and a great variety of Asian favourites)
  • Rockpool Bar & Grill – Contemporary Grill – City (a steak and red wine lovers paradise plus one of the largest menus in Melbourne) read my review
  • Rosetta Ristorante – Italian – Southbank (best al fresco dining in Melbourne) read my review
  • Rubira’s @ Swallows – Seafood – Port Melbourne (some of the best seafood in Melbourne at very reasonable prices) read my review
  • Sarti – Modern Italian – City (Italian with an inventive menu) read my review
  • Senoritas – Modern Mexican – City (best Mexican in Melbourne)
  • Shoya – Japanese – City (hands down the best Japanese in Melbourne, a favourite of an Iron Chef)
  • Spice Temple – Modern Chinese – Southbank (best modern Yum Cha in Melbourne) read my review 
  • St Crispin – Modern Australian – Collingwood (wonderful flavour combinations, a must visit) read my review 
  • Syracuse – Modern Mediterranean – City (charming old school European dining room)
  • Tutto Bene – Italian – Southbank (great wine list, food and service in Southgate)
  • Vue de monde – Contemporary – City (a gastronomic experience like no other, book well in advance) read my review

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