Melbourne’s swathe of constantly spoiled gourmands has a lot to look back on, and a lot to look forward to as we dive into a new year with 2022. A newly opened restaurant from Chris Lucas and Martin Benn (Society), a new pop-up from Attica, and a three-tiered tribute to the bountiful region of Gippsland, Victoria. And that’s not even scratching the surface of Australia’s famously dynamic culinary capital this year. There’s a lot to get your head around, so here’s a list of the best new restaurants Melbourne has to offer in 2022, both recently opened and fresh-faced, or coming in the next few months.
This list will be updated as news rolls in and the list of best new restaurants in Melbourne swells, but for now, here are the ones you should get your tastebuds across if you really want to eat like an in-the-know king, whether you want a good neighbourhood wine bar or dedicated dining room to get across. We’re tracking cafes, bars, and diners as well as more traditional restaurants, because as long as the focus is primarily on food, or there’s a strong dining component, it’s a restaurant to us.
And while it’s always a good idea to head along to Melbourne restaurants like Vue de Monde to see what executive chef Hugh Allen is up to, or cosy on up to a few glasses at Carlton Wine Room, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you aren’t taking advantage of just how much Melbourne’s world-renowned restaurant scene has evolved over the years.
Melbourne’s appetite for a good new food menu knows no bounds, whether that’s some fresh modern take on French food using local produce, Middle Eastern classics and a wine list to match, modern Australian cuisine, elevated bar food with an a la carte menu, or a simple Melbourne CBD pasta bar that consistently outranks whatever fine diner is nearby.
RELATED: The Best New Restaurants In Sydney
One of Melbourne’s most prolific restaurateurs makes a wholehearted attempt at distilling the big city lights of Tokyo, blending it with a bit of Blade Runner, and placing some major focus on fiery cooking techniques. This is Yakimono in a nutshell, neighbouring Lucas Group’s major fine diner, Society, with a very casual, neon-lit take on late-night Japanese dining.
Chef Daniel Wilson, who used to put up numbers at Huxtable and Huxtaburger, leads the charge here, with 300 diners spread across 2 levels, framed by a futuristic ambience and fueled by Izakaya snack foods like crispy gyoza, mochi waffle with smoked salmon roe, and spanner crab hand rolls. It’s ideal for a more upbeat date night, just don’t expect to be able to hold a quiet conversation.
Address: 80 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Contact: (03) 8616 7900
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday (12pm – 11:30pm)
Society is without any doubt one of Australia’s highest profile openings of this year, coming from the formidable pairing of Chris Lucas with Martin Benn and Vicki Wild, who broke Sydney’s collective heart just a few years ago by shuttering three-hatted fine-dining behemoth Sepia. It will be part of the 80 Collins development, bolstering the insular dining scene already benefitting from lofty standards thanks to the aforementioned Farmer’s Daughters. Full details about the restaurant are yet to be supplied, but we do know there will be three distinct spaces across a lounge bar, terrace, and the main dining area.
Now open, the highly anticipated restaurant has been well regarded for its sense of drama and ambience alongside what is unsurprisingly some of the most fascinating food and wine Melbourne has seen in quite some time. Dishes like wagyu beef rib cap with Japanese pickled and wasabi butter, and spiced crown of chicken with charred lime and tomato.
Address: 80 Collins Street, Melbourne
Contact: (03) 8618 8900
Aru Restaurant, CBD
Not content with already helming one of Melbourne’s very best restaurants with Sunda, chef Khanh Nguyen has opened up sibling venue Aru. It’s another love affair with Southeast Asian flavours blended beautifully with native Australian ingredients and traditional techniques, expressed through a tightly curated menu that focuses on all-killer, no-filler.
Melbourne has always been exceedingly kind to kitchens that are willing to experiment and try something new, so you can expect Aru to continue making fascinating little twists on classic dishes without stumbling into gimmicky territory. Nguyen is one of Melbourne’s most dependable chefs, and Aru’s tasting menu is just further proof.
Address: 268 Little Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Contact: (03) 9939 8113
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (12pm – 3pm, 5:30pm – 10pm)
Located in the fresh-faced Ovolo South Yarra is Lona Mina, an all-vegan all-day diner helmed by the ever-reliable Shannon Martinez. Doubling down on Ovolo’s plant-based eating approach, which is found throughout all their properties now, the Lona Misa kitchen has Martinez working with chef Ian Curley to pump on dishes like peri-peri cauliflower and a fascinating plant-based take on a “blood” sausage.
Like many of Ovolo’s other all-vegan restaurants, like Mister Percy in Sydney, Mona Lisa is a nice little showcase for how inventive and delicious plant-based food can be when it’s treated with a lot of imagination from one of Australia’s biggest plant-based eating advocates.
Address: 234 Toorak Rd, South Yarra VIC 3141
Contact: (03) 9116 2000
Opening Hours: Monday (6:30am – 11am); Tuesday (6:30am – 11am, 5pm – 11pm); Wednesday (6:30am – 11:30am, 5pm – 11pm); Thursday (6am – 11:30am, 5pm – 11pm); Friday-Saturday (6:30am-11:30am, 5pm – 11pm); Sunday (6:30am – 11:30am)
The Lodge Bar, Chadstone
New Zealand menswear brand Rodd & Gunn have bought Australia it’s very first iteration of The Lodge Bar, their unique hospitality concept which is tied to the Rodd & Gunn concession at Myer Chadstone. Now the seamless blend of fashion, food and wine sits, designed to welcome tired and hungry shoppers with fine food and wine from chef Matt Lambert and Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas.
Given The Lodge Bar Queenstown, and The Lodge Bar & Dining Auckland have both been incredibly well-received, The Lodge Bar Myer Chadstone should easily get over well with Melbourne’s demanding diners. The focus is on locally sourced ingredients and rich flavours, with dishes like Yarra Valley caviar and a premium grilled cheese sandwich with cheddar, brie, wholegrain mustard, and proscuitto served up alongside wines from Peregrine, craft beer from Garage Project, and coffee from Coffee Supreme from a bespoke terrazzo bar.
Address: 1341 Dandenong Rd, Chadstone VIC 3148
Contact: 1300 112 460
Opening Hours: Monday – Wednesday (9:30am – 5:30pm); Thursday – Friday (9:30am – 9pm); Saturday (9am – 9pm); Sunday (10am – 7pm)
Mabu Mabu Big Esso
Torres Strait Islander cafe Mabu Mabu, a Yarraville favourite, has recently expanded into a bigger space with sibling restaurant Big Esso. Chef-owner Nornie Bero is cooking up dishes that best reflect nostalgia and culture, demonstrating a side of Melbourne dining not often seen in many Australian cities.
And one that should be appreciated far more than it is, touting dishes like tamarind puppies served along with chargrilled prawns, or fried crocodile with saltbush and pepperberry. These kinds of native flavours are what Australian cuisine is built upon, so put down the tuna tartare and tomahawk for a second and try something different.
Address: Fed Square Swanston Street and, Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Thursday (11am – 10pm); Friday – Sunday (11am – 11pm)
Farmer’s Daughters, CBD
I’d like to say the idea behind Farmers Daughters is wildly ambitious, but it’s not. It’s elegant, necessary, and overdue. Victoria has long been known as the country’s seat of peerless produce, particularly the bountiful Gippsland region with its rich cohort of passionate farmers and winemakers, so it’s high time the region is enshrined in the state’s capital. Farmer’s Daughters is that shrine: a beastly three-floor venue built into the multi-million-dollar development of 80 Collins, led by Pastuso’s unwavering Alejandro Saravia, who has been championing Gippsland for years now.
Though all have been designed with a clear love of Gippsland’s natural beauty, the three levels are vastly different: a ground-floor deli with Berrys Creek cheese, Tarago olives, and meats like Bass Strait beef whipped into a beef-cheek pastrami; the David Boyle-led restaurant where Baw Baw trout is served with caviar and mountain-pepper cream, Cherry Tree Organics lamb is kept simple with sprouting broccoli, and a dedicated vegan menu shares the faith of flavours packed by charcoal and wood; and an angled rooftop bar which tops the experience with smoky cocktails, exclusive brewery collaborations, and a preference towards Australian spirits. Chat so far has positioned Farmer’s Daughters as the most delicious showcase of provenance the city has seen in quite some time; no arguments here.
Address: 95 Exhibition Street, 80 Collins Precinct, Melbourne VIC 3000
Contact: (03) 9116 8682
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (11:30am – 12am)
Regional Mexican is the order of the day here at Superchido, a colourful Seddon diner that’s taking a no-fuss, straight-forward approach to dining. It’s rustic and simple, but still packed with absolute flavour with the likes of Baja fish tacos and classic al pastor. Authenticity is valued and protected fiercely here, so don’t come expecting any friendliness towards the unrefined western palate. It’s Mexican done precisely right.
Address: 82 Charles St, Seddon VIC 3011
Contact: 0403 135 090
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Thursday (5pm – 9pm); Friday (5pm – 10pm); Saturday (12pm – 3:30pm, 5pm – 10pm); Sunday (12pm – 3pm, 5pm – 8pm)
Chibog, West Footscray
While it opened in the middle of last year, Chibog is still a fresh face for West Footscray, washing a bit of funk and neon through energetic Fliipino dining. The famously comforting and typically indulgent cuisine is elevated with a gourmet bent, moving away from adobo and towards a more open interpretation of Filipino food like the ceviche-like Kinilaw with yellowfin and slow-cooked osso bucco soup with jackfruit and chillies.
Flipino fans need not freak out though, you can still get sisig. Although instead of pig’s ears, you’ve got other thrice cooked cuts of pork served sizzling with onion, liver pate, and chicharron. Pair that up with a Pinoy Old Fashioned – built with peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, dark rum and bitters – and you’ll be giving up that fad diet in no time.
Address: 553 Barkly St, West Footscray VIC 3012
Contact: (03) 9078 4472
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Thursday (5:30pm – 9:30pm); Friday (5pm – 10pm); Saturday – Sunday (11am – 3pm, 4:30pm – 10:30pm)
Sydney-born Mejico has officially expanded to Melbourne, coming off the back of a solid reputation for reliable eats across breakfast, lunch and dinner. By morning, you can grab a signature benedict with gypsy ham, chipotle hollandaise and jalapeno crumb, or a mezcal cured salmon with poached eggs and acho mayo. By night, switch that up with pan-fried barramundi with pineapple salsa, and Gippsland lamb barbacoa tacos with a side of chicharrones and beef brisket empanadas.
There’s also a strong drinks list for those later nights, with a second floor designed as a tequila bar and margarita lounge, hosting over 260 varieties of tequila and mezcal drinks, with doors open until 3am on weekends. For years, Mejico has been one of the best Mexican restaurants in Sydney; now it’s one of the best new restaurants in Melbourne.
Address: 1 Pink Alley, Melbourne VIC 3000
Contact: (03) 9671 4376
Opening Hours: Monday – Wednesday (11:30am – 11:30pm); Thursday (11:30am – 12am); Friday (11:30am – 3am); Saturday (11:30am – 12am)
A new venue by Andrew McConnell can never fail, especially when it’s an all-class 150 seat cocktail bar and diner soaking up the art deco aesthetics of its host, the historic Cavendish House. Surely this is one of the most exciting cocktails bar in the city defined by exciting cocktail bars.
Cutler & Co. chef Allan Doert Eccles has something to do with that, complementing the decadent bar menu with dishes like confit duck with liver parfait, figs and pickled elderberries, and a $150 Southern Rock lobster, wood roasted in saffron rice and swimming in a bisque-like sauce.
Address: 33 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Contact: (03) 9277 9777
Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday (12pm – 12am); Friday – Saturday (12pm – 1am)
Embla’s Rooftop Bar, CBD
Embla has just opened a rooftop bar & cinema, heading up to the top of the beloved natural wine bar’s neighbouring building with designs to offer a summery Mediterranean vibe before the space becomes parts of a boutique hotel later this year. Yep, it’s a pop-up, but it’s also one of the best new spots in Melbourne right now, with a 5.5m screen running through classic films, and Euro-style snacks like stracciatella with golden beets and walnuts, ice-cream sundaes, and a condensed version of Embla’s popular Sunday lunch.
Address: 122 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Dom’s Pizzeria & Social Club, CBD
Melbourne loves a good old multi-story ode to comfort food, and fortunately Dom’s Pizzeria & Social Club is more than ready to meet the deathless demand. Hotspots Peaches and Cheek have been replaced by this new venture from owners Sam and Tom Peasnell and Adam Goldblatt, who lead the concept through woodfired pizzas and deli meats, as well as an upstairs social club with the simple, winning combo of snacks (think potato skins with anchovies), rounds of pool, and a heady drinks list sharpened on amaros, vermouths, and sherries.
Address: Unit 1/301 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Opening Hours: Wednesday – Saturday (5pm – 1am)
Chancery Lane Bistro, CBD
Normanby Chambers has switched out one quality restaurant for another with Scott Pickett’s fresh Chancery Lane Bistro now moving into the space. Given that it’s replacing Vue du Monde, there’s a lot for Pickett to live up to here, and he does it with a European menu that stretches over everything from lush caviar services and charcuterie, to snacks like a duck & gruyere burger, and off-the-grill greats like a MBS9+ Riverine full blood Wagyu flank.
Address: 430 Little Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Contact: (03) 9089 7598
Opening Hours: Monday (6pm – 10pm); Tuesday – Friday (12pm – 10am); Saturday (6pm – 10pm)
La Pinta, Reservoir
Catherine Chauchat sticks to Boire’s admirable minimalism with her new 30-seat tapas bar, La Pinta. Produce-focused, dynamic and intimate, the kitchen has a direct line to a network of local farmers and producers to fuel the ever-changing specials boards, which has probably rotated several times while you were reading this. Given the quality that was on display at Boire, there’s little surprise that La Pinta is one of the best new restaurants in Melbourne.
Address: 791 High St, Reservoir VIC 3073
Contact: 0492 818 032
Opening Hours: Wednesday – Friday (5pm – 11pm); Saturday (12pm – 11pm)
1800 Lasagne, Thornbury
Try to guess what 1800 Lasagne specialise in? This Thornbury eat-in-and-takeaway restaurant does one thing and does it incredibly well, pairing that up with top-quality wines and cocktails. While they do delivery, you want to eat in just for the life this small venue has bought to Thornbury, jazzing up the suburb’s strong dining scene and getting over well as one of the best new restaurants in Melbourne.
Address: 653 High St, Thornbury VIC 3071
Opening Hours: Wednesday – Sunday (5pm – 11pm)
ACMI has a flagship restaurant now, overseen by celebrity chef Karen Martini and pastry chef Phillipa Sibley as a classic casual all-day diner with a serious hold on local flavours. Hero triumphs with intentionally simple dishes like a top-quality crumbed fish sandwich and a spicy crab cavatelli, hell-bent on showcasing that minimalism is always the way to go when you’re working with quality seasonal produce.
The benefit of having lunch or dinner here is obvious; you can spend a few hours exploring ACMI afterwards, so next time the local institution has a must-see exhibition going on, at least you know that a good meal is only a few steps away.
Address: Federation Square, Melbourne VIC 3000
Contact: (03) 9964 2819
Opening Hours: Wednesday – Friday (12pm – 11:30pm); Saturday (12pm – 11pm); Sunday (12pm – 4pm)
Three Blue Ducks, Tullamarine
As the on-site restaurant of URBNSURF, Australia’s first dedicated surf park, Three Blue Ducks is one of the biggest openings from the dependable crew to date. This follows original digs in the Sydney suburbs of Bronte and Rosebery, and luxury hotel W Brisbane, adding a bit of moisture to the mix while overlooking a gin-clear surfing lagoon that measures in at two hectares. A bigger love of smoked flavours is on display here, handled by the holy trio of a pizza oven, rotisserie and charcoal pit. No surprises that this near-the-airport gem is now one of the best new restaurants in Melbourne.
Address: 1/85 Dunning Ave, Rosebery NSW 2018
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Thursday (12pm – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 8:30pm); Friday (12pm – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 9pm); Saturday – Sunday (8am – 3pm, 5:30pm – 9pm)
Lady T, Cremorne
This new Latin bar gets its licks in on Swan Street, bringing some festive little flavours with all the tacos and Cuban sandwiches one would ever need. The beef brisket arepas have been rightfully stealing the show though, simply stuffed with fresh quac, coriander, hogao salsa and mozzarella, although those loaded Latin hot dogs hold their own when it comes to Lady T’s standouts. Pair this up with an electric atmosphere and no-fuss drinks list for the best night out in Cremorne right now.
Address: 104 Swan St, Cremorne VIC 3121
Contact: 0423 840 004
Opening Hours: Thursday – Sunday (5pm – 9pm)
Modern Israeli cuisine that tracks across North Africa and the Middle East? Sign us right up, Golda. This vibrant new restaurant is a fresh face for Prahran’s ever-evolving dining scene, and though it’s a pop-up, it feels like a new path for The Cullen Hotel in which it is located. More specifically, you can find Golda tacked onto Adam Faigan’s Gramercy Social, co-owned and helmed by Rotem Papo who takes a wide approach to Jewish cooking with influences drawn from numerous countries. This is group dining at it’s finest, with share-style dishes the way to go, so make sure you bring a few mates.
Address: 162 Commercial Rd, Prahran VIC 3181
Contact: 1300 465 321
Opening Hours: Wednesday – Friday (5:45pm – 10pm); Saturday (11:45am – 2:30pm, 5:45pm – 10pm)
Vesper Bistro & Bar, South Yarra
Slide on down to South Yarra to find the newly opened Vesper Bistro & Bar wants to stuff you silly with a seafood-heavy menu curated by Italian chef Francesco Castellana. Obviously the Mediterranean is the hero destination for this eatery, with dishes like house cured swordfish served with baby fennel and pickled grape, a signature open-faced spanakopita, char-grilled baby octopus, stuffed eggplant, and red snapper fillet served with potato and caper puree and preserved lemon salmoriglio.
Address: 25 Toorak Rd, South Yarra VIC 3141
Contact: (03) 9038 8088
Opening Hours: Wednesday (5:30pm – 11pm); Thursday (5:30pm – 11:30pm); Friday – Saturday (12pm – 3pm, 5:30pm – 11:30am); Sunday (12pm – 3pm)
It was only a matter of time before Sydney’s popular subcontinental eatery, INDU, opened an extension in Melbourne. That time is now, with Sam Prince’s Southern Indian and Sri Lankan restaurant welcoming guests to a dark, aromatic space at the front of the iconic Collins Quarter building. The menu, inspired by coastal and village flavours, is as you’d expect if you’ve been to the Sydney original, with highlights including smoked Yarra Valley goats leg dosa, house-cured kingfish, and the signature 48 hour slow roasted ‘Great Lamb Raan’.
Address: 86A Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Contact: (03) 9671 476
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Friday (12pm – 10pm); Saturday (5pm – 10pm)
New Quarter, Richmond
Melbourne locals have been all over this neo-Vietnamese restaurant from Commune Group, making New Quarter one of the most popular of Melbourne’s new restaurants – even if it isn’t exactly new. Located in Richmond, it’s a remixed version of the original, creating what’s essentially a brand new restaurant with dishes like beef tartare with egg yolk, pho jelly and anchovy tapioca crisps, and clam with banh canh cua broth and watercress charred tomato.
Address: Ground Level, 79 Swan St, Richmond VIC 3121
Contact: (03) 8391 1388
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Wednesday (12pm – 3:30pm, 5pm – 9:30pm); Thursday – Saturday (12pm – 3:30pm, 5pm – 10:30pm); Monday (5pm – 10:30pm)
Hope St Radio, Collingwood
Melbourne can never have enough wine bars, especially when they also serve as pasta joints in Collingwood’s vibrant arts precinct. This is the home of Hope St Radio, and the restaurant is obviously named after the fiercely independent online radio show, with a banging soundtrack served up alongside natural wines, local seafood, and dishes like cavatelli with red onion and butter beans.
Address: 35 Johnston St, Collingwood VIC 3066
Opening Hours: Thursday – Sunday (3pm – 11pm)
Feeling like the tried-and-true favourites instead? Check out the Best Restaurants in Melbourne: The Hall of Fame.
Best New Restaurants Melbourne – Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best new restaurant in Melbourne?
The best new restaurant in Melbourne is Society, but that’s closely followed by Gimlet, Chancery Lane Bistro, and Yakimono.
Who owns Society?
The Lucas Group opened Society in 2021 to immediate acclaim, presenting Melbourne with a big-ticket fine dining experience originally conceived by renowned Chef Martin Benn, who has since departed the restaurant.