What good new restaurants are open in Melbourne? That’s a common question Boss Hunting is asked almost daily by our readers, so we’ve decided to put together a list of the best new restaurants in Melbourne to help.
We’ve rounded up some of the best new Melbourne restaurant openings of the past few months for this rolling list, which will be updated monthly as the BH team dine at more of Melbourne’s newest openings. We’ve also included restaurants that have flown a bit under the radar since opening over the past few years.
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.
Note that this list is not ranked.
- The Best New Restaurants In Melbourne Right Now
- How Boss Hunting Chose Melbourne’s Best New Restaurants
- Frequently Asked Questions
The Best New Restaurants In Melbourne Right Now
1. Reine & La Rue, Melbourne CBD
Dramatic high ceilings and stained glass windows give an appropriately grand look to Nomad Group’s newest opening. Reine, a generous 140-seater in the former Melbourne Stock Exchange, is the city’s most impressive new restaurant, transforming this heritage space into a kinetic, big-ticket diner complemented by a small eight-seat wine bar called La Rue.
Nomad Sydney’s Jacqui Challinor leads the kitchen through a world-class menu, weaving together flavours from Australia, France and America. Think lobster cocktails and seafood platters, whole fish, half ducks, beef sourced from the country’s top producers, and mushroom pithivier. That hard-working ironbark grill is responsible for many of the highlights while the 700-strong wine list rounds out the swanky offering.
2. Alta Trattoria, Fitzroy
Italy’s northwest is on show at Alta Trattoria. Focused on the Piedmont region, which sits at the foot of the Alps and pulls influences from both France and Switzerland, the kitchen brings something different than what you’d usually expect from Melbourne’s vibrant Italian dining scene.
Think dishes like rabbit ragu taglioni, a fig and ricotta crostata, and standout-starter anchovies al verde served with mussels veal and tuna sauce. The kitchen’s freshly made pasta has been getting major points from some of Melbourne’s most influential food writers, so if you’ve been feeling disillusioned with the ubiquity of Italian in Melbourne lately then this could be the kitchen to restore some of that carb-loading enthusiasm.
3. Matsu, Footscray
It’s hard to outshine the supreme Minamishima if you’re going to open an omakase in Melbourne. Despite many attempts, no one has succeeded. I’m not saying Matsu will take the new mantle, but what this under-the-radar omakase, with just four seats, is doing out in Footscray has been attracting rave reviews thus far.
Opened in March 2023, the intimate Japanese restaurant is pitched as a more high-end experience in the West, with chef-owner Hansol Lee serving up a premium multi-course meal for $210 per person. Dishes on the current menu, for example, include crayfish with nori, shiso and shiitake, as well as oyster with caviar, chive and ponzu. While it’ll change very regularly, that should give you an idea of what you’re in for at Matsu.
4. Julie, Abbotsford
Named for head chef Julieanne Blum, this head-turning 50-seat dining room is powered by home-style classics done incredibly well. The Abbotsford Convent’s head gardener has helped Blum shape a productive kitchen garden that guests can access as well, almost acting as a second venue altogether.
Idyllic and unique, outdoors is definitely the better pick, but both areas are serviced by the same menu which typically features simple seasonal dishes like roast chicken with celeriac puree and anelletti with octopus ragu and wild fennel. Of course, the garden plays a large role in deciding the direction of the menu each day.
5. Studio Amaro, Windsor
The walk-in-only basement bar at Studio Amaro hums with Italo disco records and even has its own radio station. Above that sits an equally energetic 100-seat dining room powered by classic Italian dishes and framed by a smart, fashionable interior designed by Wendy Bergman, the same mastermind behind Hawker Hall and Chin Chin.
To say Studio Amaro is a swift victory for Windsor’s dining scene is an understatement. Here, you’ll find an approachable and seasonal menu that goes hard on snacks like whipped ricotta with lemon oil and woodfired caponata before spread into substantials like mafaldine with prawns and citrus bisque, and a beaut 1KG T-bone.
6. Chiaki, Collingwood
Head along to Chiaki during the day and you’ll be greeted with a cosy, minimal space that melts away the hustle of Collingwood and replaces it with the calm oft associated with Japanese cafes. When the sun goes down, this serene space turns the energy up as an izakaya, maintaining the same exquisite and traditional approach to food and drink.
7. Kafeneion, Melbourne CBD
Many Greek restaurants in Australia serve as caricatures of the diverse Mediterranean cuisine. Some good are good. Most are not so good. Kafenion, helmed by Con Christopoulos and Stavros Konis, hopes to expand the palate beyond hearty roast lamb, souvlaki and fried halloumi with a regional approach that jumps everywhere from Santorini to Crete.
The home-style diner is at its best with signatures like grilled garfish with lemon, partokalopita and a late-night menu that is filled with lighter snacks, soups and cheese stretched past midnight.
8. Atria, Melbourne CBD
Head to the top of the swanky Ritz-Carlton Melbourne and you’ll be 80 floors above the CBD, wrapped in the subtle elegance of the luxury hotel’s resident restaurant, Atria. The fine dining star is one of the biggest new openings in Melbourne, presenting million dollar views that stretch all the way to Port Phillip Bay.
Chef Michael Greenlaw rises to the occasion with a hyper seasonal approach with highlights including a 1/2 wood-roasted Southern Rock lobster, aged Murray Cod and a fragrant Flinders Island wallaby broth with braised saltbush.
9. Yan, South Yarra
Narada Kudinar is obsessed with smoky flavours, so cosider Yan an easy pick if you’re looking to dial in the distinct flavours of smoked king prawns, grilled corn with teriyaki butter, and beef short ribs with sansho pepper.
The brief here is wide-reaching but mostly favours the delicacy of Cantonese cuisine, pairing that up with East Asian-inspired cocktails in a high-energy atmosphere that’s best for bigger groups.
10. Thai Baan, Melbourne CBD
While there’s always going to be fierce competition for any new Thai restaurant in Melbourne, owner Jirada Ponpetch has hit the scene hard with Thai Baan. Snaking queues aren’t an uncommon sight at this Bourke Street spot, which is powered by chef Saifon Wichian’s love of Issan cuisine and, in particular, signature boat noodles utitlised in all types of dishes. The green papaya salad with fermented fish and pickled crab is a show-stopper.
11. Yakamoz, Brunswick East
Melbourne can never have enough Mediterranean hits, so Yakamoz was, unsurprisingly, well-received when Ali Atay opened up earlier this year. Along with his son, Ogulcan Atay, Ali makes the most of that hard-working woodfired oven and builds out from Turkish food to incorporate flavours from Greece, North Africa, Morocco and Spain.
Modern spins on traditional dishes are common but those authentic plates matter the most. Moroccan chicken and spiced lamb cutlets are popular orders, as are the Turkish flatbreads with toppings like pastrimi and egg.
How Boss Hunting Chose Melbourne’s Best New Restaurants
This list will be updated every few months 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.
We rely on first-hand experience as well as recommendations and secondary research to put together these restaurant lists. And while “new” is always going to be loosely defined, we typically only include restaurants that have opened in the past 12 months.
Things we look out for include taste, price point, service and atmosphere. There are plenty of high-concept restaurants in Melbourne so we also appreciate a kitchen that’s bringing something new and exciting to the table.
Feeling like the tried-and-true favourites instead? Check out the Best Restaurants in Melbourne: The Hall of Fame.
If you found this round-up helpful, check out some of our other Melbourne dining content.
- Best Steak Restaurants In Melbourne
- Best Japanese Restaurants In Melbourne
- Best Mexican Restaurants In Melbourne
- Best Italian Restaurants In Melbourne
- Best Asian-Fusion Restaurants In Melbourne
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best new restaurant in Melbourne?
The best new restaurant in Melbourne is Reine and La Rue.
Who owns Society?
The Lucas Group opened Society in 2021 to immediate acclaim, bringing Melbourne another big-ticket fine dining experience.