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Outdoor dining area at DOC St Kilda.
Photograph: Pete Dillon

Here are the best new Melbourne restaurants and bars to check out

Stay abreast of the the most exciting openings around town, updated every month for your reading (and eating) pleasure

Lauren Dinse
Written by
Lauren Dinse
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April 2024 update: This month, we loved visiting Pirate Life's first ever Melbourne venue to check out the fresh market produce-driven menu – and rivers of their awesome craft beer, of course. Eat Pierogi Make Love bowled us over with their house party vibes and famous Polish dumplings, and we were also impressed by the friendly service and Latin American-inspired fare at Collingwood's newly restored Albion Hotel.

Here's your ultimate guide to Melbourne's most exciting recent restaurant and bar openings, updated monthly for your reading (and tasting) pleasure. With this list on hand, you'll be the first to know where to find the hottest brunch spot, vino bar or fine diner – all sussed out by our fastidious team of writers and critics. Note: we generally include venues that are only six months (give or take) young in this list. 

Ready to make a booking somewhere spesh? Read on.

Still hungry? These are the 50 best restaurants in Melbourne right now. Fancy a tipple? Check out the 50 best bars in Melbourne.

The best new restaurants in Melbourne to check out

  • Restaurants
  • Sri Lankan
  • Prahran

Joining the leafy Greville Street strip in Prahran, Hopper Joint is a brand new Sri Lankan diner spotlighting – you guessed it – hoppers. For the uninitiated, a hopper is a thin, bowl-like pancake, named after the pan that lends the brekky staple its unique shape. It’s one of Sri Lanka’s best loved street foods and a tasty vehicle for curries, sambols and other traditional condiments celebrated in the cuisine. 

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • St Kilda

Anyone who lives in Melbourne and loves Italian food is well aware of the D.O.C. Group. The acronym, which stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, refers to food and drink products from Italy that have passed the gold standard for being the best of the region from which they hail. Whether that's cheese, vino or a type of locally produced vinegar, these are the sorts of ingredients this hospitality dream team cherishes and highlights across its menu – hence its chosen name.

Until now, Southsiders would have had to venture north to Carlton's Little Italy precinct to enjoy the tip-top panini, pasta and pizza from D.O.C Espresso or DOC Pizza and Mozzarella Bar – but those days of hungry commutes are now over. St Kilda has just been graced with its very own D.O.C restaurant in the Saint Moritz residences on the Esplanade, just in time for the culinary juggernaut's 20th anniversary.

The new venue offers the same authentic Italian dining experience as the OG Carlton destinations in a luxurious space that seats more than 100 diners. Blow in a nice sea breeze from the St Kilda foreshore and you get the picture.

Freshly made pizza will feature (and trust us when we say it's some of the tastiest and most authentic you can try in town), with a selection of antipasti, primi and secondi rounding out the menu. The latter is part of a long-awaited main course menu, a real treat for longtime D.O.C devotees. 

“The menu represents a glimpse into dining in Italy’s present day," says D.O.C director Michael Costanzo, so you can expect dishes with a contemporary edge. "The new space will feature the same timeless passion and service of our flagship venues while honouring the progression of Italy’s culinary scene.”

Think campanelle pasta served with duck ragu, beef tagliata and fresh market fish specials of the day. A semi-open kitchen and outdoor dining give the restaurant a breezy inside-outside feel, while a bar will sling freshly shucked oysters and house foccacia for snacking.

On the drinks front, anticipate a range of top-shelf wines from the cellar and classic Italian cocktails like Spritzes and Negronis. 

DOC St Kilda is the seventh venue from the restaurant group, and is currently taking bookings at the website. What are you waiting for?

Dreaming of la bella vita? Here's our round-up of Melbourne's best Italian restaurants right now. And for the finest gelato in town, look no further.

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  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Footscray

Saddle up, partner. On April 12, Moon Dog Wild West is storming into the old Franco Cozzo building in Footscray with plans to be the biggest beer lover's venue in Melbourne's west. At an impressive twice the size of Preston's Moon Dog World, the venue will span three levels with more than 100 taps and enough space for a merry flock of up to 800 patrons. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Brunswick

Before Nina’s took residence at the base of Brunswick’s Nightingale Studios, it was a lively Bangladeshi restaurant and prior to that, a café that changed hands a few times. It’s the first time a wine bar serving food has popped up in the space and judging by residents’ warm reception, it’s being appreciated as much as its forebears. 

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Juice bars
  • Melbourne

Yawye – an acroynm that stands for "You Are What You Eat" – might not be the easiest name to remember, but the smoothies you can buy from a brand new spot in the CBD certainly are.Don't expect your average banana-bloob blend from this hole-in-the-wall wellness purveyor. These smoothie masters are taking things up a notch with ingredients you've probably only heard about on your fave health podcast. We're talking famed superfoods like chlorella, barley grass, lucuma, collagen and goji berries. 

  • Restaurants
  • Bars & Pubs

The award-winning Aussie brewery opened the doors to its new venue on March 14 – its fourth across Australia and its very first on Victorian soil – just a stone's throw away from the South Melbourne MarketHoused in a former mechanics’ garage, the space holds capacity for around 220 people and is designed to be a welcoming gathering spot where folks can enjoy the brand's beloved craft ales alongside equally crafty dishes.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Melbourne

One daring duo, a subterranean space in the same building that houses regal Reine and La Rue, and an original vision to shake things up in Melbourne: these were Purple Pit’s trifecta of selling points when it quietly opened late last year. And they were the right ones to spark instant intrigue. The new cocktail bar is a joint project from none other than restaurateur Maurice Terzini (Sydney’s Icebergs) and drinks maverick Joe Jones (Romeo Lane). It’s their first shared venture, and as we come to find out one Thursday night, far too interesting to visit just once.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Fitzroy

From a small hole in the wall on Smith Street, you might pick up on lively Bollywood beats or the inviting scent of spices and curry leaves. Is it some ultra-hip Indian grandmother's kitchen? No, but that's how owner and chef Mischa Tropp wants it to feel when you step inside. Fun, flavourful and easy to share, dishes could include a creamy prawn moilee with coconut and turmeric, peppery fried pork or okra pachadi, an addictive yogurt and spinach dish, served with flaky mountains of parota bread. 

 

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  • Bars
  • Pub dining
  • Collingwood

The Albion Hotel in Collingwood has lived several lives. It first opened on the corner of Smith Street and Perry Street in 1847 as a local watering hole, remaining as such for the next 120 years. It's since shapeshifted into the colourful Punter's Palace (a sports bar popular throughout the 90s); an event space by Blackheart and Sparrows; and now after extensive restorations led by the Bodriggy crew – a grand, true-blue pub.

  • Restaurants
  • Lorne

Not that we needed an excuse to hit the iconic Great Ocean Road, but there’s a cruisy new seafood joint in Lorne that’s worth the trip alone. Neighbouring the newly revived Lorne Theatre, it's aptly named the Clam and locals are already flocking in like moths to a flame. Co-owners David Moyle (ex-Longsong, Rising, Laneway Festival) and George Barnes dreamt up the nostalgic space as a way to pay homage to the seaside town’s bohemian past.

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  • Bars
  • Preston

It’s been a good run for Preston locals. First, we learned that the legendary Preston Market has been saved from closure (until 2028, at least), and now it's been revealed that the Preston Hotel is opening a hip new rooftop bar with scenic city views. Sitting high against a mural of wall art by local artist Sebastian Fransz, Lulu Bar will be a gathering place for sunset Spritzes, tapas-style share plates, DJ sets, pizza dinners and everything in between.

  • Shopping
  • Chocolate and sweets
  • Melbourne
  • price 1 of 4

Lovers of doughnuts and all things mochi, throw your hands up in the air and rejoice! The famous shop responsible for bringing glorious mochi doughnuts to Australia has landed in Melbourne, with a permanent outlet opening in the CBD's Midtown Plaza.  Describing their creations as "light crisp doughnuts with the perfect mochi chew", the Demochi team was serious about crafting the perfect recipe to ignite a nationwide obsession. 

 

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  • Bars
  • Pub dining
  • Fitzroy

As far as legendary dining strips in Melbourne go, Gertrude Street surely ranks among the best of 'em. From Andrew McConnell's smash hit wine bar Marion and fine diner Cutler and Co, to Andalusian eatery Anada and the stylish art deco-inspired Poodle Bar and Bistro, some seriously cool dinner date ideas abound. Well, now there's a new kid on the block to add to your hist lit and she speaks with an Italian accent! Corner pub The Gertrude Hotel has re-opened its doors with brand-new owners and a fresh Italian-inspired makeover – just in time for 2024.

Celebrated chef Karen Martini has just opened the doors to Saint George (formerly The Saint Hotel) on February 1, now an elevated Mediterranean-style eatery. Split into two distinct areas, The Grill and The Tavern, Saint George offers antipasti, lovingly handmade pasta, and flame-licked dishes from the Josper grill. 

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • Melbourne

The strip of Little Collins Street between William and King has long been a hotbed for affordable work lunches with the food court at Exchange Tower being the pinnacle. The building is still home to a few of its long standing tenants but as of late last year, one end has been transformed into an upscale Korean-Australian diner called Doju, led by chef Mika Chae.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Melbourne

Ever wanted to find out what spicy ramen tastes like with vanilla soft serve? Nope, us neither – but renowned pastry chef and restaurateur Spring Chee (Le Mille Creperie, Sugar Labo) certainly did and she discovered on a recent trip to Japan that it was dang delicious. During her travels, Chee also unveiled the secrets to creating perfect Japanese tornado omelettes – otherwise known as omurice – and luckily for us, she's dishing it up for just $12.50 at her new eatery and late-night izakaya in the CBD, Tokyo Motto. 

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Restaurants

Next time you find yourself wandering down La Trobe Street in desperate need of a caffeine fix, follow your nose to the delicious coffee aromas drifting from William Angliss Institute. The leading hospo school has just opened a charming tram café – and you can get a seriously good, freshly brewed regular latte for just $3.50. Ahh, the good ol' days of reasonable coffee prices.You'll spot the nostalgic green and gold Melbourne tram in the courtyard at 555 La Trobe Street, which the school has refurbished as a training café for William Angliss students to flex their hospo skills and get on-the-job experience in a real-life venue.

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Brunswick

Should you need another reason to believe that Brunswick East is the sixth coolest neighbourhood in the world, the arrival of Maggie's Snacks and Liquor is it. The former site of the Alehouse Project, Maggie's Snacks and Liquor features a courtyard, natural wood fireplace and snazzy lounge. When it comes to a tipple, you can expect a cocktail menu that prioritises seasonal ingredients and a wine list with a heavy focus on local suppliers. We can't wait to try the Margot Robbie, a blend of rhubarb, pistachio, vodka and citrus, and the seasonally-shifting cocktail, the Cobbler.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Collingwood

Much fuss is made about Collingwood eatery Commis’ connections to Gerald’s Bar, but even if you didn’t know its trio of co-owners’ were alumni at the Carlton North perennial crowd favourite, you’d be able to distinguish its pedigree. Stepping into Commis’ warm confines is like crossing the threshold of a friend’s house – service is effortlessly affable, laidback and jovial without being effusive or overbearing.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • Melbourne

The strip of Little Collins Street between William and King has long been a hotbed for affordable work lunches with the food court at Exchange Tower being the pinnacle. The building is still home to a few of its long standing tenants but as of late last year, one end has been transformed into an upscale Korean-Australian diner called Doju, led by chef Mika Chae. It's captured an underserved market for formal, Korean-inspired dining in the CBD – and that’s worth celebrating. 

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  • Bars
  • Northcote

Creativity. Collaboration. Connection. That’s what this intimate music venue, bar, and creative space in Northcote vows to be a walnut-hued haven for. High Note is a new brick-and-mortar venue from local music industry heavyweights Crown Ruler (responsible for events like Sun Cycle festival and collabs with Potato Head Bali and NTS radio). High Note is located in the beating heart of Northcote and welcomes everything from relaxed after-work drinks to live music. 

 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Polish
  • Brunswick

Good, honest food. Sometimes, it’s the only thing you crave. Like the type of meal your grandmother prepared for you when you were a child. Or freshly rolled pierogi. The couple at the helm of this new Brunswick East restaurant, Guy Daley and Dominika Sikorska, are widely respected for bringing some of the most authentic Polish cuisine to Melbourne and they're absolutely smashing it.

 

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  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Melbourne

There’s plenty to get excited about at Queen Victoria Market (QVM) right now. A swish new food hall has just opened, and in very exciting news, Brick Lane Brewing has opened a brand new double-storey venue in the heart of the market precinct. Brick Lane Market features a 120-seater dining room, 150-seater terrace, raw seafood bar and a produce-driven ‘market to plate’ menu that supports the market’s network of growers. It's set to be one of the hottest spots in the city to grab a beer and a feed, through all seasons.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Pascoe Vale South

Brunch shouldn't just be an affair for the middle of the day, and thanks to the likes of Emil's Café, it doesn't have to be. Once their childhood home, brothers John and George El-Khoury have refurbished their family's corner milk bar into Emil's Café, a licensed all-day brunch spot with a nostalgic, homely feel. Chef Sam Pinzone sits at the helm of the kitchen, serving up an Australian-Arabic menu alongside Code Black Coffee and a selection of cocktails, juices and smoothies. Highlights on the menu include Turkish eggs with sujuk and lime yoghurt, hummus shakshuka with spinach pesto, benny eggs with slow-cooked beef ribs and tahini hollandaise, and knafeh spun pastry with pistachio crumb and rose syrup. 

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  • Cinemas
  • Brunswick East

This ‘new generation’ movie theatre from key Cinema Nova players brings a new style of in-cinema dining to Melbourne, where the spotlight is on the food just as much as the films. Thoughtfully fitted auditoriums, a chef-designed specialty menu and a schmick online ordering system combine to provide patrons with an on-demand food and drink service throughout the film. Better yet, FoMo Cinemas is promising to provide this elevated experience with standard movie ticket prices.

 

  • Bars
  • Hawthorn

Next time you pop into the Auburn, you might barely even recognise the place. The local Hawthorn community has been gifted with a multi-million-dollar expansion to their favourite watering hole, with a new atrium-style dining hub within the adjacent Regan Motors site, kids' playground and extensive beer garden additions. Standing proudly on the corner of Auburn Road and Victoria Street since 1888, the historic pub is a popular spot for drinks, pub grub and post-work gatherings. The new upgrades provide the perfect excuse to revisit the local destination, with a new woodfire pizza bar, picnic tables and an extended sunny lawn area for family-friendly afternoons. 

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Fitzroy

Bellisima! The team at popular Italian sanga bar Rocco's have quietly opened a new upstairs watering hole, christened Vince's Bar in honour of one of the owner's fathers. Designed to be a casual evening spot for weekend drinks and snacks, the new space boasts a winning cocktail menu and an outdoor patio – perfect for soaking up those moody dusk vibes. Compared to downstairs Rocco's, Vince's is a slightly more hushed affair with an intimate wood-panelled bar, a smattering of stools and tables for sharing small bites to eat. Think oysters, mortadella mousse tartlets, salumi and shoestring fries. Italian traditionalists will love the crescentina (fried bread dough) with Cantabrian anchovies, goat ricotta and lemon dust, a classic dish from Modena. 

  • Shopping
  • Patisseries
  • Melbourne

Are you a fan of art that you can eat? Then you'll want to make your way to Le Yeahllow, a brand new cake store on Little Collins Street specialising in surrealist desserts that look just as incredible as they taste. Just in time for the festive season, the once exclusively online retailer (currently with another outlet in South Yarra) has unveils exciting seaosnal collection, perfect for gifting. Co-founder Samsky Yeung earned his hospitality stripes in venues like Flower Drum and White Mojo before turning his eye to edible art desserts. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Pub dining
  • Moonee Ponds

If you were looking for an excuse to venture into the inner-north ‘burb of Moonee Ponds, here it is: the Mount Alexander Hotel opened late last year, and it could just be the watering hole of your dreams. At the helm of this pub project is part-owner Andrew Wright (formerly executive chef at the Speakeasy Group) and Noel Murphy (ex Mjolner and Rice Paper Scissors), who've created a welcoming venue that’s perfect for a midweek meal, Saturday night boogie or chilled-out Sunday sesh.

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