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30 hot restaurants for summer

You've got three months to tick off this essential foodie checklist. Ready, set, eat!

Photograph: Graham Denholm

Beach Burrito Fitzroy

You won’t get an authentic taste of Mexico from Beach Burrito, but you will get wallet-pleasing meals. There’s also a range of frozen margaritas with dangerous intentions.

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Fitzroy

Belleville

Rotisserie chickens are the stars at Chinatown eatery Belleville. The free-range chooks are saltwater brined overnight and miso butter-glazed and roasted to order in the Brazilian rotisserie. Pass the hot sauce please!

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Melbourne

Compass Pizza

The generous Italian fare at this Brunswick pizzeria is classic to its bones, save for a few modern touches, like the option of vegan cheese and gluten-free bases. Even most of the prices are from a few decades back.

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Brunswick
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Delhi Streets

See how Delhi does street food with Delhi Streets' spiced chickpea burgers, pani puri and kulfi icypoles. Try the pistachio version, made with condensed milk, pistachios, cardamon, saffron and cinnamon.

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Melbourne

Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung's signature xiao long bao is all about the delicately constructed soupy explosion and they're so good that the truffle versions with a sliver of the good stuff are almost redundant.

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Melbourne

Juanita Peaches

Raph Rashid's All Day Donuts becomes a fried chicken shop come dinnertime. Juanita Peaches' bare-bones menu focuses on the important stuff: fried chicken, burros, Melbourne Bitter and doughnuts for dessert. 

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Brunswick
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Longhorn Saloon

By day, Five Points Deli is where your sandwich dreams are made. By night, venture upstairs to Longhorn Saloon for a refined East Coast smokehouse menu and great tap beers and cocktails.

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Carlton

Shujinko

How Melbourne ever made it for so long without a 24-hour ramen joint we will never know. Shujinko is a stone's throw away from some of the city's most popular late-night venues.

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Melbourne

Truck Stop Deluxe

The minds behind Melbourne’s best burgers have created a suburban burger joint to make city slickers envious. Finally, there's an alternative to Macca's if you find yourself hungry in the 'burbs.

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Werribee
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Dexter

This Preston spot is a carnivore's dream. Think tin trays with ribs and sauce, marrow trenchers (translation: chargrilled sourdough with bone marrow butter), pickles and 'slaw. Oh, and they have meat doughnuts.

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Preston

Entrecôte City

Dine like a Parisian in this CBD replica of South Yarra's chicest bistro. Expect the famous Entrecôte steak frites and daily happy hour deals that’ll buy you oysters and champagne on a poor man's budget.

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Melbourne

Lee Ho Fook

Smith Street’s loss is the city’s gain, as Lee Ho Fook brings cutting-edge Chinese to Duckboard Place. It’s a slicker, more sophisticated package, with a rock’n’roll edge that suits Liong’s punchy regional cuisine.

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Melbourne
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Magic Mountain Saloon

It’s not exactly a Thai restaurant. It’s not exactly a bar. Oh and it's next door to a club. Magic Mountain Saloon’s unwillingness to be pigeonholed matters not one jot because it’s an absolute winner. 

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Melbourne

Stray Neighbour

Preston's Stray Neighbour is much more than a cracking local. There's a finely judged balance between drinks and food, plus great entertainment (pool table!) and al fresco areas for basking in the sun.

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Preston

Tipo 00

Melbourne’s a town that does pasta either really well or terribly badly. Tipo 00 is a stand-out member of the first category so if you're a carb-dodger there is no place for you here. 

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Melbourne
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Transformer Fitzroy

Vegetarians in all their stripes, including your hardcore vegans, will embrace this beautiful Fitzroy eatery as the restaurant they’ve been waiting for. 

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Fitzroy

Trattoria Emilia

Trattoria Emilia focuses on the fundamentals. From Gill’s Diner's looser European menu they’ve drilled down into the particular delights of regional Italy. Here, pasta is as it should be – simple, unfussy, utterly satisfying.

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Melbourne

Anchovy

Just like its namesake, Anchovy is small but piquant and delicious. Young chef Thi Le's Vietnamese take on steak tartare is the ultimate example of her modern Asian reimaginings of classic flavour combos.

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Richmond

ESP (Estelle by Scott Pickett)

Welcome to Scott Pickett’s dream restaurant. Twenty years in the making, ESP (Estelle by Scott Pickett) injects some much-needed glamour and refinement to Northcote's recycled-chic aesthetic. 

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Northcote

Kappo

Kappo is an omakase restaurant. That either translates here as “no menu – but you get to flag likes and dislikes” or “slow”. Choose from five, seven or nine courses, but commit yourself to the cause for at least two hours.

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Melbourne
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Lamaro's Bodega

A bodega? Not exactly, but South Melbourne's Lamaro’s is thoroughly Iberian with a menu that's crowded with pork products in many forms. Don't miss the suckling pig for an unadulterated plate of porcine loveliness.

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South Melbourne

Lûmé

Epic. That’s what you can call a 15-course degustation featuring things like cow’s udde, calamari entrail and cured emu and finishes with a painted chocolate cacao pod smashed with a delicate silver hammer.

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South Melbourne

Minamishima

Melbourne’s best sushi. It’s a big call. But after encountering Minamishima, it’s one we’re prepared to make. Leave your dining experience to the experts for an exquisite 15-course omakase selection.  

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Richmond
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O.My

Run by three young brothers (Blayne, Tyson and Chayse Bertoncello) all under 30, you won't be blamed for underestimating the fine dining capacity of this degustation-only restaurant in the outer suburbs.

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Beaconsfield

The Roving Marrow

What was once a sports bar frequented by Carlton's older gents now houses the Roving Marrow. Here, you'll find a contemporary Australasian and European menu, plus a yum cha service – but not as you know it.

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Carlton

Saint Urban

This Richmond eatery ticks a lot of boxes regarding the age-old ideal of the local restaurant, including the tone of the service (casual yet sharp) and the wine list (as easy as Sunday morning).

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Richmond
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More bucket-list restaurants

The best restaurants in Melbourne

Too many restaurants, not enough time. Cut the fat with our guide to the best places to eat in Melbourne right now.

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By: Time Out editors