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Pasta dish at Arlechin Melbourne
Photograph: Carmen Zammit

The best date-night restaurants in Melbourne

Our favourite places for frocking up and impressing someone's pants off

By Time Out editors
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"You choose the place," is a phrase that hardly anyone wants to hear when it comes to arranging the perfect date (the pressure!) – unless you're armed with a fail-proof list of romantic spots. You can't go wrong at any of these restaurants (unless you can't afford the more expensive ones: check the menu first!). Good luck, daters.

Melbourne is a city never short of romantic locales; check out our list of the best places for Tinder dates, or if the mood takes you, the most romantic hotels

Super fancy

1. Rosetta

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Southbank

You may be taking your date to the casino, but it's everything you won't expect. Exceptional cocktails, carefully prepared hand-made pasta and ridiculously fresh seafood is guarnateed to romance the harshest of critics.

2. Vue De Monde

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Melbourne

It always pays to book ahead if you're going to impress sky-high. If you can't drop that much cash on dinner, you can also hit up Lui Bar next door for a cocktail at sundown over some very smart snacks.

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3. Attica

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Ripponlea

This is the restaurant anniversaries are made for. You'll be receiving some of the tightest service served alongside an impressive winelist and a modern interpertation of Australian cusine by an internationally celebrated Kiwi chef who we've adopted as our own. It's fine dining without the stiff service.

 

Hidden gold

An interior shot of the dining room at Estelle Bistro with peopl
Photograph: Graham Denholm

1. Estelle Bistro

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Modern Australian Northcote

Mod-Oz in an Art Deco diner. This is the hottest piece of eating action in Northcote if you like all things molecular.

2. Lupino

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Melbourne

Classic food in a modern venue. The high energy and fast pace of this restaurant will keep your date in good spirits. Approachable food and smart drinks means it's one less thing to think about, too.

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A glass tray with grilled meat topped with poached pear at Epoch
Photograph: Graham Denholm

3. Epocha

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Carlton

It may be in an old gentleman's club (you know what we mean), but a lot has changed since those days. The service here is the best in Melbourne and perfect for romancing the one you've been crushing on for years.

4. Tempura Hajime

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants South Melbourne

Tiny, hidden, intimate; this 13-seater tempura bar in a side street of South Melbourne is our pick for dining without a crowd. Just be confident in your conversation because there will be nowhere to hide.

Wine and snacks

1. Ombra Bar

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Melbourne

It's dark, convivial and intimate, what could go wrong? Learn your salumi from your salami over a few carafes of wine and lean in over a pizza.

2. Bar Di Stasio

5 out of 5 stars
Bars St Kilda

If southside, it's only natural to head to Bar Di Stasio. Sit up at the marble bar and watch the bartenders craft your cocktails over a plate of fritto misto and people watch the who's who of St Kilda. 

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3. Hihou

5 out of 5 stars
Bars Cocktail bars Melbourne

Ring the doorbell and be led upstairs to indulge in Japanese whiskies and sake while overlooking the Treasury Gardens. Perfect for a nightcap when you don't want the world to find you.

Fancy a drink after dinner?

Cocktail at Romeo Lane
Photograph: Nathalie Saldumbide

The 50 best bars in Melbourne right now

Bars Cocktail bars

Melbourne's bar scene continues to be the envy of the nation, and our late-night credentials only get stronger with every new opening. Here is Melbourne viewed through the bottom of a glass: from its world-beating cocktail lounges to its down-and-divey saloons. 

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