Melbourne is the Australian version of New York. It has stylish people, oodles of culture, and the nation’s choicest bars and restaurants. Seemingly endless options make it difficult to navigate through the city’s hidden laneways in search of the best eats. With a wide variety of influences from Asian to Middle Eastern and European, these are hottest restaurants in Melbourne in 2017. They are THE places to eat in Victoria’s capital city.
Scoring a reservation at this upscale Japanese eatery is the perfect excuse for a delicious date night. Choose from three different levels of dining including basement-level, first-floor, and private dining. The elegant ambiance, clean lines, illustrious artwork, and impeccable service make it a meal worthy of its price tag -– as does to its signature housemade sake and impeccable Japanese food. Don’t miss the Deluxe Feature Box, which includes double toro maki, raw and seared, which is topped with uni. Make a reservation at Kisume.
Ricky & Pinky
Tucked away in the Builders Arms Hotel, this Hong-Kong style Chinese spot serves fun dishes in a vibrant setting. This funky restaurant is decorated with fish tanks and the tables are fitted with Lazy Susans that make sharing easy. Traditional classics like Szechuan pork dumplings, roast Chinese duck, and a killer mapo tofu are on the menu, which is also mixed with unique treats like a giant fortune cookie. Make a reservation at Ricky & Pinky.
Vue de Monde
Located on the 55th floor of the iconic Rialto, Vue de Monde is one of the most upscale meals in Melbourne with the best views – hands down. Dine on more than 10 courses in an elegant dining room with touches of Australian culture spread throughout. Each course includes local organic veggies and proteins arranged in ornate dishes designed to wow, such as the kohlrabi with macadamia milk, lemon verbena, and ethically sourced salmon caviar from the Yarra Valley. Enjoy each dish slowly because the sweeping views of the city are worth the cost of the prix fixe. Make a reservation at Vue de Monde.
Here you’ll find modern Armenian food served in a chic dining room with sleek wooden chairs, plush booths, and tiled walls. The team behind The Black Toro restaurant transforms classic Armenian dishes into refined plates with spices and flavors galore. Order the twice-cooked chicken wings doused in pomegranate glaze and pistachios, and finish the night with the modern baklava stuffed with salt-caramel ice cream. Make a reservation at Sezar.
Another top-quality restaurant located inside the infamous Crown Melbourne, Spice Temple does authentic Chinese food in a stylish setting. The extensive menu focuses on lesser-known regions of China like Jiangxi for its chili and Hunan for its citrus. The signature mud crab steamed with ginger and shallot is a showstopper. They have 100 wines to pair with your banquet-style meal. If Mercury is in retrograde, choose one of 12 zodiac-themed cocktails. Make a reservation at Spice Temple.
Just off the famous Flinders Street Station is Middle Eastern dining in a modish setting. The team at Maha refers to their food as “unrestricted Middle Eastern.” The dishes here are fresh and bold with a unique twist on a centuries-old cuisine. Sip on a Turkish Delight Martini while you wait to dig into the much-heralded orange blossom-glazed pork cutlet with fennel, preserved orange, pine nut, and sorrel hummus, and soak in the enticing ambiance featuring touches of the Middle East. Make a reservation at Maha.
Nestled in between a few unassuming shops is the hidden gem of Richmond. When you enter the newly renovated dining room, you’re enveloped in a relaxed, cozy atmosphere. It’s the perfect neighborhood spot for food and wine lovers to spend a Friday night. They specialize in elevated European dishes using local Australian ingredients, such as duck, Spanner crab, and Kangaroo Island marron. Make a reservation at Noir.
As far as hip and hot spots in Melbourne, it doesn’t get any cooler than this. Its bright pink neon logo lights up Flinders Lane, drawing you into the understated wooden interior. The uber-popular joint creates shareable Asian-inspired dishes, from the twice-cooked duck to purple broccoli and popcorn soft serve. Order a few things from each section of the menu. Pro tip: Supernormal books up quickly so plan ahead. Make a reservation at Supernormal.
What are your picks for the hottest restaurants in Melbourne? Let us know here or over on Facebook, G+, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter. And, remember to snap + share your #dishpics with us on Instagram for a chance to win in our weekly giveaway.
Katie Lockhart is a Brooklyn-based food and travel writer. When she’s not writing, she’s eating her way around the world and posting it all on her Instagram @findyourhappyplate and blog findyourhappyplate.co.
Photo credits: Harvard Wang (Vue de Monde, Ricky & Pinky); David Griffen (Spice Temple).