Food News

The best new restaurants and bars in Melbourne

All the new and soon-to-open restaurants and bars in Melbourne to have on your radar.
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From new rooftop bars to soon-to-open restaurants in the Melbourne CBD, there are always plenty of new venues to know about in Melbourne. Here, we’ve picked the most noteworthy venue openings to have on your radar in 2024.

Whether you’re keen to know about the soon-to-open Mediterranean restaurant opening in an old cordial factory, a spruced-up hotel dining room, a snacky speakeasy or an all-day Euro-leaning eatery with a notable aperitivo hour, we have you sorted.

Here are the best new restaurants in Melbourne.

Orlo

Collingwood is preparing to welcome a new Mediterranean-inspired restaurant and bar with a Guy Grossi-trained chef at the helm. Orlo will see executive chef Matteo Tine (ex-Grossi Florentino locally and Pixie Food and Wine in Byron Bay) lead the charge, alongside owner and operator James Klapanis. Shaped by his Sicilian heritage, Tine will work alongside head chef Simon Polkinghorne with a brief of ‘bistro-theque sophistication’, melding European sensibilities with techniques from France, Spain and the UK. Carlo Grossi will be looking after the wine list, while Joe Jones is designing a cocktail list that takes cues from the building’s former life as the Dyason Cordial Factory.

Orlo is slated to open in June.

orlo.com.au

Elio’s Place

Brother-sister duo Adam and Elisa Mariani will swing open the doors to their third all-day European-inspired eatery Elio’s Place, named after their late father. Before taking on the Flinders House location, the siblings honed their skills opening Greta and Maverick, both in the CBD. Their new venue will continue their exploration of Italian-leaning eats. A big drawcard will be aperitivo hour from 3pm to 5pm daily, where you can expect snacky things to sit alongside well-priced glasses of vino from Old and New World producers. Executive chef Gareth Flood is overseeing the menu, that will also have English, French and British nods throughout.

Elio’s Place is slated to open in July.

eliosplace.com.au

Adam and Elisa Mariani at Flinders House, which will soon be home to Elio’s Place.

Bistro Bisou

Tucked into Hotel Indigo on the corner of busy Flinders Lane and Spencer Street, newly opened Bistro Bisou marks chef Luke Mangan’s return to Melbourne’s dining scene after more than a decade. Head chef Rory Kennedy (Vex Dining, Bar Romantica) has curated a relaxed menu that pays homage to France’s progressing food scene. Think the likes of deconstructed prawn cocktail with Marie Rose sauce and raw scallops with confit potato for snacks, and decadent wood-roasted poussin and lobster thermidor for mains. Fans of the classics will be pleased with cheese soufflé, chicken liver parfait and, for dessert, apple tarte Tatin with vanilla bean ice-cream. The sprawling 96-seater is fitted out with leather banquettes, gold pendant lights, custom-made rattan chairs, and a cream carpet. For drinks, expect two-sip martinis and absinthe aperitifs, as well as a robust French-leaning wine list bolstered by plenty of local tipples.

bistrotbisou.com.au

Ross and Sunny Lusted to open two venues in Melbourne

Melbourne will score not one but two new venues from Ross and Sunny Lusted later this year, with a restaurant and a basement bar set to open. The names of both venues are still to be confirmed, but both join the launch of boutique hotel Melbourne Place in the CBD. A couple in and out of the restaurant, Ross and Sunny have worked in 15 hotels across the world, and currently head up Woodcut in Crown Sydney. 

In their first Melbourne ventures, they’ll pin focus on Iberian coastal dining, with Ross set to explore the European peninsula’s sun-soaked cities and cuisines. “Having spent years living and travelling throughout coastal Europe, produce markets and local fisheries are woven into the fabric of each city and are integral to the rituals of daily life,” said Ross in a statement. 

melbourneplace.com.au

Bistra

In Carlton, Bistra is a fresh 60-seater European bistro. “Our fare draws its influence predominantly from British, French and Italian cooking and technique, and yet it is quintessentially Australian,” says co-owner Joseph Ho, who is behind the venue alongside Henry Crawford and Alexei Taheny-Macfarlane. Head chef Alex Nishizawa spent time in the kitchens of Attica, Bar Liberty and Falco. Here, he plates up refined European bistro standards, perhaps bubbling onion soup with a Comté-laiden crouton; or a rectangle of rich chicken liver pâté. A signature cheeseburger served with a whole pickle steers things into a more relaxed territory; while scotch fillet comes with a classic peppercorn sauce and fries; and red emperor is served with a white bean ragù and braised fennel. Panisse (chickpea fritters) come served with warm autumnal vegetables; while casarecce is dotted with squid, fermented chilli, olives and preserved lemon. The dining room takes on a restrained brief thanks to interior designer Pip McCully of Studio Wonder.

bistracarlton.com.au

A spread at Mill Place Merchants, a new bar and eatery in they CBD
Snacks at Mill Place Merchants.

Mill Place Merchants

Gussied-up party pies, devilled eggs and whisky cocktails are the top orders at Mill Place Merchants, a new speakeasy-inspired bar and eatery in the CBD. Originally home to the Flemington Meat Preserving Company, the entrance to the 60-seat venue is hidden behind a grand gilt-framed mirror. Cocktails favour classics and use housemade garnishes including Tasmanian cherries macerated in Bourbon; and small pickled onions. Order up alongside devilled eggs topped with Yarra Valley salmon roe; jamón croquettes with green garlic aïoli; a mortadella, mozzarella and bush tomato relish sandwich; and mini steak onion and ale pies.

millplacemerchants.bar/

Prince Dining Room

Sydney chef Mitch Orr has revamped the menu at the Prince Dining Room to bring snacks and seafood to the St Kilda hotel restaurant. Working alongside head chef Ben Parkinson (ex-Pipis Kiosk) Orr brings
a menu coloured with some of his signature moves, so expect smoky flavours, Japanese kombu, anchovies and Australian seafood. Orr’s Jatz cracker-lead snack will get a Melburnian makeover, with Arnott’s Savoys on the menu, with crab cocktail on top as well as served alongside salumi and pickles. Flounder topped with yellow curry and fried curry leaves is one star of the woodfired-powered kitchen, alongside David Blackmore wagyu skirt with yuzu kosho; and braised mustard greens with hazelnuts. Orr’s playful approach to both pasta is also on show, with plates of mafaldine with beer and dashi braised beef short rib ragú; and maltagliati with saltbush kimchi and garlic chives. Snacks also get the Orr treatment. Expect crumpets with smoked butter and anchovies; and grilled Abrolhos Island scallops with kombu butter.

theprince.com.au/price-dining/room

Zareh and Sarafian

Hummus heavyweight and talented chef Tom Sarafian is set to open two new venues this winter, joining forces with Nathan Toleman who’s behind the Mulberry Group (Hazel Restaurant and Dessous). After closing Bar Saracen in early 2021, Sarafian spent time working on personal projects, including making his own hummus, toum and harissa products, as well as carefully making plans for his next ventures. 

In the coming months, Melbourne’s CBD will welcome both Zareh, a restaurant and bar; and Sarafian, a deli and casual eatery. Zareh is named after the chef’s grandfather and will explore Levantine cuisine with a decidedly Melbourne feel, including Sarafian’s signature dish of king prawn and spanner crab hummus. You can also expect meats and seafood cooked over a custom-made Armenian barbecue; and a focus on flatbreads and pastries from Lebanon, Egypt, Armenia and more. At the eponymous deli, Sarafian’s handmade products will be on full display – think freshly made yoghurt, cheeses, jams and cured meats – alongside a dine-in menu.

instagram.com/zareh.melbourne and instagram.com/sarafian.melbourne

Tom Sarafian and Nathan Toleman sit with a Levantine spread of food.
Nathan Toleman (right) and Tom Sarafian (left). (Credit: Kristoffer Paulsen)

Fidels

A lively new rooftop bar opens in Melbourne’s Southbank this week, transforming the former Merrywell Rooftop at Crown Melbourne into a vibrant Cuban-inspired bar with bright-hued furnishings, Latin tunes and a lush terrace. Named Fidels, the bar is slated to open Thursday 18 April and promises playful cocktails; an extensive selection of rum and whisky; and a tapas-style menu – think braised lamb empanadas, salted cod croquettes and rum-glazed pork belly. 

crownmelbourne.com.au/restaurants/fidels

The Walrus

Seaside ‘burb St Kilda has welcomed The Walrus, a sunny-hued, local-leaning wine and oyster bar. A 20-strong wine-by-the-glass list rotates regularly, and the wider list includes everything from bubbles to a dedicated page of wines that specifically pair well with bivalves. You’ll find different oysters served atop hand-carved ice, from Wapengo Lakes in NSW, Albany in WA and Duck Bay in Tasmania; and you can order an oyster “mezze” with oysters joined by cold cuts, pickles, dip, bread and salad. You’ll also find an assortment of seafood snacks including mussel beignets, prawn sandwiches and gildas.

thewalrusoysterbar.com

Castlerose

Following year-long delays, South Melbourne has finally welcomed Castlerose, a moody supper club conceptualised by Glen Bagnara (Hemingway’s Wine Room and Bar Bianco). Twentieth-century opulence is channelled through the interiors with timber floors, slick marble and Italian terrazzo. Head chef David Yuan explores Euro wine bar snack standards – think duck rillettes with fig jam, cornichons, and toast; ratatouille tarte Tatin; and covertly plated confit duck, served from the table in a cigar box.

castlerose.com.au

Skewers at new Melbourne brewery Pirate Life
Skewers at new Melbourne brewery Pirate Life.

Pirate Life Melbourne

In South Melbourne, Adelaide brewery Pirate Life has opened its first Victorian outpost. Located in a former mechanic’s garage, close to South Melbourne Markets, the brewery’s kitchen has a simple and fresh approach to food, with a menu designed to sit well with a beer or two. Dual head chefs Maria Delengas and Nicolas Lopez (who have both come over from Adelaide, after cooking at Loc Bottle Bar and Arkhé respectively) oversee the menu. Lopez is doing a take on Cajun seafood rice and Mallorcan arroz brut, resulting in a dish that looks a little bit like paella, replete with bugs, clams, fish stock and bomba rice. You can also order up flank steak skewers marinated in achiote and pale ale; or a slow-cooked pork roll, which sees pork neck cooked over fire and thinly sliced, served with a spicy sauce and fresh onion salad. South Australian architecture firm Studio Gram brings a slice of Adelaide and industrial chic to the space with exposed bricks, polished concrete and large-scale murals. And of course, Pirate Life’s core range of beers – which span from coastal-inspired pale ales to acai-spiked sour beers – will be on tap alongside one-off brews.

piratelife.com.au

Doju

In the CBD, Korean food is setting the city abuzz, with Doju opening on Collins Street. Mika Chae (whose surname you may recognise as the cousin of eponymous restaurant owner Jung Eun Chae) heads up the operation, slinging South Korean-meets-modern Australian snacks with an emphasis on using top-notch produce. This may mean charred leeks come with crisp chicken skin, cashew cream and brown butter; or West Australian marron is served with garlic butter, stinging nettle noodles and green sauce. There’s also odes to some of Korea’s most loved dishes including galbi (Korean beef short rib) with horseradish, shiitake mushroom and chive kimchi; and market fish hwe (a sliced raw fish dish) with sunrise lime, doenjang (fermented soy bean paste), cucumber and Yarra Valley roe.

doju.com.au

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