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.
Loading the player...

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 a new Euro-Australian bistro, a spruced up hotel dining room, a snacky speakeasy or a joyous Indian restaurant at the back of a pub, we have you sorted.

Here are the best new restaurants in Melbourne.

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.


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.

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

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.

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.

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. and

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


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.

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.


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.

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.


Moving into a building steeped in hospitality history can raise certain expectations, but for the team at Brico – a CarltonNorth restaurant and wine bar that’s opened in the footprints of Little Andorra and Tansy’s – it’s a badge of honour. “This building is famous for anyone that’s ever been in the Melbourne industry. It’s got such rich heritage,” says Brico co-owner Josh Begbie. Paying tribute to the iconic Melbourne venues that came before Brico, was just part of the inspiration for the team. They also drew on their love of European wine bars, as well as their collective experience, which spans London’s Brawn, Sydney’s Poly and 121 BC, and Melbourne’s Embla and Bar Liberty.

The name itself comes from a play on the French word “bricolage”, a creation made from a diverse range of available things, which is how the team likes to view their new endeavour. “We love places that have a sense of honesty to them. They’re not always the most polished or the fanciest venues. But there is a consideration in everything”, says Begbie, who is joined by co-owner Phil Bracey, and their respective partners Robyn Nethercote and Tegan Ella Hendel. The foursome first met while working together in London more than a decade ago.

On the food front, they’ve enlisted Tasmanian-born chef Simon Ball-Smith who’s worked at Franklin, The Builders Arms and Public Wine Shop. “Simon is willing to champion the produce, as we do with the wine,” says Begbie. Cue Sydney rock oysters with a bright white pepper mignonette; crudités with taramasalata; goat’s curd with marinated zucchini and lovage; and grilled McIvor Farm pork neck with apricot and fig. Wine is equally important at Brico, with Begbie and Bracey sharing sommelier duties. The list explores the Adelaide Hills, Mount Gambier and Gippsland more locally, while also trotting over to the Loire Valley and Beaujolais in France.


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.

Toddy Shop by Marthanden Hotel

Melbourne chef Mischa Tropp has taken over the former Mono XO space, opening Toddy Shop by Marthanden Hotel. The compact but flavourful eatery hones in on crisp South Indian dosas and flaky porota. A roster of specials – perhaps a spicy fish nadan (a Keralan tamarind fish curry) with Spanish mackerel; or pork pepper roast (a curry underpinned by black pepper and punchy green chilli) – bolster the menu, while golden ghee dosas are made daily. Alongside the kicking curries, there are wines and brews from local South Asian-Australian producers and an Indian disco soundtrack to keep things up-tempo. “This Toddy Shop is a replication of everything I love about the south of India, incredible food made by locals for locals at a great price,” says Tropp. “This is a venue to make my community proud, something for people to cross town for because they miss the food of the motherland.”

For more of the latest restaurant news, pick up the latest Gourmet Traveller magazine or subscribe here.

Related stories