Attica has long been a standard-bearer for Australian dining and following an extensive makeover, the pride of Ripponlea has signalled it's ready to take its place among the world's great contemporary restaurants.
74 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea, attica.com.au
Cutler & Co is a definitive Melbourne dining experience: a former tableware factory on gritty-glam Gertrude Street reborn as Andrew McConnell's flagship and staffed by one of the sharpest floor teams in town.
55-57 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, cutlerandco.com.au
3. Vue de Monde
Vue de Monde impresses not just with the views that come with its lofty 55th-floor perch, its dark, sultry interiors, gorgeous cutlery and glassware, hefty (and heftily priced) wine list and crack service from a young team, but for holding its position in Melbourne's premier restaurant league for so long.
Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St, Melbourne, vuedemonde.com.au
Heading into its third year, the luxurious Melbourne outpost of Heston Blumenthal's London restaurant is becoming more spry than stately.
Crown Towers, Level 3, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank, dinnerbyheston.com.au
It could be downtown Tokyo instead of backstreet Richmond. Despite its Antipodean location, Minamishima sticks to the sushi-temple script by playing hard to get in.
4 Lord St, Richmond, minamishima.com.au
There's nowhere to hide with Rockpool Bar & Grill's style of cooking, but the top-notch produce and the kitchen's skill require no culinary crutches.
Riverside at Crown, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank, rockpoolbarandgrill.com.au
A swirling Christopher Boots chandelier, darkly glamorous room and showcase open kitchen all swim against the tide of casualisation; so does Scott Pickett's dégustation menu, which grows more theatrical and experimental without ever stooping to twee, or losing sight of flavour.
245 High St, Northcote, estellebysp.com
8. Flower Drum
Ah, Flower Drum: familiar, grand, and still on form. Behold the retro-glam dining room: linen-dressed tables, thick carpet, and crack black-and-white-clad service team.
17 Market La, Melbourne, flowerdrum.melbourne
With nearly three decades under its belt, this St Kilda stalwart is unapologetically set in its ways. Café di Stasio offers time-warp dining of the best kind, recalling days when expense accounts were bountiful lunches were made to linger over, and kitchens didn't resort to culinary theatrics to keep diners enthralled.
31 Fitzroy St, St Kilda, distasio.com.au
Florentino is a Melbourne institution that continues to build, rather than rest, on its reputation.
80 Bourke St, Melbourne, grossiflorentino.com