The YORK Bar & Restaurant
This new upmarket casual diner criss-crosses the globe to create a menu that confidently places goat rogan josh on the same page as shredded lamb tacos and trevally ceviche. If that’s not enough to intrigue, they’ve also got an extensive champagne list with big hitters like Moet & Chandon, Perrier-Jouet and Dom Perignon.
Tortillas are the star of the show at this pint-sized new taqueria in Carlton where they’re hand-pressed from ground corn before being topped with everything from smoky pumpkin and avocado crema to slow-braised beef and zingy salsa verde. Making tortillas and corn chips onsite allows the kitchen to optimise flavour, softness and structure, so these staples shine beyond being simply a base. The Taquito team is also picking habaneros for salsa from plants out the back and mixing up killer ...
If the stylish, tropical-kitsch interiors haven’t already caught your attention, then the mouth-watering scent of Indian cooking surely will. Highlighting locally-sourced ingredients, the menu is a colourful riot of inventive street food served alongside more traditional dishes. All of which is complemented by an impressive list of 21 beers to cut the heat.
Leonardo's Pizza Palace
From the team that brought you Chapel St funhouse Leonard’s House of Love and casual fine diner Ramblr comes a new pizza joint doing old-school comfort food – think massive, eight slice pepperoni pies dipped in ranch dressing, thick cuts of herb stuffed porchetta and spag bol under a shower of parmesan.
Pub food gets a modern sheen at Melba Social, where you can get panko crumbed mushrooms in queso sauce, crispy pork belly with apple cranberry compote and three cheese gnocchi with gorgonzola, grana padano and vintage cheddar. Pair your meal with a selection from their wide-ranging wine list of go for $10 cocktails on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Grounds of Arcadia
You can now get a double dose of Greek culture at the Hellenic Museum, where they’ve opened a sun-lit new restaurant situated in the building’s courtyard pavilion. After a morning scoping out the museum’s priceless ancient antiquities, you can dig into hearty regional specialties from leafy surrounds, with dishes like whole baked snapper with sautéed fregola, caoers and sundried tomatoes, and kritharaki, a risoni with seafood, parsley, garlic and chilli. Of course, you can expect lots of ouzo, raki and ...
Chinese food gets a modern remix at Super Ling, where mapo tofu gets stuffed in jaffles and fried rice arrives in a disarming shade of black, coloured by squid ink. The hip Carlton diner is run by a pair with proper Hakka heritage however, so while the form may be novel the flavours ring true. It's all in the spirit of fun, helped along with pet-nat wines, fine sakes and PS40 sodas from Sydney.
Nosh - Melbourne Central
Nosh dish up seasonal and wholesome Japanese and Poke to hungry CBD workers. Nosh means to eat enthusiastically, and that's exactly what we do when we get our hands on one of their sushi tacos. Delicious combos of meat and sashimi are packed into tempura nori taco "shells" and they're as insta-worthy as you'd imagine.
Armed with a quirky origin story (owner Xavier O'Shanassy funded the place with winnings from an appearance on Million Dollar Minute) and a custom-built smoker, This Borderland is winning fans with faithful renditions of American diner classics, from fried chicken and waffles to moreish pecan pie. Vegans are also well catered for – they offer plant-based versions of every menu item, using seitan to create burger patties and nuggets every bit as juicy as their omnivorous counterparts.
At their second location in Greensborough, Infuse with the delicious flavour-packed fusions they’re known for. There’s a breakfast bonza that stuffs five spiced roast pork belly, sriracha, slaw, crackling and fried egg inside a warm croissant, or wholesome Thai salmon, zucchini and corn fritters dressed in tangy green chilli dressing. With coffee by lauded Canberra roasters ONA and fluffy Japanese-style souffle pancakes for sweet tooths, there are plenty of reasons to return again and again.
This fun westside eatery is bringing sliders back into fashion, and we’re here for it. Mix and match varieties such as classic cheeseburger, buttermilk fried chicken with kimchi slaw or crumbed calamari. Dine inside the quirky room of contrasting royal blues and pastel pinks while enjoying boozy milkshakes and pie of the day for dessert.
Take a holiday to the Caribbean via this buzzy new casual eatery serving fun dishes with a Jamaican influence - there’s a smoked jerk chicken jaffle, jalapeno mac and cheese and a rich oxtail stew dotted with runner beans and carrots. Many of the dishes can be veganised, and a robust cocktail menu makes it the perfect place to start a night out – a jug of Vee’s punch, which features light and dark rum, brown sugar, mint, lime and ...
The trend of reviving old milk bars continues at full throttle with the opening of this peppy new café in Mitcham. While it may still have a lolly counter out the front selling dollar pop rocks and a freezer filled with Bubble-O-Bill’s, everything else here lives firmly in the 21st century. Expect lots of smoothie bowls in every colour from pink pitaya to blue spirulina, plus well-balanced dishes full of crunchy fresh veg and inspired additions like peking duck.
Wonderpop & Deli
Word has already travelled far about this new CBD café’s signature offering – the ‘tradie slammer’ bravely sandwiches a full pie in between brioche buns and caramelised onion chutney. Even if your appetite doesn’t stretch quite so far, there’s plenty to love on the menu, including vibrant salads, decadent sweet pastries, oozy toasties, and of course, their full range of pies, encasing everything from humble beef to fancy confit duck with parsnip, honey and coffee jus.
El Sabor - Mexican Restaurant
This convivial cantina gets easy runs on the board via tacos topped with slow cooked meats and zesty margaritas. However, what sets El Sabor apart is that they offer unpretentious, homestyle dishes you won't find elsewhere, like freshly steamed tamales filled with earthy chicken mole or their simple-yet-unforgettable tortilla soup.
A popular purveyor of American-style burgers, Royal Stacks made its name with classic, Shake Shack-esque burgers with beef, tomato, lettuce, cheddar, special sauce and pickles. From there, things get a little crazier, with additions like spicy pickles, truffle mayo or a whole oozy mac and cheese croquette. It's the place to go for a hunger-busting feed, backed up with sides like cheesy potato gems and loaded frozen custards.
Tacked onto the front of a co-working office, this inviting new café is fuelling freelancers, start-up whizzes and the public alike. Warm, relaxed and with large front windows that allow plenty of sunlight to stream in, the menu has a focus on wholesome, feelgood food. Expect lots of green bowls, fruit-topped açai and colourful salads, best enjoyed at one of their street facing windows with a pitch perfect latte.
With a mission to create affordable and approachable full-flavoured Australian whiskey, Starward is a place for unwinding with a drink, tucking into some food truck fare or getting involved in an educational tasting and tour of the impressive industrial distillery.
Chin Chin's at Koto Moon
Transporting you to the fragrant tastes and smells of Southeast Asia, Chin Chin’s at Koto Moon specialises in fiery cuisine that draws influence everywhere from Malaysia to Thailand. A local institution that has been going strong for over twenty years, this warm and welcoming place thrives on a winning combination of perfectly finessed recipes and eternally friendly staff.
Padre Coffee Brunswick East
Now one of the city's most respected names in coffee, Padre's original Brunswick East roastery and cafe is where the magic all began. Have your brew in any form that takes your fancy – espresso, batch brew, cold drip, V60 – paired with a freshly baked pastry and a bag of beans to take home.
The bowl trend shows no sign of slowing down in 2019, a fact that Bowls Baby is tapping into with their range of colourful, wholesome and nourishing bowls. For breakfast there’s scoopable acai and frozen fruit smoothies topped with healthy yoghurt, seeds and granola, while for lunch you can build your own or choose from options like the Hoke Poke, packed with veggies, salmon, and pickled ginger dressing over brown rice.
Katuk is a quirky cocktail and whiskey bar boasting honest digs and a variety of unique settings to suit any occasion. Loved by locals for their vibrant nights of cocktails paired with a handful of tasty bar snacks, Katuk are self-proclaimed drink masters – offering a variety of specialty workshops in the art of cocktails, gin and whiskey.
Nahm Tao Thai Kitchen
Nahm Tao is North Melbourne's local spot for trusty Thai food, serving old favourites like flaky roti, curries and fried noodles alongside specialty dishes featuring fresh seafood. Saving space for dessert is a must when traditional treats à la coconut pudding and banana sticky rice are on offer.
Shakahari Vegetarian Restaurant
Shakahari has been catering to vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and garlic-free diets since the 80s, making them a pioneer in the field. Their menu takes broad influences from across India, East Asia and Italy, meaning you'll find lasagne sitting casually next to kimchi hotpots. Dishes forgo the use of mock meats to highlight the delicious versatility of fresh vegetables, and takeaway orders are welcomed.
Freddo cafe restaurant
Located in the heart of Carlton’s main strip, newly-opened Freddo Café is perfect for leisurely Sunday brunches. They’re giving the classics a novel touch, from eggs benny with orange-infused pork belly to savoury crepes brimming with goats’ cheese and prosciutto. We’re also loving their dedicated dessert menu – you can get any flavour combination in the form of a crêpe, waffle or pancake. Look forward to lashings of raspberry, rhubarb and mascarpone or the s’mores-inspired mix of marshmallow, biscuit crumble, ...