12 Unique Restaurants in Melbourne: Fun + Unusual Eateries Unveiled

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Melbourne
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Welcome to our exploration of the most unique restaurants in Melbourne. This guide will take you through a selection of spots that offer more than just food; they provide unforgettable experiences. From rooftop bars with stunning views to cozy diners filled with history, get ready to meet Melbourne’s culinary stars.

From dining high above the city lights to enjoying a meal in a cozy, hidden spot, Melbourne has it all. Our guide will take you on a journey to 12 of the most unique restaurants you’ll ever discover. Each one offers something special, whether it’s the setting, the food, or the concept that’s out of this world, making Melbourne one of the top places to live and visit in Australia.

We’ll explore places where you can enjoy a hot pot meal surrounded by stunning art, dine in a train car perched high above the streets, and even sip high tea while cruising the beautiful waters, capturing the beauty of Oceania. There’s a Russian gem that feels like stepping into another world, and rooftops where the view is just as breathtaking as the food.

Get ready to dive into a world where dining is not only about the food but also about the unforgettable experiences. These restaurants are perfect for anyone looking to spice up their meal times and collect memories along with flavors. So, let’s set off on this delicious journey together!

The top restaurants to visit in Melbourne right now

Unique Restaurants in Melbourne: 12 Incredible Melbourne Eateries

From hidden laneway cafes to rooftop bars with breathtaking views, each spot in Melbourne has its own story to tell. Let’s explore these dining destinations and see what makes them stand out in the city’s vibrant food scene.

1. Panda Hot Pot

Stepping into Panda Hot Pot is like entering a new world. Right in Carlton, this spot shines bright among unique restaurants in Melbourne. It’s not only about the delicious hot pot; it’s the whole vibe that captures your heart. Picture this: a majestic dragon sculpture winds above you, setting a scene that feels straight out of a storybook.

This place is all about the communal joy of hot pot dining. You’re the chef, choosing from a variety of broths and adding your favorite ingredients. Meats, seafood, veggies—you name it, they’ve got it. And the sauce bar? That’s where the magic happens. Mix and match to create the ultimate flavor for your feast.

But it’s the ambiance that truly sets Panda Hot Pot apart. The decor, inspired by traditional Chinese art, combined with the warm, bustling atmosphere, makes every meal here an experience to remember. It’s a spot where every bite comes with a side of awe, making it a must-visit for those looking to add a dash of adventure to their dining experience.

Panda Hot Pot is one of the unique restaurants in Melbourne.
Panda Hot Pot stands out among Melbourne’s unique restaurants with its captivating vibe and majestic dragon sculpture.

2. Attica

Hidden in Ripponlea, Attica is where chef Ben Shewry works his magic, turning Aussie ingredients into something extraordinary. It’s the kind of place that makes it onto every “must-visit” list for best places to eat in Melbourne. Opened in 2005, Attica is all about celebrating the flavors that make Australia unique.

Diving into the menu is like going on an adventure. You’ve got dishes like kangaroo tail jazzed up with native currants and potatoes that bring the taste of the earth right to your plate. The drink selection is just as thrilling, with choices that perfectly match the bold flavors on your plate.

Now, let’s talk about space. The dining room at Attica seats just 60, making every meal feel like an exclusive event. The vibe is all about minimalist chic meets comfort, with an open kitchen that pulls you into the action. It’s intimate, it’s cool, and every little detail, from the lighting to the layout, makes your dining experience even better.

Hidden in Ripponlea, Attica is where chef Ben Shewry turns Aussie ingredients into extraordinary dishes.
Hidden in Ripponlea, Attica is where chef Ben Shewry turns Aussie ingredients into extraordinary dishes.

3. Eureka 89

Ever dreamed of dining among the clouds? Eureka 89 turns that dream into reality. Perched atop Melbourne’s Eureka Tower, it’s a place where fine dining meets breathtaking views. Imagine savoring a meal 300 meters above the ground, with the whole city spread out beneath you. It’s not just a meal; it’s an experience that stays with you.

For those chasing the coolest restaurants in Melbourne, Eureka 89 is a must-visit. Here, every event feels special, whether it’s a cozy dinner or a big celebration. The venue offers two spaces, each with its own charm, ready to host anything from intimate gatherings to grand parties of up to 400 guests. The views are unbeatable, stretching from the city to Port Phillip Bay and beyond.

At the heart of Eureka 89’s allure is its culinary excellence, led by award-winning chef Renee Martillano. The menu is a tribute to Victoria’s bounty, paired with Australia’s finest wines. Opt for a degustation dinner and let each course surprise you with its creativity and flavor.

Eureka 89 atop Melbourne's Eureka Tower offers fine dining with breathtaking views, making it an unforgettable experience.
Eureka 89 atop Melbourne’s Eureka Tower offers fine dining with breathtaking views, making it an unforgettable experience.

4. Easey’s

Ever thought you’d enjoy a burger five stories up in a train car? Welcome to Easey’s, where Melbourne’s iconic Hitachi trains find new life as the coolest diner in town. Perched atop a building in Collingwood, this spot is all about good vibes and great views. Inside, you’re surrounded by graffiti and art, making every meal a visual feast too.

But it’s not just about the looks. The food here is a playful twist on American classics, all with a Melbourne flair. Think chili cheese dogs, fried chicken sandwiches, and dumplings like you’ve never tasted before. It’s comfort food with an edge, perfect for shaking up your meal routine.

When it comes to unique restaurants in Melbourne for dinner, Easey’s hits the spot. It’s not every day you get to dine in a piece of the city’s history, let alone one with such a killer view. The train car’s quirky interior, complete with original commuter seats, and the ever-changing street art make every visit a new experience. Plus, the mural tribute to Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat outside? Simply iconic.

Welcome to Easey's restaurant, where Melbourne's iconic Hitachi trains find new life as the coolest diner in town.
Welcome to Easey’s, where Melbourne’s iconic Hitachi trains find new life as the coolest diner in town.

5. High Tea on the Sea

High Tea on the Sea by Magic Charters takes the classic tea time to the next level – or better yet, to the sea! Picture this: you’re gliding through Victoria Harbour, sipping on Australian sparkling wine, and nibbling on gourmet sandwiches, all while soaking in Melbourne’s skyline from the bay.

This isn’t your ordinary high tea. You’ll be aboard the modern catamaran Kingfisher II, which means comfort and stunning views, no matter the weather. With tables for two, three, four, or more, it’s perfect for any occasion, from a special family outing to a fun day with friends.

When looking for scenic places in Melbourne to eat, this cruise is a gem. Imagine enjoying hot savory canapes, roving desserts, and freshly baked scones with chantilly cream, all with Melbourne’s beauty as your backdrop. It’s a unique blend of relaxation and sightseeing, offering ever-changing views that you just can’t get on land.

High Tea on the Sea in Melbourne elevates classic tea time to the next level – or better yet, to the sea!
High Tea on the Sea by Magic Charters elevates classic tea time to the next level – or better yet, to the sea! | Image Source: https://www.magiccharters.net.au/

6. Nevsky

Ever tried Russian food? Nevsky in Elsternwick brings the rich flavors of Russia right to Melbourne. It’s not just about vodka here; it’s a dive into dishes that have been delighting folks for ages. Named after Saint Petersburg’s famous boulevard, Nevsky offers a cozy vibe with hearty wooden tables and a warm fireplace.

The place is known for its traditional Russian dishes. Think caviar, creamy Stroganoff, and oven-roasted pork loin. Hungry? Their European-style share menu banquets are a hit, serving up a mix of Nevsky’s finest.

For those seeking the unique restaurants in Melbourne, Nevsky is a treasure. Their Hermitage banquet is a lavish affair with five courses including duck legs and rack of lamb, all for $68 per person. Plus, there’s a 10-course degustation with Red Caviar, Atlantic Salmon, and Duck Legs, paired with vodka tastings and a pre-dinner cocktail for $195 for two.

Nevsky in Elsternwick brings the rich flavors of Russia right to Melbourne.
Nevsky in Elsternwick brings the rich flavors of Russia right to Melbourne.

7. Naked in the Sky

Naked in the Sky sits on Fitzroy’s 5th floor, offering a stunning look at Melbourne’s skyline. It’s part of Naked for Satan, featuring a downstairs restaurant and this rooftop gem. The vibe? Trendy and urban, with a mix of indoor and outdoor spots perfect for any weather.

If you’re after fun places to eat in Melbourne, this rooftop bar and restaurant nails it. With rustic charm, wooden details, and colorful steel chairs, it’s a place that feels both warm and cool. The view? Unbeatable. You’ll see the city like never before, making it a hit spot on sunny days.

The drink menu at Naked in the Sky is a long read, boasting ‘Satan’s Infused Vodka’, wines, and craft beers. Food-wise, get ready for Basque flavors with a modern Aussie twist. From Pumpkin Ravioli to Beef Tartare, it’s a feast for the senses. Open from noon, it’s ideal for a lazy lunch or a lively evening with friends.

Naked in the Sky on Fitzroy's 5th floor offers a stunning view of Melbourne's skyline.
Naked in the Sky on Fitzroy’s 5th floor offers a stunning view of Melbourne’s skyline.

8. The Toff in Town

The Toff in Town is where the heart of Melbourne’s nightlife beats. It’s a spot that mixes live music with a cozy bar vibe, making it one of the fun restaurants in Melbourne to hang out. Located on the second floor of Curtin House, this place has a dark, glamorous look that draws you in.

The Toff is famous for its train carriage-like booths. These private spots are perfect for enjoying a meal or a drink away from the crowd. The menu? Thai-inspired dishes that are as delicious as they are unique. And if you’re looking to catch some fresh air, there’s an outdoor area and a balcony with views of Swanston Street.

What makes The Toff stand out is its mix of good food, great drinks, and live music. Whether you’re here to see a band or just to chill with friends, it’s a place that has something for everyone. With a vibe that’s both stylish and laid-back, it’s a must-visit for anyone looking to experience Melbourne’s vibrant nightlife.

The Toff in Town is Melbourne's heartbeat for nightlife. Mixing live music with a cozy bar vibe.
The Toff in Town is Melbourne’s heartbeat for nightlife. Mixing live music with a cozy bar vibe.

9. Embla

Like a cozy nook you stumble upon, Embla is where the vibe is as inviting as a friend’s living room but with way better food and drinks. It’s a place where simplicity and quality meet, making every visit memorable.

In the world of unique Melbourne restaurants, Embla stands out. Its rustic charm, with dark floors, bare wood, and brick, sets the stage for an unforgettable dining experience. Here, the focus is on simple, yet delicious dishes cooked in a wood oven, like lamb neck with romesco sauce or whole rainbow trout with horseradish.

The wine list at Embla is a treasure trove, crafted with care by experts. It features a mix of local and international gems, including rare finds that you won’t see anywhere else. Whether you’re a wine aficionado or just curious, there’s something here to surprise and delight you.

Embla is like a cozy nook you stumble upon, where the vibe is as inviting as a friend's living room but with way better food and drinks.
Embla is like a cozy nook you stumble upon, where the vibe is as inviting as a friend’s living room but with way better food and drinks.

10. The LuWow

Once a fixture in Fitzroy, The LuWow is now bringing its tiki charm to the CBD. Imagine stepping into a world of bamboo, rattan ceilings, and tiki statues, all crafted by the hands of owner Josh Collins.

The ambiance is a feast for the eyes. Josh Collins himself has crafted most of the tikis that watch over guests, adding a personal touch to the decor. The ceiling is a canopy of rattan and bamboo, while booths boast upholstery from repurposed cars.

Add in fishing nets, lush fake plants, and leopard print accents, all bathed in a soothing glow of green and blue lights, and you’ve got a setting that’s as visually stunning as it is unique. The music is a mix of Elvis and surf rock that keeps the vibe lively and fun.

When it comes to themed restaurants in Melbourne, The LuWow is a standout. Their cocktails, like the Zombie with its triple rum punch, are legendary. The food menu, crafted by head chef Jun Lee, complements the exotic drinks with a fusion of flavors. Jamaican fried chicken and tempura-like crispy prawns are just the start, offering a taste of the tropics with every bite.

Once a Fitzroy fixture, The LuWow brings its tiki charm to the CBD.
Once a Fitzroy fixture, The LuWow brings its tiki charm to the CBD.

11. Natural History Bar & Grill

Natural History Bar & Grill is not your average diner. It’s a blend of a late-night American diner, a steakhouse, and an oyster bar, all wrapped up in a 1940s building. The place is a nod to the grandeur of old New York, with a touch of modern Australian flair.

The interior takes inspiration from Manhattan’s Natural History Museum and the Grand Central Oyster Bar, but with a playful twist. Imagine sitting on red vinyl stools at the porchetta bar or surrounding the oyster bar, with its dark leather stools and green glass partitions. The whole place is decked out in warm, mustardy hues, grape-red leather, and brass inlays, surrounded by quirky taxidermy.

Among unique places to eat in Melbourne, Natural History stands out. The menu is a homage to New York’s steak houses, featuring a kilo club steak, rib eye, and eye-fillet. For those who prefer something lighter, there’s roasted cauliflower with vegan apple butter or summer vegetable house gnocchi.

And let’s not forget the gluten-free crab lasagne, a creative twist on a classic dish. The wine list? Over half of it is natural, offering something for every palate.

Natural History Bar & Grill is a unique blend of a late-night American diner, a steakhouse, and an oyster bar.
Natural History Bar & Grill is a unique blend of a late-night American diner, a steakhouse, and an oyster bar.

12. Rice Queen

Nestled in Fitzroy, Rice Queen is a vibrant spot that brings a pan-Asian dining experience to Melbourne. After moving from Smith Street to Brunswick Street, it has kept its lively spirit and diverse menu. The place is a colorful mix of kitsch decor and delicious food, making every visit a fun adventure.

The interior, designed by owner Laki Pappadopoulos, is a feast for the eyes. Bright lanterns and plastic cherry blossoms pop against dark walls, creating a playful atmosphere. The bar area, once a prominent feature, has been resized to make room for a cozy smoking area at the front, perfect for people-watching along Brunswick Street.

Among hidden gem restaurants in Melbourne, Rice Queen shines brightly. It’s not just the quirky decor that draws people in but also the karaoke room at the back. This spot, fitting for four to 16 singers, offers set menu packages that range from the affordable ‘Lucy Liu’ to the lavish ‘Bruce Lee’. It’s a place where you can enjoy a meal, then sing the night away.

Nestled in Fitzroy, Rice Queen offers a vibrant pan-Asian dining experience in Melbourne.
Nestled in Fitzroy, Rice Queen offers a vibrant pan-Asian dining experience in Melbourne.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Unique Places to Eat in Melbourne

In our FAQ section, you’ll find answers to common questions using insights from our Melbourne restaurant guide, helping you discover the city’s diverse food scene.

What is the name of the oldest Italian restaurant in Melbourne?

The oldest Italian restaurant in Melbourne is Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar. It’s a classic spot that has been serving up delicious Italian coffee, pasta, and desserts since 1954. Pellegrini’s is more than just a restaurant; it’s a piece of Melbourne’s history, embodying Oceania’s charm. Here, you can enjoy traditional Italian dishes in a cozy, welcoming atmosphere. It’s a must-visit for anyone wanting to experience a slice of Italy in the heart of the city.

Does Melbourne have an Eat Street?

Yes, Melbourne is famous for its vibrant Eat Street, known as Lygon Street. This bustling area is packed with a variety of dining options, from cafes and bakeries to upscale restaurants. Lygon Street is especially known for its Italian cuisine, offering some of the best food in Melbourne. Whether you’re in the mood for pizza, pasta, or a sweet treat, Lygon Street has something to satisfy every craving.

What foods are Melbourne famous for?

Melbourne is famous for its diverse food scene. The city’s culinary highlights include coffee, considered among the best in the world, and brunch dishes that blend creativity with flavor. Melbourne is also known for its multicultural cuisine, offering everything from authentic Italian pizza to vibrant Vietnamese pho. Don’t miss trying the local seafood, especially at waterfront restaurants where the catch is fresh. For dessert, Melbourne’s laneways hide some of the best bakeries and dessert bars around.

Where can I find Melbourne’s best restaurants?

Melbourne’s best restaurants can be found scattered throughout the city. Each represents an Australian gem, offering unique flavors and experiences. From the bustling lanes of the CBD to the trendy streets of Fitzroy and South Yarra, there’s no shortage of culinary excellence. For the ultimate dining experience, check out the restaurants along the Yarra River for stunning views. Melbourne’s food scene is constantly evolving, so there’s always something new and exciting to discover.

Cruise Boat on Melbourne's South Yarra River
Cruise Boat on Melbourne’s South Yarra River

How can I enjoy fine dining in Melbourne without breaking the bank?

Enjoying fine dining in Melbourne doesn’t have to be expensive. Many top-tier restaurants offer lunch specials or early bird menus that provide the same exquisite dishes at a fraction of the price. Another tip is to look for tasting menus, which allow you to sample the chef’s best creations at a set cost. Also, keep an eye out for restaurant week events, where luxury dining spots offer discounted menus.

What are some must-try cheap eats in Melbourne?

Cheap eats in Melbourne are easy to find and can be just as delicious as pricier options. The city is filled with food markets, like Queen Victoria Market, where you can enjoy a variety of cuisines at low prices. Laneways and food courts in the CBD also offer affordable dishes from around the world. For a truly Melbourne experience, try a classic meat pie or a savory sausage roll from a local bakery.

Can you recommend a romantic restaurant for a special occasion in Melbourne?

For a special occasion, Melbourne offers many romantic restaurants that combine fine dining with a cozy atmosphere. Look for places with intimate settings, like those with candlelit tables or stunning city views. Waterfront dining along the Yarra River provides a picturesque backdrop for a memorable evening. Choose a restaurant that offers a degustation menu for a truly indulgent experience, where you can savor each dish and enjoy the chef’s artistry.

What is the best way to explore Melbourne’s diverse food scene?

The best way to explore Melbourne’s diverse food scene is by embarking on a food tour. These tours take you through the city’s various neighborhoods, each known for different cuisines. You’ll get to try everything from street food to fine dining in Melbourne. Another great way is to visit food festivals and markets, where local and international dishes are all available in one place. Don’t be afraid to venture into Melbourne’s laneways and hidden alleys; they’re often where the most authentic and delicious finds are.

Final Thoughts On Unique Melbourne Restaurants

We hope you enjoyed exploring the flavors and stories behind some of the city’s most unique dining spots with our Melbourne restaurant guide. Melbourne’s food scene is a vibrant tapestry, woven from the many cultures that call this city home, making it one of Australia’s most beautiful places.

From cozy cafes to bustling eat streets and hidden gems, there’s always something new and exciting to discover. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, we invite you to dive into these culinary adventures and taste the diversity that makes Melbourne so special, once you fly to Australia.

The top restaurants in Melbourne for all types of travelers
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