Where to eat in 2018

Another year another slew of restaurants to try across Melbourne and regional Victoria. These deliciously diverse venues are sure to keep hungry appetites satisfied.

MELBOURNE

Annam

Annam Restaurant and Bar reflects the modernity and energy of Vietnam today while also embracing its diverse cultural history. Chef Jerry Mai’s menu is inspired by Vietnamese food from her own family table. Dishes will include items such as tuna tataki with cumquat nuoc nam and crispy onion, whole grilled Hiramasa Kingfish with rice paper, herb plate and pickled lemongrass nuoc nam, braised goat curry with pea eggplant. Jerry is particularly excited about the salted caramel fried ice-cream that will form part of a decadent dessert menu.

46 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne. Ph: +61 3 9654 6627

Arbory Afloat

The team behind massive outdoor eatery and beer garden Arbory Bar and Eatery are bringing back their famed floating bar and restaurant Arbory Afloat for summer. The giant nautical-themed floating pontoon will moor itself alongside Arbory’s permanent fixture along platform 13 of Flinders Street Station on the north side of the Yarra River. The Arbory crew have gone bigger and better this year– the floating bar now measures 50 metres in length and has a capacity for 407 guests at a time (that’s almost 300 more than last time). As well as boasting 360-degree views of the Yarra River and the city skyline, there will be live entertainment by local DJs Chico G and Simon TK. Arbory Afloat officially opens on Wednesday November 15 and will be open from 11am-1am, seven days a week, until February 2018.

1 Flinders Walk, Melbourne. Ph: +61 3 8648 7644

Bar Carolina

Il Bacaro and Sarti restaurateur Joe Mammone's Bar Carolina is a sophisticated, contemporary bar and restaurant set to revive Italian bistro-style dining in South Yarra, offering the high standard of true Italian hospitality that Melburnians have come to expect from Mammone. The menu features traditional Italian dishes with a modern twist; fresh pastas, fresh produce and a contemporary approach will punctuate the menu.

44 Toorak Road, South Yarra. Ph: +61 3 9820 9774

Bar Tini

The MoVida team is expanding its Hosier Lane empire, turning one of Melbourne’s original laneway bars, Misty, into Bar Tini. Opening in December, Bar Tini is based on the Spanish bodega – a neighbourhood shop supplying locals with wine and food to eat in or go. Named after Spain's answer to the martini, when sherry replaces vermouth, Bar Tini joins MoVida, which opened in 2004, and MoVida Next Door (2008). It will serve simple snacks such as montaditos and mollete (Spanish sandwiches with various fillings), charcuterie, cheese and canned fish until the wee hours.

3-5 Hosier Lane, Melbourne. Ph: + 61 3 9663 3038.

BKK

BKK has taken over the space that housed Saigon Sally for the past few years. It will serve punchy Thai dishes crafted by head chef Sean Judd (Nahm, Longrain, Chin Chin). Highlights will include gai yang – turmeric and lemongrass chicken cooked over smoke and som tam tod – a crispy papaya nest salad that’s sweet, sour and spicy.

2 Duke Street, Windsor. Ph: +61 3 9533 2342

Butchers Diner

A progressive, thoughtful butcher, using premium Australian meat and showcasing it with respect. Practicing this craft on site, Butchers Diner take meat in as primal cuts, then through careful cutting, curing, smoking & ageing, offer takeaway food and dishes that are simple, flavourful and classic. Whether it’s an egg roll with thick rashers of smoky bacon, dry aged steak sandwich, or a juicy grilled burger, this all hour’s venue has everybody’s favourites. Part of the role of the Butchers Diner is about providing Melbourne’s city community with convenience, service and hospitality in a slightly different format – an important element of this offering is their vending machine. Extending the idea of 24/7 takeaway, the machine is open to the street, vending wholefood snacks, salads, drinks and treats that are vegan. Butchers Diner is open 24 hours - 7 days a week.

10 Bourke Street, Melbourne. Ph: +61 3 9639 7324

Chris Lucas’ new venture

The mastermind behind lauded restaurants such as Chin Chin and Kisume will bring another new restaurant to Melbourne in 2018. Joining forces with acclaimed chef Martin Benn of Sepia fame, the golden touch of Chris Lucas will no doubt ensure this currently unnamed new venture is a successful addition to his growing restaurant stable.

Ciao Cielo

In March 2018, Ciao Cielo will move from its current location into a substantial heritage building on Bay Street which is undergoing major restoration to become two venues in one, Ciao Cielo & Ciao Cucina. Ciao Cielo will remain an up market modern Italian restaurant. The new Ciao Cucina will offer wood fired dishes and pizza opening onto one of the best al fresco beer gardens in Melbourne. All day dining at Cucina will also feature live music in the garden on weekends. Established in 2010, Ciao Cielo prides itself on being one of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne. 

171 Bay Street, Port Melbourne. Ph: +61 3 9645 1568

Harvest

Harvest showcases chef and owner Tim Martin’s passion for a genuine dining experience. The all-day South Yarra coffeehouse, bar and eatery features a refined menu of wine, aged meats and fermented products. Martin brings 16 years of experience to his first solo venture after making his mark as head chef at The European. Share plates make up majority of the bar and dinner menu, allowing patrons to taste of a wide selection of dishes that don’t shy away from using parts of the animal that are often ignored, such as fried chicken oysters with shaved cabbage, mayo and bocadillo; and tongue ‘n’ cheek cigars with brick pastry and charred onion salsa.

2 Claremont Street, South Yarra. Ph: +61 3 8582 0890

Iki Jimē

Iki Jimē is the latest addition to Shannon Bennett’s fleet of restaurants; it replaces the 11-year-old French restaurant Bistro Vue. Find Josper-roasted abalone stuffed with calamari, a Spanish mackerel chop dressed in nasturtium vinaigrette and a grilled whole barramundi. Iki Jimē involves spiking a fish’s brain as soon as its caught, then immediately freezing it for optimum quality. It’s said the technique harnesses more flavour since the fish doesn’t suffer from distress or rigor mortis.

430 Little Collins Street, Melbourne. Ph: +61 3 9691 3838

Juliet Melbourne 

Tucked away beneath Melbourne institution, Punch Lane, is Juliet Melbourne, a semi-hidden basement venue that lures drinkers and diners in from the street via a pink neon sign. Inside, the carefully curated wine list champions female winemakers, spirit-makers and producers. Cocktails are a focus, as is cheese, with a signature dish of raclette that’s melted and freshly shaved at the table.

37 - 41 Little Bourke St, Melbourne. Ph +61 3 9639 4944

Impala 

Situated above the newly opened Neptune, Impala is a lively cocktail bar from Nicolas Coulter and Simon Blacher (Hanoi Hannah, Tokyo Tina, Saigon Sally), alongside brothers Dave and Michael Parker (San Telmo, Pastuso) in the unstoppable southside precinct of Windsor. Buzzing with ‘70’s disco tunes, Impala features an exclusive in-house whisky locker, where regulars can keep their own bottles in a gold, glowing cabinet that doubles as a feature wall.

1/212 High Street, Windsor. Ph: +61 3 9533 2827

Lello Pasta Bar

Lello Pasta Bar is the evolution of Yak Italian Kitchen & Bar on Flinders Lane which has been refreshed and rebranded to offer a taste of Italy, with a focus on house-made pasta. Pasta dishes on offer include lesser-known varieties such as culurgiones (playfully known as ravioli’s chubby cousin) and baked paccheri filled with cardoon (an underrated cousin of the artichoke that chef/owner Leo Gelsomino hand forages from local parks and gardens).

150 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. Ph: +61 3 9654 6699

Longsong

David Moyle has finally brought his masterful touch to Melbourne. The new Longsong is a Thai influenced bar with substantial food offering, as seems to be the trend in Melbourne. Sitting atop the institution still going strong that is Longrain on the fringe of Chinatown, the spacious venue will offer food cooked over coals and though the menu will be Asian in flavour, both the menu and the drinks list will be inspired by local producers. 

Upstairs, 44 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne. Ph: +61 3 9653 1611

Pezzo

Pezzo is a bun made from 48-hour fermented pizza dough, which, when baked in an oven, swells, allowing it to be halved and stuffed with anything from meatballs to baked eggplant. Think of it as a gourmet pizza pocket. It’s the hero of Grossi’s newest eatery, Pezzo, on Flinders Lane in the heart of Melbourne. The menu is not limited to pockets – snacks and sides include chips dusted with rosemary and garlic, and panzanella and arancini. A dessert counter near the register is filled with bombolone and cannoli. Don’t go past the frozen tiramisu, made with the Grossi family’s 20-year-old recipe.

88 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.

Pier Farm

On Monday 27 November, Pier Farm will open on the Williamstown beachfront presenting seaside dining at its very best just in time for the warmer weather. Pier Farm has taken over the site previously occupied by Anchorage. The venue has been refreshed and refurbished to produce fresh and authentic Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. Pier Farm will produce a warm and inviting environment and a menu that boasts local ingredients with a focus on beautiful fresh seafood, pasta and salads. Pier Farm will be renovated in stages, with plans for further development throughout 2018.

34 The Strand, Williamstown. Ph: +61 3 9397 7799

Postmistress

Postmistress in East Brunswick brings rustic Italian, with twists, to Brunswick West. Enter the former post office and Greek social club for wood-fired pizza, beetroot gnocchi and a special kind of pasta that originated on the Amalfi Coast. Find arancini, calamari fritti and wood-fired pizza here, as well as beetroot gnocchi, a risotto of crunchy rice with chargrilled calamari, and scialatelli – a thick, short-strand pasta resembling fettuccine that originated on the Amalfi Coast. Owners Vitale Ferrante, Patrick Ciccaldo and Hugo Diaz have transformed the blond-brick, graffitied building that once housed a post office (and a Greek social club) into a stylish contemporary bistro.

71 Melville Road, Brunswick West. Ph: +61 3 9381 1585

Ripponlea Food & Wine

Following extensive renovations, local neighbourhood charmer Ripponlea Food and Wine has reopened this week to unveil an expanded venue complete with a glamorous new cocktail bar and menu. Designed by Black Milk Interiors (Sash Japanese, Ms Collins), the revamped Ripponlea Food and Wine features a central bar, seamlessly connecting the cocktail venue to the existing restaurant. Adopting the motto of ‘kinda classy, kinda hood’, the bar’s sleek yet edgy interior is inspired by the hip eateries of New York and London, featuring banquette seating in luxurious emerald green velvet, vibrant geometric feature floor tiling, moody dark timber wall panelling and brushed metal finishes in black and gold. The ‘hood’ element comes courtesy of a sassy (and very Instagrammable) neon sign emblazoned across the wall and the building’s grungy, early 1900s exterior. The new menu features a generous selection of small plates with a modern Italian influence, designed to share. Enticing highlights include duck pate with thyme and biscotti, a selection of crostini, veal and pork polpetti and gin and lime cured salmon.

15 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea. Ph: +61 3 8804 1313

Twenty Pho Seven

Australia's first twenty-four-hour pho restaurant has opened in the heart of Melbourne. City night owls can ditch the burgers, pies and kebabs as Melbourne will be serving traditional pho 24 hours, 7 days a week. The design and concept will be familiar to Melbournians - think neon lights and graffiti artwork by Twig and Co. - along with Asian inspired cocktails served in bubble cups. Popular Vietnamese entree’s such as rice paper rolls, spring rolls and banh mi will also be featured on the menu but the ultimate focus is to provide people with a whole new experience in the magic of pho. Pho-nomenal!

138 Russell Street, Melbourne.

Yagiz

A contemporary Turkish restaurant from Murat Ovaz is opening in South Yarra. Departing from Tulum in Balaclava, Ovaz's latest venture will continue to share a modern approach to Turkish-influenced cuisine that Melbournians have grown to love. The menu will showcase Ovaz's interpretation of Turkish fare, created to honour his culinary foundations while embracing modern cuisine and the multicultural influences that come with it. The venue features a central 22-seat brass communal table and is separated into two sections; a more casual walk-in bar and an expansive dining space fit with banquette seating and pops of Middle-Eastern inspired furnishings.

22 Toorak Road, South Yarra. Ph: +61 3 9821 4758

Yokocho

Yokocho opened its doors for the first time on November 30, bringing to Melbourne a modern and eclectic experience of Japanese cuisine. Located in the historic Mid City Arcade on Bourke Street, the vibrant street culture of Tokyo will be reimagined through Yokocho’s minimalistic fit out and lively ambience. Literally translating to “alley-way”, this contemporary hotspot will mimic the laneways made famous by salary men in Tokyo who frequent small, ‘hole-in-the-wall’ type establishments. Yokocho will be showcasing three main styles of Japanese cuisine: sushi and sashimi, yakitori and tempura. To complement the three categories will be a curated list of sake, spirits, wine, beer and cocktails. Express bento and a variety of share plates will also feature on the menu.

101/200 Bourke Street, Melbourne. Ph: +61 3 9663 7790

REGIONAL VICTORIA

Bistro Terroir

Touted as being the next best affordable dining option in Daylesford, with well-known local chef Matthew Carnell at the helm as the owner and head chef. Food will be classic French bistro faire, changing seasonally with each season focusing on an area of France that best relates to the seaon i.e. winter – French Alps, summer – South of France. The restaurant is mainly targeted at locals as an affordable dining option in Daylesford. Carnell is wanting to create a sense of community within the Bistro; a meeting place for people to gather and feel a part of the community and a place for visitors to the area to feel welcome. Wine will focus on Australian wine makers creating wines using classinc French grape varietals. It will be an ever-changing small wine list with house wines served by the glass or carafe. There will be no coffee machine, but will offer filtered coffee like the traditional French.

Set to open February/March 2018.

6 Howe Street, Daylesford. Ph: +61 409 916 118

Jetty Road Brewery

Local Mornington Peninsula boys with a passion for all things craft beer and a childhood love for their local area, have combined their two favourite things to create Jetty Road Brewery. At Jetty Road Brewery they believe in creating an experience. Their passion for awesome local craft beer and great company has evolved into the dream of finding the best local produce and sharing it with their friends. Their new site opens late December 2017.

Dromana. Ph: +61 432 649 252

Platypi Chocolate 

Opening in mid-January, Platypi Chocolate is a new café built in the tiny town of Forrest located within the scenic Otway Ranges. The wide range of chocolates made on site will showcase regional flavours including berries, fruits drenched in local wines, saffron and even Otway pepperberries. Open from 10-6 daily, this café’s range of sweet and savoury brunch and lunch options will provide hikers, cyclists, and road trippers a spot to indulge while in the area.

73 Grant Street, Forrest. Ph: +61 433 362 639

Muse Restaurant at Mitchelton Wines

Embracing regional produce and a paddock-to-plate philosophy, Mitchelton is fortunate to be located just a stone’s throw from some of Victoria’s finest food and wine producers. Guests will find joy in the delights of Muse Restaurant, which features a menu of local Goulburn Valley produce curated by Head Chef Jess Hayes. Drawing on her experience garnered both in Australia and abroad, Jess illustrates her diverse range of culinary knowledge by presenting a gastronomic repertoire that highlights both local produce and international trends – all accompanied alongside a pristine bush setting and, of course, the best in show from the Mitchelton Wine portfolio.

470 Mitchellstown Road, Nagambie. Ph: +61 3 5736 2222

Point Leo Estate

Pt. Leo Estate, set over 134 hectares on the southernmost tip of the Mornington Peninsula, is a captivating celebration of art, nature, design, food and wine and will open to the public for the first time on 25 October 2017. A cultural and culinary haven of many spectacular parts, Pt. Leo Estate will feature a monumental cellar door, 110-seat restaurant and what arguably will be Australia’s foremost sculpture park, all with sweeping views over Western Port Bay to Phillip Island. Pt. Leo Estate Restaurant is an informal, a la carte venue with a central wood-fired oven that lends itself to a menu designed for friends and family to share. Seasonal menus created by celebrated Culinary Director, Phil Wood, will be complemented by Pt. Leo Estate wines and a wine list with a focus on local Mornington Peninsula and Victorian producers.

3649 Frankston - Flinders Road, Merricks. Ph: +61 3 5989 9011

Provenance Wines

The beginning of 2018 will see five-star winery Provenance Wines open an operational winery and large function centre on the banks of the Barwon River at the Old Paper Mills site in Fyansford. The largest business in the historic 19th century complex, Provenance Wines will offer an interactive wine experience with a 250-person event space perfect for private functions and weddings.

100 Lower Paper Mills Road, Fyansford. Ph: +61 3 5222 3422

St Andrews Beach Brewery

St Andrews beach Brewery is situated on a 92-acre property in Fingal on the Mornington Peninsula, which was once a world class horse training facility. Enjoy a variety of freshly brewed craft beers and a bit to eat in the former racing stables of Group One winning horses. Opening late December 2017.

160 Sandy Road, Fingal. Ph: +61 3 5988 6854

The Whiskery

Set to open in the early months of 2018, The Whiskery will bring back local distilling to the Bellarine area after a thirty year hiatus since the closure of the Corio Distillery in the 1980s. Set on an historic seven acre site that was a former Cobb & Co horse watering hole, The Whiskery will not only serve its own whisky and gin, but will also showcase locally-produced wine, cider, and beer as well as select drops from further afield. Pizzas and grazing plates provide gourmet fodder perfect for imbibing with.

2120 Portarlington Road, Bellarine. Ph: +61 410 688 142

Zigis

Zigis bar is the newest offering from the team at Flinders Hotel. Bringing a coastal aesthetic to the historic pub, Zigis is the perfect place to relax, enjoy a drink and ocean-inspired dishes. Zigis menu is centred around seasonal produce and the freshest seafood. Created by multi award winning Head Chef Michael Cole, showcasing the Peninsula’s unique coastal surrounds on a plate. The curated drinks list showcases the highlights of the Mornington Peninsula wine landscape, as well as a few select domestic and international offerings; with local, craft and premium bottled beers and cocktails to compliment the seasonal menu. Zigis Bar Opens at Flinders Hotel, Mornington Peninsula on December 16.

Cnr Cook & Wood Streets Flinders. Ph: +61 3 5989 0201

Article originally published by Visit Victoria

Quick Facts 
Population Approx 3.73 million
Area 2,254 km2
Time Zone GMT +10
Languages English (official)
Currency Australian dollar (AUD)
Electricity 220 – 240v 50Hz
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