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The wait is over. These top new venues are open for drinking, dining and all-round good times.
Pearl Diver Cocktails and Oysters
Take a pre- or post-theatre foray into the French Quarter of New Orleans at Pearl Diver. This chic bar dishes up modern tropical cocktails and the freshest oysters from around Australia. Although cocktails and oysters are its bread and butter, Pearl Diver also has a full wine list and more to nibble on. The aptly-named 'not oysters' menu features bites like steak tartare and raw kingfish with pomegranate.
Connie's Italian Diner
You might have tried Connie's pizzas on a hazy night out at rock'n'roll bar Heartbreaker. Now this well-loved hole-in-the-wall pizzeria is a full Italian restaurant above the bar. Connie's is styled after New York's Italian diners with leather booths and checked tablecloths. Alongside the iconic pizzas are traditional dishes served family-style. Try eggplant parmigiana, Sunday ragu and a tiramisu sundae.
Traditional Indian cooking and Melbourne's modern food scene collide in this stunning space. Elchi is in the former home of Press Club and maintains the restaurant's elegant decor. Think giant gold lights and sleek leather booths. Dubbed the curry queen of Geelong, executive chef Manpreet Sekhon is elevating family recipes. Order a cocktail and try the gold leaf-coated chicken mussalem and the spice-soaked apple jalebi dessert.
Step through the colourful tiled doorway hidden inside Garden State, and land in a playful Italian dinner party. Fill your table with antipasti to share and plates piled high with pasta. You can't go past the crispy, crunchy edges on 'last night's lasagne'. Craving cocktails? Look for the doorbell and ring to order a negroni fountain for your booth.
The latest dining sensation from Chris Lucas' empire is a Northern Italian-inspired steakhouse for the ages. Grill Americano boasts a marble bar, open kitchen and opulent decor, set to impress on any occasion. The pasta is handmade, the woodfire oven was hand built in Naples and the dessert menu includes tiramisu table service.
Di Stasio Pizzeria
The Italian masters behind Di Stasio Citta have made their first foray into pizzas with a new Roman-inspired venue in Carlton. Part art gallery, part pizzeria, the walls are splashed with neon-bright modern art pieces. Enjoy a spritz by the fountain in the sunny courtyard. Then head inside for the main event – woodfired pizzas and Italian snacks.
Crossley St Cantina
Lively and warm, this laneway diner keeps the good times flowing late into the night. Dine Spanish-style on share plates, good wine and cocktails. The flavours of Spain are complemented with quality local Australian produce. Make it a daytime affair with bottomless brunch.
Nomad's food is inspired by travels through Spain, Morocco and the Middle East, but grounded in Australia's fine local produce. Dishes are cooked with fire and smoke, think smoked mussels and wood-roasted eggplant escabeche. Add a side (or three) of burrata and fennel jam and mop it up with wattleseed za'atar flatbread.
Vietnamese? Chinese? Thai? Have it all at Miss Mi. The massive mural and luxe decor almost steal the show from the food at this buzzy new Asian fusion restaurant. Take the ‘Journey through Asia’ set menu and feast on rich flavours with sauces and curries made in-house. Work your way through a spice-studded menu featuring Singaporean chilli spanner crab and a 130 day dry-aged Wagyu rendang curry.
Traditional interiors, a modern menu and world-famous Peking duck. You're in for a feast at Old Beijing. Start with plump xiao long bao and mountainous spicy noodles. Then move onto slow braised pork belly, fresh oysters and the signature duck. The drinks menu is classic with a twist. We'll be ordering shiso gimlets and Szechuan sours until closing time.
From the legends behind Sunda comes Melbourne's latest Little Collins hideaway. The menu of hearty feeds ranges from turmeric mayo mussels to grass-fed rib eye and dry aged duck. There's also fusion delights like black garlic egg noodles, spanner crab fried rice and kaya jam waffles.
A riot of colour and punchy flavours, Chris Lucas' Yakimono is a high energy all-day eating house. Follow the neon signs into the Japanese-inspired eatery, reminiscent of Tokyo's Izakaya bars. Enjoy flame-fired cooking and off-grill options like noodles and sushi. To drink, it's sake and cocktails named after Tokyo neighbourhoods.
Whether it’s your first date or 10th anniversary, Society promises a night to remember. Melbourne’s new supper-club has been brewing for four years and the doors are finally open. Statement crystal chandeliers twinkle above as lamplight glows on curvaceous booth seating. Sip caviar-topped martinis in the lounge before succumbing to Japanese-inspired or Euro-style cuisine.
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A three-storey farm-to-table venue from Alejandro Saravia, celebrating the Gippsland region.
Reimagining timeless charm this European style bistro is suited for any occasion.
Features Japanese grilled dishes, sashimi, pork katsu and select cuts of premium beef.
Bringing a new layer of fresh, flavourful Indonesian dining, with delicious cocktails to match.
Last updated on Thu 21 Apr 2022
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