Lunch and Dinner

French Saloon 
Modern French bistro above Kirk’s Wine Bar. A stunning space with a perfect little terrace for warm nights, an excellent wine and drinks list, and outstanding food.

French Saloon
Level 1, 380-384 Little Bourke Street

Hours
Mon to Fri 12pm to 1.30am

France-Soir 
An absolute Melbourne dining institution that’s been going strong since it opened in 1986. Solid French bistro-fare, excellent wine, and an authentic vibe.

France-Soir
11-13 Toorak Road, South Yarra

Hours
Daily, 12pm-12am

Anchovy 
Radicchio-wrapped Vietnamese blood pudding with ginger; and chewy hanger steak tartare with loads of fresh herbs, chilli and rice paper crisps are just two stand-outs on Anchovy’s almost flawless menu.

Anchovy
338 Bridge Road, Richmond

Hours
Tue to Fri, 5.30pm-10.30pm
Sat 5pm-10.30pm
Fri (lunch) 12pm-2.30pm

Estelle
There are two parts to Estelle. The bistro, which offers a la carte dining, and Estelle by Scott Pickett (ESP) which is a set-course, degustation-only fine-diner next door. Both are excellent choices for a special night out.

Estelle
243 High Street, Northcote

Hours
Mon to Sun dinner 6pm-late 
Fri to Sun lunch from 12pm

Saint Crispin 
Similar to Estelle Bistro (they share an owner), you can choose from two, three or five dishes for a set price. Small bites and sides can be ordered on top.

Saint Crispin
300 Smith Street, Collingwood

Hours
Tue to Sun dinner 6pm-late 
Fri to Sun lunch from 12pm

Tipo 00 
Pasta is the star here, and it’s arguably Melbourne’s best. Beyond it, there’s a couple of entrees and sides, a small selection of mains, a few desserts (get the Tipomisu) and a short, sharp Italian wine list.

Tipo 00
361 Little Bourke Street

Hours
Mon to Sat 11.30am-10pm

Lee Ho Fook 
New-wave Chinese in the centre of the city. The crispy eggplant is an essential order – it’s worth the visit alone.

Lee Ho Fook
11-15 Duckboard Place, Melbourne

Hours
Mon to Fri 12pm-2.30pm
Mon to Sun 6pm-11pm

Ricky & Pinky at the Builders Arms Hotel
A crazy, modern Chinese restaurant inside the historic Builders Arms Hotel in Fitzroy. Live seafood tanks mean the pippis and fish are as fresh as possible. 

Builders Arms Hotel
211 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Hours
Daily, 12pm-late

Belle’s Hot Chicken 
Chef Morgan McGlone opened his first Southern fried chicken and natural wine joint in Fitzroy after returning home from stints at Husk in Nashville and South Carolina with Sean Brock. He has multiple shops now in both Melbourne and Sydney.

Belle's Hot Chicken
Multiple locations – Fitzroy, Richmond, Windsor

Hours
Daily, 12pm-late

Nora 
One of the most interesting restaurants in Melbourne at the moment. Nora delivers a progressive, modern Thai degustation in a tiny converted cafe.

Nora
156 Elgin Street, Carlton

Hours
Thu to Mon, dinner

Tulum 
Dishes such as the Cilbir – soft egg, smoked yoghurt, brown butter, crispy chicken skin, and warm Turkish bread to mop it all up – make Tulum an essential stop if you find yourself on this side of town.

Tulum
217 Carlisle Street, Balaclava

Hours
Tue to Sat, 5pm-10pm

Ôter
There’s no white tablecloth formality here: this is neo-bistro French dining at its finest. Hidden in a CBD basement, expect dishes such as veal head terrine or river prawns cooked over a Japanese grill.

Ôter
Basement, 137 Flinders Lane

Hours
Mon to Fri 12pm-3pm 
Mon to Sat 5.30pm-late

IDES 
Ex-Attica sous chef Peter Gunn offers a six-course, reasonably-priced experimental degustation at IDES. Gunn is drawn to big, bold flavours, so prepare for some interesting combinations.

IDES
92 Smith Street Collingwood

Hours
Wed to Sun, 6pm-late