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Inner-city eats: lesser-known Melbourne restaurants that should be on your radar

01/01/2024

With the wide variety of dining options to visit in Melbourne, you might be forgiven for letting some hidden gems slip under the radar. While they might not have received a chef’s hat, these lesser-known eateries still offer some of the best dining experiences in the city. From rooftop bars serving cocktails to tucked-away restaurants dishing out traditional cuisines, join the team at Best Restaurants as we guide you to Melbourne’s best culinary secrets.

  • Indu Dining Melbourne

    Melbourne CBD, Melbourne, Victoria

    From the moment you enter Indu you’ll be entranced by the scent, sounds and sights of Sri Lanka; terracotta barrels heave with spices, the menu is laden with modern Sri Lankan dishes and the bar boasts a formidable cocktail menu. The Bottomless Indu Feast is popular on Saturdays, featuring bottomless signature gin and tonics and a shared set menu with plenty of vegetarian options including the famed string hoppers.

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  • Le Bon Ton

    Collingwood, Melbourne, Victoria

    Located in bustling Collingwood, Le Bon Ton serves Creole and Cajun-inspired food as well as American BBQ with cocktails to match; all on the rooftop of the Glasshouse Hotel. Start with chilli-compressed watermelon with its gin-pickled rind or a serving of mac & cheese balls with BBQ spice. Mains include barbecue favourites, among them brisket, pulled lamb or Berkshire pork, all 12-hour cooked in the smoker.

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  • Teller

    Brunswick East, Melbourne, Victoria

    Housed in a former bank, Teller is up-market pub dining serving sophisticated plates perfect for sharing including fried corn ribs with Aleppo pepper and lime aioli or chargrilled Fremantle octopus with salsa roja, confit potato and burnt lemon. The lamb meatballs are accompanied by smoked eggplant and chermoula and the cured ocean trout with cucumber, dill and creme fraiche is a standout.

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  • Mabu Mabu - Big Esso

    Melbourne CBD, Melbourne, Victoria

    Located in Federation Square, this Indigenous-owned gem features a menu that celebrates the best of native ingredients. Start with cassava and warrigal greens croquettes or grilled prawns, salsa verde and crispy saltbush. Mains include a vegetarian dish of wild yam with native basil, and for meat eaters try the crocodile ribs with bush tomato and pepperberry brown sauce.

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  • Morris House

    Melbourne CBD, Melbourne, Victoria

    Sprawling over four levels, Morris House includes a New York-style comedy club in the basement, and on the top floor an enormous, pretty rooftop bar perfect for celebratory drinks. The dining room serves seasonal small plates made for sharing including honeyed chorizo with nduja paste and chives, a Kingfish ceviche accompanied by pickled fennel and pickled red onion and mini prawn rolls with dill and aioli.

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