Top ten restaurants in Melbourne 2013

As the year starts to wind down I think it’s time to look back at my favourite meals in 2013.  It’s been another year of over indulging but when I recollect where I’ve eaten there’s a clear top ten restaurants in Melbourne for me.  As always, this list only includes those restaurants which I have actually been to in the past year, so your favourite may be missing, but there are only so many places a girl can eat at in a year.  Let me know what should be on my wish list for next year.


1.  Attica

Dinner for our wedding anniversary was the perfect excuse to finally visit Attica.  The setting is unassuming but chef Ben Shewry’s food is adventurous and exciting.  Sure there’s the famous potato dish, but the real highlight for me was the King George Whiting which almost melted into the paperbark it was rolled in.  

2.  The Commoner

The Commoner was my number one restaurant last year and visits this year only confirmed how much I love this place.  The food is simple, honest and delicious and dinner in the back courtyard with the wood fired oven going is not to be missed.

Padron peppers and charcuterie at The Commoner

3.  The Estelle

I’ve heard The Estelle described as Vue De Monde for the middle classes which made me laugh as this probably makes The Estelle right up my alley.  I love the quirky shop front setting in Northcote and the clever, witty food.

4.   Shandong Ma Ma

I’m seriously dumpling obsessed and Shandong Ma Ma is doing some of the best dumplings in town in a shopping centre in Chinatown.  Try the Melbourne dumpling, you won’t be disappointed.    

Chicken souvlaki at Gazi
Chicken souvlaki at Gazi

5.  Gazi

The reinvention of Press Club in favour of the more casual Gazi is great news in my book.  I love the simple chicken souvlaki and have happy memories of tucking into thick slivers of Turkish delight here.  

6.  Mixed Business

I may be biased because it’s in my new ‘hood, but my favourite cafe of the year was Mixed Business in Clifton Hill.  I’m yet to order a bad dish off the menu here and the specials board which changes daily keeps things interesting for regulars like me.  

Dessert time at Piqueos
Dessert time at Piqueos

7.  Piqueos

Get your Argentinian BBQ on at Piqueos, a cosy but chic Carlton restaurant.  From the empanadas to the steak with chimichurri – it’s all top notch and tasty.  

8.  Saint Crispin

This new Smith Street restaurant is the slightly cheaper and more casual sibling to The Estelle so of course I loved it.  Start with Saint Crispin’s take on puffed pork chips and end with a breathtaking deconstructed dessert.  The wine list is also a worthwhile distraction.  

9.  Easy Tiger

My favourite place for modern Thai food that is bursting with flavour.  Chef Jarrod Hudson shows white boys can cook Thai food and cook it damn well.  Don’t go past the son-in-law eggs.  

Slurping up noodles at Nama Nama

10.   Nama Nama

The most sophisticated place to have a cheap lunch in the city Nama Nama keeps me coming back with its cool Japanese fit out and thick wriggly noodles. I’m also slightly besotted with Nama Nama’s cool upstairs bar, Hi Hou.  

If you’re interested here’s my list last year of my top ten Melbourne restaurants.  


  1. What a delicious year you’ve had. Here’s to 2014 being even tastier (and lots of babysitters available too!).

  2. We cannot fault your selection:-)

  3. Great list, also love the commoner, and very keen to try the Estelle and St Crispin. I was impressed by a recent meal at Epocha, I recommend it!

  4. Helen – Agreed – especially no 2!

    Robbie – Glad you approve…

    Clare – Good to hear – Epocha very much on my 2014 wish list.

  5. Excellent round up! There’s a few on the list I have been meaning to get to, I’ll have to try extra hard in the new year to cross a few off my list!

  6. Thanks for the great tips Cara. A few new ones for me to try.

    I have also had a couple of great meals at Lil Boy Blue and Moon Under Water. One of my faves is Maha. It never disappoints but just keeps getting better. I am off to Gazi this weekend too so looking forward to that!

  7. I think I might see this as a challenge to work through for 2014 🙂

  8. Liz – Enjoy crossing them off

    Vanessa – Thanks for the recommendations. Maha has been on my wish list for a while now – loved Shane Delia’s show on SBS and have heard great things about the restaurant.

    Darren – It’s the fun sort of New Year’s Eve resolution!

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