Every so often, one needs to abandon their go-to dinner spot or local wine bar for something novel and well-recommended. Making an ‘event’ of an evening out with friends and a lover is underpinned by finding a glistening new location to try. And like pairing a great wine with your choice of main, it’s vital to find a perfectly-matched outfit to wear there.
Luckily for Melburnians, exemplary restaurant and bar openings come in spades — especially of the European breed. Recently, we’ve heard of endearing bistrots and tucked-away bars in every postcode, likely to have featured on your Instagram (or TikTok) feed. But still the age-old question of “where should we go?” arises on a Thursday night.
Our five must-visit recent openings in Melbourne happen to come with a European undertone
That’s why we’ve curated some viable newcomers to put on your radar. Our five must-visit recent openings in Melbourne happen to come with a European undertone, and some aptly-themed outfits matched for each mood. Assemble your best dining companions and prepare to unearth a new favourite spot for eating, drinking and dressing in style.
While a sojourn to Italy or a jaunt to Paris are feeling like possibilities again, uncovering Europe’s diverse and decadent cuisines in your own city definitely feels like the next best thing. And Harrolds’ new arrivals are here to dress you for the occasion, whether it’s edgy-cool for the North or high-glam in the heart of town.
Her Bar, 270 Lonsdale St, Melbourne
It’s likely not news to you that Her is a god-tier (and multi-tiered) bar and eatery in Melbourne’s CBD. At the main bar, expect superb morsels of French cuisine and exquisite cocktails for day-to-night celebrations with a side of splendorous people watching. Every hour is aperitivo hour at Her, but you can know it’s twilight for sure after a stroll up to the expansive rooftop arena.
“Her Rooftop could be a gorgeous terrace in Europe, miles away, yet it’s in the heart of Melbourne. We want to transport guests, in our playful European-inspired interiors, whether it be over a cocktail, lunch or sunset session,” says Matt Thomas, General Manager of Her.
Copycat, 9b Gordon St, Elsternwick
A surreptitious and scrumptious hideaway in Elsternwick, Copycat is mastering the balancing act of elevated but laid-back wining and dining.
“We’re all about local and seasonal Australian ingredients, exceptional service, and bloody good vibes” says owner Nick Beerens.
Drop in for champagne and oysters or linger for ceviche and soft stracciatella. Inevitably, your eyes will wander to a 260g scotch fillet with roasted shallot and red wine jus, and knockoffs will evolve into a dreamy degustation.
Smith Street Bistro, 300 Smith St, Collingwood
A most romantic date night spot with your significant other (but for platonic lovers, too). This boujée and charming Northside French Bistrot is a venture of hospitality great Scott Pickett — the man behind classics like Matilda and Chancery Lane. If you’re looking for an excuse to celebrate, the Caviar Service Classique will get you in the mood for indulgence. After mulling over entrées and wetting your appetite, grab a hearty fillet de steak au poivre (translation: dry-aged eye fillet, peppercorn sauce) and a side of shoestring fries, paired immaculately with one of what feels like zillions of delicious wines. And because there’s always room for dessert, unbutton your Jacquemus trousers to prepare for mousse au chocolat or crème caramel for the grand finale.
Grill Americano, 112 Flinders Ln, Melbourne
If blue is your accent colour this season, may we usher you to a cobalt-coated stool at Grill Americano? The latest offering from hospitality stalwart Lucas Restaurants, this Flinders Lane brasserie and grill is a ritzy affair. Experience a bit of New York glamour, balanced with Melbourne charm and blazed with all the fiery hallmarks of a Northern Italy steakhouse — all on a decadent and well-dressed backdrop.
An ideal evening spent here? Sipping an Americano and twirling some wagyu pappardelle, then stealing a hunk of your tablemate’s Bistecca alla Fiorentina (thickly cut t-bone steak cooked the Tuscan way, over hot coals). Finish with gelato, naturally.
Di Stasio Carlton, 224 Faraday St, Carlton
An ethereal green-toned, gravelled courtyard is a must for afternoon knockoffs. But if you’re out for a well-fed night in Carlton, stepping inside Di Stasio Carlton maze-like restaurant is a feast for both the eyes and soul. Think lurid green walls, mood-lighting, and a magical water fountain from Italy. The avant-garde interiors here almost rival the deliciousness of the menu. Lap up a diverse wine list, fight over the last slice of a margarita pizza, and don’t leave before trying their kitschy soft serve for dessert. Little quirks like a checklist-style lunch-order menu will make dinner at Di Stasio Carlton a memorable experience — one of architecture, storytelling and art and food.