Best Asian Food in Melbourne
It’s no surprise to walk down the streets of Melbourne and find plenty of delicious Asian food. However, having tried so many cuisines the traditional way, it can get a little monotonous to have your Korean beef bulgogi or Thai curry cooked in the same way, served in different restaurants.
In efforts to step away from the cliched, we have decided to compile a list of Asian restaurants who have taken the bold approach to put a spin on traditional Asian cooking, serving our favourite Asian dishes with a contemporary twist.
1. Chin Chin
Boasting long queues that snake past its neighbouring restaurants during its peak periods, Chin Chin is famous for its modern Thai food that is designed for sharing. This contemporary Thai restaurant is furnished with a rustic interior and customized prints that adorn its walls, inspired by the dining halls of Bangkok.
Chin Chin is the perfect casual dining place for a bunch of friends to share a couple of dishes and cocktails. If dinner isn’t enough time spent, go on downstairs to Go Go Bar that offers a menu divided into four seasons, each featuring different several cocktails, beers and wines.
For those who share a love of Thai food and are adventurous with Thai street food with a modern twist, don’t forget to try their son-in-law eggs, kingfish sashimi, crispy barramundi and green apple salad, chilli-salt chicken wings and their pork roll ups.
Address: 125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, 3000 VIC
Phone Number: +61 (3) 8663 2000
Opening Hours: Daily 11am to late
Supernormal is a sleek Japanese-fusion restaurant that features a sharing menu. Located in a glass-fronted large space, this restaurant features Japanese inspired décor and has unique Japanese snack vending machines that play up the restaurant’s novel design.
The concept of an open kitchen and a long dining bar emphasizes the large space to accommodate the crowd that accompanies the restaurant’s popularity. The contemporary Japanese restaurant features a menu that is Japanese food fused with other cuisine influences, boasting of delectable dishes such as its duck bao, dumplings and, Korean bbq pork shoulder. If you haven’t been there beforeyet, the Golden Field classics such as the lobster rolls and peanut butter parfait dessert are definite must-trys. Definitely a restaurant that is anything but normal.
Address: 180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, 3000 VIC
Phone Number: +61 (3) 9650 8688
Sunday to Thursday 11am to 11pm
Friday and Saturday 11am to late
3. Sake Restaurant & Bar
A two-level dining space located on the banks of the Yarra river, Sake Restaurant & Bar brings you a gastronomic dining experience with a contemporary Japanese menu of classic and modern dishes; not to mention their broad range of top quality sakes that can be recommended to you by their sake and shochu sommeliers.
From booths to private dining rooms, bar stools and outdoor tables, diners have an array of choices to suit the occasion. Unlike other fusion restaurants, Sake’s menu still has a heavy focus on Japanese cuisine while allowing its executive chef, Shaun Presland, to put its his own unique touch to it. I personally reckon that most dishes are unforgettably good and should be picked according to your palate.
However, if you want to try some of their popular dishes, remember to order their miso-cream scallops, pork belly with spicy sauce, wagyu teriyaki and fresh and beautifully plated sashimi platter. Other delicious dishes with a heavier fusion influence include their tuna ceviche, popcorn shrimp, and sashimi tacos with kozaemon junmai sake shots.
Address: 1100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, 3004 VIC
Phone Number: +61 (3) 8687 0775
Weekdays 12pm to 3pm (Lunch) 5.30pm to late (Dinner)
Weekends 12pm to late
A compact restaurant with a no-reservations policy assures you of a long queue outside the bustling restaurant that seats only 60 in its dining space. Before opening, the Kong team cooked for a year to perfect their dishes and it shows. Open by the head chef of Chin Chin, Benjamin Cooper, Kong is the younger sibling of the aforementioned successful restaurant.
Kong serves contemporary Korean dishes designed for sharing. Interesting dishes with a twist include rice crackles with edamame salsa and walnut jam, steamed buns with pork belly and soft shell crab and peanut butter tofu with fresh coriander.
It is a perfect place for a gathering amongst friends to partake in honest and delicious food and to knock back a couple of drinks. Some highlights of the menu are their wood-roasted salmon with crispy skin and seaweed salad and their 16-hour smoked brisket and some barbecued corn with chilli salt and miso butter. If you have space for more, try their barbequed corn with chilli salt and miso butter and pass your verdict against Mamasita’s famous Elotes Callejeros – their undoubtedly famous corn on the cob.
Address: 599 Church Street, Richmond, 3121 VIC
Phone Number: +61 (3) 9427 1307
Daily 11am to late
5. Saigon Sally
This modern Vietnamese restaurant boasts of a rustic yet contemporary décor, featuring graphics of beautiful oriental women on their walls and soft linen hangings that adorn the place. Saigon Sally is a popular restaurant that offers a refined selection of Vietnamese favourites at affordable prices. Designed for sharing, the menu offers interesting choices such as Banh Xeo (a DIY taco version of the Vietnamese pancake), Bun Reiu, a tomato and spanner crab broth with enoki and rice noodles and a grilled quail stuffed with sticky rice and Chinese sausage.
Saigon Sally’s head chef Adrian Li has also put a twist to the modern daytoday’s tiramisu and serves a desert called with the tira-mi-sally, a Vietnamese coffee ice cream in a coconut macaroon sandwich that leaves you wanting more. Another popular desert is the Banh Bo, the restaurant’s take on the traditional Vietnamese sweet and chewy sponge cake.
If the night is still young, you can head over to the bar to enjoy a selection of Asian-inspired cocktails and fifty varieties of wine.
Address: 2 Duke Street, Windsor, 3181 VIC
Phone Number: +61 (3) 9939 5181
Daily 6pm to late
Firstly, to clarify, Thaiger is not a restaurant. It is a humble Thai eatery that gives a unique spin to your everyday burgers. While not a restaurant per se, the popularity of their Soft Shell Crab Black Burger earns this place a spot on the list.
This simple eater seats three people at most, hence it is more practical to order a take-away. Their famous Soft Shell Crab Black Burger uses a bamboo charcoal bun that comes with a slice of Granny Smith apple, Asian slaw and a tangy dressing. Another hit would be their Crying Thaiger – a burger with a piece of grilled, medium-rare steak with mixed leaves and a Thai dressing. This place is perfect for your lunch take-away (if you work in Melbourne CBD) or for a snack in the afternoon.
Address: Shop 16, The Walk Arcade, 8 Causeway Lane, Melbourne, 3000 VIC
Phone Number: +61 (3) 9663 8558
Daily 11am to 4pm
Serving Southeast-Asian street food with a modern Australian twist since its opening in 2006, Gingerboy has since established itself as the place to go for fusion Asian food. Their menu features dishes that are packed with spices and flavours and come in smaller portions and larger sharing dishes. Their famous son-in-law eggs is a must-try as are other popular items such as their smashed green papaya salad, crispy chilli salt cuttlefish, red duck curry and a char-grilled lemongrass chicken with a peanut and tamarind caramel. Larger shared dishes worth ordering include grain-fed wagyu and the fried whole baby snapper with a fresh mango and lychee salad.
For those with a sweet tooth, try the dessert sharing plate that is both sweet and salty to end a delectable meal.
Address: 27 Crossley Street, Melbourne, 3000 VIC
Phone Number: +61 (3) 9662 4200
Daily 6pm to late
8. Jardin Tan
Located in a picturesque and relaxing location, Jardin Tan serves French-Vietnamese fusion cuisine, inspired by the food that came about after France’s colonisation of Vietnam. The front-of-house kiosk caters to those keen for a quick breakfast or a banh mi (Vietnamese bun) after their morning exercise. For those after a more substantial and sophisticated lunch, you can choose to sit at the wooden tables inside or at the back in the beer garden. With a focus on sustainability, Jardin Tan uses only fresh local produce with much produce grown in the kitchen garden.
Chefs have their own take on traditional Vietnamese dishes such as banh mi), pho (Vietnamese beef noodles), and beef ribs. Other popular dishes include the chilli lime squid with pickled papaya, flinders island lamb ribs and crispy pancake with pork and shrimp.
Address: Royal Botanic Gardens, Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra, 3141 VIC
Phone Number: +61 (3) 9021 2111
Daily 8am to 4pm
9. Rice Queen
Step into Asia without booking a flight – that’s how a dining experience at Rice Queen feels like. With eclectic and quirky Asian-inspired décor, Rice Queen matches its ambience with a menu offering equally unique Asian fusion food and cocktails.
Priding themselves as a diner serving a wide selection of different cuisines from countries across Asia, the restaurant indeed has dishes that are worth boasting about – their DIY slow-roasted Korean style pork tacos served with kimchi, lettuce and ssam sauce are great for sharing. Don’t forget to order the dishes that will have you coming back for more – the caramelized pork bites, salt and pepper squid on glass noodle salad and their popular KFC (Korean fried chicken).
If you are looking for a little entertainment, book the Karaoke Room at the back of the diner, which can accommodate 4-16 pax with a choice of set menu packages. What better venue than to throw an intimate gathering with good food, good drinks and an ambience to match!
Address: 389 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, 3065 VIC
Phone Number: +61 (3) 9419 6624
Weekdays 4pm to late
Weekends 12pm to late
A versatile venue right smack in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD, this is one of the city’s most popular bars. Combining a beer hall, cocktail bar and modern Thai restaurant into one venue, Cookie manages to adapt to and serve a variety of customers looking for different dining experiences.
The main beer hall serves the Friday night drinks crowd while the opera-style balconettes offer city views for those on dates. For those after a sumptuous meal, make sure to book a reservation at the restaurant (which will be undoubted packed during peak periods). You can’t really go wrong with dishes on the menu with an extensive menu that will make you spoilt for choice. Be sure to try the crispy fish salad with papaya and picked crab and the red curry with pork belly.
Address: First Floor, Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street, Melbourne, 3000 VIC
Phone Number: +61 (3) 9663 7660
Daily 12pm to 1am
Go Fusion with Melbourne’s Contemporary Asian Restaurants!
We hope this list has given you some insight into Melbourne’s Asian food scene. Beyond the traditional Asian food that Melbourne offers, these are our favourite picks at the moment! Hence, we hope this list has given you some insight into Melbourne’s contemporary Asian food scene.
If we left out any awesome contemporary Asian restaurants, don’t forget to share your suggestions in the comments!