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10 outstanding Melbourne restaurants for celebrating special occasions

A photo of Red logo
by Catherine Fallon
Updated April 28, 2023

Melbourne’s coastal swagger and Art Deco highrises make charming backdrops to any celebration. Whether you’re marking a birthday, an anniversary, or a professional achievement, Australia’s second-most populous city, long considered Victoria’s cultural heart, has a table for you.

A low-lit, Japanese charmer in the Central Business District, known for seasonal sushi and robata offerings, calls for intimate special occasions. In Brunswick East, a lively, Lebanese spot, ideal for more boisterous get-togethers, serves up one of the city’s best shareable feasts. To turn up the wow factor, watch sushi and robata chefs while they prep in one of the most breathtaking dining rooms.

At these 10 top-notch Melbourne restaurants, the food, service, and ambiance are made for festivities, so book a table now.

A photo of Pretty Little restaurant
4.9 (79)
$41 to $100
About the restaurant

Strangers become friends at convivial Pretty Little, perched on Carlisle St in Balaclava. Thanks to a 16-seat communal table that takes centre stage, the vibe at this laid-back restaurant and wine bar channels a playful dinner party. The menu leans seasonal, fueled by produce from local farms (a 6-course option is available). Socialise over plates such as pumpkin and miso purée with chestnut cream and chicken ballotine with spinach custard—no two dinner menus are identical here. Dishes pair well with Pretty Little’s all-Australian wine selection, featuring Western Australian Tempranillo Malbec and Shiraz from historical Beechworth.

Top review
Dined on Nov 23, 2023
How can you keep it short when you experience the absolute culinary delight at this restaurant . Chef Mike creates dishes that have exquisite flavours that all seem to flow onto each dish. Nothing overpowers the palate. Presentation is an art in itself and appreciated by the 4 of us who dined on the 23rd November. Ambience and friendly staff just add a bonus to the evening. Nothing was a trouble . Thank you.
A photo of Akaiito Restaurant restaurant
4.8 (179)
$101 and over
French / Japanese
Melbourne CBD
About the restaurant

With its low-lit, minimalist interiors, this chic Japanese spot is a coveted setting for a cosy celebration. The centrepiece is an illuminated red thread installation that stretches across the roof, making Akaiito one of the most breathtaking dining rooms in Melbourne. Enjoy a three-, five-, or seven-course seasonal menu created by sushi and robata chefs—and watch them while they prep. Seasonal plates might include hand-picked spanner crab, WA marron with zucchini flower and leek velouté, or seven-day dry-aged duck with caramelised fig, oyster mushroom, and plum jus. Extend your special night out with an after-dinner cocktail at Ototo, Akaiito’s underground, speakeasy-esque bar.

Top review
Dined on Aug 26, 2023
Had a great 7 course meal. My wife thought it was really good with every dish really tasty and well presented. I considered it one of the best meals I have had in years. Gluten free options were well catered for but make sure to let them know in the booking
A photo of Warabi restaurant
4.8 (105)
$101 and over
Melbourne CBD
About the restaurant

If you want to mark a milestone over some of Melbourne’s finest Japanese food, splash out on Warabi’s omakase menu. Sit at the counter, enhanced by backlit onyx marble artwork, and watch the chef’s craftsmanship unfold. Courses evolve with the seasons and feature sumptuous plates such as egg tofu, seared wagyu, caviar, and toothfish. With just 37 seats, Warabi adds an intimate edge to any special night out.

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Sep 28, 2023
Service was excellent! Staff were both observant and knowledgeable. Food was average.
A photo of JAMES restaurant
4.8 (305)
$41 to $100
Modern Australian
South Melbourne
About the restaurant

Australian Korean set menus, conceived by chef Sangsoo Kim, await at this inventive South Melbourne spot, which opened its doors in 2021. JAMES is a sought-after spot for long, leisurely gatherings. Kim’s thoughtful plates include charred cucumber with halved grapes and smoked yoghurt, potato cake with fermented black garlic, and cuttlefish with chogochujang (sweet and spicy Korean dipping sauce) and buckwheat. Kim’s kitchen is steered by a no-waste philosophy: Unused parts of one dish often appear in another. So rest assured your celebration here will be an eco-friendly one.

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 1 day ago
Always great service and great food although, as a regular, the food was slightly off compared to last time. Still great though.
A photo of Bistro La Provence restaurant
4.7 (666)
$41 to $100
About the restaurant

Bistro la Provence, a beloved French bistro, makes a charming setting to celebrate an anniversary. Toast with Champagne in the elegant dining room, dressed with white tablecloths and chandeliers. Treat yourself—and someone special—to decadent classics including escargots in garlic and parsley butter, confit duck à l’orange, or steak tartare. Don’t skip dessert: showstopping confections such as crêpes Suzette and upside-down apple tart bring a slice of Provence to Melbourne.

Top review
Dined 4 days ago
Food was good as always. Our guest raved about the special Rabbit dish. One of our favourite local restaurants - parking is easy at no cost.
A photo of Freyja restaurant
4.5 (352)
$41 to $100
Melbourne CBD
About the restaurant

Executive chef Jae Bang, formerly of MICHELIN-starred Re-Naa, brings the heat to the menu at this cinematic, Nordic-inspired spot, worthy of practically any special occasion. Signature dishes such as egg waffle with smoked sour cream, trout roe or osetra caviar, as well as duck with finger lime and coriander seed round out the Danish-accented menu. The festive plates are enhanced by Freyja’s photogenic interiors (it’s housed in a heritage-listed Olderfleet building) which include cathedral windows with views of Collins Street, plus timber, metal, and raw brick accents galore.

Top review
Dined 5 days ago
Amazing food, attentive service, modern romantic ambiance.
A photo of Mama Manoush restaurant
4.7 (227)
$41 to $100
About the restaurant

For a group celebration look no further than the bright, colourful, and lively Mama Manoush. Go for traditional Lebanese fare, served banquet-style. Start with dips such as babaganoush, hummus, and toum (a whipped garlic sauce), served with flatbreads. Then feast on mezze, tabouli, and fattoush salads, plus a selection of charcoal-grilled meats. To that, add a classic cocktail such as a Beirut sour, drizzled with Lebanese red wine, and you’ve got all the components for a memorable, Middle Eastern bash.

Top review
Dined on Nov 23, 2023
Always a great meal and service. Our favorite Lebanese restaurant in Melb!
A photo of Yugen Dining restaurant
4.5 (318)
$101 and over
South Yarra
About the restaurant

Yugen’s soaring stone walls and suspended porcelain light installation add grandeur to any special celebration. The opulent, Capitol Grand building space is split into a dining room, an omakase bar, and a private golden orb booth that juts out over the main dining room, seating eight. Its modern, pan-Asian menu takes cues from Japan, Korea, China, and Thailand, with seafood-forward highlights such as whole crab, steamed then cooked in Sichuan oil, assorted sashimi platters, and prawn toast. The prolific sake menu (there are over 20 kinds to choose from) is made for toasting, as is the varied wine selection. Live DJs play here every night, sure to up the ante on any occasion.

Top review
Dined on Nov 24, 2023
Food is amazing, as is the venue, and atmosphere! This is definitely a must do restaurant!
A photo of Kahaani Modern Indian restaurant
4.2 (40)
$40 and under
About the restaurant

Shareable plates from various parts of South Asia make Kahaani, a modern Indian spot, a shoo-in for date night. Must-orders include crispy kale chaat with beetroot coulis, burrah lamb kebab, marinated in a spice blend before being cooked over coal, and Konkan fish curry served in an aromatic coconut gravy. The intimate dining room feels like a friend or family member’s home, with cosy vibes and relaxed service, setting the tone for a laidback but special evening.

Top review
Dined on Nov 18, 2023
The best Indian food I've ever had! The flavours and presentation of the entire meal was incredible. The cocktails were very creative and beautifully presented, I'd never thought of Indian tapas but each dish was presented with care and detail and the flavours were delightful. This place is a must go, to experience Modern Indian food in Melbourne.
A photo of Di Stasio Carlton restaurant
4.4 (245)
$40 and under
About the restaurant

The third venue from restaurateurs Rinaldo Di Stasio and Mallory Wall (whose other restaurants include Cafe Di Stasio and Di Stasio Citta), Di Stasio Carlton was made for lively, group get-togethers. Nine pizzas populate the group-friendly menu. Sardinian-born chef Federico Congiu is serious about the core ingredients, making his own fior di latte (cow’s milk mozzarella) and working with farmers in the Yarra Valley to grow and preserve San Marzano tomatoes for toppings. Choose from three separate spaces to dig into your shareable, Italian feast. The courtyard bar, centred around a fountain, is especially transportive.

Top review
Dined on Jan 1, 2023
Great food in the traditions of all of the De Stasio group. Lovely wait staff and beautiful food.
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