When you think of South Yarra, several things come straight to mind – upmarket shopping, café culture, trendy residents, soaring house prices.
Whether you deem those things positive or negative is up to the individual, however there’s one strength nobody can argue with. And that’s the restaurant game.
Home to some of Melbourne’s most exciting eateries, South Yarra restaurants go hand in hand with quality, flavour and leisure. Yet as you probably know, one walk down Toorak Road or Chapel Street and you’ll feel overwhelmed.
So to take you straight to the top, we’ve put together a list of our favourites. There’s an inviting mix of cuisines, styles and atmospheres, if we do say so ourselves. Enjoy!
Steer Dining Room
One of our favourite steakhouses in Melbourne, this fine dining South Yarra restaurant follows one very admirable philosophy – every taste must entice the next. Take just one bite of a Steer Dining Room premium steak and you’ll understand this motto, in its entirety. The beef is all Wagyu and Black Angus, sourced from artisan producers throughout Australia. Guests can also expect impeccable seasonal produce, fresh seafood and quality wine.
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 6 – 11pm. Lunch service on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Friday from 12 – 3pm.
15 Claremont Street, South Yarra, Melbourne 3141
Yagiz is a modern Turkish restaurant led by head chef Murat Ovaz, a passionate guy who wants to bring people together in an atmosphere which is gracious and welcoming. The food here is seriously exciting, with quality Australian produce being given a gourmet Middle Eastern twist. Think lamb rump with smoked cacik yoghurt sauce, or scallop crudo with Ottoman-style cured beef. The wine list is also unique, featuring many Turkish varietals.
Open Monday to Thursday from 5:30 – 10pm, Friday and Saturday from 12 – 3pm and 5:30 – 11pm.
22 Toorak Road, South Yarra, Melbourne 3141
Caffé e Cucina
Caffé e Cucina has been around since 1988, charming Melbourne locals with its nonna-style Italian cuisine and intimate atmosphere. It’s little wonder why it’s such a Chapel Street institution. This is award-winning and ambient dining at its best, right from the homemade fresh pasta and incredible Italian wine list to the professional and warm service. Not much more to say, other than, go!
Open Monday to Sunday from 12 – 11pm.
581 Chapel Street, South Yarra, Melbourne 3141
The name of Wagyu Ya likely gives it away, but this Japanese restaurant in South Yarra specialises in exquisite Wagyu beef. Very different from a steak at Steer Dining Room, the Australian Wagyu here is cooked on the indoor charcoal grill, in a traditional hotpot or served as nigiri sushi. The marble score ranges from seven to 10+, so expect a melt-in-your-mouth experience when dining here. Sushi, sashimi, donburi and noodles are also served.
Open Monday to Sunday from 11:30am – 3pm and 5:30 – 10pm.
156 Toorak Road, South Yarra, Melbourne 3141
One of South Yarra’s most renowned restaurants, France-Soir is everyone’s favourite Parisian bistro. Bustling atmosphere and welcoming ambience set the scene when dining here, with diners invited to cosy up in this tiny Toorak Road venue and enjoy professional service, fine wine and traditional French food. We recommend ordering classics like fresh farmed rabbit, escargot in garlic butter, steak tartare and duck confit. There’s also lamb brains, for the adventurous.
Open Monday to Sunday from 12pm – 12am.
11 Toorak Road, South Yarra, Melbourne 3141
With three pizzerias in Melbourne, A25 is well known throughout the city for its handcrafted pizzas. These guys stay true to Italian cuisine by only using ingredients with integrity. Their dough is naturally leavened for at least 36 hours before being topped with quality produce and cooked to perfection. Extra points for a huge vegan and gluten-free selection.
Open Monday to Sunday from 11am – 10pm.
720 Chapel Street, South Yarra, Melbourne 3141
Shinoki is, hands down, one of the most special restaurants in Melbourne. It’s not often people get to experience a Kyoto-style dining experience, let alone that happening in little old South Yarra. But at Shinoki, you can. Shinoki translates to “four seasons” and with that in mind executive chef Daisuke Miyake crafts seasonal dishes which feature both traditional and modern elements of Japanese cuisine. To best understand, order a kaiseki set dinner.
Open Wednesday and Thursday from 6 – 9pm, Friday and Saturday from 5 – 10pm.
146 Toorak Road, South Yarra, Melbourne 3141
Thirty Eight Chairs
Modern, exciting, welcoming and sophisticated, Thirty Eight Chairs has a lot going for it. Inspired by the food from Italy’s southern regions, this neighbourhood local has earned a well-deserved reputation for serving divine dishes. Guests can expect gourmet antipasto starters, fresh handmade pasta, Italian-style grilled steaks and dessert to die for. Easily one of Melbourne’s best Italian restaurants, this gem is not to be missed.
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 12pm – 10pm.
4a Bond Street, South Yarra, Melbourne 3141
When it comes to Melbourne’s competitive dining scene, it’s clear the head chef of Atlas Dining is paving his own path. Inspired by his travels and the world’s many flavours, Charlie Carrington decided to open a restaurant which changes cuisine every four months. At the time of writing, nine different cuisines had already been served and the current focus was on soul food from the American Deep South. Only a set menu is available, yet regardless of what it is, a meal here will always delight and intrigue.
Open Tuesday to Thursday from 6 – 11pm, Friday and Saturday from 5:30 – 11:30pm.
133 Commercial Road, South Yarra, Melbourne 31341
Matilda 159 Domain
Matilda 159 Domain is the latest venture from talented chef and restaurateur Scott Pickett. It’s an eatery at the forefront of modern Australian dining, with all the food being cooked on open flames and hot coals and high-quality local produce driving the dishes. It’s definitely a divine experience when eating at this sophisticated South Yarra spot – imagine bavette steak with smoked bone marrow, duck with blood orange and wood-roasted kohlrabi with burnt apple. The drinks list is also superb.
Open Monday to Sunday from 12 – 3pm and 6 – 10pm.
159 Domain Road, South Yarra, Melbourne 3141
Zen Charcoal BBQ
Zen Charcoal BBQ is a nice little spot on Toorak Road to enjoy laid back dining and some of the best Korean charcoal BBQ in Melbourne. The authentic Korean food doesn’t stop at the chargrilled meats and seafood either, with the hot pots and bibimbaps also tasting noteworthy. Definitely one of our favourite places in South Yarra for Asian cuisine.
Open Monday to Friday from 11:30am – 2:30pm and 5:30 – 10pm, weekends from 5:30 – 10pm.
306 Toorak Road, South Yarra, Melbourne 3141
House of Lulu White
While technically a café rather than restaurant, House of Lulu White deserves a spot on any list talking about eating out in South Yarra. Come during the weekend or a business lunch and treat yourself to dishes like fresh gnocchi, pan-seared barramundi, short rib beef burgers, gourmet salads and all-day breakfast. FYI, they also do a wicked bottomless brunch.
Open Monday to Friday from 7am – 4pm, weekends from 8am – 4pm.
4 Yarra Street, South Yarra, Melbourne 3141