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10 new restaurants you should be eating at now

Stuck in a foodie rut? Shake things up at Melbourne’s new dining destinations. From a glamorous Sichuan hotpot palace to a fourth generation family gelateria.

Ging Thai

Combining modern techniques with traditional Thai cuisine, Ging Thai is one of the newest restaurants to open in Crown Melbourne. Local Thai chef, On Saengyojanr grew up learning how to cook from her grandmother and mother in Bangkok. She has taken the traditional techniques taught to her as a child, and put her own spin on classic Thai. Try a red duck curry or som tum papaya salad, and finish off with a lychee pannacotta for dessert.

Marameo

Dishes like a squid-ink spaghetti with blue swimmer crab, and wagyu tartare cannoli are some of the reasons to head to Marameo. This relaxed and easy-going Italian eatery also has $15 express lunch specials, and a rooftop courtyard. With a mouth-watering menu celebrating Italian flavours and techniques, you can order a la carte, or hand it over to the chefs with the feed me menue. Don’t forget to leave room for their drool-worthy tiramisu.

In a special one-night event, explore the very best wines from the volcanic wine regions of Italy, paired with a four course menu. At Marameo Erupts, the restaurant’s chef and sommelier have come together to design an explosive menu, celebrating these unique and distinctive wines. On Tuesday 24 March, as part of Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

Café Lafayette

The food and drinks at Cafe Lafayette are about as bright as the neon decor inside this Japanese inspired brunch spot. Hidden down a laneway, this isn’t your average cafe. Fruit-loop filled freaky shakes and menu items like ‘bird’s nest’ and raindrop cakes are a feast on the eyes. And you must try their famous unagi hotdog and delicious looking dutch pancakes.

Dohtonbori

Famous throughout Asia, teppanyaki restaurant, Dohtonbori Okonomiyaki has opened its doors in Melbourne. The brand’s first ever restaurant to open outside of Asia. Known for their okonomiyaki, this traditional savoury Japanese pancake will be cooked on your table, right in front of you. Or you can choose to do-it-yourself. For more variety, there’s also sushi, salads, fried chicken, gyoza and yakitori. There’s even wagyu, pork belly and whole lobster tails. Go big with an all-you-can-eat package, or select your own from their extensive menu.

Nanjing Story

Chinatown’s latest hidden foodie hotspot is Nanjing Story. This new two-storey eatery celebrates Jiangsu, one of the lesser-known Chinese cuisines. With mouth-watering bao and dumplings served in a steamy haze, Nanjing brings some of the standard dishes you might expect to see. The menu also features some items for the more adventurous diner. The signature duck blood vermicelli soup might sound daunting to order, but is full of flavour and already becoming a hot favourite.

Yugo

Designed with storytelling at its core, every meal is an experience at French Japanese restaurant, Yugo. The menu is driven by French cooking techniques merged with the flavours of central Asia. Every seat and table is positioned to make the most of the spectacle of the open kitchen. Watch the chefs as they create mouth-watering dishes. Like beef tartare with pickled daikon, chicken liver pate with umeboshi and a French onion ramen. The drinks menu is just as impressive with sake, cocktails, and a selection of wines from France, Japan and Australia.

Rick’s Place

Rick’s Place in Kensington is a family-friendly eatery with a relaxed vibe. The Italian restaurant is designed for the whole family, with flavour-packed, high quality dishes. Try Nonna’s spaghetti and meatballs, oven baked scallops and indulge in sticky date pudding or Italian donuts for dessert. Plus, kids can get a free meal on Tuesdays. Breakfast is available on weekends, when you can try one of their famous nutella pancakes.

Thai Town

Designed to resemble the streets of Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai, Thai Town is a one-stop-shop for authentic Thai street food and ingredients. There is a 200-seat diner, serving a little bit of everything with almost 100 menu items. Including the popular boat noodle soup, pad thai and pork skewers. This bustling town comes alive daily, but even more so with live music and dancing every evening. The cocktails look just as good as they taste and there is even a Thai grocer. Pop in before you leave to get some take-home treats like durian crisps or even a teddy-bear shaped coconut jelly.

Chef David

With a vision to propel the Sichuan hotpot into the 21st century, Chef David is a lavish dining experience you won’t forget in a hurry. Go for the signature Sichuan-style spicy broth, or choose from eight other soup flavours. You can even split your cooking pot into three to try more bases. Plus there’s over 100 ingredients on offer for you to cook in your marble-topped hot-pot table. Or order from the street-food inspired a la carte menu. Orders are placed using an ipad, which blends seamlessly into the futuristic and lavish design of the venue. Think strobe lights, a neon blue staircase and chrome chandeliers. DJs and live music keep the venue pumping until 2am daily.

Lavezzi Gelateria

From the Italian coastal city of Formia, the family who own Lavezzi Gelateria have been making gelato for four generations. Starting from scratch, their gelato uses the finest ingredients and is freshly churned on site every day. Like roasted nuts imported from Italy, house-made honeycomb and their signature Nutella. Drop in for some gelato or sorbet, and you’ll find cannoli, cakes and donuts too.