This New Year's Eve, city restaurants in Melbourne take it outside

New Year Street Feasts by Melbourne Food and Wine Festival promises a night of outdoor dining featuring some of the ...
New Year Street Feasts by Melbourne Food and Wine Festival promises a night of outdoor dining featuring some of the city's best venues. Photo: Paul Kristoff

Well-known eat streets and Melbourne landmarks like Federation Square will be filled with diners on New Year's Eve, as restaurants take festivities outdoors for a second year as part of New Year Street Feasts. The initiative by Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and state and local government is designed to boost the CBD's recovery after lockdown.

Thirty restaurants are taking part, offering everything from lasagne at Pellegrini's to nine courses of Chin Chin signature dishes. Tickets range in price from $50 to $350, with early sitting times at many venues and some even offering children's menus.

The program sees restaurants spilling out into Little Bourke Street, Flinders Lane and other smaller CBD streets, plus activity at Docklands and Federation Square.

Restaurants are serving everything from pintxos to banquets, seafood platters to kids' menus as part of the celebrations.
Restaurants are serving everything from pintxos to banquets, seafood platters to kids' menus as part of the celebrations. Photo: Paul Kristoff

"This is a chance for our traders to showcase what they do best – delivering some of the best meals and service in the world – all against the backdrop of our iconic streetscape," says Lord Mayor Sally Capp.

By closing city streets for the night, venues are able to add extra tables, according to Anthea Loucas Bosha, CEO of Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. That will be welcome news for both diners and traders on what's traditionally one of the busiest nights of the year for restaurants.

Our top picks

Tried and true: Shark Fin Inn
When all you want for your last meal of the year is sang choy bao, mongolian beef and a crisp custard bun, all roads lead to this Chinatown mainstay. The Inn has been with Melbourne through good times and bad; show it some love before the year is out. Find out more

Big Esso is big on native Australian flavours in everything from plates to drinks.
Big Esso is big on native Australian flavours in everything from plates to drinks. Photo: Chris Hopkins

Uniquely Australian: Big Esso
The flavours of Nornie Bero's childhood spent in the Torres Strait are on full display at Big Esso, and on New Year's Eve that means a "Blak Glitter" celebration headlined by five-course banquets featuring seafood or plants, depending on your preference. Get set for a New Year's Eve unlike any other. Find out more

Family fun: Time Out Cafe
Let the kids race around Fed Square and snack on hot chips, as you enjoy the real gold that's on the seafood platter. Prosciutto-wrapped scallops, tiger prawns and Lakes Entrance flathead will be paired with glasses of Veuve Clicquot. Find out more

Travel via tastebuds: Crossley St Cantina
For change from $100, you can be transported to San Sebastian for two hours thanks to the magic of the small plates they call pintxos. Bites range from calamari to patata bravas with a whole menu of vegan snacks to boot, plus everyone can get into glasses of sangria's sparkling cousin, tinto de verano. Find out more

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Full-throttle flavour: Dessous
This glam basement wine bar is coming up to street level for the night and bringing a whole bag of party tricks with it. Thai-leaning dishes on the eight-dish menu include baked lobster over glass noodles, wood-ear mushroom and pickled cucumber salad and rump cap with nahm jim jaew butter. Find out more

Bargain fun: Hochi Mama
Putting the feast into New Year Street Feasts, Hochi Mama is cooking up a generous banquet of Penang-style curry, curried prawn betel leaf, fried chicken, whole fish plus more sweet and savoury fare. And all for less than $60 a head. Find out more

Star power: Hero
Let Karen Martini fire up your New Year. Take your pick of a four-course dinner of her Med-accented cooking, perfect for summer nights, or a stellar line-up of snacks and larger plates that are made for social butterflies who are keen to mingle. Find out more

Karen Martini's Hero, located at ACMI, is serving Mediterranean flavours in your choice of sit-down dinner or bite-sized ...
Karen Martini's Hero, located at ACMI, is serving Mediterranean flavours in your choice of sit-down dinner or bite-sized cocktail snacks. Photo: Scott McNaughton

Full program and tickets for New Year Street Feasts (31 December 2021) available at melbournefoodandwine.com.au