The Best Themed Restaurants in Melbourne
Looking for a dining experience a little left of centre? Look no more, Melbourne has them in spades!
Kitschy, fun decor, cute menu themes, traditional dishes from around the world and awesome atmospheres abound in these unique eateries. Have a burger from a train carriage five storeys up, dine with Denis the Menace, or eat lamb gyros in a subterranean cave. Never will you have a boring lunch at these six special spots!
Panda HotPot, Carlton
China's famous Panda HotPot is known for its authentic Sichuan cuisine and has now brought the exclusive, authentic dining experience to downtown Melbourne. From the detailed facade of the two-story building to the elaborate traditional decor and live Sichuan opera performances, the venue has been transformed to showcase not just the region's spectacular food, but the also it's vibrant culture. The tradition of cooking hotpot at your table DIY-style is also a fun novelty. Inspired by Wuxia - China's cult martial arts heroes - and adorned with trademark red lanterns, hand-crafted Chinese style interiors and a striking steel dragon watching over the grand staircase, Panda HotPot will make you feel like you've been transported to ancient China.
Where: 100 Victoria St, Carlton
When: Daily from 11.30am – 3pm and 5pm – midnight
Denis the Menace Cafe, Cremorne
I know, not your usual theme, but it's a theme that works! Denis the Menace cafe in Cremorne is a whole lot of fun.
The huge, light-filled open warehouse is home to food with a sustainability focus and an in-joke filled menu that you can't help but giggle at. Why not try the Avo, We've Met Before, Oh Shit-ake, Wild Child or Running Late Roti. The kids' menu options include eggs, muesli, toastie cheese, and chips.
Where: 106-108 Chestnut St, Cremorne
When: Monday - Friday 7am till 4pm, Weekends 8am till 3pm
Stalactites Greek Restaurant, CBD
If you've ever walked past Stalactites in the city, you absolutely couldn't miss it. One of Melbourne's longest-established and well-known Greek restaurants, Stalactites stands out with its bright friendly vibe and its famous stalactite-covered ceiling visible from the street.
Go old-school traditional with your eats and grab souvlaki (lamb, chicken or mixed), or vegetarian souvlaki with a bunch of mouthwatering toppings to customise your meal. They also do excellent platters, dips, seafood, a grill section, breakfasts, desserts, and homeland favourites like cabbage rolls, gemista, moussaka and homemade beef konkinisto, with most of those options available kid-sized from the children's menu.
Where: 177/183 Lonsdale St, Melbourne
When: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
"Burgers and beers served five stories up in a rooftop train carriage overlooking Melbourne City. Beat that." That's what they say and it's hard to disagree!
At Easey's, the best of Melbourne's art, music, transport, people, food and drinks combine on the top of the End to End building on Easey St, Collingwood. The views from this unusual eatery are phenomenal, and the food is large and excellent.
Indulge in one of the burgers, hot dogs, mac and cheese, chips, tater tots, dim sims, chicken wings and doughnuts before coming back down to earth.
Where: 48 Easey St, Collingwood
Opening Hours: Sunday - Thursday, 11am till 10pm, Friday and Saturday 11am till 11pm
Munich Brauhaus, South Wharf
Guten Tag! It's all German all the time at Munich Brauhaus in on the South Wharf. Paying homage to all things pork in their menu, you'll feel like you stepped right into a Bavarian bier hall without ever leaving Melbourne.
The food features pretzels and pickles aplenty, as well as wiener, pork knuckle, schnitzel, steak, burgers and desserts alongside an extensive beer menu and excellent kids choices like mac and cheese balls, burgers, schnitzel, hot dog, chicken wrap, fries, gelato, and a grilled cheese sandwich.
Where: 45 South Wharf Promenade, South Wharf
When: Monday - Sunday 11:30am till late
Rice Queen, Fitzroy
When you want good Asian food and plenty of it in funky-coloured surrounds, stepping into kitschy Rice Queen. It is like stepping into another world with their brightly-lit paper lanterns and furious fuchsia blossoms offset by the outrageously blue bricks.
The menu is designed for sharing, so dishes are small, but they are delicious and there is a huge range of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. Try the baby banh mi, san choy bao, grilled king oyster mushrooms with eggplant puree, their ultra-famous KFC (Korean Fried Chicken, or spring for the cauliflower vegetarian version), steamed dumplings, DIY Korean tacos, veggie curry, or their salad or noodle dishes. You will absolutely not leave here hungry!
If you're looking for something to do after dinner, why not hit their karaoke room? It seats 15 at the back of the diner and is available in 90-minute slots.
Where: 389-391 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
When: Monday - Thursday 4.30pm till late, Friday - Sunday 12pm till late
Truck Stop Deluxe
Eat a burger in an indoor truck? Yes, please! Truck Stop Deluxe in Werribee is a west-coast-inspired truck-stop diner serving up fabulous burgers alongside signature spiked shakes, cocktails and desserts.
Their burgers are served on lightly toasted brioche buns and any one of them are available as a vegetarian (they sub a chickpea patty). If you feel like something different, they also do fried chicken in 3, 6 or 9 packs, as well as mac and cheese croquettes, onion rings, popcorn chicken, and four types of fries including sweet potato, and cheese and bacon waffle fries.
If you've still got room after that, check out the dessert menu - perhaps they can tempt you with a Wizz Fizz ice cream, ice cream doughnut sandwich or Nutella waffle stack? Honk, honk!
Where: 98 Watton St, Werribee
Opening Hours: Wednesday - Sunday 11.30am till 9.30pm
Main image via Truck Stop Deluxe
Have you signed up to our newsletter? Join ellaslist to get the best family and kid-friendly events, venues, classes and things to do NEAR YOU!