Dragon Hot Pot

12 Chinatown Melbourne Restaurants to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon

Welcome to the heart of Melbourne’s Asian culinary scene – Chinatown! 

The Southern Hemisphere’s oldest Chinatown is a melting pot of flavours, where ancient traditions meet modern twists.

Whether you’re craving the comfort of classic dumplings, the sophistication of a fine dining feast, or the personalisation of a hot pot adventure, Chinatown is where foodies come to feast. 

Let’s embark on a taste tour of the best restaurants in Chinatown Melbourne

Dragon Hot Pot

Best Chinatown Restaurants Melbourne

1. HuTong Dumpling Bar

A haven for dumpling lovers, HuTong Dumpling Bar’s famed xiao long bao (soup dumplings) are a must-try. They are characterised by their delicate wrappers and rich, flavourful broth. 

The restaurant, known for its cosy ambience and multiple levels, is a perfect spot for family dinners. Inspired by the lanes and alleyways of ancient China, it accommodates large groups and is kid-friendly.
HuTong Dumpling Bar, 14-16 Market Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, +61 3 9886 6999

HuTong Dumpling Bar

2. Flower Drum

Flower Drum is an icon of Chinese fine dining in Melbourne. It’s renowned for its exquisite Cantonese cuisine, with a menu that highlights the freshest local ingredients and traditional cooking techniques. 

The restaurant’s ambience is upscale and elegant, providing a sophisticated dining experience. Their signature dish is the Peking Duck – don’t miss it! 

Due to its formal atmosphere and pricing, Flower Drum may be more appropriate for families with older children. 
Flower Drum Restaurant Melbourne, 17 Market Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, +61 3 9662 3655

Flower Drum

3. ShanDong MaMa

This hidden gem is celebrated for its authentic dumplings and traditional Eastern Chinese cuisine. The must-try dish is the mackerel dumplings, but the options are all good (particularly pan-fried).

The two branches of ShanDong MaMa both offer a casual, homely setting and affordable prices, making them a hit with families. Note the Centre Place restaurant is not in Chinatown and is very small, so it is a squeeze for prams. 

ShanDong MaMa, 7/200 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000, +61 3 9650 3818

ShanDong MaMa Mini, 5 Centre Pl, Melbourne VIC 3000, +61 416 662 992

ShanDong MaMa

4. Secret Kitchen

Known for its extensive yum cha and seafood offerings, Secret Kitchen provides a dining experience that combines tradition with modern flair.

The spacious layout over several levels accommodates groups and families, making it a comfortable choice for casual gatherings. The restaurant offers a diverse range of Cantonese dishes, ensuring there is something to suit every palate. 

Make sure you book ahead for weekend yum cha, as the sittings often book out. Don’t miss the egg custard ‘piggy buns’ – my kids’ favourite! 
Secret Kitchen Chinatown, 222 Exhibition St, Melbourne VIC 3000, +61 3 9988 7778

Secret Kitchen

5. China Red

China Red brings a tech-forward approach to the traditional dining scene found in Melbourne Chinatown restaurants. 

Its innovative touch-screen ordering system offers an interactive and modern touch, perfect for families looking for a hands-on dining experience.

The menu features a variety of Chinese dishes, ranging from classic favourites to unique creations, all prepared with an emphasis on flavour and quality. 
China Red, 206 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000, +61 3 9662 3688

China Red

6. Shark Fin Inn

Shark Fin Inn is an institution among Chinatown’s best restaurants and is best known for its traditional Hong Kong-style yum cha. 

Get ready to indulge in some of the best dim sums in town, served in an ambience that feels like a cosy trip down memory lane. 

On weekends there’s often a queue outside, so book ahead or wait around while the line moves quickly. 
Shark Fin Inn, 50 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000, +61 3 9662 2681

Shark Fin Inn

7. Shanghai Street

Shanghai Street is your dumpling dreamland. Here, it’s all about authenticity – think juicy, mouth-watering Shanghai-style dumplings that practically burst with flavour. 

The vibe is laid-back, unpretentious, and just the right kind of busy. It’s the perfect spot to gather and dive into a dumpling feast with family and friends. 
Shanghai Street, 146/148 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000, +61 3 9662 3226

Shanghai Street

8. Tim Ho Wan

Tim Ho Wan is not just a restaurant; it’s a Michelin-starred dining experience. 

The Chinatown Melbourne outpost of the Hong Kong restaurant takes dim sum to a whole new level. It is most famous for its barbecue pork buns with a sweet, crispy topping, but we also enjoy the prawn dumplings, silky cheung fun (rice noodle rolls) and fluffy ma lai gao (steamed cake). 

It’s perfect for those occasions when you want excellent food, quickly, and want to indulge in Michelin-star quality dining for an affordable price. 
Tim Ho Wan, 206 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000, +61 3 9663 9691

Tim Ho Wan

9. RuYi Modern Chinese

RuYi Modern Chinese is where tradition meets innovation. The restaurant is known for its contemporary take on classic dishes, putting a creative twist on your Chinese favourites, served in a chic, contemporary setting.

On top of the delicious food, you’re also treated to a feast for the eyes. The stylish ambience makes it a great spot for a trendy night out, with a vibrant atmosphere to match.

RuYi Modern Chinese, Ground Floor, 16 Liverpool St, Melbourne VIC 3000, +61 3 9090 7778

RuYi Modern Chinese

10. Dragon Hot Pot

Want to call the shots when it comes to your Chinatown dining experience? 

Look no further than Dragon Hot Pot, where a smorgasbord of fresh ingredients awaits you, waiting to be handpicked to create your personalised hot pot masterpiece.

The vibe here is lively and vibrant – perfect for those nights when you’re out with your family, ready to mix, match, and create your perfect hot pot concoction. With three stores in and around Chinatown, there is no shortage of flavour.

Dragon Hot Pot, 213 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000, +61 3 9662 1833

Dragon Hot Pot, 251 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, +61 3 9942 5230

Dragon Hot Pot QV, Level 1, Shop 27/210 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000, +61 3 9663 0888

Dragon Hot Pot

11. Supper Inn

Supper Inn is an icon in Chinatown and offers a late-night dining option with a focus on Cantonese cuisine. 

Here, it’s all about hearty meals that warm the soul – think succulent roast duck, sizzling beef plates, and steaming baskets of dim sum. 

The atmosphere is fuss-free (to the point of brusque sometimes) and you can expect generous portions of your favourite dishes. 
Supper Inn, Level 1/15 Celestial Ave, Melbourne VIC 3000, +61 3 9663 4759

Supper Inn

12. Crystal Jade

Crystal Jade is a treasure trove of Cantonese and Teochew delights. 

The menu is a parade of meticulously prepared dishes that are a feast for the senses. Think delicate dim sum, perfectly stir-fried greens, and succulent seafood.

The ambience strikes a balance between traditional and contemporary, making it a great spot for both family dinners and friendly get-togethers.
Crystal Jade Restaurant, 154 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000, +61 3 9639 2633

Crystal Jade

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Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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