A bewilderingly large pizza joint located on Fitzroy North’s main drag, 1000 Lire slings copious amounts of some of Melbourne’s most delicious pizza from their cavernous pizza oven. Whether you fancy dining in or taking away, this is classic, Neapolitan style fare just like nonna makes it.
Tortillas are the star of the show at this pint-sized new taqueria in Carlton where they’re hand-pressed from ground corn before being topped with everything from smoky pumpkin and avocado crema to slow-braised beef and zingy salsa verde. Making tortillas and corn chips onsite allows the kitchen to optimise flavour, softness and structure, so these staples shine beyond being simply a base. The Taquito team is also picking habaneros for salsa from plants out the back and mixing up killer ...
Serving up the best laksa this side of Malaysia (at least according to Fitzroy North residents), this treasured local haunt features a menu full of fiery, flavour-packed hawker-style dishes. The brightly-lit interiors are as warm and inviting as the perennially friendly waitstaff, and you're guaranteed to never leave hungry.
This eclectic izakaya sports sweeping vistas of Port Phillip Bay, a perfect backdrop for their crowd-pleasing offering of sushi, sake and shareplates. They do it all, from tempura and yakitori to gyoza and don, and they do it well - delivering precise, punchy flavours that go down a treat with house cocktails or a nip of Japanese whisky.
Here’s one mamma’s boy you don’t need to avoid – this Brunswick restaurant specialises in homestyle Italian cooking, with a few novel inclusions like a bruschetta bar offering a wide choice of toppings from porcini pesto, salami and grilled eggplant to black truffle, sausage and scarmoza. Mangia, mangia!
Eternal Thai favourites are refined to a polished sheen at Blue River, where the kitchen keeps a keen eye on top produce and freshly-ground pastes and sauces. With standalone tables lining one side of the restaurant and banquette seating the other, locals tuck into zesty salads, earthy curries and smoky stir-fries. While they do all the familiar suspects you rely on, it's house specials like their tom yum fried rice and slow-cooked lamb curry that makes them a restaurant you'll ...
Honest, unfussy and sporting a rock'n'roll spirit, the Town Hall Hotel is a local's local. On sunny afternoons you'll find crowds both young and old gathered in the beer garden, while heated booths keep the place inviting in winter. Meanwhile, classic pub fare keeps hungry punters happy and regular gigs keep the place lively.
Unfailingly attentive service and refined modern Cantonese cooking draw in the crowd night after night at this local favourite. Diners can choose between the smart, dark wood interior or the bright and buzzy terrace before delving into their extensive wine list, beautifully paired with dishes like wok fried Patagonian toothfish and braised Angus brisket.
For a faithful rendition of Philadelphia's famous grilled beef, onion and melted cheese sandwich, Sparrow's is the place to go. Stuffed thick into soft hoagie rolls, the cheesesteaks here are juicy and moreish, with the option of jazzing up with add-ons like jalapenos, bourbon bacon, sweet peppers and kimchi. The menu extends to other American diner faves such as buffalo wings, chilli bowls and pumpkin pie for dessert, and there's seating both indoors and outdoors if you're keen to smash ...
This contemporary Italian restaurant and bar is one of the best dining options in town. They've got a big woodfired oven pumping out thin, blistery pizzas and a kitchen producing modernised takes on classic antipasti, pastas and mains. Group catchups and date nights alike are helped along with a robust wine and cocktail list, and on cold days they even brew batches of mulled wine.
Kitted out with stylishly minimal interiors, Supermaxi doesn’t look like your average Italian joint. Owned by Rita Macali, the original chef behind iconic Ladro’s, homemade pasta and oven-cooked pizza are the mainstay here. And they’re done very, very well. A lengthy wine list is the ultimate companion, making this one of Fitzroy North’s premier date spots.
An undisputed neighbourhood institution, Gerald’s is the local’s local. Rambunctious in both atmosphere and offering, the constantly changing menu sits somewhere between bistro and tapas, updated by hand on a big roll of butcher’s paper. Their cellar numbers over 200, with as many new age, funky drops as there are classics.
Armed with a quirky origin story (owner Xavier O'Shanassy funded the place with winnings from an appearance on Million Dollar Minute) and a custom-built smoker, This Borderland is winning fans with faithful renditions of American diner classics, from fried chicken and waffles to moreish pecan pie. Vegans are also well catered for – they offer plant-based versions of every menu item, using seitan to create burger patties and nuggets every bit as juicy as their omnivorous counterparts.
B3 stands for burgers, brews and barbecue – arguably three of the best things in life. The American-style diner doesn't take things by halves, plating up high-stacked burgers filled with slow-cooked pork, jerk-spiced chicken, beef patties and all the trimmings, plus dry rubbed and smoked barbecue meats like brisket, lamb shoulder and salmon. You can cut through all that protein with their notably good salads, or just go all in with Southern-inspired sides like buttered corn and mac'n'cheese.
The team behind recently opened Bar Carolina have wasted no time in launching another winner with Marameo, the CBD’s new spot for easy-breezy all-day Italian. Refreshing the space previously home to Sarti, they’ve opened up a laneway terrace for summery arvo spritzes, while a grand marble bar beckons inside. The menu is anchored by an extensive salumi and cheese selection plus imaginative antipasti such as carrot crisp topped with bug tail, corn and salmon roe, while an extensive wine list ...
Two Fat Indians has a food truck that roves all over Melbourne, winning fans with piping hot samosas and butter chicken-loaded chips, but their standalone restaurant is a slightly more proper affair. Here they're doing Indian favourites that hit hard on the flavour stakes. Like a three chilli beef vindaloo and a sour lime chicken curry, best mopped up with fluffy naan and a side of cooling raita.
Epocha may physically be within the walls of a cosy 1800s Victorian terrace, but its spirit is far away in the regions of France. The intimate, homey feel of the restaurant and its elegant modern European cooking makes Epocha perfect for romantic dinner dates, with the antiques-filled bar named Hannah’s located just upstairs.
This intimate, relaxed wine bar is a favourite with locals for their well-priced yet top notch wine list, easy drinking cocktails and pan-Asian menu. Drink-friendly snacks like duck spring rolls and brisket baos accompany more substantial dishes, that range from sticky pork belly to green chicken curry. Inside, there are plenty of cosy corners to settle into, but during the warmer months their streetside tables are hot real estate.
This friendly St Kilda diner specialises in all-American comfort food made with all-Australian produce. Grass-fed, free range beef star in their towering burgers, while vegetarians are kept happy with versions featuring crispy haloumi, hash browns or truffled mushrooms. Their diverse, crowd-pleasing menu has all the favourites – hot dogs, pizzas, pastas, parmas and wings, breezily washed down with beers and sodas with unlimited refills.
DrinkSt Kilda East
For those nights when all you want is a solid pot and parma, the Inkerman comes through with a thick, crunchy number generously sauced with Napoli, cheese and ham. While the menu is classic pub fare, there’s more to this local than beers and sport – there are also vintage arcade games, ping pong tables and live music to keep punters returning.
At Richmond’s new all day diner a calming yet unadorned interior focusses the spotlight on food, which in comparison pops with vibrancy. On the plate are Japanese-inflected dishes like crab croquettes with yuzu miso, sweet tamagoyaki omelettes with grilled pork and cheesecake drizzled in matcha syrup for dessert.
Named in honour of owner Julian Hills' part Cherokee father, Navi is something of a revelation amongst the city’s somewhat crowded dining scene. At this inspired eatery, native Australian ingredients meet the finest of European techniques. With a hint of Eastern philosophy thrown in for good measure. The result? The kind of meal you won’t forget in a very, very long time.
In a town that prides itself on being a foodie haven, Bistro Terroir more than holds its own. Owner-chef Matthew Carnell previously worked at a two-starred Michelin restaurant in France, honing the culinary skills that he now uses to create French dishes that are crafted from fresh, local produce. If you make a reservation for Saturday evening, there is a minimum of two courses for dinner, so come ready to indulge.
Getting a table at Red Sparrow’s original Collingwood location is a bonafide sport – don’t even think about turning up without a reservation towards the end of the week. Now, a new Prahran offshoot means that Southsiders are also getting their fix of Melbourne’s best vegan pizza. Napoli-inspired corkers made with 70-hour cold-fermented dough and topped with not just one choice of dairy-free cheese but four: mozzarella, fior di latte, parmesan and feta. It won’t be long before those cosy ...