1000 Lire Pizza & Stuzzichini
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.
Bobbie Peels may look like a classic corner pub on the outside, but it quickly reveals itself to be a more modern operation inside. Sure, they still serve steak nights and pot pies, but there’s also falafel bowls and a bevvy of quirky craft beers. It's an easy place to while away a lazy Sunday afternoon, helped along by live music from blues bands and footy on the telly.
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.
Mamma's Boy Trattoria
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!
North Melbourne Town Hall
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.
Lau's Family Kitchen
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.
Sparrow's Philly Cheesesteaks - St Kilda
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 ...
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.
Second Act Wine Bar
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.
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 founders of sake brand Toji have combined forces with an ex-chef from Hong Kong’s celebrated Yardbird to create a sleek Japanese restaurant on buzzy Swan Street. Focussing on izakaya-style snacks and yakitori skewers, expect bites like chicken wings dusted in yuzu spice, katsu sandos and duck gyoza dipped in sweet umeboshi sauce. They go hand in hand with an eclectic drinks list featuring local wines, Japanese brews and of course, sake – both on its own and in cocktails ...
Modelled on a classic English corner pub, the historic Lincoln in more gastropub than ordinary boozer, given a culinary edge when taken over by a former MoVida manager in 2014. The menu executes contemporary European with influences from Asia and the Middle East, while the wine list is an extensive collection of fine drops from both the antipodes and abroad.
Carlton Wine Room
Much more than a wine bar, this multi-storey Carlton darling serves some of the finest modern Australian in Melbourne. Bridging influences from across Europe, the kitchen takes the finest and freshest produce it finds to create elegant snacks, crudos, mains and vegetable dishes that capture the imagination from first bite to last.
Rococo Acland Street
Rococo is a blockbuster Italian restaurant – they do big celebratory dinners, social work lunches and lazy weekend brunches with equal aplomb, meaning they’ll make everything from your morning panini and espresso to your late-night pasta and espresso martini. Inside you'll find big family tables and cosy nooks for dates, while outside there's plenty of alfresco seating to help make the most of warmer days.
The St Kilda spinoff of Andrew McConnell's much-loved modern Asian restaurant has all the things that made Melbourne fall in love with the original Supernormal - the raw seafood dishes, the chilli dumplings, that iconic lobster roll - only set in a more intimate, relaxed setting. Unlike its older sibling however, it also has a hibachi grill spinning out smokey and saucy skewers of everything from chicken wings and char siu pork to king brown mushrooms and bone marrow, all ...