Breakfast? Check. Lunch? Check. Dinner? Check. Any time of the day, Melbourne’s northern suburbs are loaded with dining deliciousness.
Not sure what you feel like for dinner? Make your way to Welcome to Thornbury [520 High Street, Northcote] and select from the array of food trucks at one of Melbourne’s biggest beer gardens. A rotating selection of cuisines are on offer from 5pm every night (from 12pm on weekends), as well as one of the longest bars in town to perch on. Licenced for more than 700 humans, welcoming of dogs and open till late, it’s the perfect place to settle in and taste flavours from around the world.
If you think a 19th-century stone building nearly an hour from the city centre might not seem like a foodie destination, then you haven’t spent time at Turner’s Bakehouse [107 Schotters Road, Mernda]. Residents of Mernda and Melbourne’s northern fringe, however, have been in the know for a few years now. Take a seat on the back verandah and tuck into some of the best pies in Melbourne, or relax in the old-fashioned tearoom for a cuppa and a slice of cake.
It’s the unmarked, unassuming red door that first piques your interest as you stroll past East Elevation [351 Lygon Street, Brunswick East] on a lazy weekend morning. The sounds of cutlery on crockery, an antique cocoa press and a barista weaving their magic greet you as you step inside, and you know instantly that you’ve found a gem. A vegetable-heavy menu (never fear, there are plenty of carnivorous delights on offer too!) and accompanying kids menu make it a destination for all. It’s close neighbours with chocolatiers Monsieur Truffe; they’re only separated by glass in fact, so you can watch the chocolate makers at work. If you’re tempted, why not head next door for a dessert to your East Elevation meal?
Tullamarine is home to more than just an airport; it’s also where you’ll find some of the best fish and chips in Melbourne. The fish is fresh, the chips are divine, and the homemade potato cakes at Hide and Seek [1/149 Mickleham Road, Tullamarine] are the stuff of legend in the north-western suburbs. But it’s the burgers that leave the longest impression. Wagyu beef patties, Korean fried chicken and grilled barramundi are just some of the options that will have you smiling with sauce dripping down your chin.
What happens when a cheese-loving Sicilian — with not a word of English in his vocabulary — arrives in Melbourne and wants to make a big splash? He makes some of the finest Italian cheeses in the city and sells them to some of the best restaurants in town. Then, from his two-storey factory, he opens a cafe and serves up some of the tastiest guilty pleasures known to man. Treat yourself at That’s Amore Cheese [66 Latitude Boulevard, Thomastown] to a fried-cheese bagel (mind the ooze!) or homemade pasta, then stock up with mozzarella, ricotta and cured meats for the fridge back home.
Who needs gluten when you can simply fill yourself with treats like this? Eat Cannoli [132 Wood Street, Preston] is a Coeliac Australia-accredited lunch spot that specialises in the most scrumptious of Sicilian desserts: cannoli. With ten flavours changing seasonally, there’s plenty of choice, and they also throw together some pretty mean savoury options as well. Hit the back streets of Preston and uncover what all the fuss is about.
Ask any northern suburbs meat eater for a list of their favourite restaurants, and chances are Dexter [456 High Street, Preston] will be close to the top. American-style, slow-cooked meats are its forte, but anyone who passes on its meat doughnuts is missing out on a gastronomic delight. The perfect entrée, they’re the perfect mix of sweet and savoury and worthy of the trip up High Street way.
Indian street food? Yes please! Take a detour off Sydney Road to Bhang [1/2A Mitchell Street, Brunswick] and sample some of the most flavourful curries this side of Delhi, served up with Indian-inspired cocktails that are sure to have you coming back for more. Vegetarians and vegans are well-catered for, and if you’re feeling particularly brave, roll up your sleeves and nip an Indian whiskey or two. If you’re keen to sample a few different dishes, check its website for Bhang’s next Thali night, where platters topped with an array of Indian delights are on offer.
Talk about living, loving and eating local. Owned by two Sunbury locals, Krash & Co [3D Brook Street, Sunbury] sources its meat, fruits and veggies from local sellers and its coffee is roasted just around the corner. Whether for breakfast or lunch, you’ll walk in feeling the love and exit feeling satisfied and full. Plus, with nothing on its regular menu over $20, there’s barely a need to bother your credit card.
Want a country escape without the drive? A 19th-century homestead on the banks of the Plenty River is the setting for Two Beans and a Farm [10 Hathfelde Boulevard, Mernda]. The ranch-style verandah looks out over native flora and fauna, while homegrown produce and super-friendly service makes this a relaxing spot for all-day breakfast or lunch, or a special weekend dinner destination (try the grazing feast!).
Lebanese food never tasted so authentic. Select from Téta Mona’s [100A Lygon Street, Brunswick East] enormous menu of Lebanese dishes (if you’re thinking falafels, pastries and haloumi, you’re on the right track) then settle in at a table and tuck into some quality Middle Eastern comfort food. This restaurant is a dedication to the téta (Arabic for grandmother) of the owners, brothers Antoine and Bechara Taouk, and her framed portrait greets all who enter. Stick to the well-worn favourites or try something completely new. Anything goes at Téta Mona.