New eateries and watering holes pop up and disappear at the rate of knots in Fitzroy and Collingwood. BUT, there are some real main stayers, places that continue to draw in old fans and new followers alike, week after week. In our opinion, you can spend under a tenner and eat just as happily as if you throw down a wad of big ones. Here are our favourites- the places that hit the mark every time and see you raising your eyes to the sky in thanks for the mouthful you’re about to demolish. Our Top 10 Must Eats in Fitzroy and Collingwood…
Chasing a Plate’s price guide:
- One for the penny pinchers: under $15 per person.
- Won’t break the bank: around $25 per person.
- The bill can creep up on you: budget between $50-$80 per person.
- Whip out that gold card: if you pull out all the stops then you’re looking at about $100-$150 per person.
1. Jimmy Grants
113 St David Street, Fitzroy
Open 7 days, 11:00am to 10:00pm
Good to know: One for the penny pinchers/Won’t break the bank. Takeaway or eat-in. Licensed.
Jimmy Grant’s is taking over Melbourne and it ain’t such a bad thing. The original eatery in Fitzroy has the most soul of all the outposts. It’s slightly crowded, loud, fun and the food is bound to put a smile on your face. When you wrap salty, crisp chips, melt in your mouth meat and dollops of aioli together in a fluffy pita bread the way Jimmy does, not much can go wrong. There’s a range of souvas available including chicken, lamb, prawn and falafel. Salads, dips, steamed dim sum (Jimmy style) and their famous chips with garlic oil and feta are hard to pass up too. An affordable good meal out. Get there.
2. Hinoki Japanese Pantry
279 Smith Street, Fitzroy
Telephone (03) 9417 4531
Open Tuesday to Thursday 10:00am -6:00pm, Friday & Saturday 10:00am- 7:00pm and Sunday 10:00am- 4:00pm
Good to know: Won’t break the bank. Takeaway or a few window seats to eat in. Is attached to a Japanese grocery store so you can also buy some Japanese beer, snacks and ice-cream to go with your sushi!
Abandon all the mainstream sushi franchises that are popping up around the city. There’s only one place you should be patronising and that is Hinoki Japanese Pantry. From classic nigiri salmon to seared scallop nosé maki, we guarantee you’ll find yourself standing at the counter umming and ahhhhing for an age because everything looks so delicious and fresh. Our favourites include the spicy tuna nosé maki, the expertly crafted inari deluxe and their California roll is hard to beat too.
3. Hammer & Tong
Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Telephone (03) 9041 6033
Open Sunday to Monday 7:00am to 4:00pm, Tuesday to Saturday 7:00am to late
Good to know: Won’t break the bank/The bill can creep up on you. Licensed. These guys do breakfast right through to dinner.
If you’re after a cafe that’s a cut-above in the taste stakes, then Hammer & Tong is it. Their soft shell crab burgers seem to be everywhere now that they have wheels (follow their food truck on social media) but the eatery just off Brunswick St keeps pulling in the punters for their reliably delicious brunch dishes and inventive dinner menu. Think breakfast ramen, lavender yoghurt custard and ‘bugs and bacon’.
4. B’Stilla Cantina (CLOSED)
227B Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Telephone (03) 9417 2858
Open Wednesday to Monday 12:00pm to late.
Good to know: Won’t break the bank. Licensed. Good vege options.
You simply won’t be able to stop eating at B’Stilla Cantina. The Moroccan street food share plates are addictive, fresh and full of flavour. The sardine fritters are amazing, you won’t be able to stop gnawing on the red dukkah dusted lamb ribs and the ‘tacos’ and roti are great if you’re just passing and in need of a pick me up. There’s wine, beer, mint tea and Custard & Co cider to drink and don’t even think about passing on dessert- the mehalebeya is stunning. Hands down one of our favourite eateries on Brunswick Street.
5. Sir Charles
121 Johnstone Street, Fitzroy
Telephone (03) 9415 7077
Open Monday to Wednesday and Sunday 7:00am to 4:00pm, Thursday to Saturday 7:00am to 10:00pm
Good to know: Won’t break the bank. Good vege options.
Sir Charles have caused quite a stir with their panko crumbed eggs, bacon and roti breakfast and rightly so, it’s mighty delicious. Serving breakfast and lunch throughout the week and opening for dinner Thursday through Saturday, Sir Charles is becoming a go-to for good food. It’s an appealing space and great for big groups, although the atmosphere is slightly lacking in the evening (bright lights!). The menu has an Asian bent with something for everyone from the Korean fried chicken burger to miso scrambled eggs. Come nighttime, don’t go past the kingfish sashimi- it’s sensational.
6. Archie’s All Day
189 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Telephone (03) 9417 0066
Open Monday and Tuesday 7:30am- 4:00pm, Wednesday- Friday 7:30am to midnight (kitchen closes at 10:00pm), Saturday- Sunday 8:00am to midnight (kitchen closes at 10:00pm)
Good to know: Won’t break the bank/The bill can creep up on you (if you’re just having breakfast then the former but if you’re in for a boozy lunch or dinner then the latter!)
Archie’s All Day covers all bases from coffee and eggs, burgers and beer right through to wine and share plates. The food is tasty, the prices reasonable and there’s a great drinks list. The atmosphere is buzzy during the day and cosy and intimate in the evenings. The ‘Juicy Lucy’ wagyu burger is great as are the ‘dirty eggs’ for breakfast (add on the Bloody Mary for a real perk me up). One of our new favourites.
7. The Everleigh
156/150 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Telephone (03) 9416 2229
Open 7 days 5:30pm to 1:00am
Good to know: Won’t break the bank (unless you can’t stop drinking their cocktails…in which case whip out that gold card). Groups of six or less otherwise The Elk Room next door is also a great space to lounge in.
We couldn’t leave The Everleigh off the list. It’s one of the best bars in Melbourne. The staff are slick, friendly and they know their stuff. Describe the flavours you wish to imbibe and leave it up to them. We guarantee you’ll be presented with a drink that will simply blow you away. The atmosphere is chic, romantic and moody- it’s the dark wooden booths, the low light and often times live jazz band. A true gem.
8. Belle’s Hot Chicken
150 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Telephone (03) 9077 0788
Open Monday and Wednesday to Saturday 12:00pm to 10:00pm, Sunday 12:00pm to 9:00pm.
Good to know: Won’t break the bank/The bill can creep up on you. A couple of vegetarian options available.
Spicy fried chicken and alcohol. It’s a recipe for success. Add in some reassuringly tasty sides- Old Bay fries, slaw, pickles and the like and you’re onto a winner. At Belle’s Hot Chicken you can choose your cut of chook (dark meat is our favourite), your preferred level of spice (Really F*ckin Hot is Really F*ckin Hot) and a side for $16. There’s an interesting wine list, soft serve for dessert and their specials are usually pretty tasty (their chicken livers are spot on). The place is usually packed but it makes for a bustling, happy dining environment. Roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.
9. The Napier Hotel
210 Napier Street, Fitzroy
Telephone (03) 9419 4240
Open Monday to Thursday 3:00pm t0 11:00pm, Friday & Saturday 1:00pm to 1:00am and Sunday 1:00pm to 11:00pm
Good to know: The bill can creep up on you (if jugs are involved!), courtyard seating available.
The Napier Hotel is one of go-to pubs in Melbourne. There’s a range of dining areas including a court-yard, a roaring fire in the winter, friendly staff and hearty pub grub that leaves you feeling satisfied. The classics like the chicken parma and the wagyu beef burger come with fistfuls of crisp, golden shoestrings and a rocket and feta salad (SO GOOD) and there’s always a hefty steak and a roast on offer. Come, get warm and get ready to stay a while.
10. Lee Ho Fook (has moved to the CBD)
92 Smith Street, Collingwood (they’ll be moving to Duckboard Place in the city mid to late 2015)
Telephone (03) 9077 6261
Open Monday and Wednesday to Saturday 6:00pm to 11:00pm and Sunday 12:00pm to 10:00pm
Good to know: The bill can creep up on you. You can book!
Lee Ho Fook fills that empty space between cheap although not always cheerful Chinatown Chinese and upmarket institutions like the Flower Drum. Traditional Chinese dishes and ingredients are tweaked and modernised but retain the flavour profiles that we all know and love. The restaurant is intimate and friendly with a menu that can be enjoyed a la carte or as a banquet of nine courses. The crispy eggplant with spiced vinegar is legendary and the steamed fish is exquisite in its simplicity.
Doing some more eating in Melbourne? Check out our Top 10 Must Eats: Richmond