We’ve been doing some digging around and have discovered that the north-west of Melbourne (around the Moonee Ponds, Essendon and Ascot Vale area) is an absolute hive of foodie activity. So much so that we went on a bit of a binge to bring you this list of the 31 best places to eat at in Melbourne’s north-west.
# 1. Ascot Food Store
Syringe-stabbed doughnuts are more than just a novelty at Ascot Food Store – they are truly delicious. Flavours change regularly, but you’re on to a winner no matter the flavour of the day.
#2. Little Sister Café
The ricotta hotcakes with grilled banana, pistachio, mint strawberry salsa and maple butter sauce that Little Sister Cafe dishes up are every bit as heavenly as they sound.
#3. The Brickmakers Arms
It’s no secret that we’re big, big fans of charcuterie boards. The one at The Brickmakers Arms comes with Wagyu bresaola, cantimpalo salami, jamon, terrine, relish and olives. We’ll settle in for that one, thanks.
#4. Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie
Almond croissant fiends rejoice! The offering at Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie has all the right ratios of flaky, buttery and of course, the perfect topping of almonds.
#5. Khao San Road
We’re big fans of south-east Asian seafood and the miang prawn at Khao San Road is excellent. It’s prawns served with Thai tangy dressing with kaffir lime, lemongrass, chilli, peanut, ginger and roasted coconut on betel leaf.
Lose yourself in the rich Moroccan flavours of the lahm bi ajeen at Nabiha. It’s spiced lamb mince served with flat bread, rocket and sumac. We recommend that you add labne!
#7. Hey Jude
The Asian style chicken sandwich at Hey Jude will revolutionise your take on the humble chicken sanga. Served with Sriracha kewpie mayo, wombok slaw, cucumber and fat chips, you’ll never settle for the regular version again.
The moussaka at Phillhellene is to die for. It's a traditional Greek eatery and the moussaka is rich in flavour and is layered perfectly.
Ok, ok, so it’s not the healthiest option in town, but maaaaan are the burgers at Dribbles good. The Shaq Stack is the way to go if you’re out to treat yourself – beef pattie, cheese, bacon, caramelised onion (all doubled!!) plus tomato, lettuce, mustard and the famed Dribbles’ sauce.
#10. Chiba Japanese
The Takosu at Chiba Japanese is refreshing and delicious – sliced octopus garnished with seaweed salad in sweet vinegar sauce. Yes please!
#11. The Reverend Café
The white chocolate and ricotta hotcakes from The Reverend Cafe are all kinds of delicious. Dished up with strawberry cream cheese, honeycomb, macadamia crumble, macerated strawberries and maple syrup, they’re photogenic to boot.
#12. Mister Nice Guy’s Bakeshop
Ok, so not a sit-down meal, but certainly a delicious treat that you neeeeed to try. The popcorn mudslide at Mister Nice Guy’s Bakeshop is a vegan chocolate cake with salted caramel frosting, covered in caramel popcorn, topped with dulce de leche and chocolate ganache. We’ll take three, thanks.
#13. Little Byrd
Brekky will peak with the eggs and stuffed salmon from Little Byrd. It comes with cream cheese, capers and asparagus and is served on toast with hollandaise. So many ticks!
If you’re in to cheese as much as we are, you need to grab the Welsh rarebit at Sugarbeat. Tasty cheese, mustard and Worcestershire sauce, melted on Turkish toast is exactly what the doctor ordered.
#15. Curators Collective
The pork roll at Curators Collective is pork heaven. Think chipotle pork with red cabbage, cos and noisette brioche.
#16. Phat Milk
If you’re after a vegetarian brekky, the offering at Phat Milk includes cauliflower and almond milk puree with sautéed kale, new season mushrooms and poached eggs, sprinkled with Aussie bush dukkah and is served on sourdough toast.
#17. Wolf and Hound
For a VERY reasonably-priced breakfast (and something truly delicious!) grab The Franklin - slow-cooked pork shoulder, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard, mojo sauce and pickles in a pressed white roll - from Wolf and Hound.
If you’re like us and struggle to choose a single dish, the bento box is the answer to your prayers, and the bento box at Yokoso is exceptional. Its got all the traditional components and is beyond delicious.
#19. Darling Street Espresso
The apple bircher at Darling Street Espresso is dished up with chargrilled mango cheek, cacao nibs, house made yogurt and cold drip syrup. Bircher FTW!
#20. Union Food and Wine
The orange pancakes that come served with whipped ricotta, maple and sweet dukkah at Union Food and Wine are so good you’ll want them beyond just breakfast.
The sweet potato fritters at Pepper are next level and come with prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, poached eggs and pesto hollandaise. Everything is better with prosciutto, amiright?!
#22. Mr Ed Cafe
If you’re a sucker for a burger, tuck in to the Buddha Burger at Mr Ed Cafe. It comes with minute eye fillet, soft egg, kassler, oven dried tomatoes, crumbled aged cheddar, house relish and roasted garlic aioli. Now THAT’S a burger!
#23. Johnny Pump
By now you’ve probably seen pictures of weird and wonderful freakshake concoctions. Johnny Pump makes the ultimate sweet, milky, dessert treats. They vary hugely, so you’ll have to check out your options on the day.
#24. Wilfred Smith Food & Drink
So much lentil goodness at Wilfred Smith Food & Drink – the sweet potato and lentil fritters come with a poached egg, pickled veggies and onion jam. Deeelish!
#25. The Boathouse
Pizza plus eggs benny – two of our favourite things! The Boathouse serves ham, poached free-range eggs and hollandaise on pizza! Hooley dooly!
#26. North & Eight
On a menu of superfood salads, delicious breakafast dishes and favourites with a twist, the seasonal mushrooms with hollandaise foam, poached eggs, cress, tomato jam and polenta chips at Essendon’s North & Eight is a stand out dish.
#27. Arcadia Gastronomique
The Spanish selection at Arcadia Gastronomique is difficult to choose from, but for us, the Mixta Paella is the stand-out. It comes with all the added extras - chicken, chorizo, calamari, mussels, prawns, fresh fish and scallops.
#28. Jack’s Satay
An unassuming little venue, Jack’s Satay dishes up a mean Malaysian curry. Made with various spices, including coriander, fennel, cumin and coconut milk, it hits the spot every time.
#29. Esca Grill
The Bombe Alaska. It easily one of our favourite desserts and you’d have to be mad not to finish the night with it at Esca Grill.
#30. Laksa King
The seafood curry laksa at Laksa King is everything that it says it’s going to be. With a good bit of spice and packed with prawns, calamari, scallops, mussels, and of course noodles, you’ll be full to the brim and very satisfied.
#31. Form Café
The pork belly at Form Cafe comes on a brioche bun and includes red cabbage slaw, Korean chilli paste and mayo and is one helluva lunch-time fill-me-up.
#32. Grandpa Joe
Grandpa Joe's potato and cheese waffles – we think we’re in heaven. Better yet, they come served with garlic spinach, bacon, a poached egg and Caesar dressing.
#33. Omni Restaurant
Seafood linguine at Omni Restaurant has to be up there as one of the greatest culinary combinations and the spicy blue swimmer crab version with fresh chilli and tomato won’t disappoint.
#34. Stratus 233
There’s a stack load of dishes that we’d happily order at Status 233 but the five spiced roast breast and confit leg of duck with braised lentils, spinach, cumquats and duck glaze is seriously hard to go past.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White for The Urban List