Guys, there is more to Abbotsford than just the convent. It's a suburb full of beautiful spots serving up a variety of cuisines that are all amazingly delicious. Here you’ll find some of Melbourne’s best Thai and Vietnamese food, going round and maybe a couple of other places that will delight your tastebuds.
So we’ve done some serious scanning for the culinary kings of the ‘burb’ and we present to you the best restaurants in one of Melbourne’s hippest suburbs (aren’t they all?): Abbotsford.
Boasting a classic pub vibe with a strong focus on sustainability, The Carringbush Hotel’s meat-free menu is vegan and vegetarian. All wine is on tap, there’s no packaged beer, it’s stocked with eco-friendly reusable metal straws and ethical plates, it’s decked with environmentally friendly lighting and heating...we could go on but it’s best you check it out for yourself.
Off the main part of Victoria Street, Jinda Thai is easily one of the best Thai restaurants in Melbourne (and definitely one of the most affordable). It’s best to book in advance since locals flock to devour spice-packed curries, smoky wok-fried noodles and fragrant boat noodle soups.
I’ve only recently discovered the joys of bibimbap. Bib-im-bap. Fun to say, even more fun to eat. With a second outpost in Northcote, Seoul Soul is a groovy little Korean joint that does a darn tasty version. Seoul Soul is a great place to catch up with friends and feast on BBQ, ramen and more. The best part? Seoul Soul's food is not just delicious, but also super affordable, putting the restaurant up there with some of the best cheap eats Melbourne has to offer.
Lentil As Anything
A Melbourne institution, Lentil As Anything is a not-for-profit eatery where you simply pay as you see fit. Based on a Utopian vision where everyone should have access to quality food regardless of bank balance, there are four restaurants across Melbourne—one located within the peaceful surrounds of Abbotsford Convent. Pile your plate with vegetarian fare and don’t be stingy. Some people (let’s call them ‘asshats’) have been known to take advantage of the system. Shame. On. You.
Shizuku in Abbotsford dishes up Japanese, but not as you know it. Caramelised lotus, cheesy nori snacks, and marmalade chicken are just a few of the strange and wonderful items you will find on the Shizuku menu. Their ramen is what they're famous for, and they've caused a culinary sensation with their texturally intriguing Ramen Burger.
The Aviary on Victoria Street is the perfect escape from the hustle-bustle of the iconic Asian eatery strip. Open for lunch and dinner, with laid back DJs spinning tunes over the weekend, The Aviary is a lively, contemporary bar and eatery to meet friends for a couple of bevvies, a bite, or something more substantial they’ll be able to cater to your hunger needs. There are a variety of different spaces to enjoy, including a beer garden for summer sipping.
There aren’t many places in Melbourne that really nail the transition from mid-morning brunch to twilight cocktails. Dr Morse has been doing it with effortless northside swagger since 2013. If you have a mate who needs a laid-back beer garden with good vibes, you send them to Morse. Flame-grilled Asian-style share plates are now the order of the day and everything on this menu is straight fire (both on the barbeque and taste).
Beautiful all-day pizza and pasta how could you go wrong. Flanked by Victoria Park station, this charming little Italian trattoria is a local fave. Plonk yourself in a booth and watch the crew at work in the open kitchen. Run by the mates behind Lorne’s Bottle of Milk, Rita’s is a casual spot for a hearty, wholesome feed. Housemade pasta is on offer, but the pizzas fly out the door. Pork Sausage for the win; pork and fennel sausage, chilli, tomato and stretchy mozzarella on a base that’s on the thicker and chewier end of the dough-o-meter.
Over two years in the making, Bodriggy & Co barely just opened and has already attracted hundreds of beer-loving Melbournians. Can’t say we’re surprised, though: who doesn’t love a good brewpub? Especially when said brewpub is dishing out primo grub on top of a zillion drink options. The menu is vegan/vegetarian-friendly and leans toward a Mexican share plates situation. We’re talking tacos, ceviche, cauliflower steak if you want to get fancy and even some juicy beef short rib if you’re feeling hungry.
While you're on the north side, why not hit up Brunswick East's best restaurants?
Image credit: Simon Shiff