It is no surprise that Carlton is home to some of Melbourne’s best Italian restaurants; however, this suburb is more culinarily cultural than you think. From hearty Italian to top-notch Japanese food, there’s always something new to try out in Carlton.
So whether you live around this slice of foodie heaven or find yourself wandering through on your way to or from the city, we’ve found and tried all of Carlton’s best restaurants—now it’s your turn.
A true legend of Lygon Street, Tiamo is a Melbourne institution that's been serving up top-notch cuisine for over 30 years. Grab a piping hot bowl of fresh pasta, some traditional, honest-to-goodness Italian pizza, or even one of their three parmas (four if you count their schnitzel). From fried chicken livers to a mixed seafood grill, there is plenty to choose from and so much to love at Tiamo.
Two, three, five or even seven-course meals—the options are endless at Kazuki’s. With its Euro-Japanese influenced culinary style, the restaurant offers both a set tasting menu and à la carte menu (seasonal, using only the freshest produce), so whether you’re ravenous or curious is irrelevant—they’re both sure to satisfy. And heads up for those alcoholically adventurous out there: you may be there all night trying to choose your next drink from the 22-page wone, sake, and spirits menu.
Located opposite the Carlton Gardens on Rathdowne Street, Epocha restaurant and bar is only a stone's throw from Melbourne's CBD. The stunning 1884 Victorian terrace home setting is a testament to the meaning of Epocha as 'a measure of time'. The food follows suit with an array of European sharing dishes complemented by regional wines. The staff at Epocha will invite you to feel right at home, and if you feel like settling in, make sure you pop upstairs for a nightcap at Hannah's Bar.
Shakahari’s been gracing Carlton with exceptional vegetarian food since 1972 and we love them for it. Shakahari’s menu is exclusively vegetarian and designed to be balanced, nutritious as well as innovative, which is music to any plant-based eater’s ears. So whether you’re looking for a gluten-free curry or a delicious vegan lasagna, Shakahari’s got your back.
D.O.C. Pizza & Mozzarella Bar
Forget Lygon Street for a slice of Italy, the best pizza in Melbourne is lurking on the corner of Faraday and Drummond Streets at DOC Pizza. Here, pizza is the port of call, with the thinnest, crispiest bases and fine Italian ingredients. However, the mozzarella bar boasts an incredible selection of cheesy goods (just look at the map to see where yours comes from) that totally warrant a dairy degustation.
Abla’s brings together one hundred authentic Lebanese recipes that have been handed down from one generation to the next. Serving up time-honoured dishes such as kibbeh, tabouleh, vine leaves, kafta and Abla’s famous chicken and rice, you can’t go wrong by visiting this amazing Melbourne institution.
Leonardo’s Pizza Place
A seventies-style interior and timber panelling that makes you feel like you’re in a ski lodge on the Dolomites, Leonardo’s Pizza Palace is smack dab in the middle of all that Carlton glory, which can only mean three things: amazing food, great drinks and good vibes. With a beautifully curated authentic Italian menu, the meals at Leonardo’s don’t miss a beat. For a dose of nostalgia, the spaghetti bolognese with a light dusting of parmesan is a must-have.
Carlton Wine Room
Whether you want to grab a drink at the bar or sit close to that special someone with five levels of dining, there's always a table at Carlton Wine Room. With a menu taking a modern approach to Australian style with a swanky European flair, it is always perfectly accompanied by a drink from the wonderfully curated drink list.
Scopri is serving up some of the finest food and wine from Italy, using incredible local products from artisan producers. Don't leave without trying their house-made pasta which has to be tasted to be believed—we recommend the pappardelle with partridge. And if you have a bottle of wine that you've been saving for a special occasion, bring it along and let the staff at Scorpi take care of the rest.
Bubbly, crisp and slightly charred pizza crusts that send your tastebuds into oblivion and your Instagram grid into a whole new level of aesthetic—welcome to Capitano. If you’re not in for a meal, then drop by for a drink from their wonderful list of International wines or a range of delectable cocktails, accompanied by a beautiful interior it’s the perfect place for after-work dinner and drinks with friends.
Casual dining serving Chinese flavours with culinary flare from France and Mauritius, Super Ling serves up a multitude of flavours and is definitely the best place for that easy but delicious evening meal out. Scrumptious noodles, flavourful food and great vibes, an absolute yes from us.
Alfie’s Wine and Grill
Formerly The Town Mouse, Alfie’s Wine and Grill understand that Carlton has pizza and pasta covered; hence the wonderfully curated menu without any addition of ooey gooey carbs. The majority of the dishes are prepared on a Japenese-style hibachi grill, activating delicious flavour notes unlike anything other. It’s a definite must for your next night out.
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