Collingwood is characterised by its industrial red-brick buildings, rustic walkways, narrow streets, and some of Melbourne’s most unique food and bar culture around.
It’s a much-loved microcosm within Melbourne that has a lot to offer. We’ve thought long and hard about this, and have compiled a selection of what we think are Collingwood’s best restaurants.
IDES is the actualised version of what you think of when you imagine a fine dining restaurant. Despite the maybe pretentious pre-conceived notions that may now be coming to mind, IDES defies this and instead, delivers truly delicate and beautiful food.
The dishes are simple in nature but are prepared in ways that we have never seen before. Our best picks are the Salted Mushrooms, the Sydney Rock Oyster, the Cucumber boat and Marron Tail.
You might not understand Aka Siro from the outside, but upon tasting the food you will undoubtedly understand - and most likely be back for more. The clean and functional setting paired with clean but also hearty dishes makes for the perfect combination.
The stand out for us is the fantastically cooked Gyu-teki teishoku, tender scotch beef steak that has been pan-fried to perfection and paired with Akasiro SP sauce. You will be licking the plate clean for this one.
Rockwell And Sons
Rockwell and Sons provide the type of burger that you know you’re going to hate yourself for consuming later, but is totally worth every second of your time. Our top pick, because we’re traditionalists like that, is the Double Patty Smash Burger—you can’t go wrong here.
Also, we really love the fried chicken sandwich with buttermilk dressing or the soft shell crab roll with chipotle mayo.
You might not expect this quaint little cafe to blow you away with anything more than good coffee, but trust us, Terror Twilight will not disappoint. The Ham and Gruyere toastie is oozing with cheese and is paired with a dollop of American mustard for dipping and a dill pickle for crunching - we could probably eat seven of these consecutively.
Another reason that many come here is for the build your own rice bowl or noodle broth. Choose your base, whether that’s a rice pr noodle variety, choose from a range of fresh toppings, then bulk it up with your protein of choice. This is perfect for the colder months.
The Noble Experiment
The interior of The Noble Experiment makes you feel as if you’ve walked into an enchanted bookshop meets underground hideaway. The cocktail menu also reflects this, feeling like it was inspired almost from a fairytale. The Noble Experiment is comprised of three distinct spaces, the intimate Mezzanine lounge, the restaurant floor that is suited for casual diners of any number and the underground lounge is will suit any event you can conjure up.
The Noble Experiment also boasts a wide range of spirits, beers and wines, as well as great coffee and endlessly creative cocktails.
Le Bon Ton
Le Bon Ton showcases dishes using techniques from America’s deep South, packed with heart and soul. Each meat has been smoked over iron bark for over 12 hours and is always amazingly tender. We love the smokehouse grain-fed Riverina Angus Beef brisket done Texas-style and the pulled pork shoulder.
The drinks selection is also stellar, ranging from Texan sweety teas, refreshing fruit cocktail to icy craft beer.
Lazerpig Pizza Parlour
We had to put Lazerpig Pizza Parlour on our list; this undoubtedly a Melbourne staple. Whatever pizza you pick really, you know that will always be perfectly crisp on the bottom, and with a doughy crust so pillowy you could sleep on it.
Our fave pick is the Mark Proscuitto Pizza and for something different, the Broc Steady.
Jim’s Greek Tavern
Pan-fried saganaki, a selection of home-made dips and a wide variety of chargrilled meats are just some of the fabulous items on offer at Jim’s Greek Tavern. The food and bustling atmosphere of Jim’s gives customers the true Greek taverna experience.
The knowledgeable staff will guide you on what you should order, based on their recommendations. Will you pick from the bread and dip selection, or even the meat and fish which are all prepared in-house.
Cibi is an establishment that has undoubtedly shaped the Collingwood area as we know it. This is a casual Japanese dining spot, along with imported Japanese crockery and grocery store all in one. The owners Zenta and Meg Tanaka reign from Japan and bring a feeling of home to the whole place.
The open kitchen and interior setting gives diners the feeling as if they have been invited into the Tanaka’s home for dinner. This truly is a sacred dining experience and we think you cannot visit Collingwood without trying out Cibi.
Shu Restaurant is a hidden gem that showcases the highly underappreciated cuisine that is Sichuan cooking. Shu Restaurant takes on a sleek and fun approach while putting a spotlight on the peppery and spicy offerings of the Sichuan region.
From street snacks like Dan Dan Noodles to something more hearty like the Spare ribs stew, Shu has got you covered.
A slot machine that spits out unlimited coins, a table made from an old Japanese optometrist reading chart, a custom-made giant box of strawberry Pocky, and succulents in Cup Noodle cups—Chotto Motto is a smorgasbord of Japanese paraphernalia and clever little treats, and we’re honestly living for it.
So while you might pop into Chotto Motto for the funky atmosphere or to see what all the fuss is about, you’ll stay for the Hamamatsu gyozas.
There’s classic pork, spicy kimchi miso pork, chicken and coriander, prawn and ginger, and for those meat-impaired of us out there, chickpea and quinoa or eggplant with red miso. And while Chotto Motto’s gyozas are not life-changing by any means, they totally hit the spot and pair very nicely with a good beer. Plus, they're great for sharing if you don't want to commit to an entire portion.
For more on the best Melbourne has to offer, head to our Best Of Guides section.
Image credit: Chotto Motto | Annika Kafcaloudis