Sometimes, restaurants are just not okay with you asking if they'd pour you a glass of your finest Fruity Lexia. So instead of sobbing into your sav blancs and pining into your pinots, we decided to divulge on the best places to BYO round Melbourne. For the first of the series, we've rounded up an assortment of restaurants on the northside that will cater for your tastes and let you bring in your own drop to enjoy alongside your meal.
Peko Peko is the prodigy child of Northcote eatery, Otsumami, and has been satisfying the citizens of Collingwood for a fair while now. As well as being very much BYO, this quaint Japanese eatery, complete with its own rock garden and kimonos, does some great nosh. All your Oriental favourites are on offer, from small dishes like the nori rolls, agedashi tofu and sweet potato gyoza, to more fulfilling fare, like teriyaki salmon and chilli tofu soba noodles. Perfect for dinner when you don't feel like cooking, bring your bottle of wine and your partner or pal, but don't expect a big night on the cask wine here.
Peko Peko | 199 Smith Street in Collingwood
Gertrude Street's resident Italian restaurant, Ladro, is the perfect destination for a pizza and vino fix, and the fact it's BYO is that much more enticing. Though the focus here is their specialty wood fired pizza, patrons can munch on handmade pasta, antipasti or a selection of daily specials should they choose to mix it up a little. With a huge floor, big bar and late hours, it's perfect for a weekend catch up with a bunch of mates, however, should you BYO on Monday, your $5 corkage will go straight to local charities, making your meal that little bit sweeter.
Ladro | 224 Gertrude Street in Fitzroy
A guide to eating out on the northside is not complete without the quintessential Lebanese hangout, Abla's. In an unassuming wall pocket on Elgin Street, Abla's is always full to the brim of locals munching on their famous falafel, kibbee, cabbage rolls and homemade baklava. If you're feeling a little bit fancy, or if you simply must try the best of everything, bring a bottle of your own to accompany a banquet meal, and you may even be so lucky as to catch a glimpse of little old Abla herself. Make sure you book ahead though, being a famous BYO restaurant doesn't come without a waiting list.
Abla's | 109 Elgin Street in Carlton
One of the first Nepalese restaurants to open in Melbourne, from humble beginnings on Chapel Street, Gurkha's has now expanded to six locations dotted around Melbourne, including two on the northside. Dishing out authentic Himalayan delights, crisp garlic roti is a favourite amongst many, as well the large variety of curries, chargrilled meats and kheer – their creamy homemade rice pudding. Drink yourself under the table with unlimited BYO and two dollar corkage – either with a bunch of mates in the private dining room or with your date in a dim lit corner. However, for the best experience come on your birthday and they'll throw in a shot of house port for free!
Gurkha's | 414 Sydney Road in Brunswick
Gurkha's | 258 Lygon Street in Carlton
Following the Italian tradition to have wine with every meal of the day (or maybe that was just my experience), Sosta Cucina embraces the BYO culture wholeheartedly. Sosta Cucina is North Melbourne's Italian daring, with a delightful å la carte menu, featuring delicate chargrilled scampi with basil-infused olive oil, to endlessly delicious swimmer crab linguine, and the hearty, crispy, crumbed pork belly. Whether it's a five-course degustation or a nibble at some antipasti, this is one worth paying corkage for.
Sosta Cucina | 12 Errol Street in North Melbourne
The best kind of pizza is no frills, few ingredients and perfect bases, with fresh produce and hot plates. Pizza Meine Leibe excels at all aforementioned pizza perfectors, and even lets you bring your own bottle of wine to wash it down with. There are over 20 different combos to choose from, but if you have a favourite they're often more than happy to make your custom edible disk. Overspilling with pizza cravers every night of the week, it's better to come early rather than late, as they don't take bookings. If can't be bothered jumping on the 86 to the 'cote, they have a sister restaurant in North Carlton - Bande A Part - which is equally as delicious and BYO friendly.
Pizza Meine Leibe | 231 High Street in Northcote
Situated in the heart of Melbourne's Little Italy, Tiamo is one of the more reputable Italian haunts on Lygon Street. Buzzing Carlton's locals with spaghetti and espressos since the 70s, this bistro specialises in traditional Italian fare (Tiamo 2 next door is their pizzeria), but it's the free corkage that has everyone trampling in from the bottle shop next door. With secluded tables, dim lit in the cavern like dining room, or a selection of street-perve-friendly seats, Tiamo is a must hit if you've just picked up a nice drop.
Tiamo | 303 Lygon Street in Carlton
Horn Please is without question one of the best Indian restaurants on the northside, and potentially even the whole of Melbourne. With a compact and considered menu featuring items like traditional droolworthy curries, the less traditional samosa burger (samosa, slaw, chutney, Northcote Bakeshop brioche bun - omg) and the crowd pleasing honey and pistachio ice cream, Horn Please is your tastebuds' ticket to pleasure town. Don't be bringing your six pack of tinnies inside though, BYO is limited to wine only.
Horn Please | 167 St George's Road in North Fitzroy
Normally, restaurants with the air of prestige don't humour those wanting to bring their own drops, but Matteo's will let you roll on in with it – provided it's delicious. With its elegant, Victorian era fitout, one expects to dine on classic Euro fare, but Matteo's contemporary Asian taste sensations will have you swooning, think Balmain bug tail and prawn spring rolls or a tempting Japanese seafood plate. Matteo's is the forefront of fine dining in Fitzroy and is worth saving every penny for.
Matteo's | 533 Brunswick Street in Fitzroy
Thai – the easiest, tastiest and cheapest dining out option. Everyone has their favourite, but if you're yet to decide where to obtain your weekly Pad Thai fix, look no further than Thaila Thai. With a warm, homely vibe, you can sit in the dining room surrounded by glitzy elephants and soft silk hangings, or dine cross legged and minus footwear on comfy pillows and low tables. Menu highlights include the lemongrass chicken, the larb kai, or the stir-fried prawns, but all your Thai favourites will be featured on their extensive menu.
Thaila Thai | 82 Lygon Street in Brunswick
With comfy booth seating, pretty floral walls and a wonton soup worth travelling for, Taxiboat is a little gem of a BYO in Northcote. The menu is bursting at the seams with contemporary Asian fare, and regardless of the amount of times you'll visit and want to try everything, you'll end up getting wrapped up in your favourites – mine's the rockling with plum sauce. Located opposite the Westgarth Cinema, it's a perfect spot for a date night, so come swinging a bottle of wine post cinema experience.
Taxiboat | 94 High Street in Northcote
Main Image Credit: 1stdibs