• This Venezulean spot graduated from ghost kitchen to full-fledged diner. It shows that South American food is more than just tacos – from Venezuelan empanadas and arepas to platters of rice, beans and sweet fried plantains.

  • A cheery Malaysian-Chinese eatery along the Barkly Street strip.

  • This Uyghur restaurant serves springy hand-pulled spicy noodles, beef dumplings, and flaky pastries filled with lamb and cumin.

  • Behind the Western Bulldogs-coloured neon sign, the team from now-closed barbeque joint Burn City Smokers is serving New York-style slices – large, thin and pliable enough to fold into your mouth.

  • Only 32 diners a week get into this tiny, four-seat kaiseki restaurant. Secure a booking and you’re in the capable hands of co-owner and chef Hansol Lee, who worked at revered Melbourne restaurant Kenzan. Each night he delivers a delicate, multi-course, seafood-led set menu – and decent banter.

  • A true community pub, the Plough eschews the upmarket polish of many inner-city boozers in favour of family-friendly charm. Parents and young kids are as much the demo as your typical drinkers. Those giving it a nudge can choose to snooze in the fine accommodation upstairs.

  • This burger joint in the west is a nostalgic ode to our favourite pixels past.

  • A small-scale Ethiopian restaurant with tradition securely at its heart.

  • Barbeque and a beer garden by the folks from 8bit burgers.

  • Fresh pasta and one of the best beer lists in Melbourne.


  • Sustainability, simplicity and even transportability are the guiding principles of this singular community cafe. It’s set within a recycled shipping container, and surrounded by an abundant kitchen garden that informs the no-rules menu. Kimchi toastie? Bubble and squeak? You have some choices to make.

  • Solid coffee and a locally famous pulled-pork panini.

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  • This tiny pie shop has an ex-Supernormal chef in the kitchen making lasagne pies, chicken-parma sausage rolls, vegan pies and more, best followed with a hot Milo or an old-school vanilla slice. If you can’t decide, grab a party-pie tasting paddle.

  • Delicious treats abound at this long-standing Vietnamese bakery.

  • A cafe committed to Victorian producers and makers by a former chef at Annie Smithers’s fine diner in Kyneton.

  • Victoria University in Footscray isn't just for the studious.

  • All-day breakfast (with vegan options) in the heart of Footscray.

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  • Beer bottle chandeliers signal the main attraction at this west-side haunt. Order a pint served from a British-style hand pump. Or try five of the house brews on a paddle, backed by very beer-friendly mains.

  • A contender for the best steaks in the west. This pub has a singular focus on great beef, and you’ll find every size and cut imaginable starring on a broad menu with French influences. Pair it with a bold red or Victorian beer.

  • Turning away from hyper-polished pubs, this venue encapsulates the traditional and hearty. Experience live music, local beers, revamped pub classics, a mix of tropical and house special cocktails, and of course – a pool table.

  • A contemporary pub that swells with pride and punters during footy season. It’s also ahead of the curve, with an entirely gluten-free menu of pub favourites, plus a focus on minimal-intervention wine and non-alcoholic drinks. Pints of good local beer are a given here.

  • Like Lilith, Adam’s second wife who was banished from Eden, this bar follows its own path. Its ’90s goth-inspired interiors, plant-based food, bourbon-heavy cocktails and lively burlesque shows make sure of that.

  • This two-storey hideout is a maze of different nooks and rooms. Settle into the eclectic front bar or venture to the cosy pool room, leafy beer garden or balcony overlooking Barkly Street. Find plenty of beers on tap, creative house cocktails and house party vibes.

  • With vintage prints on the walls and Miles Davis on the record player, Bar Thyme has an old-school charm about it. Stop by for French-influenced dishes by an ex-Movida chef, a casual glass from the lo-fi wine list, or both.

  • An inclusive, accessible home for the music scene in the west. Grab a reasonably priced jug, see a gig, then plonk yourself down in the colourful beer garden.

  • Two former winemakers are behind this compact, hard-to-find brewery. Set in a 19-century former factory, it has experimental beers, lagers pulled from specially designed taps and long-fermented pizzas.

  • Smashable sauvignon blanc, ciders from Spain and Jamaican pineapple gin are all on the menu at this relaxed bar.

  • Your Westside after-work beer is here.

  • A petite wine bar straddling the homey, community feel of old Footscray and the newer wave of trendy boozers. Come for easygoing, minimal-intervention wines from lesser-known producers, BYO food from Barkly Street’s best eateries and a lounge room atmosphere (including board games).

  • A welcoming space filled with craft beer and classic books.

  • The local Vietnamese, African and Indian communities inspire the menu at this convivial bar.


  • This patisserie is a small slice of French life. Its Paris-bred owner serves fluffy almond croissants, much-loved cheese sticks, sourdough baguettes and more – until they sell out.

  • This Filipino-inspired ice-creamery by two top Melbourne chefs is scooping vibrant, textural flavours like ube, cheese and crème caramel in Footscray. Plus, playful cakes spiked with flavours like yuzu, coconut and ube.

  • Order scoops of colourful pan-Asian gelato and sorbet at this family-run shop. The salted cumquat follows a family recipe, while the Kopiko pays homage to a beloved Indonesian coffee lolly. There’s also Vietnamese coffee (served hot or cold) and Aussie-style brews.

  • A store in the west selling local grocery essentials, baked goods, foccacias and coffee.

  • A whimsical hub for art, fashion and music.

  • The most iconic cannoli shop in Melbourne.