The Best Restaurants on Brunswick Street

Updated 7 months ago

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As the main artery of Melbourne’s oldest suburb, Brunswick Street has undergone countless transformations. Each generation of locals and business owners has left its mark on the two-kilometre strip, creating a layer cake of cuisines, cultures, people and identities. And through gentrification, rent hikes and the pandemic, many of its institutions have stayed open. Marios speaks to the area’s Italian history, while 40-year-old Afghan Gallery pays homage to Melbourne’s Afghan community. Today, no matter where you get off the number 11 tram, you won’t be far from great vegetarian, Japanese or Indian spots. Here are the best places to eat on the iconic strip, curated by Broadsheet’s expert food and drink editors.

  • The relaxed diner – inspired by the intimate trattorias in Italy's northwest – specialises in cuisine and wine from Piedmont. Go for vitello tonnato, steak tartare and the region's two signature pastas. Plus, choose from an encyclopaedic leather-bound wine list of barolo, dolcetto, and more.

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  • Swing by for a bowl of the signature burnt-miso ramen at lunch, or izakaya-style snacks and cocktails after dark.

  • Not your average French bistro. Think steak frites, French onion soup and crème brûlée – but forget the waistcoated staff. The wine list covers the major French regions and follows on with whiskies and classic cocktails.

  • Transforming the perception that meat-free is mediocre since 2015. Roll into this refurbished electrical factory and feast on chickpea panisse, crispy oyster mushrooms and bahar-braised eggplant. For extra fun, add an Aperol Dill Spritz.

  • Pass under the glowing neon sign to find this vibrant North Indian diner. Go for crispy honey-chilli cauliflower, fig and pomegranate kofta, and Punjabi butter chicken that (importantly) isn’t sweet. Plus, find Indian-leaning cocktails levelled-up with ingredients like turmeric, mango and cardamom.

  • This Brunswick Street institution is one of Australia’s oldest Afghan restaurants. Adored by locals and tourists alike, the veggo- and vegan-friendly spot is one of Fitzroy’s most essential dining experiences.

  • Melbourne’s enduring mecca for nourishing vegetarian fare (including vegan, gluten-free and lactose-intolerant). Enjoy the down-to-earth vibe, infectious bonhomie and broad range of dishes with an Asian influence. Stake your claim early.

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  • One of the area’s classics – it’s loud, fun and good value. Visit during happy hour for well-priced pizzas, tapas and sangria jugs. It still serves vodka from an old Fitzroy distillery. Don’t forget to head up to the rooftop for inimitable city views.

  • Some places like to keep it simple: breakfast all day, coffee with full-cream milk and spaghetti with Napoli sauce. That’s exactly what you get at Marios. It’s as unpretentious as an Italian joint gets, with a neon-red sign that’s been buzzing day and night since 1986.

  • Chances are you haven’t had these in Melbourne. Deep End’s owner studied in the US and brought its pizza back here. Choose from thin New York-style; crispy-cornered Detroit-style; and hulking Chicago deep-dish pizzas.

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  • Traditional recipes made with topnotch ingredients make this one of the better Indian diners around. Sample ultra-thin dosa, slow-cooked biryani and all the curry favourites.

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  • A large, colourful restaurant with a menu that touches on nearly every aspect of Japanese cuisine. Here you'll find sushi, gyoza, tempura, plus hearty bowls of ramen and don. Plus a fun drinks list that includes sakes, Japanese-influenced cocktails and craft beers from Tokyo.

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  • Gluten-free gourmands will feel at home. Spelt flour pizzas and pastas (farro means spelt in Italian) and vegan cheese are menu staples at this modern pizzeria, which caters to those with dietary intolerances. Fans always return for the house-made tiramisu.

  • This taqueria is a simple kind of place, with just two beers on tap and tunes spinning away on the turntables behind the bar. Local hospitality workers like to stick their heads in for a quick chat and a taco before their shift. It’s open until late on weekends, so many return for a wind-down drink after work too.

  • A night of tapas and wines at this glowing wine bar is cheaper than a ticket to Spain. Order Iberian share plates (including plenty of seafood) and Jalapeno Margaritas, while Grace Jones plays in the background.

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  • True, authentic Malaysian flavours.

  • A bright, buzzing diner with kitsch interiors serving a creative pan-Asian menu. Dinner might include nam jim kingfish, Sichuan eggplant or pork dumplings. Pro tip: book the karaoke room out back for a night to remember (or forget).

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