Best Restaurants on High Street

Updated 4 months ago


High Street, in Melbourne’s north, is one of the city’s most important arterial roads. It connects the leafy, dense suburbs of the inner north to the suburban outskirts of Greater Melbourne. While the 16-kilometre strip starts in Northcote and runs all the way up to Epping, many of its best restaurants are found on the stretch between Northcote and Reservoir.

At the southern end, in Northcote, you’ll find plenty of cuisines spanning Sri Lankan, Italian, Israeli, Ethiopian, Thai and Malaysian, along with a few contemporary Australian spots.

Just north, in Thornbury, the influence of post-war waves of Italian, Greek and Macedonian migrants is ever-present. Contemporary Italian restaurants, pizza joints and family-run Greek spots are sandwiched between longstanding Greek social clubs. Those, along with a bevy of live music boltholes, bring the strip to life on weekend nights. Further north still, gentrification has crept up and seen new restaurants pop up in Preston, slotting themselves between well-established and equally impressive Vietnamese and Chinese spots. And it’s all easily accessible by train or the number 86 tram.

Related pages:
Best Restaurants in Northcote
Best Restaurants in Thornbury


  • This fine diner, from an ex-Noma chef, is spread across through main areas. In the wine bar-slash-waiting room, a casual drink might lead to share plates. You can dine out the back in the lush, semi-covered courtyard. Or stay in the main dining room and get serious with the tasting menu and matched wines.

  • At Primo the lights are bright, the music is pure party, and it’s near impossible to look past the dedicated Negroni list. Not to mention, the pizzas are excellent. Try the Roberta (named after the Roberta’s in Brooklyn), with salami, fior di latte, straciatella, chilli and honey.

  • Bring a group, order a share platter and eat with your hands at this traditional Ethiopian restaurant. Platters are topped with spiced lentils, meat stews and rolled-up injera (a fermented, pancake-like flatbread). Tear off a bit with your hands and use it to scoop up all the different flavours.

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  • Pizza Meine Liebe (German for "pizza my love") is a Northcote institution – and it’s stuck around for a reason. Come for its thin, slightly chewy bases topped with clever combinations, woodfired to perfection, before finishing with Italian-style desserts.

  • This Italian deli, bistro and bar will take you right through your day with pastries, deli items, grab-and-go meals and plenty of Italian-leaning share plates. By day, stop in for loaded porchetta lunch rolls with thick shards of crackling. By night, go for its oysters, house-made pasta and Italian wines.

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  • This wine bar has a particularly welcoming design, with plump, comfy couches; carefree decor; a sharehouse-esque fairy-lit courtyard; and huge light-bringing windows. And the food is just as accessible – it’s a changeable, veg-led affair.

  • This vegetarian Israeli street food spot is a local favourite. It’s slinging loaded pita pockets, refreshing salads, two flavours of falafel, shakshuka and smoky roasted vegetables. Plus, satisfying smoothies that’ll make for a whole meal.

  • If you forget to book at this cosy neighbourhood restaurant, grab a seat at the bar, order a spritz and picture yourself in the streets of Palermo as you wait for a table. You’re in for home-style Sicilian fare, nostalgic Italian desserts and a welcoming vibe.

  • A bastion of live music for two decades, this is the place to check out buzzy acts from Melbourne and interstate. As well as the bandroom, it’s got an all-weather rear deck that blends seamlessly into the rest of the pub, plus wallet-friendly parmas and Sunday roasts.

  • This wine bar from the owner of All Are Welcome is in a former lawyer’s office. Step behind the original gold-leaf signage and vertical blinds for left-of-centre wines and Russian and Georgian dishes featuring lots of pickles, ferments and seafood.

  • The clever veg-forward wine bar created by two former Neighbourhood Wine and Bar Romantica head chefs. In the sunlight-filled dining room, or under the fairy light-studded lemon tree out back, order smoky-sweet turnips, brown butter fish and boozy amaro sorbet.

  • Brother Bon aims to make vegan food accessible (and enjoyable) to all. Its pan-Asian brunch and dinner menus hit all the right notes with fragrant noodle soups, dumplings, stir-fries and gua bao. Also on the menu are Vietnamese-style cocktails, as well as Australian beers and wines.

  • The tables at this bustling Indian joint fill up early – and for good reason. Go for its all-star curry menu that features creamy lamb pasanda, paneer makhani and staff-favourite eggplant curry. Plus, find house wines in glass tumblers, plus sweet mango lassi.

  • This compact 25-seater flips beef and plant-based cheeseburgers, and serves southern fried chicken and vegan Cocowhip sundaes.

  • This dimly-lit pub sits in a converted 19th-century church – and is adorned with wine barrels, wagon wheels and a large, wrought-iron chandelier. Get cosy inside, or head to the rear courtyard for hearty pub classics alongside Victorian wine and beer.

  • At this Sri Lankan restaurant, the main drawcard is the colourful, affordable buffet that’s made up of more than 20 dishes. Go for aromatic cashew curry, tender Sri Lankan tempered potatoes and a made to order mango lassi.


  • A tribute to the owner’s Calabrian-born father, Umberto plates up cucina casalinga homestyle cooking and classic Italian aperitivi in a former shoe shop with a warm, local feel. It’s also home to Gigi, a tiny rooftop bar where you can sip a Negroni with one-of-a-kind views across Thornbury and Coburg.

  • Pizza, side salads, beer and wine – this little corner bar keeps things delightfully simple. The pies here are basically Neapolitan, but go rogue with the toppings. Try one topped with honey-roasted garlic and rosemary, or slow-cooked lamb shoulder and goat’s curd.

  • After years delivering lasagne around town in a ’91 Holden Barina, owner Joey Kellock moved into a former pizza shop and started serving up the goods to his legion of followers. Now you can order a side of salumi and a spritz to go with his famous, saucy slabs.

  • Farro is named after the Italian word for “spelt”, which underpins many dishes at this homely pizzeria and pasta house. Go for its Italian appetisers before feasting on homemade spelt pastas and woodfired pizzas. Its inclusive menu has plenty of gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options, too.

  • This Greek family’s popular souva mobile found a permanent home on High Street. Here, you can create your own Greek spread of stacked souvas, crispy pita, meat skewers and Greek salads generously topped with salty feta – all served on old-school enamel plates.

  • Kustom is one of Melbourne’s best takes on the American diner genre. Stop into this hot-rod-themed spot for burgers loaded with beef patties, buttermilk chicken, fried mushroom and more. Race electric slot cars or sip on an old-fashioned milkshake while you wait for your dinner.

  • From the outside, Northern Git might look like your average corner restaurant. But inside, it has all the offerings of a classic British pub. The Yorkshire-born owner-chef turns out pub classics like pork crackling, bubble and squeak, pies with mushy peas and gravy, and hearty Sunday roasts.

  • A Greek neighbourhood bar inspired by yiayia’s house. Go for comforting home-style plates, including pickled calamari and gooey vegan moussaka, backed by a tight list of Greek beers and wines; stay for the retro setting and vibrant vibes.

  • A Melbourne pizzeria veteran has swapped his woodfired oven for a cabinet smoker and flat-top griddle. On spongy house-made tortillas, he’s dishing out slow-cooked beef birria, cochinita pibil pork, and rolled and deep-fried tacos dorados stuffed with potato.


  • Find this low-key Chinese restaurant just around the corner from Preston Market. It's all about hand-pulled Lanzhou-style wheat noodles (made from scratch every day) served in hot, spiced broth with a side of chewy dumplings.

  • As the name suggests, there’s no cutlery, no table service and no fuss at this casual pizzeria and bar. Dough is fermented for three days, and the result is an American-style slice with a thin base and a crisp, crunchy edge. Try the bone marrow and pastrami number – it sounds left-field, but you won’t regret it.

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  • Follow the neon glow to find this low-and-slow diner. Pork ribs are cooked over three days then glazed with caramel, and there's the famous meat doughnuts, an unholy pairing of sweet and savoury. Plus, find local breweries on tap.

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  • Hit this neon-lit Mexican bar for tacos and burritos loaded with pork belly, spiced chicken or mixed veggies. Devour your tacos in the cactus-lined courtyard or spacious dining hall, or climb to the rooftop for easy-drinking Margaritas and cold Mexican beers.

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  • This Lebanese charcoal chicken chain has ascended to cult status since opening in Sydney in 1998. After dark, the busy Preston shop has a green neon halo that can be seen from blocks away. Go for its signature charcoal chook or the fuss-free chicken plate with Lebanese pickles, pita and a secret recipe garlic sauce.


  • The chalked-up menu might change a lot, but the bang-for-your-buck is a constant at this buzzy, warmly lit diner. Go for tapas-style plates like wallaby tartare, Portarlington mussels and house-made pumpkin agnolotti. Plus, vermouth and lo-fi wines on tap. It’s no surprise getting a seat can be a bit of a challenge.