Restaurants

  • Everything is made in-house at this vegan diner. Stop by for some of the best falafels and fatteh in town and watch owner Ahmad Al Alaea – donning his signature cowboy hat – work in the open kitchen.

  • Pizza Meine Liebe (German for "pizza my love") rode in with a new wave of produce-driven pizza joints – and it’s still around for a reason. Come for thin, slightly chewy bases topped with clever combos, woodfired to perfection.

  • 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 touch of innovation without being scary or confronting” is how owner-chef Scott Pickett describes the menu here, and he’s bang-on.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • Eat with your hands in Northcote.

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  • A wholly untraditional pizza joint that’s lots of fun.

  • The St Kilda eatery’s north-side counterpart is just as fun.

Cafes

  • Boris Portnoy's baked creations are influenced by classic recipes and by his time cheffing in some of the world's restaurants. You might find anything from gianduja babka buns to Czech honey cakes here. Add in coffee by Everyday and some of the best sourdough in town, and it's no wonder it's always so busy.

  • A bright cafe with healthy on the mind.

  • A former Lune pastry chef is making cult butterscotch crullers, dulce de leche tarts and chocolate eclairs from a homey shopfront on Northcote's main drag. Also, hulking focaccia sangas filled with mortadella and limited-run cheeses from the Northern Rivers region in NSW.

  • This organic cafe serves an entirely vegan and raw menu. Chef-owner Yoko Inoue's cooking showcases the benefits of macrobiotic and organic raw food. Although most of the menu takes its cues from Japan, Inoue often just cooks what she feels, so dishes such as beetroot spaghetti and raw lasagne are common.

  • A vast light-filled eatery from the crews who brought us first-rate cafes Bawa and Sloane Ranger.

  • This cafe with a hidden kids’ area welcomes dogs and serves breakfast gnocchi and sticky-date hotcakes.

  • Locals love this one for its simple food, reliable coffee and pleasant courtyard.

  • A pun-tastic cafe with a Bali-inspired vibe.

  • Enter through a red door for good coffee and a reprieve from your busy city life.

  • Tucked along the Epping line, it’s a little cafe with a big character.

  • Melba organic coffee and a Middle-Eastern inspired menu.

Bars

  • This wine bar and music hub, in a heritage-listed theatre, feels like a hidden cave. Come for its lo-fi wines, DJs and fun vibes. The best part? The vintage Altec Landing sound system that once graced the Sydney Opera House.

  • A bastion of live music for two decades, this is the spot to see buzzy acts from Melbourne and beyond. As well as the bandroom, it’s got an all-weather deck that blends into the rest of the pub, plus exceptional parmas and roasts.

  • A welcoming spot for whiskey dates, cocktails with friends or just sitting at the bar. Make mates over a beer and bowl of pickle fries, while you learn your ryes from your bourbons.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Your favourite northside block party – every day of the week – in a former Morris Minor factory. Choose your own adventure across a handful of rotating food trucks, more than 35 beer taps and 699 of your closest friends. Plus, there’s a games arcade, DJ sets and trivia night.

  • The ideal place for a couple of quiet pints.

  • A tasteful venue for a relaxing drink on the edge of Northcote.

  • It’s froths and no fuss, every day of the week.

  • A bar devoted to literature, whiskey and snacks from Ireland.

Shops

  • This boutique bottle shop and wine bar sits opposite a historic cinema. Buy a bottle or a wine by the glass, snack on tinned fish and charcuterie, and spend an afternoon watching cinemagoers pass by.

  • Freshly baked sourdough, single origin coffee and Nancy Wilson on the record player.

  • The colourful consignment store helps rehome your unloved clothes and inject colour into your wardrobe with pieces from your own neighbourhood. Expect bright and bold pieces up to size 24 from labels including Acne, Yohji Yamamoto, Alpha60, Obus, Suk Workwear and Arnsdorf.

  • Melbourne-designed practical and travel-friendly garments.

  • Dondurma is a type of stretchy, Turkish ice-cream. And it’s pretty hard to find in Melbourne. Cuppa Turca specialises in the stuff. If you want a break from gelato but still want to scratch that sweet, frozen itch, this is your pick. Plus there’s colourful Turkish delights and shatteringly crisp baklava.

  • A light-filled all-day European bistro, bar and deli stocking fresh pasta, fancy tinned fish and other staples.

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  • Lovingly handmade, unique pieces that shy away from mass production runs and favour a little bit of personal history

  • A colourful underwater-themed vintage and costume shop in the north.

  • A well-priced collection of local and international bottles.

  • A playful dispensary where you can make your own lip balms, body lotions and tea blends.

  • More than 100 crates of jazz, rock, funk, hip-hop and more.

  • Step inside a beautiful maze of organic wholefoods.