If our hotel locations are anything to go by, we’ve long been fans of the Melbourne’s south side, with its cheerful beachside temperament. But with the opening of our Parkville hotel, The Larwill Studio in 2014 we got to know the charms of Melbourne’s north.
And there are certainly plenty of charms around North Melbourne, with edgy boutiques, buzzing Lygon Street and the historic Queen Victoria Market all a stone’s throw from our digs. When it comes to dining, Melbourne’s north offers up a rich selection of options, from reliable breakfast spots to nightspots that will engage the culinary curious. Here’s our picks for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all within the neighbourhood.
COFFEE + BREAKFAST:
7 Seeds Specialty Coffee – 106-114 Berkeley Street, North Melbourne
Founded by one of Melbourne’s most acclaimed coffee producers, 7 Seeds lives up to its name with specialty coffee roasted in-house (and clear visibility for those who like to take a peek at the proceedings) as well as regular training programs and cupping sessions. Whilst the coffee might take centre stage here, the breakfast and lunch options are simple, yet delicious.
Open Mon-Sat 7am-5pm, Sun 8am-5pm
Auction Rooms Cafe – 103-107 Errol Street, North Melbourne
A word of warning about this local favourite; you’ll want to come early. It’s not uncommon to have a 30 minute plus wait for tables at this weekend institution. And justifiably so; with an adventurous menu, specialty coffee blends and the chic setting of a converted warehouse, Auction Rooms is the cool kid’s choice. Need a quick caffeine fix? Their express counterpart, Counter, is just across the road for a quick grab-and-go solution.
Open Mon–Fri 7am-5pm, Sat-Sun 7.30am-5pm
Code Black Coffee – 119 Howard Street, North Melbourne
Code Black’s second outpost (the first is in Brunswick) offers seasonal house blends roasted in-house alongside brunch fare from sweet treats such as grilled banana bread, crumpets and quinoa pudding to adventurous brekkie choices such as truffled mushrooms, almond & chia fritters and coffee-glazed bacon. For lunch, there’s a hearty mix of colourful salads, gourmet rolls (think pulled pork and soft shell crab) and one delicious toastie.
Open 7am-5pm every day
If Lygon Street is a stomping-ground for all things Italian, D.O.C delicatessen is its mothership.
Griggons and Orr Corner Store - 445 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne
For family favourites and unpretentious comfort food, this retro-style milk bar comes up with all the goods, from gourmet jaffles to fresh sandwiches to a milkshake selection that should satisfy any sweet tooth (Snickers! Banana Espresso! Bounty!). It’s not all guilty pleasures either, there’s tasty salads and even a green juice or two to keep everyone happy.
D.O.C Pizza & Mozzarella Bar – 295 Drummond Street, Carlton
If Lygon Street is a stomping-ground for all things Italian, D.O.C delicatessen is its mothership. Between the mozzarella bar, meat slicer, and throngs of people (it’s a safe bet to assume D.O.C will be packed to the brim) fill up on artisan pizza made the way your nonna does it; simple ingredients, crispy crust, bold flavours. You might just learn something too; their map menu points towards the origins of their many imported ingredients.
Open Mon-Thurs 5.30-11.30pm, Fri-Sun 12-11.30pm
Middle Fish – 122-128 Berkeley Street, Carlton
Describing itself as ‘good Asian food and great coffee’, Middle Fish serves up exactly that; Thai dishes for breakfast and lunch with a decent espresso on the side. Covering some of Thailand’s most beloved dishes, from noodles to curries to an excellent Larb Gai salad, it’s a well-priced and big-flavoured lunch pitstop.
Open Mon-Fri 8am-4pm, Sat-Sun 10am-4pm
Fancy Hank’s BBQ Joint , Mercat Cross Hotel, 456 Queen Street, North Melbourne
Serving up amongst the hustle and bustle of the Queen Victoria Market, Fancy Hank’s is all about southern comfort food coupled with a brew or two; think bourbon, tequila or craft beer. Traditional pit smoker BBQs (as in no gas, no electricity) caters to the carnivores with beef and pork ribs, pulled pork and brisket on offer. And don’t skimp on the hot sauce, made in-house and 100% delicious.
Open for dinner 6-9pm and lunch 12-3pm. Bar from 11am-11pm Sun-Thurs, 11am-1am Fri-Sat
DINNER + DRINKS:
Sosta Cucina – 12 Errol Street, North Melbourne
A North Melbourne stalwart since 2007, Sosta Cucina delivers Italian fare with a season focus. Chose from their excellent primi selection (we love the blue swimmer crab linguine) or heavier fare with inspired choices such as Thirlmere duck and Cone Bay Barramundi. If you’re feeling indulgent, their five course degustation ($85 pp) should tick all the boxes.
Open for dinner Tues-Sun from 6pm, and lunch Tues-Fri from 12-3pm. Closed Mondays.
La Tortilleria - 72 Stubbs Street, Kensington
Just up the road in Kensington, this humble Mexican eatery and grocery store is known for one crucial element: the tortillas. Using the authentic Mexican production process, their tortillas are made from corn stone-ground in-house, then baked fresh daily. Served up as all the favourite choices from tostadas to tacos to tamales, this is perfect for a quick, tasty lunchtime treat.
Dinner from 6pm onwards, Tuesday-Sunday with special 'Tuesday Tacos' menu Tuesdays
Woo Ga – 270 Victoria Street, North Melbourne
This Korean gem makes DIY dining fun. Get set up with a combination of barbeque goodies and tackle the cooking process head-on, aided by some punchy accompaniments such as kimichi, spicy soups and mixed rice in hot stone. It’s a goodie for groups too; with a menu designed around sharing, more people means more options to try. For the couples out there, we suggest the two-person banquet ($39 pp) and sample most of the menu’s goodies.
Open every day from 5.30-11pm
The Carlton Wine Room – 172-174 Faraday Street, North Melbourne
Need to unwind with a carefully selected glass of red? The Carlton Wine Room offers up old-school hospitality and an extensive wine list. For a post-dinner debrief or tapas with friends, there’s space aplenty here to relax and soak up the atmosphere. Our suggestion? Sidle in to the Smalls area for bar-seating without the bluster.
Open Mon-Sat 5pm-12am, Closed Sunday
Joe Taylor - 7 Errol Street, North Melbourne
A finalist for the Best New Bar gong in Timeout Melbourne's annual awards, Joe Taylor is making waves as the cocktail bar to go to in Melbourne's north. With plenty of inspired blends to choose from and some delicious fare that goes beyond mere 'bar snacks', it's perfect for a meet-and-greet to impress the Melbourne locals.
Open Mon-Thurs 5pm-1am, Fri-Sat 3pm-1am and Sun midday-11pm
When you've finished your culinary capers, tuck in at our new hotel, The Larwill Studio in Parkville. Book a sleepover here.