Because of its location near the Yarra, Collingwood became one of Melbourne's first major industrial centres. Instead of a factory if you were to take a stroll past one of Collingwood's old ones today, you might stumble upon a gallery or the headquarters of a tech start-up.
That shift in attitude is palpable in Collingwood's dining establishments. While Smith Street is still an integral part of Melbourne's dining scene (with many long-standing classics still operating), many of the restaurants featured in this guide extend into the side streets of the surrounding suburbs. You should go on an adventure because this area has some of the best restaurants in the city.
Collingwood has some of the most interesting restaurants and bars in Melbourne, and is distinguished by its red-brick industrial buildings, rustic walkways, and narrow streets.
It's a little corner of Melbourne that feels like its own city and has a lot of appeal for locals and visitors alike. After much deliberation, we have compiled a list of what we consider to be the finest dining establishments in Collingwood.
Food Places In Collingwood Melbourne
Hipsters now overrun Collingwood, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. When the cool young kids came in, so did the cool, affordable eateries and wine bars. As a result, you can beautifully design Japanese within a stone's throw of old-school Greek, fine dining, amazing hummus and vegan pizza.
You can even have a great bar crawl on a single street. So, strap in and enjoy the best restaurants Collingwood has to offer.
When you picture a high-end eatery, IDES is what you imagine it would be like. While perhaps now you're picturing food that's a bit pretentious, rest assured that IDES' offerings will dispel any such thoughts and replace them with images of truly delicate and beautiful fare.
We've never seen such novel takes on such uncomplicated ingredients. Salted Mushrooms, Sydney Rock Oysters, Cucumber Boats, and Marron Tails are some of our top recommendations.
It's a cosy place with just 36 seats, dim lighting, and grey leather table tops. Artwork from Australian artists of the mid-century adorns the walls. Formerly occupied by a bar, the space is now occupied by the kitchen's "super pass," or plating station.
Gunn made an effort to ensure that the experience at Ides was distinct from that of Attica, but echoes of the latter can be found in the restaurant's subdued, grey-carpeted dining room; the kitchen's small size; and the menu's rigid organisation. To be sure, there are some similarities here, but they're only skin deep. Let's pretend there's a comparison to be made. In that case, it's conceptually closer to Attica's chef's table nights, where the menu is flexible and the focus is on pushing limits rather than perfection.
Four courses or a six-course menu with small bites are available at Ides. The menu is dynamic, with items added or removed at the last minute. Gunn claims that his penchant for the spur-of-the-moment boosts morale in the kitchen. Nothing is guaranteed on any given night, but that's part of what makes things exciting.
The dishes at Gunn are known for their intensity and focus on technique. Marron tail with green cabbage and grilled nori, and burnt avocado with golden trout roe are just a few examples of the dishes you can anticipate.
You might not understand Aka Siro from the outside, but upon tasting the food, you will undoubtedly understand - and most likely be back for more. The clean and functional setting paired with clean and hearty dishes makes for the perfect combination.
The stand out for us is the very cooked Gyu-Teki teishoku, tender scotch beef steak that has been pan-fried to perfection and paired with Akasiro SP sauce. You will be licking the plate clean for this one.
Healthy, wholesome food made fresh daily is what Collingwood diners find on the menu at Proud Sprout on Peel Street. Recently relocated to new premises, this vegan-friendly eatery boasts a vibrant cartoon-style mural and alfresco courtyard for all-day plates, such as build-your-own Buddha bowls and housemade falafels.
Try a super acai bowl for breaky, with banana, coconut water, granola, berries, kiwi fruit, toasted coconut and peanut butter; or delve into a free-range chicken bowl – ancient grains, slaw, mashed spiced pumpkin, black beans and spicy peanut satay, topped with toasted sesame and sumac mix. Vegan options include chipotle tofu, brown rice, smashed avocado, pickled carrots, black beans and tomato, chilli and coriander sauce, with a side of sweet potato fries and aioli.
The mahogany bar with a cork top is the focal point of Maha Bar. This is a tribute to the home bar that the restaurant's owner, chef, and childhood friend, Shane Delia, fondly recalls. This one is unique in that it is crafted from champagne corks and features a lacquered surface that glistens softly under the glow of the enormous globe lights hanging above.
Sit back and peruse the imported bottles of raki and arak (anise-flavored spirits), or try something a little more modern, like a Turkish delight Martini or a za'atar-infused Margarita. Middle Eastern restaurant Maha, owned by Shane Delia, contributes its signature Pomegranate Sour (also available at sister wine bar Maha East).
Some of the dishes on the menu are modern takes on classics from the Middle East; for example, the Turkish borek buns are fried instead of baked, and the stuffed Portarlington mussels in tomato and clove broth are a riff on a traditional Turkish dish called midye dolmas.
The larger plates feature items like duck with muhammara (a spicy roasted capsicum walnut dip), chickpea and garlic dumplings with toum (garlic sauce), sumac, and a pilaff made with five-year-aged Persian rice. Also featured is Maha's 12-hour braised lamb shoulder, which is served with a roasted eggplant salad, lamb sausage, and a date and lamb fat sauce, and is liberally spiced with baharat. From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Friday through Sunday, complimentary meze (small plates) are served with all alcoholic beverages.
Owns Property and this restaurant, which he runs with his sister Katie McCormack, is under Peel by Milieu, a residential development on Wellington and Peel streets in Collingwood. The food and fit-out are effortlessly polished, and everything appears to run as smoothly as the brushed-concrete columns and dark-brass balustrades that lead you to the lofty but intimate mezzanine dining space.
There’s a roasted quarter Milawa chicken with a thick wedge of charred savoy cabbage and chicken jus. And a $58 chef’s menu. The menu also suits diners who want to order several things to share. The stand out is the soft, peppery, house-made kangaroo pastrami, served on a streak of cultured sour cream (made from scratch) and a layer of crunchy shallots.
And a pulled pig’s-head croquette injected with chicken stock, served with green aioli between two soft rounds. Lean over your plate – that sucker bursts like a soup dumpling.
The 50-bottle, Australian-dominant wine list mixes classic and minimal-intervention wines. Choose between chablis, Nebbiolo, or local labels such as Jamsheed, Mac Forbes and Patrick Sullivan.
Congress will be donating all proceeds from sales of their bestselling Pig’s Head Sanga for January. Donations will be split between the CFA and Wildlife Victoria.
Rockwell And Sons
Rockwell and Sons provide the type of burger you know you’re going to hate yourself for consuming later but is worth every second of your time.
Because we’re traditionalists like that, our top pick is the Double Patty SmashBurger—you can’t go wrong here. Also, we love the fried chicken sandwich with buttermilk dressing or the soft shell crab roll with chipotle mayo.
Since the first hummus recipe was recorded in 13th-century Cairo, it has travelled far and wide throughout the Levant and Mediterranean. Everyone claims their version is the best – some prefer it smooth, others lumpy, some heavier on the chickpeas, others on tahini, some topped with vegetables or meat, and others accompanied by falafel, pickles or chips. Done well; it’s creamy, tangy and moreish.
Hummus is the main attraction at New Jaffa, a Middle Eastern diner in the backstreets of Collingwood. Owner and chef Moshe Ittah make it fresh daily with traditional ingredients (chickpeas, garlic, lemon, oil and tahini sourced from Israel) using a secret technique.
The result is a silky texture, a rich, nutty flavour, and the perfect salt and acid balance. For lunch, get it capped with mushrooms or minced lamb and beef fried in a heady spice blend, with pine nuts adding sweetness. Finally, scrape the plate clean with pita, its cloud-soft insides soaking up the remnants of oil-stained copper from paprika.
The momentum of flawlessly balanced dishes that pack a punch continues with the mains. There’s a pumpkin and chickpea curry and grilled cauliflower given oomph with spiced vegan mayo, pickled chillies and yolks oozing out of soft-boiled eggs.
Angus beef ribs rubbed with zaatar crown neon-yellow turmeric and almond couscous. In the kebab (Ittah’s mum’s recipe), three chilli-flecked lamb and beef balls, super juicy from added fat, rest on fresh mint, zippy green chillies, tomato and pine nuts. Finally, a green tahini singing with harissa rounds off a dish we can’t stop thinking about.
Le Bon Ton
Le Bon Ton is owned by The Ghanem Group, a hospitality group that operates some of Brisbane's best restaurants and bars. When Ghanem took over the reins to this Collingwood staple, it didn't overhaul it so much as refine a successful formula.
It's a New Orleans-inspired bar and smokehouse, where you'll find plenty of drinks and cocktails dedicated to The Big Easy, alongside a menu that the Southern-style smoker drives in the courtyard.
All meats are pit-smoked over ironbark and fruit woods for 12 hours. So expect pull-apart beef brisket and pork shoulder, lamb ribs and burnt ends. There's also a range of Southern-inspired burgers and sandwiches. A substantial part of the menu is also available for takeaway.
Drinks are where the New Orleans theme comes out to play. There's a good list of champagnes, always served ice cold, and Le Bon Ton's take on the quintessential NOLA cocktail, The Sazerac, is done justice. The rest of the classic and signature selection is well worth exploring.
Plus, there's a good line-up of American beers on tap.
It's hard to go wrong with seating here – on a nice day, and the astroturfed courtyard is unbeatable. In winter, find a nook in the vast, moody interiors.
The Code Pizza Bar
Collingwood foodies bring a hearty appetite for Italian fare to The CODE pizza bar on Langridge Street. Nestled in a corner brick-fronted venue, step inside to find a rustic vibe ideal for lingering over an ice-cold glass of beer, pizza and pasta just like Nonna makes; expect fresh, flavourful food that is in season, with ingredients stocked from the market daily.
Start with choices like burrata all the way – creamy mozzarella, cherry truss tomatoes, fresh basil, housemade bread and olive oil – before lasagna Della Mama, with beef ragu, béchamel sauce, basil and Parmesan. Next, gourmet pizzas like The CODE, with snapper fillet, mixed olives, Moreton Bay bug, San Marzano tomato and fresh parsley are sure to entice; before a decadent dessert of tiramisu with mascarpone, sponge biscotti and cacao.
Gather with friends and family for a meal and a toast to the good life at Sixty Smith in Collingwood. In the restaurant, the recycled timber, statement pendants, and trailing greenery create a laid-back atmosphere; in the bar, the entertaining bartenders will keep you entertained; in the attic, you can host a private dinner or function; and in the garden courtyard, you can relax.
A great wine list complements the eclectic small plates, such as cured ocean trout, kohlrabi, green chilli, salsa, avocado, smoked coconut sorbet, and a squid ink cracker, that can be shared amongst friends.
Jim's Greek Tavern
Jim's is endearing in part because of the chaotic service and lack of a menu. For the banquet, expect to pay between $50 and $70 per person, with a la carte dishes costing between $10 and $30. We nod our heads in agreement as the waiter strolls up to us and rattles off a list of menu items. We add grilled tiger prawns to the menu because we know from experience that they are a must-have. The banquet is highly recommended for large groups, while smaller parties can order a la carte from the menu or from the wait staff's recommendations. In spite of the availability of house wine, bringing your own bottle is highly recommended, especially if corkage is free. The meal's centrepiece is a spread of three different dips (taramasalata, tzatziki, and baba ganoush), which is served with olives, stewed carrots and beans, diced bits of boiled, tender octopus dressed in olive oil, parsley, and lemon juice, and a basket of crusty bread for sopping up the last of the sauce.
Saganaki, seasoned with lemon, is served alongside and is both tender and firm. The large tiger prawns are juicy and smoky from the chargrilling process; we'd order more if they weren't so expensive at $6 apiece. We couldn't help but order a heaping serving of the rotisserie-cooked lamb. It has the anticipated richness and pleasing saltiness, but there is simply too much of it. If some tables don't make it across the finish line, the wait staff is prepared with to-go boxes.
Vegetarians need not worry; there is a Greek salad with feta, olives, and tomatoes, as well as lightly battered, deep-fried zucchini slices, thick chunks of beetroot doused in a vinegary dressing, and delicious butter beans braised in olive oil.
Jim's Greek Tavern is a reminder that traditional Greek cooking is cosy, unpretentious, and serves enormous portions, despite George Calombaris' polished and expansive empire having become shorthand in Melbourne for Greek food.
The music at Collingwood pizzeria and bar Thin Slizzy is the kind your parents might not like. Chances are you’ll walk in to find the owner (and muso) Scott Penberthy cranking a Spotify playlist titled “Chooglin’ Nugs From the Golden Ages of Hard Rock' ' while hand-stretching thin, Neapolitan-style pizza bases.
Penberthy’s pizza career started in his hometown of Auckland in 2008. But after touring Australia with his old band, he settled in Melbourne, spending the four years making pies at Rita’s in Abbotsford. You might have also caught his band, Holy Serpent, at a nearby north-side venue.
Thin Lizzy was previously Angelo’s Pizza e Cucina, where Penberthy and his mates would order greasy, late-night food from the bain-marie after gigs. But the previous owner shut up shop in 2020, leaving the furniture, fridges and pizza oven behind. So with help from his mates, Penberthy took it over, building a dark-timber bar and retrofitting the chairs and tables. Plus, he got some decoration donations: photographic prints, an antique organ and a tombstone from a movie set.
Expect a menu loaded with rock’n’roll puns. The red-sauce Metallica comes with hot salami, pancetta and ham, and vego options include the Smashing Pumpkin (with pumpkin puree, feta, mozzarella, pine nuts, rocket and a balsamic glaze) and Brockin’ in the Free World (with broccoli puree, blue cheese, mozzarella, walnuts and rocket).
To drink: tinnies of Kaiju Krush tropical ale, Rover ale and Balter XPA; a handful of easy-drinking reds and whites; and a roster of classic cocktails, such as Negronis, Whisky Sours and Margaritas, with rotating specials.
You might not expect this quaint little cafe to blow you away with anything more than good coffee, but trust us, Terror Twilight will not disappoint. The Ham and Gruyere toastie is oozing with cheese paired with a dollop of American mustard for dipping and a dill pickle for crunching - we could probably eat seven of these consecutively.
Another reason that many come here is to build your rice bowl or noodle broth. Choose your base, whether that’s a rice or noodle variety, choose from a range of fresh toppings, then bulk it up with your protein of choice. This is perfect for the colder months.
The Noble Experiment
The interior of The Noble Experiment makes you feel as if you’ve walked into an enchanted bookshop that meets an underground hideaway. The cocktail menu also reflects this, feeling inspired almost from a fairytale.
The Noble Experiment comprises three distinct spaces, the intimate Mezzanine lounge, the restaurant floor suited for casual diners of any number and the underground lounge, which will suit any event you can conjure up.
The Noble Experiment also boasts a wide range of spirits, beers and wines, and great coffee and endlessly creative cocktails.
Collingwood foodies seeking fresh, healthy and delicious Japanese fare head along Rupert Street to find Marimo Sushi. From sashimi and sushi to curry rice, udon, rice bowls and drinks, there’s something to tempt all tastes at this takeaway-style eatery, where a window bench seat offers glimpses of the street while pondering lunch options.
Perhaps choose white or brown rice hand rolls like teriyaki chicken, tuna and avocado, made onsite by a Japanese sushi Chef, or a sesame miso salmon poke bowl, with pickled ginger and spicy mayo.
Grab a chicken katsu curry and rice for a quick and easy work lunch, followed by a Tibetan goji beery magic muffin. At the same time, those looking to cater for a special event or occasion can order a sushi and sashimi platter for next day delivery.
Stick It Grill
Taking back to the basics of sticks and fire, no one leaves Stick It Grill on Smith Street in Collingwood, still hungry. This healthy, fast food concept specialises in delicious char-grilled sticks, salads and smiles, inspired by Mediterranean heritage, in fun and funky surrounds of glowing neon signage, a white subway-tiled counter, bright orange staff uniforms and accents.
From a menu promoting simple, clean eating, kick start your feast with The Greek – char-grilled lamb skewers, thick-cut fries, Aegean slaw, super-grain salad with cumin yoghurt, freeze-dried raspberries and hummus – or grab an Arcuri wrap with chicken fillet, chips, spinach, pumpkin and feta salad, red onion, tomato, sweet pickles, mayo and hot sauce, in wood-fired flatbread; washed down with ginger Kombucha.
Conversation starters are never in short supply at Chotto Motto. Instead, the lively venue (which also owns the neighbouring Neko Neko and Wabi Sabi Salon) is stuffed to the gills with treasure Japanese junk shops, such as educational children's Sega video games and '80s pop records. Furthermore, both the interior and exterior walls feature vibrant, intricate murals by local artists Chehehe and Mitch Walder.
Chotto Motto is renowned for its authentic gyoza, prepared in the traditional style of the Hamamatsu region. Pan-frying, flipping, and further frying yields crispy dumplings. Rings of 10 or 20 dumplings are used for this. When finished, they get cheese (optional) and are placed in a pizza box for delivery. Powerful fillings include spiciness from ingredients like kimchi and miso pork, ginger and chickpeas, shiitake mushrooms and cabbage. First and foremost, it's beer food, and you can get your hands on one (in typically Japanese fashion) from a refurbished Japanese vending machine stocked with brews from local independents (Stomping Ground, Temple Brewing), Japanese craft beers from Hitachino Nest, and some out-there options like matcha IPA and miso lager. In addition to sparkling peach jelly sake, the machine dispenses umeshu, shochu, and Japanese cola. To pay, simply push the button and hand over some cash at the register.
Matcha Sour made with Japanese whisky and white chocolate and Yuzu Margarita with a shiso salt rim are just two of the cocktails available from the bar's limited menu. In addition, every month there is a new selection of five wines made with minimal intervention.
Aside from the main attraction, gyoza, there is also a variety of katsu sandwiches available, including chicken, prawn, pork, or edamame and shiitake croquette on white bread with cabbage slaw and tonkatsu sauce. Chicken or cauliflower karaage, as well as fries sprinkled with traditional furikake rice seasoning, are among the available appetisers. One vegan soft serve flavour is offered every month for dessert.
FAQs About Foods In Collingwood Melbourne
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