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Fitzroy's Most Unique Restaurants

Home > Melbourne > Food and Wine | Restaurants
by Sophie Lamell (subscribe)
I'm a uni student doing a Masters in Publishing
Published October 26th 2011
In our multicultural society, international cuisine abounds.

Yet, while Melbourne's ultra hip Fitzroy may pride itself on its hallowed restaurant scene, there are very few places that offer a meal that is both unique and authentic.

The following four restaurants have been chosen not only due to their fantastic food, but also because they offer something a little different in the way of authentic international dining experiences.

1. Nyala African Restaurant

While us jaded Melburnians may regularly frequent locales of all nationalists, there are very few authentic Ethiopian restaurants to be found.

Nyala African Restaurant has been a Fitzroy mainstay for around twenty years, with diners raving about the appetising and unusual fare that is served up here. Always a buzzing hive of activity, it is best to book ahead as this place is only growing in popularity.

The menu is expansive with most dishes accompanied by the traditional Inerja; a spongy pancake-like bread, that is torn off by hand and used to scoop up the delightfully spicy dishes on offer.

A particular highlight is the Doro Tibs, which consists of chicken pieces marinated in Ethiopian herbs and spices and sautéed in mild chili.

For those of you who are a little hesitant to discard years of indoctrinated table manners, as they say on the Nyala menu, "Try it, it's fun!"

This is how you do interactive dining with a difference.

Nyala African Restaurant details:

113 Brunswick St.
Fitzroy 3065
(03) 9419 9128
Price per person including drinks Up to $30
Open Mon-Sun 6pm-12pm.

2. Naked For Satan

Fitzroy folklore tells that Naked For Satan is named in honour of Russian migrant and Depression era vodka connoisseur Leon Satonovich.

The story goes that Satanovich (naturally shortened to Satan upon arrival in Australia) worked cleaning out a disused building and upon discovering a set of copper boilers, managed to weld them together to form a vodka distillery.

Wearing close to nothing whilst toiling over the pipes during the hot summer, patrons came to use the code "Let's get Naked for Satan" to gain entry into the illicit vodka bar.

A haven for local hipsters and broke students alike, Naked for Satan has evolved into a romantically lit Spanish pintxos tavern.

The pintxos are comprised of delicious morsels such as chorizo and green chilli, skewered to crunchy slices of baguette. This makes for something a little different and is a great first date talking point for those in need of a little push.

It's well worth turning up a little early to beat the crowds, with bargain hunters flocking to this on trend eatery early in the week for cut priced meals.

Naked for Satan details:

285 Brunswick St.
Fitzroy 3065
(03) 9419 9128
Price per person including drinks Up to $15
Open Mon-Sun 6pm-12pm.

3. Afghan Gallery

Afghan restaurants are few and far between in Melbourne. In fact, Afghan Gallery stands proud as Fitzroy's only purveyor of this exotic cuisine.

A sweet little family owned restaurant, the walls are lovingly strewn with intricately patterned rugs. The atmosphere is convivial, and the lighting from the fringed lamps and coloured lanterns sets a soft and intimate scene.

While the staff may be a little slow, they are earnest and well intended. Anyway, once the food comes you'll forget any previous complaints.

There are a range of curries (qormas), pastries and rice dishes. Thankfully, everything on the menu is explained in detail. A particular favourite was the lamb pilaf, almond spiced rice with strips of sweet tender lamb.

If possible, try and get yourself seated upstairs for an authentic crossed leg style dining experience.

Afghan Gallery details:

327 Brunswick St.
Fitzroy 3065
(03) 9417 2430
Price per person including drinks Up to $30
Open Mon-Sun 6pm-11pm.
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Why? Because generic is boring
Where: In and around Fitzroy
Cost: $15-$30 per person
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