I am a freelance writer born in Johannesburg now living in Melbourne. I love travelling and have lived in London and Taipei as well as travelling in and around South Africa. I have a great interest in exploring and love to share my finds with others.
Published May 1st 2012
Melbourne is described as the cosmopolitan and foodie haven within Australia. Its melting pot of cultures from around the world have spoiled Melbournites with the variety of cuisines available for every mood and tastes.
Here are my 9 favourite food streets.
1) Lygon Street – in Inner North Melbourne has become the key area for finding the best in Italian cuisine. Lygon Street runs along the few blocks between Victoria and Elgin Street in Carlton. The area owes its beginnings to the immigration of Italian migrants to the area and has the largest selection of Italian restaurants in Australia. Lygon Street was also the first of Melbourne food streets to adopt alfresco dining. Lygon is also very famous for its gelato. Here you can find among the gelato shops, classic lemon through to double chocolate and soy varieties. Diners are able to find a restaurant to suit any budget and one can either book ahead of time or simply wander along the streets until you find the perfect menu for you.
2) Brunswick Street – runs along the inner North Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy and Fitzroy North. Brunswick Street has a spirit and character all of its own. In Brunswick Street anything goes, from yuppie to piercings, from retiree to punk. The people who live in the area ooze art and because of this the area lives and breathes art too. A variety of stores, bars and pubs are located in the area including book and art shops, perfume shops, music shops, clothing and tattoo parlours. The area has become very popular for vegetarian, vegan and bohemian style restaurants such as Veg Out. You can also find many Middle Eastern and African restaurants with influences from North Africa, Afghan and the like.
3) Acland Street – is a found in the suburb of St Kilda in Melbourne. It is primarily famous for its cake shops and bakeries, which are a delight first brought to the area by the Jewish community in the 1930s and 1940s. The area is a walk away from the foreshore and Luna Park and has a unique with its pavement art and gorgeous wide sidewalks. Today Acland Street offers a sensational mix of cuisines and bars. Influences include Vietnamese, Indian, Italian and Malaysian with a new era of gelato shops also now well established on the street.
4) Chapel Street – is the ooh la la of Melbourne with its plethora of shopping, dining and entertainment. Chapel Street has over 980 shops, restaurants, bars, pubs and nightclubs with an expanse of 4.13 kilometres from the Yarra River in the North to Brighton Road in the South. Jam Factory is the more iconic on the street. It is a modern shopping complex complete with boutique clothing and movie theatre. The area has a variety of food cuisines with some retailers specialising in sole ingredients including olive oil, French pastries, or just desserts. Organic foods, fresh produce and the like are also catered for. Indian, Greek, Moroccan and Russian are just some of the gorgeous restaurants on Chapel Street.
5) Victoria Street – in Abbotsford is a little slice of Vietnam. The street is lined with Vietnamese writing above stores and a plethora of options offering delicious pho, noodles and spring rolls. The prices are excellent value and the food authentic.
6) Southbank – Just south of the Melbourne City centre and a short distance from Flinders Street Station and Federation Square is the art and entertainment area of Southbank. The Arts Centre and NGV are in the area, as well as the Crown Entertainment Complex with its fireball show every evening on the hour. Southbank's art and craft market shares its wares on the promenade near the Arts centre every Sunday. The promenade houses a number of lovely restaurants with outdoor seating. The food is of high standard with many popular names in the area including the Meat and Wine Company.
7) Smith Street – is the bridge between the suburbs of Collingwood and Fitzroy and was Melbourne's first shopping strip, with the first Coles in Melbourne opening here in 1914. The area is known as the newest melting pot of cultures. The area is home to factory outlets, bars and restaurants. The foods include Turkish, Tapas, French, Middle Eastern, Greek (including the fantastic Jim's Greek Tavern) and Mexican and African. The area is bohemian and unique.
8) Chinatown – on little Bourke Street in Melbourne was established in the Gold Rush in 1851 and is the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the West. The area is famous for its Chinese fair including dumplings and dim sum, p=eking, satay, sichuan and Chinese specialty desserts. The area has a variety of choices from a la carte to set menu including buffets.
9) Sydney Road – is the main street running through Brunswick. Sydney Road's restaurants have a great diversity and number of choices. The area offers foods from cultures including Lebanese, Afghan, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, North and East African, Balinese, Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Nepalese. In the 1850s, during the Gold Rush, business boomed on Sydney Road. It was created to supply miners with goods for the journey and to stay at the mines. Sydney Road's restaurants have a great diversity and number of choices. The area offers foods from cultures including Lebanese, Afghan, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, North and East African, Balinese, Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Nepalese.
Image Source: Montage by AshGreen. Jpeg Conversion by Diliff. (Wikipedia)