Located in Melbourne’s northwest region in Wurundjeri land, Moonee Ponds is an inner-city suburban oasis just seven kilometers from the CBD. Awash with sculptural Victorian homes and red-brick cottages, the area’s leafy, manicured aesthetic has become the bedrock of restaurant and café culture.
To help you better understand the area, here is where to eat and drink in Moonee Ponds:
What started as Park Projecta secret pop-up on Shujinko back in lockdown, now showed up at Moonee Ponds best place for Ramen. Much like you’d imagine an authentic Tokyo restaurant, Parco Ramen is a small storefront on Hall Street that only seats 19 people at a time, creating lines of noodle-lovers that swell the entrance. Although small in size, there are a variety of menu options among Tokyo’s signature vegan black miso ramen, as well as a rich lobster and koji-based broth with an Australian lobster tail alongside all the trimmings including egg dashi, spring onions, nori and sesame seeds.
Darling Street Espresso
This quaint corner cafe is a mainstay for quality coffee and brunch in Moonee Ponds. HLocated in a former milk bar and located at the intersection of Athol and darling street the cafe is a favorite for good vibes and quality coffee, with Industry Beans behind the bar and a host of solid options for breakfast and lunch. It’s usually overflowing at all hours of the week with locals tackling the menu, which includes brunch options ranging from your lemony waffles to the more substantial panko fried chicken burger and a rotating selection of specialties that appear week by week. week.
Sunny Boy Coffee Roasters
New to the area, but familiar with the caffeine game, Sunny Boy Roasters on Mount Alexander Road is the latest project from Jake Bicchieri and Erkan Selek. Their collective espresso experience led them to establish their own coffee roasting operation. Retaining the orange-painted walls of the previous trattoria, Sunnyside has a strong ’70s energy that radiates throughout, with additional nods like swivel chairs and upholstered leather sofas. Aesthetics aside, the coffee here is dialed to perfection, with a variety of house-roasted espresso, plus baked goods from Penny For Pound, including a nostalgic take on the Aussie classic, a Vegemite primo and a cheese croissant.
The team behind Ascot Vale’s The Ascot Lot has transformed Russo’s heritage listed site on Holmes Road and revitalized the former 500 square meter supermarket site into Holmes Hall, a 400 seat dining hall, craft beer shop and lounge and a bar in the alley. Expect quality pub fare, your perfectly browned parma as well as more modern inclusions like sharing plates of Burrata, on the beer front there’s a whole slew of boxes in the fridge as well as a basic range of Mountain Goat and Range Brewing beer on tap.
Run by the Rerakis family, Philhellene is a celebration of provincial Greek cuisine, mostly Cretan-style seasonal dishes. Considered one of the best restaurants in Moonee Ponds, the space on Mount Alexander Road has retained its family atmosphere since opening in 2008 with framed pictures and artwork hanging on the rough brick walls. Philhellene offers a unique alternative to conventional Greek cuisine with dishes lovingly prepared by the second-generation family members in the kitchen, think courgette flowers stuffed with herbed rice, lamb and chicken fricassee. artichokes (a simmered stew).
Strangelove Wine Bar
A real haunt of locals, Strangelove is a cozy style wine bar with an extremely knowledgeable team of staff who know their tannins only too well. This is a place to park and enjoy some really good drops, with a wine list of over 500 wines there is always something new to try, from an Adelaide Hills pinot noir to a shiraz des Cotes grenache of the Rhone. The space has a very eclectic feel; a motley collection of furniture fills the intimately spaced interior and bar, and outside there’s an airy beer garden with outdoor umbrellas and long wooden picnic tables, perfect for a late session. The menu is minimal but consists of arancini, as well as decadent charcuterie and cheese boards, perfect for maintaining that level after cracking up in the second bottle.
A restaurant brand in Moonee Ponds, Bekka is a Lebanese restaurant run by Richard and Suzanne Pavlov, both second-generation Australian-Lebanese. The Hall Street restaurant features floor-to-ceiling windows that give a glimpse of the vibrant atmosphere of the space, usually teeming with large group tables digging into Mezza and sharing plates of regional Lebanese cuisine from around the country. The menu is divided into three distinct sections with dips, small dishes to share, as well as straight from the grill, which includes a range of Tawook, Kafta skewers and more. As for sweets, there is an unmissable Muhallebi, a Lebanese interpretation of the traditional Middle Eastern dessert, a creamy milk-based cream served cold with berries and orange blossom syrup.
A silent achiever, Il Caminetto, which translates to “the chimney” in Italian, produces some of the best pizza in town, and the locals of Moonee Ponds have kept the secret well protected. Located on Pasco Vale Road, the rustic-style layout takes inspiration from quaint Matera, a town in the southern region of Basilicata (now featured in No Time To Die) think marble countertops, bar seating in polished concrete and a large opening overlooking the wood-fired oven which is actively preparing pizzas. The 72-hour-rested dough comes in the form of several options, from the ‘Granchio’ with its base of unconventional yellow tomato sauce, marinated crab, chilli, garlic and broccolini to the savory-tasting bomb of the ‘Boscaiola’ a rich combination of Stracciatella cheese, Nduja, speck and truffle oil.
Check out Melbourne’s best restaurants for 2022 here.
Image credit: Annika Kafcaloudis (Holmes Hall)