The best bars, restaurants and cafes in Footscray

West Melbourne may be considered a remote place to some, but it’s home to many of the city’s best-kept foodie secrets. Footscray is the vibrant, multicultural gateway to these untapped culinary delights, leading the way with its authentic cuisines, under-the-radar menus and hidden music venues.

Although probably best known for Melbourne’s best banh mi, Footscray is also home to plenty of other options. Where the sun goes down, you’ll also find some of the best bars of 2022 waiting for you. We’ve curated a list of just one sample Footscray’s best cafes, restaurants and must-see watering holes, so you can skip the city and head west this weekend.

Ollie’s Deli

Melbourne is loving a sandwich moment in 2022. For some of the best sangas in the west, head to Ollie’s Deli, where the instagram-worthy pastrami and BFC (buttermilk fried chicken) will hit right where you want it. Located on popular Barkly Street, Ollie’s welcoming green signage and delicious coffee provided by Industry Beans make the perfect stop for lunch.

Karlaylisi

Blink and you’ll miss the unassuming storefront of Karlaylisi, home to Footscray’s finest hand-pulled noodles. This restaurant serves up authentic Uyghur cuisine that makes our mouths water just thinking about it – opt for the classic spicy noodles with lamb and vegetables, or try the crowd-pleasing beef dumplings. You know what? Get it all. You will not regret it.

At Mama Chen’s

The mother-daughter duo behind Mamma Chen’s brings sound and good times every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Reclaiming the space that was once known as The Dancing Dog, this inclusive, female-focused space welcomes everyone – and their fully accessible group room – makes for a fun night out for all. There’s no food to be had here, so grab an $18 house beer or non-alcoholic bev and enjoy.

Ollie’s Deli

Melbourne is loving a sandwich moment in 2022. For some of the best sangas in the west, head to Ollie’s Deli, where the instagram-worthy pastrami and BFC (buttermilk fried chicken) will hit right where you want it. Located on popular Barkly Street, Ollie’s welcoming green signage and delicious coffee provided by Industry Beans make the perfect stop for lunch.

Westwood Hotel

Where once ruled the Reverence Hotel now lives Westwood Hotel. Owned by James Young, the legend behind Cherry Bar and Yah Yahs, this beloved spot hosts live music seven days a week and cultivates a community space for everyone. With a 350-capacity music room, 70s-style bar and Mexican-themed beer garden, you’re covered for everything from tearing up the dance floor to your next Sunday session. Reverence was not entirely thrown out the window; the menu always brings in Latin America and Tex-Mex for your spicy and cheesy eating pleasure.

Snake baby bar

If you have the crew, Baby Snakes has the vibes. Disco balls, DJ sets and dream cocktails await you in this trendy place. Local concerts are a regular, so your ears will be delighted while your eyes feast on the colorful interior design. To keep you from getting drunk on their glorious international and local wine list, there’s cheese and charcuterie you won’t want to overlook.

Mr West

Beer lovers won’t want to miss the award-winning bar and bottle shop Mr West. With 24 taps to choose from and a carefully curated dream list of independent craft beers, natural wines and seasonal cocktails, this two-story joint will have you feeling warm and bubbly with their exclusive products, which are not available anywhere. elsewhere in town. Enjoy those pristine industrial vibes and dark drinking establishments with a cheese board and other goodies and the picture is done.

Rudimentary

These converted shipping containers are home to one of Footscray’s best cafes, Rudimentary. With an expansive garden to give guests a respite from Footscray’s urban vibe, you can enjoy the outdoors while sipping your morning coffee. The kimchi toast or the crispy eggplant roll are worth a try, but the menu is full of eye-catching dishes that reflect the region’s diversity.

Nhu Lan Bakery

Locals may be divided over who wins the title of Footscray’s best banh mi – check out our full list of Melbourne’s best banh mi here, but Nhu Lan Bakery is hard to pass (our other top pick is To’s Bakery). We are talking about cult status here. Unpretentious, fresh and authentic Vietnamese at their best are on display, and the fast-paced queue isn’t enough to deter their devotees. Pork or tofu are crowd favorites.

Ras Dashen

The service is as good as the food at Ras Dashen, the Ethiopian restaurant that welcomes you with a smile and an abundance of delicious dishes to try. Injera bread is a must, and you can wash it down with Ethiopian beer or coffee depending on your mood. There’s a reason locals keep coming back for seconds and there’s plenty of vegetarian meals to satisfy your whole table, that’s if you can get one at this bustling, cheap and cheerful restaurant.

Thyme bar

Got a hot date? Bar Thym is the place to go. Another Barkly Street haunt for the 2022 Hall of Fame, you’ll feel instantly at home among its stylish interiors, with an intriguing vinyl collection and craft spirits to tempt you through the night. There’s grilled garfish over braised white beans, buckwheat and walnut risotto with wild mushrooms, and chocolate mousse with homemade cherries. Plus, a chef with Attica on his resume? Sold.

Now discover the best of Essendon here.

Image credit: Mr. West

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