Home to some of the best restaurants the city has to offer, no trip to Collingwood, Melbourne would be complete without a visit to Smith Street. Our Hive Life guide scopes out the authentic cuisine that every local or tourist should sample for themselves.
Considered a must-visit gastronomic spot by both locals and tourists, Smith Street is a strip teeming with fabulous restaurant options. Whether you’re after a taco or a taste of fine dining, this place has it covered, encapsulating the very best of what makes Melbourne’s food scene so exciting – authentic, original and independent outfits run by passionate people who strive to deliver the very best of their speciality. From the funkiest Mexican joint to the perfect ice cream parlour, here’s Hive Life’s guide to the spots on Smith Street you simply shouldn’t miss.
Sometimes, there’s nothing more satisfying than ignoring all dining etiquette and getting back to the basics – eating good food with your hands. At Miss Katie’s Crab Shack, diners are given a plastic bib and mallet to pry out garlicky, buttery and sustainably sourced South Australian crabs for a meal to remember. Boiled in Old Bay seasoning, sriracha and beer, fresh crab dishes are served with sides of corn and wedges of chorizo and lemon, all served up alongside their relaxed, beachy decor (complete with fishing nets on the wall.) If crabs don’t float your boat, this American-style seafood joint also serves fresh oysters, crunchy fried prawns and juicy fried chicken with house-made waffles.
Insider’s Tip: Things can get pretty messy here, so avoid wearing white!
Address: 325 Smith St, Fitzroy VIC 3065, Australia
Open From: Mon: 5pm – 9pm; Tue – Thu: 12pm – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 9pm; Fri: 12pm – 2:30pm; Sat: 12pm – 9:30pm; Sun: 12pm – 8pm
The sister venue of the Brunswick Street Alimentari, this Italian American-style eatery is a deli and café combination that serves breakfast until 3 pm and brunch throughout the day, with amazing coffee alongside dishes and vibes with a distinctly Mediterranean twist. As well as amazing pastries, there are plenty of savoury options such as fresh salads, rotisserie meats and paninis. Take yours to grab-and-go, or sit down for a sunny lunch, either at one of their pavement tables or in the calm beauty of their greenery-filled courtyard.
Insider’s Tip: If you choose to dine in, Mediterranean-influenced breakfast and lunch menus are available.
Address: 302-304 Smith St, Collingwood VIC 3066, Australia
Open From: Sun – Thu: 8am – 5pm; Fri – Sat: 8am – 6pm
Run by the former sous chef at the multiple-award-winning restaurant Attica, Ides is Peter Gunn’s first permanent restaurant and the place to head if you’re in the mood for some innovative fine dining. Visitors to this intimate, 36-seater space enjoy the chefs’ artistic performance in plating innovative courses on a central bench, watching eagerly as fascinatingly intricate dishes are delivered to their grey, leather-topped tables. From perfectly ripe avocados served with golden trout roe to toasted black onion seeds on flaky baby snapper fillet, dégustation menus are changed spontaneously by Gunn to keep things fresh and interesting. Aside from the consistently high quality of food, diners here can never know what to expect.
Insider’s Tip: Only set menus are available in Ides; choose from four courses or six. Check out their website for more information.
Address: 92 Smith Street, Collingwood, Melbourne 3066
Open From: Tue – Fri: 6pm – 11pm; Sat – Sun: 12pm – 2pm, 6pm – 11pm
Sporting an aesthetically pleasing mix of recycled timber, exposed brick walls and industrial accents, Red Sparrow is a vegan pizzeria loved by everyone whatever their food preference. Serving wood-fired pizzas baked to perfection in a huge pizza oven, then topped with fresh, plant-based ingredients, diners have a large variety of options (both savoury and sweet) to choose from. From authentic Napoli-style vegan Margherita pizzas and inventive kale and pesto bases to dessert pizzas featuring white chocolate, pistachio and raspberry, each slice can be altered to fit all kinds of dietary requirements.
Insider’s Tip: Red Sparrow has a rotating dessert menu, so be sure to check out what’s new.
Address: 406 Smith St, Collingwood VIC 3071, Australia
Open From: Tue – Fri: 5pm – 10pm; Sat: 12pm – 10pm; Sun: 5pm – 9pm
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Looking for a taste of the East? Shop Ramen serves up wheat noodles with just the right amount of bite in authentic, home-style cooked broths that take their lead from the real deal back in Tokyo. Filled with tender pork belly and the oozing yolks of soft boiled eggs, ramen bowls here have attracted lines of people eagerly waiting for available spaces. Baos (buns) stuffed with bite-sized pieces of mouth-watering pork belly are just the icing on the cake. This simple, relaxed spot is perfect for a casual meal that punches way above its weight in the taste stakes.
Insider’s Tip: Catering to non-meat-eaters, Shop Ramen also has an impressive vegan-friendly menu.
Address: 329 Smith St, Fitzroy VIC 3065, Australia
Open From: Mon – Sun: 12pm – 2:30, 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Offering Nepalese and Sri Lankan-influenced brunch classics, Proud Sprout is a health-conscious eatery that serves up feel-good food in a clean and cosy space. Whether you’re looking at its eggs benedict served with a side of smoky trout, sweet potato rosti and lusciously rich avocado hollandaise or french toast topped with thick custard crème, sweet strawberries and pistachio crumbs, dishes here are guaranteed to kick your day off on a good note. What’s more, great coffee options are available, all exclusively sourced from Padre, a roastery specialising in high-quality blends and single origin coffees.
Insider’s Tip: Not feeling any of the bowls offered on the menu? Opt to make your own bowl – you get to choose your preferred base, sides, protein and sauce.
Address: 76 Smith St, Collingwood VIC 3066, Australia
Open From: Mon – Fri: 11am – 8pm; Sat: 11am – 3pm
Decked out with a fabulous, kitsch interior that’s all sharp blue and red decor and 70’s inspired shiny pastel tiles, Hotel Jesus is a casual, fast-paced Mexican joint, perfect for satisfying all your tostada, taco and quesadilla cravings. Their signature crispy tostadas are topped with a mountain of mouth-watering ingredients, from fresh prawns covered in ginger oil and chilli to smoked tuna, wasabi and bonito flakes. Of course, options for booze are plentiful. From ice-cold Micheladas and frosty tins of salt-rimmed beer to cucumber jalapeño margaritas, this fun and casual restaurant has good vibes all around.
Insider’s Tip: Hotel Jesus has Taco Tuesdazes where tacos are AUD 2 each from 5 – 9 pm. Be sure to get there early though – the offer only stands until they’re sold out.
Address: 174 Smith St, Collingwood VIC 3066, Australia
Open From: Tue – Thu: 5:30pm – 10pm; Fri: 5:30pm – 11pm; Sat: 12:30pm – 11pm; Sun: 12:30pm – 9pm
Craving some sweet goodness? Look no further than Piccolina Gelateria Collingwood, an authentic, Italian-style gelato joint that serves up scoops of the real deal. Inspired by 1950’s southern Italy decor, the space features beautiful, bright blue walls, sophisticated pressed tin ceilings and original terrazzo floors for a look that’s equal parts retro and vibrant. But the whole point here is in the pudding – scoops of creamy gelato made from scratch in the kitchen with only the highest quality natural ingredients, and to recipes the owner Sandra Foti learnt from her father. Grab a seat by the bar and enjoy a behind-the-scenes view of the open kitchen whilst you feast on granitas and gelatos for the ultimate sweet treat.
Insider’s Tip: Ask to top up your frozen dessert with satisfyingly rich, liquid chocolate.
Address: 269 Smith St, Collingwood VIC 3066, Australia
Open From: Mon – Sun: 12pm – 11pm