The buzzing inner suburb, balances the rich cultural history of international food stores, restaurants and markets, alongside modern and cool new eateries, cafes and shops.
Dining options in the heart of Footscray are more diverse than ever, with main-stay Vietnamese and African restaurants lining Barkly street and surrounds, and now modern cafes, burger joints and bars are popping up in between.
Here’s 10 things to do, or eat rather, in the up-and-coming inner western borough.
1. T. Cavallaro & Sons
The Cavallaro family has been creating heavenly pastries and Italian cakes in the Sicilian tradition for more than half a century. Over the 60 odd years, the bakery began specialising in cannoli and has since become famous for it. These delectable tubes of golden, fried pastry filled with vanilla and chocolate patisserie cream or the more traditional whipped ricotta, marsala and almonds are the best in Melbourne.
98 Hopkins Street, Footscray. Ph: +61 3 9687 4638
2. Phở Hung Vuong Saigon
Despite fierce competition, locals believe Pho Hung Vuong Saigon are the supreme Vietnamese soup experts on Hopkins Street. The pho-nomenal delicious hot noodle broth comes full of either beef, chicken or vegetables and silky rice noodles. Then comes the fun part, diners customise their pho with fresh chilli, mint, coriander, bean shoots and other sauces to their liking.
128 Hopkins Street, Footscray. Ph: +61 3 9689 6002
3. Footscray Market
The famous Footscray Market is a Melbourne institution, with eager shoppers flocking Tuesday through Saturday to purchase fresh produce ranging from fruit and vegetables, meats, poultry, seafood and exotic Asian produce. Footscray Market is a large indoor market with a wide range of fresh produce and general goods. The market is always buzzing with activity, and shoppers can find quality produce ranging from fresh fruit and vegetable to meats, poultry, fish and seafood to exotic wares like lotus flowers, pigs' ears, cassava root and other Asian produce.
18 Irving Street, Footscray. Ph: +61 3 9687 1205.
4. Café Lalibela
This family-run Ethiopian restaurant is traditional and authentic, with sharing the focus and cutlery not included. Deliciously large tasting plates, with flavoursome spices, slow-cooked meat stews, curries and vegetarian dishes, all complimented by injera bread used to scoop up every last morsel.
91 Irving Street, Footscray. Ph: +61 3 9687 0300
5. Nhu Lan Bakery
A banh mi institution, people flock to Nhu Lan for the delicious and affordable ‘Vietnamese sub’. Arguably the best meat rolls in the suburb, for just a few dollars hungry visitors will leave Nhu Lan satisfied with a generous BBQ pork, chicken or kebab banh mi.116 Hopkins Street, Footscray. Ph: +61 3 9689 729
6. Bad Love Club
Bad Love Club is a bakery-slash-bar with dessert cocktails. During the day, Bad Love Club offer delicious coffee roasted locally in Footscray, a convenient takeaway widow and a seasonal dine-in menu with a focus on Jaffles, Sandwiches & Five and Dime Bagels. At night from Wednesday to Sunday, they dim the lights, crank the music and put out baked goods and inventive cocktails. Bad Love Club make majority of their syrups, spirit infusions and garnishes on-site and sweet tooths can even pre-order whole pies, brownie trays and cookies to make sure they’re most popular dinner party or BBQ guest ever.
Shop 5/68-82 Hopkins St, Footscray. Ph: +61 3 8580 6484.
Rudimentary is a café and community space that aims to contribute to the transformation and evolution of a vibrant and culturally rich part of Melbourne and break the current trend of high rise developments. Rudimentary started with an idea to transform an unused lot of land into something of significance for the area of Footscray. It was decided to create a business that was simple and could be adapted for future use so Rudimentary decided to create a welcoming community space, with a delicious seasonal menu.
16-20 Leeds Street, Footscray. Ph: +61 497 058 173.
8. Jim Wong Restaurant
This Cantonese restaurant is a Footscray institution. The late Jimmy Wong was famous in Melbourne for his dim sims which continue to be a staple on the extensive menu. Jim Wong Restaurant has been operating for 58 years boasting all the traditional suburban Chinese favourites like lemon chicken, honey chicken, beef and black bean and sizzling Mongolian.
259 Barkly Street, Footscray. Ph: +61 3 9687 5971.
9. Hop Nation Brewing Co.
Two former winemakers are behind Footscray’s craft brewery, located within a former soap, candle and ammunition factory constructed in the 1880s. Tasting paddles are a popular go-to for beer aficionados and amateurs, and food trucks regularly frequent the venue to bring the pub grub.
6/107-109 Whitehall Street, Footscray. Ph: +61 428 119 777
10. Up in Smoke
Up in Smoke is a barbeque smokehouse and beer garden with their $20,000 smoker cooking up some of the best slow-cooked meat imaginable. Up in Smoke’s beer garden out the front is the perfect spot to get settled in for a Sunday session, or a session any old day of the week. There are loads of craft beers available and an impressive selection of bourbons and other liquors.
28 Hopkins Street, Footscray. Ph: +61 3 9689 8188.
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