This is the insider’s guide to eating and drinking in Fitzroy, Melbourne.

Andrew McConnell

Over more than two decades, restaurateur and chef Andrew McConnell has so woven himself into the fabric of Fitzroy, particularly Gertrude Street, that it’s almost impossible to think of the suburb without the man. In this one creative neighbourhood he’s given us Cutler & Co., an elegant two-hatted restaurant inside an old metalwork factory, plus Marion wine bar, the Builders Arms Hotel and food provedores Meatsmith and Morning Market. A connoisseur of all things Fitzroy, he shares a few of his favourite haunts.

The Everleigh for the Martinis

The Everleigh, Melbourne

“This bar is so consistent and they put such detail into the craft of the cocktail that it almost purrs. I bring visitors from out of town because it feels like an international bar, with its club-y, speakeasy vibe. The staff always create something specific for my mood, mostly some iteration of a gin Martini.” Marios for the spaghetti carbonara “I had my first café latte at Marios more than 30 years ago and I still go back for the spaghetti carbonara – it’s my comfort food. I really love that it’s run exactly how it was three decades ago, with such humility and hospitality. It’s one of those places that fits like a glove.”

Hinoki for the chirashi bowl

“At the front of this Japanese grocery store is a small sushi counter where two chefs madly make sushi for takeaway or for anyone who’s grabbed one of the few stools. It’s all madeto-order, with incredibly good-quality seafood and rice. The chirashi, a rice bowl with different types of sashimi, is the best lunch on the run.”

Napier Quarter for wine and snacks

“This friendly, all-purpose spot is as cute as a button and open from breakfast into the night. There’s nothing better than an afternoon spent sitting outside in the sun with the signature snack – anchovies on toast – and a glass of wine. The menu is small but thoughtful: seasonal ingredients, great flavour matches – asparagus with almond and bottarga, for example – and carefully sourced cheeses and charcuterie.”

Pizzeria Magma for the margherita

“I’ve probably had the best margherita ever at this place, which has a very small menu. It’s not about being something for everyone; the focus is on quality and they make an absolutely benchmark dough. I also like the traditional Sicilian snack, panelle – small fried chickpea pancakes that are the ultimate bar food.”

Public Wine Shop for precious drops

Public Wine Shop, Melbourne

“This bottle shop and bar champions interesting natural wines. You can come in for a bottle on your way home or have a glass of wine and a seasonal bite. It’s so small that you can be basically sitting in the kitchen with the chef. It’s fun, it’s multi-sensory and it’s delicious.”

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Image credit: Samara Clifford, Annika Kafcaloudis

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