Take me away.

Posted on August 25, 2011

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In a city with a burgeoning food culture, it can be difficult to decide where to eat out, let alone eat in. Melbourne has a rich food culture and we are no longer forced to eat fat laden pizza, or tasteless noodle boxes when we decide to have a night in, free from the stovetop. I have compiled a list of my favourite take- away places in Melbourne, but would love your input and ideas to make take away food fun and interesting. The list could go on forever, so I have tried to be quite critical and will continue to update it as I go along. I live in the North of Melbourne, so I tend to get takeout from this area for obvious reasons, but I do travel across town for take-out of it is worth reheating. This is a rather large post, so use it as a reference when your craving some take away food, it’s organised in cuisine styles for easy reading. I will review all of these restaurants individually for your pleasure in time.

Pizza:

Cafe Bedda in Northcote is my all time favourite pizza place for take away, they serve traditional Sicilian pizza, with fresh and seasonal toppings all for under 20 dollars. Try the Otto or Etna, or go on a limb and try the special of the night. Notable specials are the pork and fennel sausage, or autumn vegetable with taleggio cheese. They also have a small takeaway menu for entree’s and the most delicious pasta. Their gnocchi is soft and pillowy, and the passata is sweet with a touch of acidity.

D.O.C Pizza in Carlton offers the best buffalo mozzerella pizzas, and fresh seasonal entrees to keep your take away interesting. The pizza Napoletana and pizza sopressa are great starting choices.

Al Albero is a tiny pizza shop on St Georges Road in North Fitzroy. Going against the trend, they create a thick pizza base with toppings that could be a dinner meal on their own. Service can be slow, and at times frustrating, but worth waiting food that is made from scratch and with love. The lamb pizza is my top choice.

Asian:

Thaila Thai on Lygon Street in East Brunswick is a bustling restaurant that is consistantly busy all year round. In summer, crowds of people fill the street tables and chairs to try their infamous deepfried “butterfly” wontons and green curry. Ridiculously cheap, generous serving sizes and a large menu to choose from.

Noodle Kingdom is an institution in the north of Melbourne, if you haven’t tried their shanghai dumplings and authentic Lanzhou soup, get there immediatly. The entire menu is available for take away, expect to wait as a spare seat in this place is a rarity. Their dumplings are authentic and flavourful and their stir-fries last the trip home. Be careful when ordering soups takeaway, as they are not proportioned correctly, and I have ended up with minimal broth, overkill on the noodles.

Lam Lams in Northcote is a staple on the High Street strip, I have spent some time eating my way around Vietnam, so I can be quite picky when eating Vietnamese cuisine. This place is not 100 per cent authentic but offers a well rounded menu, fresh ingredients, and a great Pho.

There are two Japanese hotspots in Northcote, Otsumami and Disco Beans. Otsumami is great for sashimi, soba noddle salad and curry. I have had too many rubbery gyoza’s to recommend, however friends seem to love these small parcels of meat and vegetables. The sashimi is always served fresh and has a pure flavour. The soba salad is a must once the weather heats up, this salad is incredibly simple: soba noodles, sesame based dressing, cherry tomatoes and vegetables. Perfect.

Disco beans is an eclectic and funky vegetarian and vegan restaurant, their food defies unusual kitschy surroundings. The food is seasonal, and homely. This place really feels like you’re dining at a friends place. I recommend the belly plate, or the udon Ramen. The desserts are avaliable to take home too, the strawberry vegan cheesecake is a favourite around my area.

Malaymas is a local hotspot in Fitzroy North, serving authentic hawker style Malaysian food. I am addicted to their roti with curry sauce. It is not the best roti you will have, but the sauce is so nice, you will soon ignore the chewiness of the bread. The fried Kuew Tao, is just plain good, smoky and slighty chewy. Any of the laksa’s are worth a try, in particular the seafood laksa. Not mind-shattering Malaysian food, but if you can’t be bothered cooking it will hit the spot.

Mixed bag:

Mister Close is a hip new cafe situated in the heart of Melbourne CBD, they have a great range of takeaway options, with a rotating daily menu. There is always something for any picky eaters. From pasta salads, soups and sandwiches to sweet treats. I love their Campos coffee, but it is their Burritos which are so tasty, healthy and easy to take home and they come in a sturdy recyclable box.

Brunswick Street Alimentari has become a morning and evening ritual for locals in Fitzroy. This eatery offers great breakfast fare, that can be made take away and a selection of seasonal dishes to take home in the early evening. From lasagne to risotto, stew or pasta, their french, Italian and middle eastern fusion cuisine together works elegantly. It is on the pricey end, so be prepared to spend more than 10 dollars for a sandwich to take home.

Middle eastern:

Tiba’s in Brunswick needs no introduction to local Melbournians, this place turns out the best chicken and lamb Schwarma in Melbourne. If you have yet to try a Schwarma, it is a wrap, similar to a souvlaki, with grilled marinated meat, pickled and fresh vegetables, a hot chilli sauce and hoummous. If this doesn’t fill you up, they also have fries or entree size Kibbeh, falafal and sojuk sausage to take home. Be prepared to wait, they are seriously under the pump.

Mankoushe is a Lebanese pizza/pie place that serves some of the cheapest and best tasting pizza/pie in Melbourne. Its also open late, which can be helpful when you have a snack attack after a long day at work. Try the sojuk or labne pizza.

Burgers:

What would the northside be without Danny’s Burgers I ask? Well for one, there would be far more drunks wandering around on Sunday morning. Danny’s serves up traditional Aussie burgers: No frills, no fuss, simple. There is no secret science, they cook everything to order, keep it simple and affordable. It can be a long wait if you arrive at a peak period, so try to avoid the 7-9 crowd. This is also the best hangover cure known to man.

My number one prize for good take away has to be Beatbox kitchen. If you have been living under a cave, this is a food truck that serves fresh gourmet burgers and chips. The meat in the Raph burger is free range and not overcooked, so the meat flavours are intensified. There is a mushroom option that looks delicious for vegetarians. The idea is simple: take good quality products, cook them well and serve fresh. The chips also come with the best homemade relish or spiced mayo dressing. The truck moves around, so be sure to follow it on Facebook or Twitter.

Fish and chips:

The old faithful fish & chips. Hooked, for me offers the best fish and chips in Melbourne. Beautifully fat chips, not overly salty with a range of dressings. I love their thin carrot chips which accompany all dishes. There is the traditional fish and chips option, but also a fish burger and a range of side salads. Although their salt and pepper calamari could do with some spice, each piece is well cooked and not rubbery.

Old skool fish and chips make great traditional style chips, and have a range of not your average fish species. They can get busy so be prepared to wait. This place is a hit and miss, try to visit in summer, otherwise it tends to be rather bland and tasteless.

Greek:

I have to include Lambs on High Street, they have been pumping put sovlaki’s long before the trendy diners started filling up the strip. What they do, they do well. Simple souvlaki’s made to order. Beware of late night drunks that topple over from the Northcote social club two doors up.

My all time favourite souvlaki takeaway is from Hellenic Republic in Brunswick East. This is no ordinary “souvo”, made with chargrilled spitfired lamb, greek feta, fresh chips and a yoghurt based dressing, this is the real deal. No gluggy chunks of fat either, this meat is made to melt in the mouth. More expensive than your average souvlaki shop (around 15 dollars), but worth the effort if you feel like spoiling yourself at home. Its a shame they don’t offer home delivery, I would be there best customer.

Mexican:

The little sister of Beatbox Kitchen is the Taco Truck. Like it’s older brother, the truck moves around inner city Melbourne delivering hot and spicy Mexican fare. Authentic crisp corn tortillas are served with a chicken, fish or potato topping, covered in salsa and a crunchy cabbage or radish salad. The sauce is flavourful and tangy. The tortillas are served with fresh corn chips and guacamole. I am usually a meat eater, but I just adore their vegetarian option, and keep coming back for more. Follow on Facebook or Twitter.

Trippy taco is a Fitzroy South American hotspot, which serves vegetarian, and vegan fare. It is cheap and cheerful, soul food. For those who like it hot, you will find a home amongst their xxx Mexican chilli sauces. They also have a gluten free and dairy free option. The original trippy taco is a good way to initiate your way through the menu. The tofu burrito will soften up any tough carnivores. Smoky, crisp and citrusy.

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