Rich, spicy and always satisfying, African cuisine in Melbourne is as varied and fascinating as its homeland. So, where are the best places to try it?
While Melbourne’s current atmospheric climate is just flat out hot, on a possibly unrelated note, we’ve decided to round up all of our favourite African restaurants in and around Melbourne so you can get out there and have a carefree meal with some damn good grub at one (or all) of these great local businesses.
The popularity of African cuisine in Melbourne has certainly grown in the past decade, particularly in the inner-city suburb of Fitzroy and in the southeast suburb of Dandenong. Perhaps one of the most well known African restaurants in Melbourne is Nyala African Restaurant in Fitzroy, but there are other undiscovered gems hidden in and around Melbourne.
Lentil As Anything features multicultural cuisine, including African dishes; currently, there are three Melbourne locations - St Kilda, Abbotsford Convent and Footscray. Kamel Restaurant is another acclaimed establishment located in Albert Park, focusing on North African dishes, while The Abyssinian in Kensington serves traditional dishes from the Horn of Africa.
African Taste Cafe/Bar in Seddon is another highlight as the menu features dishes from Central Africa, East Africa, Horn of Africa, North Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa. Cafe Lalibela and Cafe d'Afrique, both located in nearby Footscray, are well known for Ethiopian cuisine. Gibe African Restaurant, located in Dandenong, is another top pick for Ethiopian cuisine.
If you know of a great African cafe or restaurant located in or around Melbourne, please let us know about it by leaving a comment below.
In the meantime, these are places to dine on African food in Melbourne.
On The Hunt For Melbourne’s Best African Restaurants
The Abyssinian Restaurant
Described as ‘slow-food from the horn of Africa’, this Ethiopian restaurant has been serving up nothing but five-star reviews for years. If you’re an African cuisine virgin, a great way to explore all the new tastes and flavours is with one of their platters (there’s veg and non-veg option!). The serving sizes are YUGE, the venue is gawk, and the service is so warm and friendly that you will have cut ties with your local KFC before the night is through.
Little Africa Restaurant
After a restaurant with even more five-star reviews being dished up in the kitchen? Swing over to little ol’ North Melbourne, where you’ll find Little Africa. This gem is a cozy little number dishing up authentic African flavours every day of the week (except Monday).
It’s hella cosy, but what it lacks in space it makes up for is phenomenal service and delicious food. If you like something a little spicy, make sure you try the dor ho zighini.
African Taste Cafe
African Taste Cafe in Seddon is another must-visit for African food enthusiasts and cuisine virgins alike. Dishing up delicious Ethiopian food in the west, sometimes less traditionally (try the butter gnocchi), you can be assured that the portions are massive. The service is Sunny (literally, the waiter’s name), and the atmosphere is great.
Savanna African Restaurant & Cafe
Immerse yourself in the full African experience at Savanna African Restaurant & Cafe in Collingwood. This lesser-known Ethiopian institution is known for its top-notch vegan options and a stellar range of Ethiopian beer and wine.
Vegetarians will lose their MINDS at the array of delicious options they have, but EVERYONE will have their socks knocked off by the great service and big servings—definitely one to check out ASAP.
If you’re looking for a venue that’s packed full of mouth-watering plates and African vibes, you can’t go wrong with a CBD restaurant—polēpolē. First appearing on the Melbourne food scene in 2015 alongside its sister safari bar, Glamp—polēpolē specialises in African style food and drinks, largely thanks to the venue’s head chef, Michael Stolley, who has travelled the world, spending time in South African and Macau, before settling in Melbourne.
Stolley’s recent reworking of the polēpolē menu has resulted in some drool-worthy new dishes that cater to vegans and gluten-intolerant diners, as well as traditional African game meats and slow-cooked ribs.
New Somali Kitchen
New Somali Kitchen on Racecourse Road is owned and run by Somali-Australian, Abdo (otherwise known as Sean), who’s spent as much of his life in Australia as in Africa.
Originally starting the restaurant to feed the growing Somali community in Melbourne, the place has since become a heaving staple on the Flemington strip, mainly due to some stoked locals who’ve gone wild over the delicious menu.
Cafe Lalibela in Footscray is another much-loved Ethiopian restaurant in the west. It’s been dishing up consistently delicious dishes for over a decade now and has more than earned its stripes on the Melbourne food scene. We recommend the pan-fried chicken as well as trying one of their imported beers.
Saba’s Ethiopian Restaurant
Based on cuisine from the far northern region of Tigray, the delicious meat, veg and vegan dishes at Saba’s Ethiopian Restaurant will blow your mind (so will their famous Injera bread), plus the entire menu is gluten-free.
PLUS, they can cater for fructose intolerance if you give them 24 hours notice. But, more about the menu - definitely get your hands on some of their lamb and the Doro wat.
This culturally-rich Ethiopian hotspot offers a spicy and diverse menu packed with goodies. Most meals are served on communal platters, which means it’s perfect for a family night out or dinner with your mates.
A dish to die for is the carnivore platter which will blow you away with all its delicious curries and soft bread.
Konjo Ethiopian Restaurant & Craft
Collingwood & Footscray
Set in two equally delicious locations - Footscray and Collingwood - there’s almost no excuse not to let Konjo Ethiopian Restaurant & Craft turn your hard-earned dollars into an easy to devour meal.
Their homely atmosphere makes sharing one of their massive communal platters even more fun, plus their vegetarian platter is one to phone home about, especially at such a reasonable price.
159 Union Rd, Ascot Vale,
The portions in this Somali restaurant are massive. Many diners opt for the popular “federation” meal – a typical Somali meal that consists of spiced rice, meat, pasta and salad. Somali food is a meld of African, Arabian, Indian, Persian and Italian influences.
277 Racecourse Rd, Flemington,
If you want to experience Eritrean culture and food, then this is the place for you. The food is covered in traditional Eritrean straw hats, and African artifacts decorate the walls. Various sauces, both meat and vegetarian, are served on fluffy injera, a fermented flatbread. Wash your hands and tuck in.
Level 1, 356 Brunswick St, Fitzroy,
The food is mostly Ethiopian with the usual injera flatbread and various condiments. Still, you can also order a delicious Kenyan style chicken in coconut sauce (Kuku wa nazi), North African couscous and baboutie, a South African specialty made from mincemeat, fruit chutney, and spices served on bread. I am particularly fond of gomen (freshly cooked silverbeet and potatoes with garlic, ginger and other spices).
African Village Kitchen
43 Walker St, Dandenong,
This is probably the only west African restaurant in Melbourne. The mafe (beef with peanut sauce) served with cassava is a standout. The goat curry is also quite popular. Not fine dining, but the food is fantastic and unusual.
124 Victoria St, Seddon,
The food is mostly Ethiopian, but there are dishes from other parts of Africa. I loved the Genfo African Fufu – balls of toasted barley flour boiled with herbs served with hot chilli and yoghurt. I also love injera flatbread. The crumbed fried cauliflower entree and molokhia (a gelatinous spinach based dish from Egypt and Sudan) are also yummy.
South African in Perth Australia
African Heritage Shop
The African Heritage Shop in Perth is exactly what the name implies! Here you can find all your traditional ‘home-grown’ products, including boerewors, biltong, droë works and slapsticks. You’ll also find plenty of homemade South African favourites, including sticky koeksisters, crisp peppermint tarts and creamy markets.
If you are looking for rusks, you find plenty, including buttermilk, breakfast and nutty wheat, as well as plenty of South African brands, including ProNutro, All Gold and Koo.
You’ll find the African Heritage shop in Shop 18, Duncraig Shopping Centre, 50 Marri Road, Duncraig.
Cape to Cairo
Cape to Cairo in Perth offers an extensive range of leading South African brands and food and has both retail and wholesale arms of the business.
If you want to shop in one of their stores, you will find them in Osborne Park, Woodvale or Bunbury, where you will discover a wide range of South African products on their shelves, including jams, marinades, pickles, rusks, salad dressings, braai goodies and more. You can also buy their goods online.
Mufasa Biltong Deli
The Mufasa Biltong Deli is located in the Currambine Business Centre in Perth, and they produce South African meat and baked goods, which you can also order online.
South African in Melbourne
Taste Of Africa Café & Deli
Are you craving the taste of all things South African? Then look no further than this authentic South African Deli on 105 Main Street, Croydon, Victoria. Here you will find a range of South African groceries and freshly cooked South African cuisine that includes traditional favourites like vetkoek, bunny chow and boerewors rolls. Be sure to visit Taste Of Africa Café & Deli.
Protea Foods is based in Cheltenham, Melbourne, Victoria, and their primary foods are South African favourites – biltong and boerewors. All their products are hand-cut from locally sourced prime Australian beef and carefully spiced and marinated to rekindle South African taste buds with the flavours of home.
The South African Shop
The South African Shop is located in Templestowe and Caulfield, Melbourne, where you will find traditional and Kosher South African food – and the Caulfield shop includes a Shebeen Coffee Shop for an aromatic flavour of home!
The South African Shop was opened by a couple who arrived in Australia 18 years ago in 2001 and offered a vast range of South African products at affordable prices.
Tonys Quality Meat & Deli
Tony is a seasoned Butcher, working with meat for over 25 years. Do visit them in Moorabbin, Victoria. Tony’s policy is – he will not sell anything he will not eat. He prides himself in producing a quality product with his blend of spices. Be sure to visit Tonys Quality Meat & Deli.
South African in Brisbane
Biltong Spice is based in Brisbane, but you can only buy its products online. As the name implies, they supply quality biltong, boerewors and droewors spices and a range of accessories that you can use to make your biltong, including biltong machines, biltong cutters and hooks.
Jerky Nuts shop
The Jerky Nuts was founded a couple of years ago after owners realised that biltong had become an incredibly popular snack down under. Although beginning with just one store, it now has three retail outlets in the Brisbane area – Enoggera, Toowong and Ipswich.
FAQs About Melbourne Restaurants
Africa's favourite dishes
- Pap en vleis/Shisa nyama, South Africa. Feast your eyes on these succulent steaks.
- Piri Piri chicken, Mozambique. Stop.
- Jollof rice and egusi soup, Nigeria.
- Bunny chow, South Africa.
- Kapenta with sadza, Zimbabwe.
- Chambo with nsima, Malawi.
- Namibian venison, Namibia.
- Muamba de Galinha, Angola.
Traditionally, the various cuisines of Africa use a combination of locally available fruits, cereal grains and vegetables, and milk and meat products. In some parts of the continent, the traditional diet features a preponderance of milk, curd and whey products.
In much of Tropical Africa, however, cow's milk is rare and cannot be produced locally. Depending on the region, there are also sometimes quite significant differences in the eating and drinking habits and biases throughout the continent's many populations: Central Africa, East Africa, the Horn of Africa, North Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa each have their distinctive dishes, preparation techniques, and consumption mores.
A typical West African meal is made with starchy items and can contain meat, fish as well as various spices and herbs. Many staples are eaten across the region, including fufu, banku, kenkey (originating from Ghana), foutou, couscous, tô, and garlic, served alongside soups and stews.
Fufu is often made from starchy root vegetables such as yams, cocoyams, or cassava, but also cereal grains like millet, sorghum or plantains.
The staple grain or starch varies between regions and ethnic groups. However, corn has gained significant ground as it is cheap, swells to greater volumes and creates a beautiful white final product that is greatly desired.
Banku and kenkey are maise dough staples, and gari is made from dried grated cassavas. Rice dishes are also widely eaten in the region, especially in the dry Sahel belt inland. Examples include benching from The Gambia and Jollof rice, a pan-West African rice dish similar to Arab kasbah.
Many African cities are populated with restaurants serving Asian food, but for those looking for a true taste of Africa, this eatery in Cairo offers traditional Egyptian classics like Walnut Chicken and pigeon dishes, served in beautiful surroundings, which is perhaps why it is a little more expensive than other Cairo
However, the African continent, particularly in South Africa, is slowly but surely producing and expanding homegrown fast-food chains across the globe. A prime example of a thriving African fast-food chain is Nandos.
Exotic dishes for adventurous diners in Melbourne's African restaurants
Zanzibari biryanis and pilaus are festive dishes from Zanzibar that perfectly reflect the eastern influences found in this part of Africa. These spicy, curry-style dishes are often served with kachumbari, fresh tomato and onion salad, and they can come in seafood, chicken and vegetarian versions.
Some African restaurants in Melbourne also specialise in exotic meats, such as ostrich, springbok and kudu. These are traditionally served with mahangu (pearl millet) and washed down with some excellent Namibian beer (we're sure Aussie beer will go equally).
From the north of the continent, you can also sample some of the deliciously-spiced tagines and couscous. As you can see, there's so much to try, so book yourself a table at one of the best African restaurants in Melbourne right here on Quandoo and begin your very own culinary safari.
Discover the exotic flavours of African restaurants in Melbourne
In a city rightly famed for its cosmopolitan restaurant scene, Melbourne's African restaurants raise the bar in delivering even more exotic dining experiences. This cuisine is as varied as the continent itself, with a vast range of ingredients, spices, flavours and influences.
It’s also a cuisine that has been under-represented outside Africa, but this is something that’s beginning to change. Melburnians are renowned for embracing new foods from around the globe. The number and quality of African restaurants in Melbourne is testament to the spirit of culinary adventure that makes this city such an exciting place to eat.
If you've already tried one or two of Melbourne's African restaurants, then Quandoo will help you find more favourites. If you've not yet experienced this exciting food, book a table now and find out for yourself just how delicious this cuisine can be.
Some favourites to look out for at Melbourne's African restaurants
Australians are well-known for their love of barbie, and if this is you, you won't be disappointed when you eat at one of the great African restaurants in Melbourne. Pap en vleis, also known as shisa nyama, is a dish loved across many countries in the south of the continent, especially in South Africa.
The dish translates literally as maise porridge and meat and is cooked on the traditional braaivleis African barbecue.
Look out for the spicy chakalaka sauce that is almost always served with it. Piri-Piri chicken is one dish served in many of Melbourne's African restaurants already widely known and enjoyed outside Africa.
Originating in Mozambique, this delicious recipe brings together influences from Portugal and the Middle East. It features succulent chicken flavoured with garlic, lime, pepper, coconut milk and, of course, that famous Piri-Piri sauce.
More exciting dishes on the menus of African restaurants in Melbourne
Has that got the juices flowing? We've barely started! Nigeria has given us the simple classic of jollof rice. At its most basic, this is a hearty dish of rice, onions, tomatoes and pepper, but some African restaurants in Melbourne will add meat or seafood.
This is thought to be the origin of the famous jambalaya from New Orleans, and it's often served with egusi soup, pounded yams and fried plantain. If you enjoy fish, you could try kapenta with sadza, a much-loved dish from Zimbabwe.
These small fish are fried until crispy and served with maise porridge. Chambo with nsima is a similar fried fish dish from Malawi, often served with chips and two, a relish with cassava leaves, groundnut powder and tomato. Just across the border in Zambia, meanwhile, Hisashi is a dish of greens served with peanut sauce.
FoodAfrica is a local West African restaurant located in Melbourne, Australia. We sell cooked African food and cooking stuff. We sell all things African such as African Movies, Food etc. We serve an assortment of African specialities in a warm and friendly environment.
Rich tones, warm ambience and mouth-watering dishes have made FoodAfric Restaurant a dining favourite. We serve Egusi soup, Vegetable soup, Cassava Leaf, Crain Crain, Rice Stew, Jollof Rice, Fried plantain, Fried Goat meat, Fried Fish, Smoked Fish Meat, Palm butter soup, Goat meat pepper soup etc.