Vast, varied and right near the beating heart of the city, Northbridge has long been a haven for food lovers. Here’s our guide to where to start, whatever your flavour.
With everything from Italian delis, Korean barbecue joints and hip natural wine bars to modern Vietnamese restaurants and Portuguese bakeries, Northbridge represents the breadth and diversity of WA’s dining scene. With price points as varied as the food cultures on offer, the inner-city suburb is one that many communities feel connected to.
Marcus Canning, long-time local and founder of WA Fringe Festival, has witnessed the evolution of the nightlife precint firsthand. “Northbridge is Perth’s original tastemaker thanks to the different waves of migration that settled in the area and left their mark, changing the tastes of Perth people and the way they dine and play,” he says.
Today, Northbridge is a mix of the old and new, and continues to be the city’s most exciting spot to drink and dine: discover the best of it here.
How Northbridge’s Market Gardens Paved the Way for a Flourishing Food Scene
Northbridge’s fertile beginnings in wetlands and swamps fostered an ideal environment for market gardens in the early 1900s. Historical advisor at Chung Wah Association, Kayleen Poon, highlights that 90 per cent of market gardeners during this period were Chinese, particularly of Cantonese background, who ran various businesses including laundries and furniture factories. These entrepreneurial immigrants also established “cook houses,” which were precursors to modern-day restaurants. From these humble roots, Chinatown emerged, showcasing the diverse culinary traditions that continue to shape Northbridge’s thriving food scene today.
Dim Sum Trolleys to Dumpling-Carrying-Robots
When it comes to dim sum in Northbridge, there’s no shortage of options. This traditional Cantonese cuisine has taken on a life of its own in this bustling neighborhood, with a plethora of restaurants offering their own take.
While the hit-rate at most is impressive, there are notable standouts. Take Northbridge Chinese Restaurant, a favourite for chilli-pepper spiked pork spare ribs and claypot eggplant, deeply flavoured with salted fish. At Fortune Five Chinese Restaurant, people queue for a highlight reel of dim sum classics like plump har gow, chicken feet and crisp roast pork.
Authentic Bites Dumpling House is renowned for its xiao long bao and wontons in spicy peanut sauce – all brought to your table by musical robot waiters. Around the corner at Juicy Bao Bao, the steamed and pan-fried Shanghai-style dumplings are as juicy and delicious as the name suggests.
Rise and Dine: A Breakfast Scene to Cure Your Morning Blues
In the early hours of the morning, the streets of Northbridge may be quiet, but the breakfast offerings are anything but timid.
Tucked away in a nondescript alley off James Street, a hidden gem awaits: Giant Coffee, a diminutive yet noteworthy cafe that boasts a taste of Vienna. Their specialty? The Einspanner, a luxurious concoction of a double-shot espresso topped with a velvety layer of whipped cream – perfect as a pick-me-up on a chilly day.
At Zonts Bakehouse, expect croissants that surprise your palate with bold, imaginative flavours like chicken curry or bacon kimchi, while still respecting the classic French-style croissant. It also offers a range of plant-based, vegan pastries.
Arrival Hall blurs the line between a cafe and a homewares store, presenting a conceptual space with Scandinavian flair. Browse designer showrooms while indulging in an all-day brunch menu, influenced by flavours from Denmark to Thailand.
For a taste of Malaysia, Jom Kopitiam offers a value-packed breakfast with its roti bakar set of kaya toast and half-boiled eggs or the roti canai set with crisp hand-pulled roti and curry.
Looking for a cure after a night of indulgence? Look no further than Lil’ Toastface, where perfectly toasted sandwiches are the order of the day. Keep it simple with a smoked ham, cheddar and sweet pickle toastie or go all in with a mac-and-cheese truffle toastie.
Northbridge’s Best Signature Dishes
Northbridge is home to a growing number of must-visit eateries, where locals return time and time again for that one unforgettable dish.
Tak Chee House consistently tops the charts for its signature Hainanese chicken rice, considered by many to be the best in Perth. Succulent bone-in-chicken, steamed or roasted, is served on a bed of tender bean sprouts in sweetened soy sauce, accompanied by fragrant rice and warming broth.
Ramen aficionados, take note of Tosaka Ramen Bar, a must-try spot for its unique specialty, tori paitan ramen. Using a deeply rich chicken broth that has been simmered for 10 hours, tori paitan is a light yet flavourful foamy cloud of deliciousness, heightened with a kick of house-made spring onion oil. Customise your bowl with a range of toppings, such as tender chicken chashu and jammy soy-soaked eggs.
Satisfy your pho cravings at Thanh Dat Vietnamese Noodle House, the pioneers of beef short-rib pho in Perth. Its signature dish features a rich beef broth infused with 24-hour braised short-rib, which can be further enhanced with oxtail and bone marrow for those seeking an extra kick of flavour.
In the Old Shanghai Food Court, the new kid on the block is Ceylon Flavours, serving homestyle Sri Lankan cuisine and street food. Its ‘kothu on a griddle’, featuring flaky flatbread stir-fried with a medley of spices, vegetables and scrambled eggs, is sure to become a favourite among carb lovers, especially after a night out.
Northbridge is a hub for excellent Thai cuisine, but one dish in particular stands out: the Issan pork soft bone soup at S&T Thai. This fiery and herbaceous soup hails from Northeastern Thailand and comes swimming with tender braised pork, lemongrass and galangal alongside generous helpings of fresh coriander, lime and chilli.
Feasting with Friends: Northbridge’s Top Group Dining Spots
As Perth’s entertainment and nightlife district, Northbridge isn’t short of places to share a feast with friends before a night on the town.
The Rechabite, a century-old heritage building, is a hub for artistic exuberance with four storeys for live performances, a basement club and a rooftop bar. On the ground floor, Double Rainbow Eating House’s open kitchen serves up Asian fusion dishes with a focus on Korean cuisine.
For refined Japanese cuisine, head to contemporary izakaya James Parker Sushi & Sake, where the chef’s skillful execution of sashimi, nigiri, tempura and grilled dishes make for an unforgettable experience.
Sauma offers a modern twist on Indian street food, serving up a tempting array of snacks and curries that perfectly complement freshly baked tandoori naan and vibrant pickles. But the real kicker? Sauma’s selection of spice-infused cocktails and Indian whiskies, which make a perfect pairing.
Baan Baan brings a sense of warmth and nostalgia with its home-style Thai cooking and a menu dominated by dishes designed to be shared. Favourites include grilled pork cheeks sticky with tamarind sauce and gaeng hung lay: a Northern-style curry of fall-off-the-bone beef ribs fragrant with ginger and pickled garlic.
No Mafia has established itself as a dependable purveyor of small plates and classic antipasti, with a charming alfresco area where groups can indulge in house-made pasta and Spritzes while people-watching on William Street.
In a quieter part of Northbridge, Peasant’s Paradice serves up big, bold flavours with its homely African and Indian-inspired provincial dishes, such as braised beef shin with mafe (the Senegalese spiced peanut stew) and berbere spiced chicken with chermoula.
Korean barbecue restaurant Marubang is an aromatic portal to the bustling streets of Seoul. Its dizzying array of sizzling meats and banchan dishes is a feast for the eyes. With its lively atmosphere, Marubang is perfect for group dining and demonstrates how simple pleasures can often be the most satisfying.
Sweet Dreams are Made of These
Classic Italian dessert shop, Corica Pastries, has been satisfying sweet cravings since 1957 with its signature apple strudel. The two-foot long dessert towers high with layers of house-stewed apples, whipped cream, custard and flaky pastry.
New-wave gelateria Chicho Gelato is a favourite among artisan gelato enthusiasts. Its seasonal and unexpected flavours, along with special collaborations, have earned a loyal following. The gelato scene in Northbridge continues to grow with Cuccino, Kuld Creamery and the soon-to-open Pietro Gelateria.
With their delicate, golden puff pastry and creamy, custard filling, Portuguese tarts have become a beloved dessert around the world. Originating in Lisbon, these tarts have made their way to Northbridge thanks to Cafe Pastel. Enjoy them while they’re still warm and the caramelised top is at its best.
The éclairs at pâtisserie Lighting Puff are almost too pretty to eat. Once the choux pastry shells are perfectly crisp and stuffed with fillings like fragrant pandan custard or chocolate cream, owner and Taiwanese pastry chef Robert thoughtful decorates each one. An ever-changing menu of seasonal creations will keep you coming back for more.
Treats to Take Home
Walson Foods is a tofu lover’s paradise, stocking a variety of tofu products and house-made soy milk. Its signature dish is tofu fa, a bowl of housemade soft silken tofu served sweet with ginger syrup or savoury with a spicy and sour gravy, that can be accompanied by youtiah, the Chinese fried dough sticks, and tea eggs.
Churras Butcher boasts an impressive selection of South American meat cuts, along with an array of sauces, rubs and charcoal to elevate your grilling game. Be sure to stop by on a Saturday to enjoy a steak sandwich fresh off the grill, fired up in front of the store.
The Re Store is a one-stop shop for all your European deli needs, carrying a full range of cheese, smallgoods, fresh pasta and Italian sweets. It’s also home to Perth’s OG conti rolls, made fresh to order.
On the fringe of Northbridge, Tom’s Providore offers freshly made grab-and-go meals and an impressive salad selection. Stock up on treats and wine to enjoy at home, or stay to drink and dine in the chic interior.
Tucked away on William Street, it’s easy to miss Green Watermelon Deli. But you’ll want to hunt down this Chinese-meat haven, where smoked pork trotters, deep fried duck beaks and delicious slivers of braised pig’s ear have been expertly prepared. Get in early to avoid missing out on succulent roasted soy-sauce chicken.
Visit The City’s Best Wine Bars
Nestled in the quieter end of Northbridge, Wines of While stocks over 200 bottles of natural wines, thoughtfully sourced from around the world. Get in early to nab a table on the sidewalk to sip orange wine and enjoy an ever-changing menu of simple, seasonal dishes.
Be transported to a chic Parisian bistro at Vincent Wine, where the mood is intimate and the interior charming. Here, you’ll find an impressive selection of French wines, both natural and conventional, alongside a menu of French-inspired snacks and small plates, led by peerless housemade charcuterie.
Small Bars, Big Vibes
Explore the vibrant small bar scene in Northbridge and discover the tastemakers of Perth’s nightlife.
Step inside Perth’s first and only hi-fi listening bar Astral Weeks, in the heart of Chinatown. Listen to a rotation of local and guest DJs spin vinyl on the hand-built sound system as you sip lo-fi wines, classic cocktails and sake.
Venture down Williams Lane to Ezra Pound, one of the city’s original small bars with a rustic prohibition-era setting. Or climb the stairs to Mechanic’s Institute to drink cocktails and craft beer on the rooftop.
Ruinbar brings a craft beer yard and social rooms to Northbridge in a heritage building, with a newly opened pizzeria serving Neapolitan style pizzas whole or by the slice and a vending machine dispensing tinnies.