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Best Places for the Best Outdoor Dining in Melbourne

Melbourne, known as a culinary mecca in Australia, is the perfect spot to enjoy the outdoor city atmosphere while snacking on some of your favourite cuisines. The best outdoor restaurants Melbourne has to offer are well worth the experience, even if Melbourne’s weather can sometimes leave a lot to be desired.

Not only that, but studies also suggest that being outside is inherently good for your health, both mentally and physically. Surrounding yourself in luscious green gardens or by a breezy waterfront might be just what the doctor ordered.

Despite being a relatively small city (four million people) at basically the end of the earth, Melbourne has food that’s up there with places like New York City or London and has the kind of variety you won’t find anywhere else.

While Sydney gets all the international attention, if you travel mostly just to eat a lot, Melbourne is where it’s at. The influence of multiple waves of immigration is felt at every level, from the city’s longstanding obsession with coffee to a European drinking culture to many Vietnamese and Chinese food. So basically, any kind of food you want, Melbourne has it.

There’s plenty to eat in the main Central Business District (the locals just refer to it as “the city”), but a lot can also be found in surrounding neighbourhoods like Fitzroy, Carlton, and Richmond. And while you can certainly go all-in on fine dining, these days, a lot of the more interesting spots are casual, focused on family-style menus or small plates or things to share. And then you have the cafes. Melbourne is a coffee town, but “coffee shops” are unheard of – cafes are almost always table-service affairs with full menus with actually exciting things to eat. 

Competition is fierce, which means you’re more likely to get ham hock benedict or a full Indonesian breakfast than plain old bacon and eggs at some of the cooler spots around.

The Melbourne food scene is exciting and insanely varied, and yes, also pretty expensive. But if you like to eat, you need to get Melbourne on your list. And maybe plan on doing more than just three meals a day – you’ve got a lot to get through.

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Kent Hotel

370 Rathdowne St, 3054 Carlton North 

Established in 1873 at the famous Rathdowne Village, the Kent Hotel was one of Carlton North’s earliest buildings.

Today, Kent prides itself in offering an exciting menu of Modern Australian and Mediterranean dishes. In addition, we have a punchy selection of Victorian, Australian and international wine, beer and cider. We support local businesses and communities and keep our menus changing to reflect seasonal produce.

KENT UPSTAIRS is also available for hire seven days a week. A private room that’s ideal for all types of events – weddings, birthdays, christenings or corporate events. Our friendly and professional event staff are on hand to take care of every small detail.

We’ve changed with the times, but we’re big believers in tradition. So the Kent Hotel remains one of Melbourne’s destination venues for every occasion, from family gatherings to after-work drinks.

Kent Hotel in Carlton North is a modern corner pub with an alfresco area overlooking Curtain Square. The hotel features an aperitivo hour from 4-6 pm seven days a week and an extensive menu of Modern Australian and Mediterranean food.

Modern Australian/Mediterranean cuisine. Al Fresco dining with weekly specials.

Large multifunctional event space for hire (Covid pending). Wines from Australia and around the globe. Six beers on tap supporting local, national and international microbreweries. Proud supporter of local business & the community.

 

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Hochi Mama

11 Liverpool Street, 3000 Melbourne

A Vietnamese fusion restaurant and bar on Liverpool Street, Hochi Mama, offers shared dining and banquet options. The restaurant includes outdoor, street-side seating and a drinks menu featuring cocktails, wine, beer and cider. 

This cheeky and colourful Vietnamese style venue is one for your to-do list. Boasting a killer menu and a super cool vibe, this place is great for a cocktail, a feast or a casual wine and dines with someone special.

Work through the menu from the top down, starting with the smaller entree size plates – feat. pho’plings & hochi Banh bao buns – before heading into the larger mains. Everything is designed to be shared, meaning you can order a hell of a lot of food and get a taste of everything.

Pair your meal with a ‘Good Morning Vietnam’ cocktail and finish things off with a sweet dessert. The sweet coco Banh Mi is our favourite.

The trademark of Mama’s dining experience is the ‘Feed Me Now’ offering! Patrons can bask in all the zingy and fiery flavours in Mama’s repertoire – indulging in a selection of our drool-worthy smaller, larger, and sides dishes – for an affordable spend per diner!

Peruse the latest selection of Mama’s delectable dishes available either à la carte or included in the ‘Feed Me Now’ offering!.

 

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Fujitei Japanese Restaurant

17 Wellington St, 3182 St Kilda

The tranquil outdoor courtyard at FUJITEI Japanese Restaurant is where you can escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Come and explore the bamboo and pebble garden before you dive into the market-fresh menu.

Located in St Kilda, Oshukuji Dokoro Fujitei is the perfect spot to visit with friends when you have a craving for delicious Japanese cuisine. So get ready to experience their delicious Japanese menu featuring chicken kara-age and tuna sashimi salad with wasabi dressing. It’s an experience that will keep you coming back.

Best dish: tuna sashimi salad with wasabi dressing

 

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Fatto

100 St Kilda Road, 3006 Southbank

This spectacular Italian resto has sensational alfresco dining with views extending over the Yarra to Flinders Street Station. So grab a glass of aperol spritz and a bowl of pasta, and you’re good to go!

Located on the river terrace within Melbourne’s finest arts precinct is Fatto Bar & Cantina. With spectacular views across Melbourne’s city skyline and Yarra River, Fatto is an all-day Italian eatery serving up fresh, modern interpretations of the Italian classics.

Fatto Bar and Cantina is a relaxed Italian bar and eatery in a bright, minimalist space drenched in natural light. Fatto looks over the Yarra River with arguably the most unique and breath-taking view of the Melbourne city skyline.

Fatto serves contemporary takes on classic Italian food and takes pride in Italian by hand with pasta made fresh daily in venue and a menu-driven by the best seasonal produce.

Fatto offers two distinct spaces. The Cantina provides table service and a range of signature Italian dishes, including pasta, steak, salad and dessert. The Bar and Bar Terrace offers a substantial drinks list featuring classic Italian cocktails and snacks, antipasto and specials like the $10 formaggi burgers and $10 pizzas. In addition, the outdoor heated terrace runs the length of the building, providing al fresco dining under the vines on the doorstep of the Arts Precinct.

Fatto is open daily from 12 pm until late. The Cantina welcomes reservations and walks ins. ‘Aperitivo Hour’ runs every day in the bar from 4-6 pm offering $9 classic Italian cocktails, $7 wine and $5 beer – no need to book, just grab a seat and order at the bar.

Overlooking the Yarra River, you couldn’t pick a prettier spot for a bit to eat. Fatto Bar and Cantina offers an outdoor heated terrace that runs the whole building length, so you don’t have to worry about what the weather is like. Grab some antipasto or specials like the formaggi burger and $10 pizzas and soak up the Melbourne city skyline.

Open daily from noon till late, enjoy a portion of pasta in the cantina or stop by to take full advantage of Saluti from 4 – 6 pm in the bar.

The terrace (which is now heated!) runs the entire length of the venue and holds the best seats in the house. So sit amongst the vines, enjoy vino and take in the uninterrupted views of Melbourne’s city skyline and Yarra River.

Fatto takes reservations and always welcome walk in’s.

 

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Cutler & Co.

55–57 Gertrude St. Fitzroy 3065

Cutler & Co is the perfect example of A Melbourne Restaurant. Simple, bistro-like food (maybe some roasted flounder to start and then a giant rib eye to share), done in a fine dining setting that somehow also feels casual and relaxed. The same chef is behind many other fantastic restaurants in town, and you should definitely get to one before you leave: Cumulus Inc. is an all-day, no-reservations, small plates operation with the best tuna tartare in the city. 

Supernormal is basically the Asian version of Cumulus (although they’re only open for lunch and dinner), Ricky & Pinky is classic Australian-Chinese food gone kind of fancy inside a pub, and Marion is the ultimate in wine bars that don’t suck. Don’t leave town without eating at one of these places.

Behind a glass façade that has reflected the changes around it for over a decade, Cutler & Co. has had its own evolution. Our ethos – refined, simple, hospitable dining – has not changed in that time, but our essence comes from that evolution, from reflecting and embracing neighbourhood and city and the changing nature of how people like to eat.

Twelve years on, we’re happy with the evolution, happier that we’re still here doing it, and so grateful to everyone who has helped and supported us along the way. 

 

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​​Cookie

1/252 Swanston St Melbourne 3000, Australia

Cookie is like that one sweater that’s been shoved in the back of the closet: sometimes people forget it’s there, but then they eat here once and never forget it. Not that Cookie is ever empty or quiet, but it’s been around for so long and is so consistently good that Melbourne kind of takes it for granted. They serve some of the best Thai in town in a huge space that’s half bar, half restaurant, and fully one of our favourite places to eat in the city.

 

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Kaprica

15–17 Lincoln Square South Carlton 3053, Australia

On a quiet street in Carlton, right near Melbourne University, is a pizza place that feels like it’s actually on a quiet street in Rome. The menus are handwritten photocopies and often covered in red wine stains, wine is poured into tumblers, and the seating is so cramped you’ll be involved in the relationship debrief happening at the table next door.

Yes, the pastas are good, but we’d advise not using too much stomach space for those – it’s all about the thin-crust, simply-topped pizzas. And that includes the dessert pizzas too.

​​Descriptors such as “rustic” and “charming” are thrown around all too flippantly when describing traditional, home-style eateries. In the case of Kaprica, however, they’re both valid. This is a place where the menus are hand-written then photocopied, and the wine gets sloshed into latte glasses.

It’s a given that the food is good. Owner/chef Pietro Barbagallo (Barbagallo Trattoria, I Carusi) can even make a broccoli pizza look enticing. Any time of the day is good for a visit, with a couple of breakfast specials, some solid Italian mains and heavenly looking desserts.

But you really can’t go past the pizza. After watching the labour and love that goes into each and everyone in the exposed kitchen, you won’t want to, either. It’s up there with Melbourne’s best.

The rustic approach extends to space itself, with its selection of mismatched wooden tables, unpolished floors and a couple of outdoor window seats with views of Lincoln Park. It’s just as cosy as being at home, yet still tinged with enough theatre to ensure you have a good time.

 

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The Boathouse

7 The Boulevard, Moonee Ponds VIC 3038

For the best outdoor dining, Melbourne has to offer, look no further than The Boathouse. It’s one of the best spots for a summery drink along the Maribyrnong River and features a whimsically decorated outdoor area. The menu features modern Australian dishes and more seafood and meat than you can eat.

The Boathouse offers one of the best restaurant/cafe locations in Melbourne. Perched on the banks of the Maribyrnong, and nestled amongst gums and wattles with sloping grassy banks and post-card river views, make it is the ideal spot for you to unwind and enjoy some of life’s pleasures.

Operating as a cafe whilst serving up restaurant-quality food done entirely in-house, We are proud to have been part of our guests people dining calendars since 2005. We are a cafe that serves restaurant quality food all done in – house by proper chefs. We are renowned for our wood flamed pizza’s which are some of the best in Melbourne, and our signature cheesecake has been nominated to the list of Melbourne’s best desserts.

The tradition continues, but we now offer a whole lot more. Dinner time now rocks with our special dinner menu to tempt you and allow you to sample the very best of what we do.

Also, we want the Boathouse to be “your event place”. The idyllic venue and our hosting experience will provide great memories for you and your guests at your next event or occasion, however big or small. 

 

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Arbory Bar and Eatery

Flinders Walk, Melbourne VIC 3000

This lively outdoor bar and eatery are one of the most well-known spots for the best outdoor dining Melbourne has to offer. Arbory Bar and Eatery sits on the heart of the CBD, the Yarra River. With uninterrupted views and boasting a huge outdoor dining area, you’ll have no problem finding a nice spot to settle in and enjoy the spectacular river views and a bite to eat.

Arbory is a lively all-day outdoor bar and eatery located between Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station and the world-famous Yarra River, at the epicentre of Melbourne’s riverside arts and entertainment precinct.

Boasting over one hundred meters of absolute uninterrupted river frontage and situated beneath a line of iconic plane trees, Arbory Bar & Eatery caters to a wide variety of tastes, offering guests a considered, craft-focused and comfort-driven food and beverage selection from early morning through to late evening.

Built on the old disused Sandridge railway platform at Flinders St Station on the North bank of the Yarra River, Arbory Bar & Eatery was built to bring life back to this iconic part of Melbourne by bringing people back to the Yarra River for all to enjoy.

The Yarra River is the heart of Melbourne and understandably has a special place in our hearts here at Arbory Bar & Eatery. Our city sprang up on the banks of the Yarra and was shaped by it, and we continue to be shaped by the course it takes as we live, eat and work around it. For the Aborigines of the Wurundjeri tribe, who had occupied the lands around Port Phillip Bay for at least 30,000 years before the first settlers’ arrival, the Yarra River was a source of life. They believed it had been carved out by the ancestral creator spirit Bunjil, the wedge-tailed eagle.

They called the river Birrarung, thought to mean ‘ever flowing’, and saw it as the dreaming path they followed and camped beside through the calendar of the seasons, trading goods and knowledge as they went.

It would be remiss of us to overlook the OG of exceptional outdoor drinking and dining in Melbourne. The annual Yarra pop-up next to Arbory Bar, Arbory Afloat, has worn many guises in its five-year run, from French Riviera hangout to Miami beach club. This year, the theme is “Australian Beach House”, which means fish and chips, lamb cutlets and more nostalgic snacks on the loungers. It’s big, but bookings are recommended.

 

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Bomba

103 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

Bomba’s rooftop bar is one of the best outdoor restaurants Melbourne has to offer. The two-level venue paid homage to the Spanish worker’s bar and was inspired by the modern bodega. Take a seat on the rooftop bar and take in the scenes while eating some of Bomba’s flavourful tapas.

Overlook Lonsdale Street treetops and take in stunning views of Melbourne’s north and south over two beautiful spaces. Normally perfect for both pre and post-dinner drinks, with an accompanying tapas menu, we are currently offering this spectacular space for dining.

 

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Howler

7-11 Dawson Street, Brunswick VIC 3056

You’ll find Howler, a converted warehouse featuring a light and airy garden oasis opposite the Brunswick city baths. Pull up a chair in the garden and grab a cocktail for some outdoorsy vibes. Two performance spaces also mean there is never a dull moment at Howler with live DJs, bands, art exhibitions and screenings.

Born from an empty warehouse in Brunswick, Howler rose from the dust a bold & beautiful addition to the already thriving arts & social scene in Melbourne’s inner north.

An internationally awarded venue comprising several unique areas, including our lush semi-industrial garden area, large open main bar, the more intimate gallery bar & our fully equipped theatre. There’s space for everyone!

 

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The Boatbuilders Yard

 23 South Wharf Promenade, South Wharf VIC 3006

Located in Melbourne’s South Wharf, The Boatbuilders Yard is a unique spot for some alfresco dining. This place is so scenically beautiful that people get married here. It offers a year-round summer beer garden feel and has endless drink and food options, making it one of the best outdoor restaurants Melbourne has to offer.

 

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Uncle

188 Carlisle Street, St Kilda VIC 3182

The bamboo encircled rooftop area at Uncle is the perfect spot for some outdoor dining in Melbourne. When most people think ‘Vietnamese’, they think pho, but the cool thing here is that you can order a ‘mini’ photo save room for the other delicious menu items. Plus, it’s the only Vietnamese restaurant with a rooftop terrace.

Uncle has been providing bona fide good times to the fine people of Melbourne since 2013. We have spaces to fit most affairs, including stand-up canape’s and sit-down dinners to suit your every need. We can help you realise your perfect gathering from 10 to 100 guests in the most splendid Uncle style. Our warm and professional staff will care for your every need, and the kitchen crew are true wizards at cooking up a Vietnamese storm. We’re blessed to have hosted 2 weddings amongst a cheerful multitude of varied celebrations.

 

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Slate Restaurant and Bar

9 Goldsbrough Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000

Slate Restaurant and Bar has some beautifully zoned off spaces, including a rooftop bar and a front and back terrace. You won’t need to worry about the weather either as it’s fully protected against rain, hail or shine. Inspired by New York rooftop bars, it’s slick and sophisticated and the perfect spot for some alfresco dining in Melbourne.

 

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Naked in the Sky

 285 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065

Sitting above its famous pintxos bar, Naked for Satan, Naked in the Sky provides some of the best views of the CBD, making it a fantastic option for outdoor dining in Melbourne. The menu is heavily skewed towards Spanish cuisine with flavours from the Basque region. The drinks list will not disappoint either with Spanish beers and ciders, cava and more.

 

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Lamaro’s

273-279 Cecil St, South Melbourne

Wide and leafy Cecil Street was practically begging for more street-side dining – and Lamaro’s has delivered in spades. The marquee they’ve dubbed the Birdcage is undercover, with windows and fairy lights that make you feel like you’re part of the streetscape. Throw in Geoff Lindsay’s cooking (whether you go pub classics or Dandelion hits) and a tempting Coravin list, and this could be South Melbourne’s hottest address this summer.

 

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Moroccan Soup Bar

316 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North

The laneway that runs next to the new incarnation of this local favourite is one of the best spots to pull up a seat in the inner north right now. Colour, music and food cooked with love are all there in spades as MoroccanSoup Bar settles into its new digs further up St Georges Road. So for those who have ever been turned away because the restaurant was full, we reckon this could be the best time to try your luck.

Established in 1998, The MSB is founded on the concept of open hospitality and a mindfulness of our tread.

Whether you are a one-time visitor or repeat customer, you will feel all your senses stimulated and your hunger satisfied.

We create an environment that enables us to share experiences and connections in an open, responsible and communal way through every interaction.

 

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