Some of the best spots to stop for a drink and a meal at any time of day are nestled among the tall towering woods and natural surroundings of the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges.
Places with breathtaking vistas of the city's vineyards range from quaint restaurants and hip cafes in the suburbs to hidden gems in the city's outlying villages and towns. It's possible that you'll find yourself in one of the many excellent local bakeries or cafes, enjoying a delicious pastry or savoury treat.
At our distilleries, you may order anything from a sample paddle to a casual sharing plate to an eight-course degustation. We have restaurants where you can meander through the chef's garden, chefs who are truly invested in their craft, and an abundance of fresh, seasonal, and locally sourced ingredients that keep diners coming back for more.
The Yarra River runs right down the heart of Melbourne, dividing the city in half and serving as a natural divider between the city's northern and southern neighbourhoods.
Standing on Princes Bridge early in the morning, one may observe rowers practising in the muddy water below. A massive number of people stroll its curves on their way from the city to the MCG with friends.
Now that summer has arrived, however, the Yarra's edge is once again bustling with activity as restaurants and bars along its length have found creative uses for once underutilised sites. We've toasted the new and reminisced about the past here.
Great Restaurants With Yarra River Views
One of Melbourne's best features is the Yarra River. The fact that it isn't safe for swimming or drinking and can have an unpleasant odour is part of what makes Melbourne so special to us.
Finding a great restaurant by the river can be challenging due to the numerous options, from Docklands to Richmond and everywhere in between, whether you're looking for a romantic dinner for two or a casual bite with friends. The top bars and eateries with viewpoints of the Yarra River are listed below. It is entirely optional to wear a life jacket.
Docklands: Loading Dock Bar
On the weekends, the Loading Dock Bar in Yarra's Edge Docklands is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (lunch and dinner throughout the week). With a stunning view of Yarra and modern Australian cuisine, this waterfront bar is a short 10-minute walk from Docklands' central business district. It is also conveniently located.
Eat thin-crust pizzas and cuisine that combines your favourite Italian, Thai, Greek, and shellfish dishes as you daydream about which boat in the Marina to purchase. It is a sight to behold as the sun sets, the CBD lights up, and Webb Bridge comes into view.
Melbourne: Wharf Hotel
With its beer, food, and views, the comparatively recent Wharf Hotel on the Yarra is scoring goals. The Wharf Hotel is a great location to get away from the convention centre crowds or to relax on the timber-decked deck while overlooking the Yarra from Crown Casino to Polly Woodside.
Couches and ottomans provide warmth, while stools covered in grass add a quirky touch. The overall design is built around wood, and there is also a cosy open fireplace. The more substantial plates, such as salmon, pig belly, and crab linguini, are what distinguish Wharf Hotel as one of Melbourne's top riverfront pubs. The menu is full of traditional pub fare, and the whole gang is here: parma, steak, burger, and fish 'n' chips.
South Wharf: Bangpop
Our favourite eateries with a Yarra River viewpoint include BangPop, which is named after the Yarra River. Although our river is far more than a flow, it's pleasing to know the crew took their stunning view into account when naming the Thai Street Food place. The word "bang" in Thai implies a settlement located on a stream. The interior of BangPop is bright, white, red, and green, and is emphasised by bicycles, giving the impression that this is a pleasant place to be.
Thai cuisine uses many different spices, such as turmeric, lemongrass, basil, and kaffir lime, and chilli is frequently used. Despite the adventurous-sounding marinated chargrilled pork neck with nam, Jim soap, and sticky rice, there are also tried-and-true dishes like Pad Thai that will start making you feel instantly at home while providing a stunning view of the river.
Southbank: Ponyfish Island
In Melbourne, Ponyfish Island, which is tucked beneath the Southgate footbridge, offers some of the best viewpoints of the Yarra River. Find a hiding place down the stairs where you can cuddle with the individual besides you while enjoying a glass of wine during winter and turn your head towards the sun while enjoying a drink during summer.
Breakfast is toast and muesli, lunch and dinner are soup and subs, but the ingredients are exquisite and somewhat gourmet because there are no cooking facilities here. Come and experience what it's like to enjoy a drink with friends on a barge floating through the world's most beautiful city.
Southgate: Pure South
By creating a menu centred on ingredients from Tasmania, Australia's most southerly state, Pure South, a restaurant inside the Southgate compound on Yarra, symbolises Tasmanian enthusiasm.
In honour of Tasmania's best offerings, including house-smoked bacon, King Island cheeses, pig belly, quail, and those renowned Tasmanian oysters, Pure South recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary.
The tender Cape Grim grass-fed Angus eye fillet is where I'd put my money. You can access the Pure South entrance via the Southbank bridge, however you may not want to. Without ever leaving the city, Pure South, one of Melbourne's best Yarra view restaurants, enables you to go on vacation.
Why wouldn't you take advantage of the opportunity to eat at the most famous Japanese restaurant in the world, which is conveniently located near the Yarra River? Top-quality Japanese cuisine is where it's at. The finest Japanese restaurant in Melbourne, Nobu, is part of the Crown Casino complex and has been serving up outstanding cuisine and scenic views to its customers since it opened.
Enjoy lunch or dinner by the water while admiring the ceilings covered in cherry blossoms and the air filled with elegance. Pick Nobu for a significant birthday, an important business meeting, or a special anniversary – it will be the type of meal you will remember. Favorite dishes include the lobster salad with a spicy lemon dressing and the zuke tuna with ginger salsa.
Melbourne CBD: Pilgrim Bar
On the lower level of Federation Square, near the water, the cellars of the past have been transformed into the drinking establishments of the twenty-first century. With the water just yards from the wood makeshift shelters and a Mediterranean great food menu to feast or simply enjoy in, based on your mood, Pilgrim Bar is popular both during the day and at night.
Enjoy the lamb, saffron, and split chickpea stew with harissa, sweet dates, figs, and coriander, along with a side of Qatar pizza, while perched riverside starting at lunchtime to take in the sounds of the city bustling above. When the lights go down at night, you can't miss the wine list with individual notes for each bottle. Simply put? Fun.
There are a few additional reasons to visit Pilgrim Bar in addition to its riverbank location, which has long been a favourite resting spot for people strolling between the city and the MCG. For instance, did you know that almost all of the drinks on the menu are from Australia?
There are small-batch gins from all over the nation as well as Starward whisky, Dead Man's Drop rum, 23rd Street vodka, and Dead Man's Drop. From Thursday through Sunday, Pilgrim offers two hours of bottomless G&Ts and tapas, highlighting those gins. You must make a reservation and pay $59 in advance.
Southbank: Left Bank
If you're looking for a night club with stunning Yarra River views, you must go to Left Bank. Like Paris, Melbourne has a left and right bank. Left Bank is probably on the "left side of the river," though it depends which way you're looking.
In any case, just back the Sandridge pedestrian walkway is Left Bank, a Southbank pub and restaurant that is well worth visiting. Even though the menu is limited to a la carte meals dining, a small number of people rave about it.
Pizza and hamburgers are common Friday night food, but a crispy duck leg strikes me as more French. A seat on the deck is perfect for people watching the magnificent Yarra River, and the wine selection is extensive.
Melbourne CBD: Taxi Kitchen
Taxi Kitchen, which offers panoramic view of the Yarra River, the CBD, the arts district, and Federation Square, is the ideal blend of location, location, location, and unpretentiousness.
On the menu, there are simple small, medium, and large meals with unique sides. and delicious desserts, such as Taxi's well-known espresso soufflé with Baileys ice cream. Viewpoints like this make a six-course set menu, which costs $85, worthwhile.
Melbourne CBD: La Cassolette
La Cassolette is a discrete European bistro located on Rebecca Walk, across from the Casino, and alongside Flinders Street (Clarendon St end). It overlooks a park and a river. Although the modern dining area seems peaceful, you can tell the kitchen is bustling because of the mouthwatering traditional French cuisine.
A simple Croque monsieur for meal is both appealing to the eye and the tummy, while a Cassoulet of pig belly and French sausages dissolves daintily on the tongue. Put on a beret and enjoy a panna cotta while sitting outside and imagining that the Yarra is the Seine. Superbe!
Places To Eat And Drink Beside The Yarra River In Melbourne
Beers and more
Hopscotch, another beer bar, has opened its Yarra Kitchen & Bar on the waterfront. On a warm day, nothing beats a spritz off the menu and a heaping helping of Australian prawn rolls from the kitchen. The Sicilian spritz includes gin, lemon, jasmine water, limoncello, and soda.
Given its history, you may expect to see a wide variety of tinnies in addition to the season's most popular non-alcoholic beverage, seltzer. In addition to being dog-friendly, the pub will be around until March.
Sandridge Wharf, Southbank, yarrakitchenbar.com.au
On a roll
Relax on a daybed and have some fun with a game of boules. One of the newest spots along Southbank, Petanque Social takes its cues from the bars of the beach of Capri and offers its patrons a taste of a variety of cultures and cuisines.
The menu is a collaboration between all of Crown's riverfront eateries, so if you're craving salmon and spicy tuna sushi maki rolls from Nobu but your friend is craving loaded chilli fries from San Antone, you can both have what you want. Bar service is available, and guests can enjoy Jazz and DJs performances on Sundays in addition to all their favourite summer sports.
Crown Riverwalk, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank, crownmelbourne.com.au
Float to nowhere
For a sixth season, Arbory Afloat will be on television. By including features like a plunge pool to keep things cool, slatted wooden tables, and terracotta-colored umbrellas to protect guests from the midday sun, a beach house aesthetic has been achieved in these particulars. You can fill up on shellfish, wood-fired pizza, and bar food with European influences throughout the day.
You must try the specially created Four Pillars Beach House Gin (pictured), which was made for this boat. Thanks to the various citrous flavours (orange, lemon peel, grapefruit, and lemon myrtle) and other natural flavours (pineapple sage, Davidson plum, and strawberry gum) used in its distillation, it is offered on tap and serves as the base for cool summer cocktails.
2 Flinders Walk, Melbourne, arboryafloat.com.au
Putting on the spritz
How long has Melbourne's nightlife relied on Riverland Bar? Whenever the old cellars underneath the Federation Square were transformed into the secret rooms of a bar with a view of the Yarra, it was pure genius. It's been there for a while and is still a great place to unwind on a sunny afternoon with a cold beer from the tap or a glass of bubbly local wine.
The summertime deal is $49 for two hours of unlimited spritzers and pizza. Buckle up.
Vaults 1–9, Federation Wharf, riverlandbar.com
On the roof
Transport Hotel, a big facility that occupies a decent slice of Federation Square, is often overlooked by Melburnians despite its central location. Sunsets are best enjoyed atop the building at Transit Bar, located on the building's third floor. There are great views of the river and various events happening most days of the week, including DJ sets on Sundays, stand-up comedy on Wednesdays, and jazz performances on Saturday evenings.
Federation Square, transporthotel.com.au
Island in the stream
In the middle of Yarra, across from Como Park, is Herring Island. On this quiet knoll, there is a picnic area and a sculpture museum. A free punt service is available on weekends and holidays from January to April, but during the week and off-peak hours, you can get to the island by water taxi or kayak.
Although you're encouraged to bring ones own materials, think about ordering a mezze grazing box from the charity Free to Feed to make preparation easier.
Start a fire
There is nothing more desirable than a location right on the Yarra. Assuming a position of authority and control. Grab some pals and book an Aqua Donut for a fun, unique experience. These circular electric boats feature a picnic table in the centre with a gas grill and a canopy.
Guests are only asked to bring a dish to cook, beverages, entertainment, and a good time. You won't require a boating permit because you'll be provided guidance before setting sail.
84 New Quay Promenade, Docklands, aquadonut.com
When a classic receives a new look that's reminiscent of Palm Springs, it's cause for celebration. This actually occurred at Ponyfish Island, a tavern located in the shadow of the Evan Walker Bridge. The dive bar's proprietors had planned for years to modernise the establishment, but it wasn't until the lockdown that they finally had the chance to do so.
Fans may now enjoy a jug of sangria while relaxing at terrazzo-topped tables under bespoke shades. An ever-evolving selection of bar bites is offered, as well as ice cold beer, Australian wines, and a tantalising choice of cocktails.
Southbank Pedestrian Bridge (off Southgate Avenue), ponyfish.com.au
FAQs About Melbourne Restaurants
The lower section of the Yarra River meandered through the heart of Melbourne City and was instrumental in making Melbourne into the city it is today. Most of Melbourne’s attractions are in close vicinity to the river.
The river was a significant food source and meeting place for indigenous Australians from prehistoric times. The Yarra River was initially called Birrarung by the Wurendjeri people. It is thought that Birrarung is derived from Wurundjeri words meaning “ever-flowing”.
The river was utilised primarily for agriculture by early European settlers. The landscape of the river has changed dramatically since 1835. The course of the river has been progressively disrupted and widened in places.
The Yarra is often called “the river that runs upside down” due to its muddy coloured water – caused by significant land clearing and development after the 1800s, which resulted in tiny clay particles being washed downstream.
The murky appearance of the river doesn’t mean it’s not clean.
The first crossing across the Yarra River was Princess Bridge which was built in 1844, this was the beginning of the Victorian gold rush, and the river was extensively mined, creating the Pound Bend Tunnel in Warrandyte. Princess Bridge was later replaced with the current bridge in 1888.
The Yarra River has one island called Herring Island, which is approximately 3kms from the CBD in Como and is only accessible by boat. Herring Island was created from dredging spoils in the 1920s when a new river channel was cut at Burnley to prevent flooding of the Yarra River.
Elemental to Melbourne's identity, the Yarra River is one of Victoria's iconic waterways. It has spiritual and cultural significance for Aboriginal communities. To the Wurundjeri people, the river, known as Birrarung, was life and an important meeting place.
Mention the Yarra River, and you might think of the last few kilometres that cut through the city – but it's so much more. This iconic river flows 242 kilometres from its source on Mt Baw Baw in the Yarra Ranges National Park, northeast of Melbourne, all the way to Port Phillip Bay.
It has high ecological, social, aesthetic and recreational values as it flows through the city and eastern suburbs of Melbourne to Port Phillip Bay. It is a 'salt- wedge' estuary, where the mixing of salt and freshwater is influenced by freshwater inflows over Dights Falls.
The name 'Yarra' is attributed to surveyor John Wedge, who in the 'Rebecca' accompanied John Batman on the 1835 party of exploration on behalf of the Launceston-based Port Phillip Association. Wedge asked local aborigines what they called the cascading waters on the lower section of the river.
Yarra divides the city in half and serves as a natural divider between northern and southern parts of the city. The Loading Dock Bar in Yarra's Edge is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week. One of Melbourne's best features is the Yarra River. The Wharf Hotel on the Yarra is one of Melbourne's top riverfront pubs. BangPop, which is named after the Yarra River, is a Thai street food restaurant and restaurant.
Pure South, one of Melbourne's best Yarra view restaurants, celebrates its 10th anniversary with a menu centred on ingredients from Tasmania. Nobu, located near the Yarra River, is part of the Crown Casino complex and serves top-quality Japanese cuisine. Almost all of the drinks on the menu at Pilgrim Bar are from Australia. Taxi Kitchen offers panoramic views of the Yarra River, the CBD, and Federation Square. Like Paris, Melbourne has a left and right bank - Left Bank is probably on the "left side of the river".
Melbourne CBD: La Cassolette Hopscotch, another beer bar, has opened its Yarra Kitchen & Bar on the waterfront. One of the newest spots along Southbank, Petanque Social, takes its cues from the beach of Capri. The Transit Bar is located on the building's third floor and offers great views of the river. In the middle of Yarra, across from Como Park, is Herring Island. You can get to Ponyfish island in the shadow of the Evan Walker Bridge by water taxi or kayak. There is a picnic area and a sculpture museum on the banks of the Yarra River.
- Some of the best spots to stop for a drink and a meal at any time of day are nestled among the tall towering woods and natural surroundings of the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges.
- The Yarra River runs right down the heart of Melbourne, dividing the city in half and serving as a natural divider between the city's northern and southern neighbourhoods.
- With its beer, food, and views, the comparatively recent Wharf Hotel on the Yarra is scoring goals.
- In honour of Tasmania's best offerings, including house-smoked bacon, King Island cheeses, pig belly, quail, and those renowned Tasmanian oysters, Pure South recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary.
- If you're looking for a nightclub with stunning Yarra River views, you must go to Left Bank.
- La Cassolette is a discrete European bistro located on Rebecca Walk, across from the Casino, and alongside Flinders Street (Clarendon St end).
- Grab some pals and book an Aqua Donut for a fun, unique experience.