restaurants & cafes in st kilda

Where To Find The Best Restaurants & Cafes In St Kilda?

There's more to St Kilda than Luna Park and the fairy penguins (as cute as they are!). The beachside suburb just 7km from the CBD is popular with everyone from backpackers to the glitterati and everyone in between. 

St Kilda's dining options are as varied as the suburb's visitors and residents, as beach-facing fine dining institutions stand a stone's throw away from cheap eats institutions popular with the local backpacker community.

Proudly offer a premium menu designed to delight your palate and ensure you have a memorable meal worthy of recommending to your friends and relatives. 

If it’s time for lunch or dinner and you’re looking for a remarkable Italian culinary experience, you should keep in mind that one of the favourite Italian restaurants in St Kilda Road is waiting for you. 

The best option for people interested in having an authentic Italian dining experience is in one of the best-reputed restaurants in St Kilda Road.

We know that if you’re searching for the best restaurants in St Kilda Road, you’re looking for a relaxing venue with delicious food and wine. We’re proud of offering a highly seasonal menu that is constantly evolving and updated, looking to impress our visitors. 

Dining is a superb option for having an excellent meal. Our dishes are made with second to none ingredients selected by talented chefs who are kept fresh and always in optimal conditions for authentic Italian flavours. 

We understand the importance of quality drinks that pair properly with the meal you have chosen. For that reason, we also offer premium wines recommended by culinary experts to take your taste buds on a flavour-packed journey.

Positioned as one of the top restaurants in St Kilda Road, we also have our upstairs function room that can accommodate up to 40 guests and will become the perfect place for your next event. If you’re planning your next outing, selecting the right venue and outstanding dishes are imperative.

Whether you're after a quick post-swim meal or an anniversary dinner with sunset views of St Kilda beach, here are some of the best restaurants in Melbourne's beachside suburbs.

St Kilda's best restaurants

There’s more to St Kilda than just backpacker culture and beachside vibes. With the iconic neighbourhood slowly making a comeback, it’s easy to see why some of Melbourne’s best restaurants are nestled on St Kilda’s shore.

Amazing local produce? Check. And while our list is by no means comprehensive, it will allow you to at least dip your toes—pun intended—in some of St Kilda’s best restaurants and open your eyes to what this neighbourhood has to offer.

So without further ado, here are the best restaurants in St Kilda.

Supernormal Canteen

Buzz deficit. It’s anathema to McConnell’s restaurant empire. As soon as one of his venues sinks below a commercial-in-confidence number calculated (we’re guessing) by squaring the number of people waiting outside with decibels inside and dividing by pi, it’s time to send in the bagmen. Out with the old, in with the new. You wouldn’t want to be an ageing labrador relaxing on this man’s hearthrug.

Observing his treatment of this particular site on Fitzroy Street has been like watching a typical restaurant in time-lapse. First came Golden Fields in 2011, the early prototype for Supernormal on Flinders Lane; then the baguette-twirling Luxembourg in 2014; and on its three-year autocue for change, the dial has been turned back to Supernormal.

Golden Fields, you might remember, was the place that spawned the New England lobster roll – that magical balance of warm brioche and cool Kewpie mayo-slathered crustacean that launched a thousand UberEats deliveries. It’s back with a bang under the Supernormal Canteen banner, adding to our theory that this is a homecoming – right down to the way the lobster was always a distraction from the bulk of the modern, spare Sino-Japanese menu at Flinders Lane HQ.

Thus it continues to be at Supernormal Canteen. You’d call it more snack-driven than its alma mater, but the jigsaw pieces remain the same. There are the familiar menu headings of dumplings and bao, including the prawn and chicken numbers with a rugged scallion-minced chilli and soy sauce. 

There are the raw dishes, including the sweet pink swatches of sea bream with wasabi leaf, a flutter of ginger and clean nashi crunch and the same flavour hit of the northern-Chinese style lamb, bristling toastily with cumin, to fold into weightless pancake pockets with cucumber pickles.

If it’s the new dish action you’re after, hit the crazily addictive typhoon shelter school prawns, the Hong Kong classic making a virtue of its excess of salt and vinegar batter. From the hibachi wood grill, go the char siu pork neck, a micro-dish of suckable sweet, smoky meat dressed with nothing but garlic shoots. 

There’s a salad – of sorts – where cos leaves get dressed up to the nines with picked spanner crab and a crunchy sesame dressing, and a fat buttery fillet of John Dory offsets its richness with watercress crunch.

Service does pretty darn well for the maelstrom that hits the Canteen each evening. These folk know when to proffer a mean-looking knife for the table to divide one lobster roll between two (alternatively, use it to dispatch your dining compadre before guzzling the whole thing yourself). 

Sure, their responsibilities are diminished by the tick-a-box menu, and pictogram drinks list starring easygoing party gear (umeshu Spritz; vodka-mandarin Highball), but there’s a place reserved in heaven for any waiter who automatically adjusts the serve of dumplings to a number evenly divisible by table inhabitants.

The “Canteen” supplement is so much sound and fury, signifying nothing. Yes, it’s tight-packed where Supernormal CBD is spacious; the lighting adds a coddling amber glow instead of the City’s more clinical blue-tinged hues. It’s a canteen, however, in the way that a Bentley is a car. But let’s not quibble over names. 

McConnell’s restless spirit and aggressive accountant already this year led to the wildly successful reboot of Cutler & Co. Supernormal Canteen chalks another win up for Melbourne’s McMother of reinvention.

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Donovans

First Stokehouse disappeared in a mighty conflagration at the start of 2014; seven months later, next-door neighbour Donovans suffered a similar, albeit not as destructive, fate. The charcoal barbecue sparked a fire that gutted the kitchen and left the building structurally unsound.

People might feel they’re taking their lives in their hands dining anywhere on the St Kilda foreshore, but fear not: once you’re seated in the Donovans dining room, which remains a kind of Cape Cod fantasy as designed by Martha Stewart, all is well with the world.

There’s little sign of the recent drama that left a million-dollar damage bill. The expensive bric-a-brac is as covetable as ever, the striped cushions on the lounges are homey-chic, and the menu remains as familiar as the sandstone fireplace.

And that, in essence, is why Donovans still count. It’s not the most fashionable place in Melbourne – after 20 years, it would be a worry if owners Gail and Kevin Donovan were chasing fashion – and its sunny, Med-leaning food isn’t threatening to push any envelopes. 

It’s also rather expensive. But sometimes comfort and reliability outpace the shock of the new. And after that fire, Donovans have had enough shocks for another two decades, thank you very much.

It’s a deeply satisfying package. The Queensland leader prawns off the chargrill – hopefully not the same one that caused all that trouble – are split and served as simply as nature intended with a dusting of herbs and a sprinkle of lemon. They’re so superb you could easily crunch away at the shells. 

Mussels gratinate in a coddling, creamy blanket licked with saffron, and lemon oil dips its lid to the 1970s but boasts the perky addition of horseradish crumbs. 

Veal cheek braised into sticky loveliness with a caramelised puck of cauliflower gratin and macaroni cheese heralds the arrival of the cooler months. And the number of luxe fish and chips – in the running for Melbourne’s finest – heading to other tables in their monogrammed paper is dizzying.

Stokehouse

Stokehouse reopened its doors to let that fresh St Kilda air in; restored, rejuvenated and completely remedied after the fire that left a blackened spot on the foreshore for nearly three long years. 

So with a slightly pared-down menu and a work-in-progress feel, it’s safe to say Stokehouse of now is not the Stokehouse as it will be in six months. Then it will have a raw bar, for one, although in its current unfinished state, it’s open to walk-ins who happily down outrageously pink drinks on a new balcony overlooking the beach. The cheap seats never looked so good.

As for the restaurant itself, Pascale Gomes McNabb’s fit-out runs with the beach shack theme. This time around, there are wide rough-sawn boards and tubular glass chandeliers that undulate just slightly in the breeze. The tables are well spaced and linen-clad, which is like the Stokehouse of yore, as are the waiters, a full battalion of them, who are uniformly good. All is as it should be.

And the menu? Stokehouse Mark II is the same mix of don’t-scare-the-horses classics and slightly more outré Med-leaning dishes. Richard Ousby and Ollie Hansford (executive and head chef, respectively) know their crowd and know that it wants steak - they serve a very decent oyster blade with watercress salad and a zippy little jus - and crumbed King George whiting with chips and tartare. 

But they also know that southside tastes vary from more adventurous seafood dishes, so they’ll serve canapés like king prawns in a seeded taco shell that almost veers into wellness territory, and fried oysters dubbed with caviar and sauce gribiche, which don’t. 

Beautiful, just-seared tuna treads a very successful semi-raw path with whipped wasabi mayo and pickled daikon; a gutsy beef tartare littered with capers, oregano and puffed buckwheat (standing in situ for crackers) get hit with a flavour bomb Vegemite-y black garlic emulsion.

Pontoon

Boasting an 18-metre long bar as soon as you walk in, Pontoon has its priorities in order.

The menu features hand-held and shared plates, like fresh sardines with harissa, a pulled beef brisket toastie with manchego, and grilled king prawns. 

There's also a range of wood-fired pizzas, giving us just the right amount of casual Mediterranean vibes. We honestly can't think of a better way to spend a lazy summer night on the beach.

Pontoon is a glamour model masquerading as a breezy beach shack. The fit-out by George Livissianis, whose stamp is on the trendy Sydney joints Apollo and the Dolphin Hotel, hits a Scandi nautical-but-nice vibe with consummate ease. 

The thick rope is twined around pillars on the deck, eyeballing the beach just metres away. At the same time, inside, it’s all textured surfaces, from herringbone concrete tiles on the floor to a honeycomb of rattan suspended above a long central bar. 

Seating options? Take your pick from skinny clusters of tall tables – perfect for posing around in best Mad Men guise –along with picnic tables and low banquettes.

It’s a party place (ably transmitted by its Instagram tagline “40 speakers. DJs. Outdoor deck”). The prism is also a good way to understand the menu, which is more of a loose collaboration of dishes freelancing across the Mediterranean/North African divide. 

Whole king prawns thrumming with a sauce of fermented and charred chilli are a non-sequitur to the smoked chicken ribs, slathered in a pimento-driven sauce, where the chilli goes from a tingle to a bushfire in ten seconds.

Jazzed-up finger food includes the Moroccan-style lamb cigars with a labne dipping sauce rich with cumin, coriander and the tart lemony flutter of sumac, and crisp pastry rafts bearing a compelling little cargo of sardines, pickled shallot and harissa.

Head chef Lance Cameron has a four-metre woodfired grill and oven, and he isn’t afraid to use it. There are hero items like the whole spice-rubbed, and spit-roasted chook or lamb shoulder rubbed with yoghurt and herbs. 

Dabbling around the “lighter plates” yields things punch-drunk in the flavour stakes – like charry iceberg lettuce and radicchio and agrodolce Pedro Ximenez reduction sauce teaming up with the robust Spanish blue cheese Valdeón. See also: charry trunks of octopus in a zippy herb-driven salsa Fresca.

Cafe Di Stasio

Café Di Stasio is an award-winning Melbourne institution.

Mood lighting, red leather banquettes and Bill Henson artworks set the scene for an indulgent, authentic Italian dining experience. From the freshest of homemade pasta to suckling pig, saltimbocca, tiramisu and zabaglione, the extensive menu, wine, and cocktail list will impress. 

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Ichi Ni Izakaya

Ichi Ni Izakaya sits right on the classic St Kilda Esplanade and overlooks Port Phillip Bay so that you couldn’t ask for a better location.

Offering all the Japanese fare you would expect, including tempura, gyoza, yakitori, sushi and sashimi, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Plus, Ichi Ni boasts an impressive range of sake, Japanese beers, fine wines and cocktails, so you know you’re in for a great night.

Las Tapas

Whether you’re looking for a quick snack, lunch, dinner, or just a glass of wine, Las Tapas has you covered.

The Catalan joint boasts a fresh menu whipped up from ever-rotating local produce that’ll leave you deeply satisfied. Plus, their weekly specials are always on point: seafood or meat grill mix and a jug of Sangria? Yes, please.

Claypots

If ever there was a St Kilda seafood eatery that deserved the title, it's Claypots.

An early adopter of the no-reservations policy, you'll want to get in early for some of the best seafood in Melbourne, especially if you want to grab a prime spot in the magical courtyard with its fleet of hanging model ships.

Fitzrovia

From the venue's interior to the artfully presented meals, you’ll notice that Fitzrovia is very talented at keeping it chic.

Whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Fitzrovia’s dishes will give you that fine-dining experience without breaking the bank. And with amazing food and a cozy atmosphere to match, this St Kilda classic is a great place for a date.

Mya Tiger

If you haven’t been to the newly refurbished Esplanade Hotel, then we’re not sure what you’re waiting for.

At the helm of the Espys iconic Mya Tiger restaurant is head chef Sarah Chan (formerly of Longrain and Lotus Dining). The menu is broken down into snacks (sesame prawn toast, or cumin lamb spring rolls?), dumplings and bao, vegetables, mains (sweet-and-sour pork, anyone?), rice and noodles, and of course, sweets. 

And if you’re jonesing for some cocktails, sink into the velvety green banquettes at the gorgeous Mya Tyger cocktail bar—you won’t regret it.

Cicciolina

With its casual vibe and contemporary decor, Cicciolina is an obvious choice if you’re looking for a great St Kilda restaurant.

With chef Virginia Redmond at the helm since its inception in 1993, the Cicciolina menu focuses on using the best of Melbourne's seasonal produce to make inspiring modern Italian dishes. From rich mushroom risotto to chargrilled wagyu scotch fillet, there’s something for every palate at Cicciolina’s.

St Luja

St Luja is a smoke fusion restaurant, cocktail and whisky bar riding Fitzroy St’s upmarket wave.

The kitchen (run by Allison Hartmire of State of Grace and Mr Mason) features monthly degustations, paired with cocktails from behind the bar. Think seared scallops with smoked corn puree and toasted brioche crumble, smoked Flinders Island lamb pappardelle, topped with braised shallots, carrot shards, confit garlic puree and a red wine sauce. It all goes down pretty smooth with a glass of 10-year-old Laphroaig on the rocks. Not one to miss.

Mr Wolf

Wood-fire oven, crisp-edge crust, tasty-topping pizza lovers of St Kilda, we’ve found the perfect location for you: Mr Wolf.

This authentically Italian menu is brought to you by executive chef, owner and culinary celebrity Karen Martini. Not only does Mr Wolf serve some of the best pizza in Melbourne, but their wine fridge is also fully stocked with your perfect meal accompaniment, so you’ll get the best of both worlds every time.

FAQs About Melbourne Restaurants

St Kilda is an inner seaside suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 6 km south-east of the city's Central Business District. Its local government area is the City of Port Phillip. At the 2016 Census, St Kilda had a population of 20,230.

Later in the Victorian era, St Kilda became a favoured suburb of Melbourne's elite, and many palatial mansions and grand terraces were constructed along its hills and waterfront. 

After the turn of the century, the St Kilda foreshore became Melbourne's favoured playground, with electric tram lines linking the suburbs to the seaside amusement rides, ballrooms, cinemas and cafes, and crowds flocked to St Kilda Beach. 

Many of the mansions and grand terraces became guest houses, and gardens were filled with apartment buildings, making St Kilda the most densely populated suburb in Melbourne.

Anyone who ate too much during the festive season can take comfort from the fact that they will not have consumed anywhere near as much as the former inhabitants of Britain’s most remote island chain.

Residents of St Kilda survived for centuries on a diet of the birds that colonised the archipelago’s cliffs, and a recently discovered census from the mid-18th century has now revealed that each of them ate an extraordinary 18 seabirds and 36 eggs every day.

St Kilda is home to Melbourne’s famous visitor attractions, including Luna Park, the Esplanade Hotel, Catani Gardens, Acland Street and Fitzroy Street. It is home to St Kilda beach, Melbourne’s most famous beach, several renowned theatres and several of Melbourne’s big events and festivals.

The main street in St Kilda is Fitzroy Street. It’s lined with outdoor pubs, cafes and restaurants serving a wide variety of cuisines showcasing Melbourne’s multicultural heritage.

The café society of Acland Street first bloomed with the influx of cosmopolitan European migrants in the 1950s. That heritage can still be seen in the European-style cake shops, cafes and designer shops that line the street.

Where To Stay: There is no accommodation available for overnight stays on St Kilda. The National Trust does run a small campsite with very basic facilities. If you stay overnight on the Island you have to buy two return tickets which doubles the cost of the voyage out there.

Weather permitting, if you are in the Hebrides, St Kilda is so worth a visit. The deserted village, the birds, views, scenery, perfect for a day in the outdoors walking and enjoying!

Conclusion

St Kilda is a great place to go for a stroll in the evening with the family, but if you're looking for a fun time and delicious food, then you should check out some of these restaurants! Tons of different types of cuisine will suit all different tastes. You can choose from Mexican, Italian, Asian or even classic Australian pub grub - there's something for everyone! 

St Kilda is an amazing place to take your family on a nice evening walk. But when it comes to having fun and eating delicious food, this neighbourhood has lots of options up its sleeve. You can find anything from Mexican food to Italian dishes here. And don't forget about classics like Aussie pub grub, either! There's truly something.

Resources:

The best restaurants in St Kilda

Where To Find The Best Restaurants In St Kilda

St Kilda Restaurants

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