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What Are The Food Places In St Kilda Melbourne?

St. Kilda isn't just a beachy, hippie haven, though those elements certainly do play a role. The revitalisation of this historic district has attracted some of Melbourne's finest eateries, and it's easy to see why. Fabulous scenery, huh? Check. Incredible fresh food? Check. While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, we hope that it gives you a taste of what St. Kilda has to offer by introducing you to a few of the best restaurants in the area.

St. Kilda is home to two of Melbourne's best restaurants, Stokehouse and Cafe Di Stasio, despite the fact that Fitzroy Street, Acland Street, and the surrounding area are not as thriving as they were in the early 2000s. Further down the road, you'll find both long-standing favourites like Cicciolina and Donovans and up-and-coming spots like Supernormal Canteen and Cafe Southall. All of their locations are listed below.

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Food Places In St Kilda Melbourne

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.

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. 

Donovans

One of Melbourne's best-known landmarks is Donovans, a restaurant in St. Kilda that has won numerous awards. Donovans is best enjoyed from the outdoor terrace or through the floor-to-ceiling windows, as it is known for its delicious food, laid-back atmosphere, and beachside location.

The extensive menu features a variety of contemporary dishes, such as the crispy skin of the Cone Bay Barramundi, the glazed duck breast with charred mustard greens, and the grass-fed Hopkins River eye fillet. Australian and international wines, as well as a wide selection of exotic cocktails, fill out the extensive drinks menu.

In all of Australia, you won't find a dining experience like Donovans. And I doubt there's another eatery anywhere in the world that's quite like it. The Donovans, Kevin and Gail, refer to it as their "house on the beach," and that's exactly what it is.

Drinks at the lounge furniture near the entrance are the norm before dinner. You'll then be escorted into the dining room, which is divided into several areas and decorated with personal photos, knickknacks, and mismatched chairs to give the impression that you've arrived at a friend's house for a genuine dinner party. Since their establishment's 1995 inception, the Donovans have been constantly engaging with customers on the floor.

Six months on the dot, replace select curios and give the room a new theme. For instance, "back on our bike" was the slogan used to celebrate the restaurant's reopening in the second half of 2015 after a $2 million fire had devastated the establishment. There was a cardboard cutout of a Vespa in the lobby, and the men's restrooms were decorated with old Tour de France memorabilia.

The menu has a lot of options, but it doesn't change as often, which is what the regulars prefer. The cold-smoked salmon, seafood linguine, chicken pie, T-bone steak, prawns, bombe Alaska, duck for two, and fish and chips have all been staples for the majority of the restaurant's existence. The head chef (who served as an apprentice at Donovan's in 2000) and her staff consistently produce excellent results.

Like the food, the service is excellent, if a little reticent. All of our meals come with complimentary bread. The ladies get their wine first, followed by the men, and then the host, and then the main courses are served all at once (no sharing). Although it isn't particularly innovative, Donovans has won the hearts of many young Melburnians thanks to its high standards and unique character.

Address:40 Jacka Boulevard St Kilda 3182

Stokehouse

If you’re looking for beach luxe dining, look no further than Stokehouse.

Stokehouse Restaurant makes up the last third of the Stokehouse precinct, with Chef of Stokehouse City at the helm. 

The venue has the same Stokehouse feel of old, with a 12.5-metre oval bar, a lounge area, and a terrace to sit by the beach. However, with the entire ground floor buried under a dune and a delectably seafood-focused menu, Stokehouse takes its beach luxe aesthetic very seriously. And that’s why we love it.

When Stokehouse re-opened in December 2016, it was booked until March 2017 within 24 hours. The love that Melburnians have for the seaside diner, founded in 1989 and destroyed by fire in January 2014.

The refit produced three distinct spaces. Paper Fish is a small fish-and-chips kiosk. Pontoon is a casual restaurant serving seafood and wood-fired pizzas on the ground floor.

Head upstairs to find Stokehouse, a refined dining room design. It’s fitted with floor-to-ceiling windows all the way around, so there’ll be uninterrupted views from wherever you sit. Reservations are recommended, but there’s a 12-and-a-half-metre oval bar that’s open to walk-ins for drinks and food. The restaurant works extensively with seafood, in line with its seaside location. The raw section of the menu takes in oysters, Spanish mackerel with yuzu and koji marinade, and seared tuna with wasabi syllabub and pickled radish.

Mains include King George whiting fish and chips; market fish with smoked almond puree, butter sauce and carrot reduction; and chargrilled pork with saltbush and compressed melon. Service and presentation are sharp.

There’s a big enough range of beer, cocktails, and spirits on the drinks side to please nearly everyone. In recognition of the clientele, the wine selection is mostly traditional, drawn from classic old-world regions such as Burgundy or Chablis; and local regions such as Mclaren Vale.

Address:30 Jacka Boulevard St Kilda 3182

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.

Address: Jacka Boulevard St Kilda, 3182 VIC

Las Tapas

las tapas

Bringing European dining traditions to Australia has met with mixed success, especially the tapas-making technique. However, you can rest assured that the true spirit of a tapas bar was brought to Melbourne from Barcelona by Javier Pardo-Vinals (former front of the house at France-Soir), who relocated there in 2001.

Las Tapas, his St. Kilda East restaurant, is a little piece of Spain right here in Australia. Its bright yellow exterior and dimly lit, intimate interior can transport you to the cobblestone plazas of Barcelona faster than you can order one of the more than 40 tapas on the daily menu, which are scrawled on blackboards.

Manchego cheese flecked with Serrano ham curls oozes out of the hot croquettes; prawns from Saville sizzle in garlic, oil, and small, fiery chillies for a dish that packs a punch; and chorizo made in-house (with free-range pork from Western Plains Pork in Gippsland) is seasoned with fruity, earthy smoked paprika. Mussels a la Diablo are scented with tomato, wine, chilli, and parsley; patatas bravas are a symphony of crispy and fluffy with salsa brava and a halo of aioli; and the cherry tomato salad with fresh herbs is drenched in a multi-vinegar dressing, truffle oil, and small jalapenos fermented by Javier.

Las Tapas is a good representation of the fact that tapas bars in Barcelona aren't the best bet if you're looking for a hearty meal. You'll want to reserve a table (especially on the weekends), but you can get the authentic Catalonian experience by sitting at the bar and drinking the daily-made sangria from a jar on the top of the bar.

In spite of the passage of four years, the establishment is still bustling, so he's onto something. Similar to his Spanish contemporaries, Javier makes early morning trips to the market to stock up on fresh ingredients for the day's menu (the kitchen is tiny, and there is no cool room, so everything has to go). The menu changes with the seasons, and it features ingredients grown or caught in Victoria.

Address:100 Chapel St Kilda Melbourne

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. The extensive menu, wine, and cocktail list will impress, from the freshest homemade pasta to suckling pig, saltimbocca, tiramisu, and zabaglione. 

Steeped in history, this Fitzroy Street favourite has become a pilgrimage for lovers of fine Italian food in Melbourne.

Di Stasio’s namesake is its owner Rinaldo (Ronnie) Di Stasio, though that’s not all the restaurant inherited from him. It’s rumoured even the front door handles - two bronze hands that reach out onto busy Fitzroy Street - are cast from the proprietor's.

The artistic flair doesn’t end there: distressed neutral walls, with a bright splash of cobalt blue, hold dramatic masks that peer down on you as you dine. It’s simple and intimate, but somehow the space has a theatrical air, as though it’s about to burst into an operatic aria. And, if you believe the stories, anything could happen if Di Stasio is in the house.

The menu is thoroughly Italian, with suckling pig, whole roast duck and veal saltimbocca. But those in the know come for the seasonal set lunch of two courses and wine.

With the addition of the World Class venue Bar Di Stasio next door, you can either turn up early for a quick drink before your booking or adjourn next door for an extra digestivo afterwards. Staff are discreet and attentive, moving gracefully about the cosy space, and it all feels a little bit lofty.

Address:31 Fitzroy Street St Kilda 3182

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.

Address:12 The Esplanade St Kilda, 3182 VIC

Mya Tiger

Up the ornate stairs beneath a glittering chandelier at the Esplanade Hotel, there are two floors (that for years before the hotel’s redevelopment – which was unveiled in December 2018 – were closed to the public) that are home to two cocktail bars, The Green Room and Ghost of Alfred Felton) and Cantonese diner Mya Tiger.

Mya Tiger has city and bay views over the tops of palm trees. If people-watching is more your thing, then high tables offer a view down to the stairs and bar below. The menu has nods to Chinese classics. Snacks include five-spice ribs and cumin lamb spring rolls.

 Raw kingfish is given an umami-rich, smoked-soy and truffle treatment, while the bao and dumpling menu features staples such as pork and chilli wontons and char siu pork bao. Larger dishes include XO pippies; steamed fish with ginger, soy and shallots; crispy pork noodles; and a whole roast duck.

The wine list is built around the flavours of Cantonese cooking, avoiding oaky whites and high-alcohol reds. Instead, there are several options by the glass and by the bottle; you’ll find a mix of local and New Zealand producers along with classic internationals: German Riesling and Malbec from Argentina. 

There’s also a refurbished old fridge you’re encouraged to grab your beer from. There’s Kirin and Asahi and more esoteric beers such as a seaweed sour beer from Sailors Grave Brewing or the Dawn New England IPA from Hop Nation. Cocktails put regionally suitable twists on classics, such as Shiso-Shiso Mule, which features gin, passionfruit, shiso, lime and elderflower. There’s a kaffir lime Margarita, and the house Espresso Martini has an oolong tea infusion.

Address:11 The Esplanade St Kilda 3182

Supernormal Canteen

You’d call this place more snack-driven than its alma mater, but the jigsaw pieces remain the same. First, 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. 

The raw dishes include 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. Then, from the hibachi wood grill, go the char sui 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.

Address:157 Fitzroy St Kilda Melbourne318

Claypots

The term icon gets bandied about willy nilly these days, but if ever there was a St Kilda seafood eatery that deserved the title, it's Claypots. An early adopter of the no-reservations policy, along with near neighbour and fellow icon Ciccolina, 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 outback with its fleet of hanging model ships. 

Indoors has a smokily sexy vibe, like a New Orleans speakeasy. The paella is legendary in these parts, and there's usually live music on the go, too.

Address:213 Barkly Street St Kilda, 3182 VIC

Korr Jee Chicken

Head to Korr Jee Chicken on Acland Street in St Kilda for crispy chicken with a twist. This new chick on the block oozes a trendy vibe of chicken murals, blond wood table settings and banquette seating, making it all too easy to linger over a plate and glass of wine.

 ‘Korr Jee’ means roast chicken, and that’s what they do best - the highest quality free-range chicken is brined for hours to infuse delicate flavours, then dry-aged and finally roasted to create succulent, juicy meat with crispy golden skin. 

Think family packs with sides of coleslaw, roast vegetables, salad and triple-cooked hand-cut chips with aioli. Chow down on a crumbed free-range chicken breast burger, with slaw and chipotle mayo, in a milk bun with a side of chips, or grab some finger-lickin' good buffalo hot wings.

Address:92B Acland Street, St Kilda 3182 VIC

Republica

Even if you've never been, you can picture the scene at Republica in St. Kilda, because the way it's decorated and laid out is a reflection of the fun, fresh, and funky Melbourne way of life. Located in the Sea Baths complex on the waterfront of Port Phillip Bay, this restaurant is open seven days a week and is perfect for people watching and eating delicious food.

The restaurant's offerings might include Gambero - prawn, chilli peppers, shallots, lemon, and parsley - a gourmet pizza, or Hiramasa kingfish Crudo, cucumber, and desert lime, fried chicken ribs, old bay spice, and ranch. Maybe you're in the mood for some fish and chips with tartar, lemon, and soft herb salad, and for dessert you'd like to try some buttermilk panna cotta with rhubarb and pistachio.

Address:10-18 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda Sea Baths, St Kilda 3182 VIC

Fat Jaks

According to Rich Slade, manager of the St Kilda fast food joint Fat Jak’s, the main sauce used on the Nashville-style burgers, the “Fat Jak Spread”, is very closely adapted from McDonald’s notoriously secret yellow-gherkin Big Mac sauce.

This is the fourth venture for siblings Matt, Marina and Jack (aka Fat Jak) Altinarda, who opened their 34-seat diner in May 2017 in a red-brick space on Barkly Street. Top of the agenda at Fat Jak’s is burgers. 

There are around 15 varieties to choose from, ranging from tried-and-true meat-bun classics like the signature Fat Jak burger (two Angus beef patties from Felice’s Place Gourmet Butchers in Elwood), salad, double bacon, American cheese, and Slade’s Fat Jak Spread) to more peculiar inventions, such as the current burger of the month (the “Justin Brie-Ber”) with fried chicken, cranberry mayonnaise, roquette and melted brie. 

Before they hit the table, the milk buns (from Baked for Sofia) are brandished with “FJ” logos outback. There’s no meat in many burgers. One of the veggie burger options, with a slab of deep-fried halloumi, American cheese, coleslaw and a hash brown.

 Non-burger options include pizza, hot dogs, pasta, and four different styles of fries. Drink options include a refillable, house-made soft-drink station. Beer kegs are displayed in a custom-made glass cabinet inside the counter. Pints will set you back $6.

Your meal will be at home on the large brown-paper menu and placemat, which has (as all large fast-food placemats should) a “fun fact” written on the back.

Address:205 Barkly Street St Kilda 3182

La Cabra St Kilda

Say hola to mouth-watering delicious Mexican fare and cerveza at La Cabra on Acland Street in St Kilda. With a name meaning 'The Goat' in Spanish, this restaurant also goes by the motto of ‘greatest of all time', dishing up their twist on Mexican classics along with cheeky cocktails in modern surrounds of neon signage, painted brick walls and sombreros, to set the mood for ambient dining. Grab some tajin spiced fried calamari and lime mayo to start the fiesta before wrapping your hands around slow-cooked beef tacos, pickled cabbage, cheese, onion jam and mayo. 

Those with grande appetites may opt to share a Mexican seafood platter of char-grilled corn, drunken mussels, fish burritos, prawn and chorizo tacos, fried calamari, battered onion rings, corn chips, guacamole and salsa.

Address: 68 Acland Street, St Kilda 3182 VIC

I Carusi II

Despite the fact that both I Carusi restaurants share the same name and were both founded by pizzaiolo Pietro Barbagallo in Brunswick East, the two establishments now feel very different from one another. To begin, the white linen tablecloths add a touch of elegance, and the trendy storefront on Barkly Street softens the space's otherwise factory-like vibe. However, despite these distinctions, we still come here for the pizzas; the thin, crispy bases and perfectly proportioned quality toppings are pure 12-inch bliss, earning the pizzas the "artisan" label for good reason.

It may be difficult to get a table if the entire population of St. Kilda decides to eat at once, but the anticipation of a No. 26 (gorgonzola, leeks, and mozzarella) or a Caprese (Fiore di latte and sopressata) is well worth the wait.

The rustic atmosphere is achieved through the use of exposed timber beams, provincial style fixtures, a certain commotion to the neatly packed space, and a flux in service styles. However, what really sets the mood here are the windows that look out onto the server and kitchen, where you can get a good look at the topping trays and the freshly thrown dough.

I Carusi II offers some of the city's best pizza, both for in-house consumption and to-go delivery. While you wait for your table, you can relax in the bar area located on the second floor.

Address:231 Barkly Street St Kilda

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Ostrich And The Egg

Share the South African kitchen experience at Ostrich and The Egg on Inkerman Street in St Kilda. Street eats, and iconic koeksister doughnuts are on the menu at this eatery and bar. An easy-going, casual dining ambience filled with good vibes and nutty humour makes for a lively buzz of conversation satiated appetites. 

Ostrich (Mum) and The Egg (Gary) make almost everything from scratch – except humble, hearty food with an abundance of spice – as seen in snacks like a boerewors scroll with South African seasoned beef rump, baked in puff pastry. Grab a chicken sosatie skewer with spiced apricot glaze, capsicum and rice, while those with more ravenous tastes opt for eight-hour slow-cooked lamb shoulder in African spice with raisins and a baked omelette crust served with yellow rice.

Address:6 Inkerman Street, St Kilda 3182 VIC 

FAQs About Food Places In St Kilda Melbourne

The sea was too rough for fishing, so the islanders didn’t eat fish. Instead, their favourite food was birds, and plenty of them was on the island. As a result, St Kilda is the breeding ground for many important seabird species such as gannets, petrels, puffins and fulmars.

It is said that St Kildans used to “eat muffins for a snack, just like a packet of crisps.” According to one report, each person on St Kilda ate 115 fulmars every year. In 1876 it was said that the islanders consumed more than 89,600 puffins. Catching the birds was not easy, but the islanders had mastered the art.

Fitzrovia is an all-day restaurant on bustling Fitzroy Street in St Kilda, overlooking Albert Park, serving contemporary Australian dishes with an international flavour.

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