From fine dining to little penguins, there’s a lot more to this beachside Melbourne precinct than water views and Luna Park.
Sleeping in is definitely an option with Fitzrovia’s crowd-pleasing breakfast menu, available until 3pm every day. Making a choice at this buzzy, high-ceilinged café might not be that easy, though, with offerings such as polenta-crusted fish fingers with grilled chorizo or sweet potato and caramelised onion fritters.
The architecturally sensational Stokehouse is still the last word in glamorous dining but if you’re after something more relaxed, head to beachside Donovans, where timber, sandstone and colourful cushions set a homey tone. Head chef Emma D’Alessandro’s food is just as comforting, ranging from charcoal-licked salmon to satisfying pastas.
Café Di Stasio
Nothing captures the swagger of St Kilda like this iconic Italian haunt, where you can kick off the evening with a Negroni at the white marble bar then move into the dining room proper, with its distressed walls, mood lighting and impeccably dressed waiters. An elegant menu, which includes timeless favourites such as lasagne made with homemade pasta and lashings of mozzarella, completes the picture.
Milk the Cow
Open your heart to some of the most exotic and rare cheeses at this atmospheric fromagerie and bar, which pairs flights of the pungent stuff with wines, ciders, beers, sakes and spirits. Jag a table for two in the narrow room or sit at the long, gleaming bar then choose from up to 180 cheeses, including the French Délice de Bourgogne and the Swiss Appenzeller.
For a rather more lively vibe, head to Newmarket Hotel, where classic cocktails (Mojitos, Margaritas and Martinis) and craft beers such as Stone & Wood from Byron Bay go down well with woodfired pizzas.
Tackle the trails
You don’t have to go to Phillip Island to see little penguins; you’ll find a colony of them right here at St Kilda Pier. Visit at dusk but first grab some wheels from the Melbourne Bike Share station next to Luna Park and hit one of the city’s most scenic trails: the 6.8-kilometre St Kilda to Brighton Beach route. Enjoy the soundtrack of the waves as you check out some stunning houses, ending up at the beach’s brightly coloured bathing boxes. Just don’t forget your camera.
Clean lines, uncluttered rooms and a palette of soft greens and pinks create a comfortable vibe at this 38-room boutique hotel, a five-minute stroll from the beach. The rooms were given a face lift in September 2017, while the restaurant, which is currently under refurbishment, will open later this year.
But first, caffeine…
St Kilda Dispensary (13 Brighton Road) is the place for excellent Allpress coffee and light bites.
Top image: The Prince