Melbourne’s emblematic beachside suburb has a great share of the city’s best restaurants for all budgets and cuisines, presenting a diverse dining scene well worth exploring.
Seaside dining just hits differently and you’ll quickly realise that when ducking in and out of all the St Kilda restaurants that locals and visitors alike never get enough of. From fine-dining stalwarts like Cafe Di Stasio to energetic late-night kitchens such as Las Tapas and Radio Mexico, St Kilda is like a microcosm of Melbourne’s famously rich culinary chops.
Clustered around St Kilda Beach, restaurants like Stokehouse and Donovan’s wave the flag high for one of Melbourne’s trendiest suburbs. But hearty casual dining on the backstreets and around the densely packed Acland Street Plaza is easily just as important to the breezy lifestyle that serves thousands each day.
Below you’ll find a hit list of over 20 of the best St Kilda restaurants so you can keep your finger on the pulse of this beloved multicultural community and its obsession with eating and drinking exceptionally well.
Best for: Definitive beach views and high-end seafood
Cuisine: Modern Australian
Gourmands across the nation were devastated when Stokehouse was destroyed by a fire in 2014. St Kilda’s most recognisable restaurant, which first opened in 1989, was given a new life two years later and immediately shot back to glory. Designer Pascale Gomes-McNabb has doubled down on those sparkling Port Phillip Bay views, complementing the visual impact of 2000 blush pink glass tubes dangling from the ceiling.
Dine with views of Port Phillip Bay. (Image: Visit Victoria)
The oval bar is available for walk-ins, but ideally, you’d want a lunch reservation to sit as close to those dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows as possible. An extensive selection of Australia’s finest seafood like a roasted John Dory fillet with white almond gazpacho gives the kitchen a tight focus, lifted by sharp, attentive service and a whopping 650-bottle wine list hinged on tried-and-true classics – a nod to the type of crowd you’ll find here.
Downstairs, the more casual Stokehouse Pasta & Bar is equally viable, with a small format selection of the kitchen’s greatest hits.
Satisfy your seafood cravings at Stokehouse. (Image: Visit Victoria)
Address: 30 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda
Best for: A leisurely long lunch and artisanal produce
Cuisine: Modern Australian
Fitzrovia is a popular daytime eatery where Sunday roasts and Guinness pies emphasise a deep love of refined comfort food. The throughline across breakfast and lunch is fine estate Victorian produce, even doubling down on the community ties by offering gourmet picnic hampers showcasing the state.
Mid-morning is the most popular time to head along with clear views of Albert Park from the leafy tiled porch, best taken with a side of the kitchen’s hot chilli jam scrambled eggs or, even better, the signature Doorstop Sandwich with bacon, spiced fennel and pear relish and smoked scamorza.
Address: 2/155 Fitzroy St, St Kilda
3. Ichi Ni
Best for: Its theatrical open kitchen and extensive menu
You’ll find this tasteful izakaya right next door to The Espy, dishing up unobstructed views of Port Phillip Bay. However, it’d be hard to peel your eyes off the small army of chefs who helm the extensive menu, shouting from an open kitchen as they expertly carve fresh seafood with military precision.
The open kitchen at Ichi Ni is the perfect dinner entertainment.
As the best Japanese restaurant in St Kilda, Ichi Ni holds a special place for locals and so you’d almost always find this place brimming with life. Head up out to the balcony for the best experience, but again, that theatrical kitchen is just as enticing.
The authentic Japanese menu at Ichi Ni keeps locals coming back.
Address: 12 The Esplanade, St Kilda
4. Cafe Di Stasio
Best for: Premium Italian dining in a sophisticated setting
Classic fine Italian holds the reigns at this St Kilda dining institution. Consistently referenced as one of Melbourne’s best restaurants, the Fitzroy Street staple first opened in 1988 under the guidance of owner Ronnie Di Stasio. And he’s kept a strong sense of identity since, despite the many changes in Melbourne’s dining landscape.
Opt for premium Italian dining at Cafe Di Stasio.
The theatrical frame of elaborate masks and pops of blue, discreet service, and popular seasonal set lunch menu keep Di Stasio’s regular clientele well satisfied. As such, a booking at any time of day can be hard to come across but it’s worth the effort for dishes like cotoletta alla bolognese and spaghettoni vongole veraci.
Book well in advance to dine at this St Kilda institution.
Address: 31 Fitzroy St, St Kilda
Best for: A homely atmosphere and social dining
Cuisine: Modern Australian
Personable fine dining on the doorstep of St Kilda Beach. Donovans is another one of the suburb’s most endearing dining icons, centred on Australian comfort food and a breezy lifestyle to match the nearby sands.
Owners Kevin and Gail Donovan like to call the kitchen their little “house on the beach”; the homely atmosphere certainly echoes that idea. It feels like a bright, airy dinner party each evening, where family photos and kitschy, mismatched furniture frame epic feasts. The Donovans like changing “theme” every few months as well, keeping regulars on their toes with a sense of dynamism.
The top-notch cooking is similarly approachable and values simplicity. Australian and New Zealand produce dance across the wide-ranging menu with dishes like spanner crab ravioli and slow-cooked lamb shoulder, nicely matched with wines mostly championing both countries.
Pull up a chair at Donovans.
Address: 40 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda
6. Saint Hotel
Best for: Smokey pub food and variety
Cuisine: Australian pub food
Perfectly charred seafood and steaks are the domain of Saint Hotel’s downstairs kitchen, Saint Dining, while a separate gastropub keeps it casual with burgers and a hefty wine list. The popular pub, set in a heritage 1915 building on Fitzroy Street, has three distinct venues, including a vintage bar that feels like it comes straight from the set of Studio 54.
Drop by Saint Hotel for a casual gastropub vibe. (Image: Visit Victoria)
The ability to pick and choose is why many locals make a Saint Hotel visit a weekly thing. You’ll find plenty of energy across all three spaces, but dinner is best served by Saint Dining’s quintessential Josper grill. The kitchen’s secret weapon touches almost everything on the menu, so expect bold flavours across the board.
Make your visit to Saint Hotel a weekly thing. (Image: Visit Victoria)
Address: 54 Fitzroy St, St Kilda
7. Las Tapas
Best for: Late-night tapas near St Kilda beach
With one of the best beaches in Melbourne a stone’s throw away, this tapas bar might conjure up the feeling of strolling through the backstreets of Barcelona. Spanish flavours are dialled in with top-shelf produce, offering an uncompromisingly authentic experience steered confidently by owners Javier Pardo-Vinals and Linus Kovats.
Las Tapas is perfect for sipping a Spanish red.
Simple, fresh ingredients are honoured with restraint and a nice dose of olive oil, while bread is baked to a traditional Catalan recipe and a massive wine list ties it all together. Although most regulars go straight for the pitcher of sangria that sits on the bar each night. Dishes change daily, driven by produce and seasonality, ensuring flavours are consistently rich and expressive.
Savour bold Spanish flavours at Las Tapas.
Address: 100 Chapel St, St Kilda
Best for: Sophisticated Indian with quality ingredients
Southall is a slick, sturdy and endlessly energetic BYO Indian restaurant helmed by Ravnish Gandhi, whose parents’ definitive Bombay By Night is still one of Melbourne’s finest South Asian diners.
Gandhi has picked up plenty of panache from his days in the family kitchen, turning the West London-inspired Southall into a bustling traditional Indian restaurant worth travelling for.
Classics like saag paneer and signature chicken tikka marinated in hung yoghurt are prime orders, as are the seafood curries made with fresh Australian catches. Although no feast is complete without some of those perfectly marinated Gippsland lamb cutlets straight from the Tandoor.
Enjoy Indian food classics at Southall.
Address: 2/120 -124 Carlisle St, St Kilda
9. Babu Ji
Best for: Experimental Indian food in a lively space
Jessi Singh’s growing empire of eccentric modern Indian restaurants includes this Grey Street favourite. Much like his other venues, Daughter In Law and Horn Please, Singh’s “un-traditional” approach has given the kitchen free reign to take bold twists to classic Indian food.
A self-service fridge stocked with over 40 beers from around the world helps anchor Babu Ji as a fun, arrestingly casual dining experience. Snappy, exceedingly polite staff march plates of Indian nachos and other eccentric Indian street food from the kitchen, but classics like butter chicken and palak paneer still reign supreme.
Indulge in flavourful Indian dishes at Babu Ji. (Image: Visit Victoria)
Address: 4/6 Grey St, St Kilda
10. The Espy Kitchen
Best for: Elevated pub food with a heady dose of live music
Cuisine: Australian pub food
Melbourne’s most multifaceted pub, The Espy, has 12 bars, three stages for live music, and two restaurants. Needless to say, it’s almost always heaving at this iconic venue and there’s never a shortage of things to do or people to meet.
The Espy is Melbourne’s most multifaceted pub.
But if you want dinner, you’re best off planting yourself in The Espy Kitchen. A bespoke barrel-ageing program means the cocktails here are consistently excellent, but there’s a strong list of Victorian brews as well. As for food, think elevated pub grub like whole rotisserie chicken and some of the best pizzas in St Kilda.
The Espy Kitchen serves elevated pub grub.
Address: 11 The Esplanade, St Kilda
11. Mya Tiger
Best for: Quick Cantonese cooking between rounds at The Espy
Fast, fun and super reliable, Mya Tiger is The Espy’s resident Cantonese diner, taking after small Chinese cook-shops that once populated Melbourne’s outer suburbs.
You’ll find that most locals head here for the atmosphere first and food second, but that’s not to say there aren’t some stunners on the menu like snacky five-spiced ribs and XO pippies with ginger, soy and shallots. If you’re in a large group, the whole roast duck should be the centrepiece of any feast at Mya Tiger.
The team have wisely curated the wine list to precisely match the flavours of Cantonese cooking, so expect those bigger, bolder whites and reds sourced from all over the world.
Address: 11 The Esplanade, St Kilda
12. Radio Mexico
Best for: High-quality Mexican food with Victorian produce
Head into Acland Street Plaza and you’ll quickly spot Radio Mexico. Opened in 2012, back when good Mexican food was hard to find in Melbourne, it’s the shopping centre’s busiest space for good reason.
Cosy up at Radio Mexico’s bar.
Owner Adele Arkell is exacting when it comes to ingredients, confirming Radio Mexico’s place as one of the best Mexican restaurants in Melbourne. And that’s despite fierce competition from the likes of Mamasita in the CBD and Superchido in Seddon.
Everything from organic white-corn tortillas to good quality Tequila and mezcal gives the menu consistency, so order up anything and you’ll leave satisfied. Just don’t skip those BBQ pork belly and pineapple tacos.
Try the scallop tacos at Radio Mexico.
Address: 11-13 Carlisle St, St Kilda
13. Prince Dining Room
Best for: Smokey Mediterranean classics with excellent cocktails
Head straight to the second floor of The Prince Dining Room and you’ll find the long-established Circa has been reborn simply as Prince Dining Room. Chef Daniel Cooper keeps the legacy of flame-licked coastal Mediterranean flavours alive with a loving ode to Australian produce.
Pair Mediterranean dishes with wine at Prince Dining Room.
Given the menu changes quite regularly, it’s hard to nail down any favourites, but the reputation for consistency is unquestionable. The menu is lifted by a newly introduced cocktail bar putting just as much emphasis on cocktails that keep things light and are precisely matched to the food.
The Prince Dining Room menu changes often.
Address: 2 Acland St, St Kilda
Best for: Authentic handmade pasta and artistic flair
A long-established fixture of St Kilda’s dining scene, Cicciolina is pitched as a haven of authentic Italian cuisine; unfussed with being much more. Since 1993, this kitchen has been dishing excellent handmade pasta and delicious dolci, elevated by a huge wine list of around 250 local and international drops.
Cicciolina is renowned for its artistic flair.
You’ll need a booking for lunch, but head to the walk-in-only back saloon and cosy up in one of those booths. The full menu is still available here, and we daresay it’s much more vibey, serving as a seamless extension of the dining room with a plethora of interesting art pieces.
The approachable atmosphere, similar to Donovan’s, feels like more of a dinner party where everyone is welcome, rather than a restaurant. Friendly service definitely helps maintain that image, which is likely why you’ll have to contend with a long list of regulars if you want to book ahead.
Dine on authentic Italian cuisine at Cicciolina.
Address: 130 Acland St, St Kilda
15. Chinta Ria Soul
Best for: Cheap and cheerful nasi goreng and rounds of buttery roti
China Ria Soul is St Kilda’s signature Malaysian restaurant, best known for their fragrant nasi goreng and speedy service. And while it doesn’t take long between ordering and eating, everything is made fresh with quality ingredients and a great deal of restraint when it comes to sauces.
Cheap and cheerful is the vibe, but that just means you can order more servings of roti with curry and noodle dishes. But it’s the happy buzz that keeps regulars coming back, seamlessly fitting into St Kilda’s notably relaxed lifestyle.
Address: 94 Acland St, St Kilda
Best for: Premium Japanese dining near St Kilda Beach
Although original chef Tatsuya Yamazaki has since left the kitchen, his legacy of preparing some of the best sashimi and sushi in Melbourne lives on.
Machi may be overshadowed by the expensive fine-dining Japanese giants of Melbourne CBD, but there’s no mistaking this for anything but one of the city’s finest hubs of the ubiquitous cuisine.
And while tradition has its place, there’s also a great deal of experimentation with top Victorian produce. Think wagyu steak topped with grilled foie gras, lobster donburi and grilled bone marrow served with kimchi rice. All dished up in a calm space with soft lighting and gentle Douglas fir timber.
Machi experiments with Victorian produce.
Address: 14 Inkerman St, St Kilda
17. Claypots Barbarossa
Best for: Worldly seafood dishes with a lively vibe
While St Kilda has many spots for seafood, Claypots is still seen as the gold standard of simple, fresh catches, enjoyed outdoors and washed down with local beer.
Regular live music fills the interior with life, but the romantic outdoor courtyard is hard to pass up with its charming design. Tiny boats hang from tall trees, echoing the sea as the kitchen cracks open mussels and oysters, slathers stingray with sambal, layers Spanish anchovies on toast, and grills local octopus.
The love of seafood runs deep for Claypots, taking inspiration from around the world for a wide range of sea-faring flavours.
Address: 213 Barkly St, St Kilda
18. Newmarket Hotel
Best for: Upmarket pub food with experimental brews
Cuisine: Australian pub food
Although Newmarket Hotel’s modern facelift is obvious, there’s still a sense of St Kilda’s history pulsing across the venue’s multiple floors. Various indoor and outdoor areas offer plenty of space, and there’s even a vintage chef’s table that fits around 16 people.
While the menu runs through standard pub fare like burgers, pizza and steak, the consistency in quality and well-sourced ingredients means pub grub keeps up with Melbourne’s exceptionally high standard of dining.
Of course, the pub is as much about strong cocktails and tap beer as it is about food, so you’ll find plenty to keep you going. A rapidly rotating list of beer favouring experimental brews from Victoria takes centre stage, but you’ll find all the classics as well.
Address: 34 Inkerman St, St Kilda
19. i Carussi II
Best for: Authentic pizza in a relaxed setting
A sequel to the popular Brunswick East spot, i Carussi II takes a more sophisticated approach. Where the original skews industrial chic, this is beachside elegance at its finest, framing beautiful 12-inch pizzas that touch on all the classics.
Grab a slice of your favourite pizza at i Carussi II.
The signature caprese with fior di latte and sopressa may just be one of the best pizzas in Melbourne. Dinner service is especially buzzing, as the upstairs bar gets plenty of traffic before groups of locals sit down to rip apart these glorious pies.
i Carussi II is beachside elegance at its finest.
Address: 231 Barkly St, St Kilda
Best for: Gluten-free and vegan-friendly dining
Cuisine: Latin American
Opened in 2023, Rufio isn’t your archetypal gluten-free and vegan-friendly kitchen. There are plenty of those dotted around Melbourne now. But this St Kilda favourite takes a Latin American twist, filling the minimalist dining space with the wafting aroma of lobster tostadas, cheesy empanadas, and corn tamales.
With the kitchen’s grill doing all the hard work and flavours packed tightly, the drinks list skews fun with no less than six different margaritas that are constantly changing.
Owned by the same team behind Elwood stalwart Repeat Offender, the fresh-faced venue also has a relaxed rooftop space that’s picking up in popularity amongst locals.
Head to Rufio if you’re down for al fresco dining.
Address: 188 Carlisle St, St Kilda
21. Post Office Club Hotel
Best for: A sunny courtyard and approachable pub food
Cuisine: Australian pub food
The long-standing Post Office Club Hotel is always coursing with energy, but from Friday to Saturday afternoon, things really dial up a notch.
The Post Office Club Hotel is always coursing with energy.
This is when you should be heading along to this popular Melbourne pub, where simple is best and the pub food takes a classier turn with the likes of steak frites, and cured kingfish swimming in dashi milk. A pro tip would be to head along on a Wednesday when the steak frites is $25 as opposed to $44.
Head to the Post Office Club Hotel on Wednesday for discounted steak frites.
Address: 306 St Kilda Rd, St Kilda