Nothing beats a satisfying meal with a killer view, but hunting for a good spot that offers both can prove difficult, with a ton of choices from the Yarra trickling all the way down our beautiful coastal beaches. So, we’d like to ease your pain of searching for the best places to dine by the water with our list.
By The River
FISH & CHIPPERY BY THE ATLANTIC
The new squid on the block is arguably one of the best options on the Crown Riverwalk, where the fish is always fresh and never frozen. Ready your taste buds for modern twists on your favourite classics, like the miso-yuzu-mayo combo sandwiched in a squid ink rockling fillet burger for example. And you’re in for a pretty sweet deal at weekday lunchtime – grab a Cajun spiced halibut burger, chips and a drink for only $15.
Not to forget their prestigious older sibling The Atlantic just next door, for to-die-for oysters and the freshest catches of the day.
How’s the view like from the MIDDLE of the river? Experience it for yourself by heading under the Southgate footbridge to the retro-chic island café floating atop the Yarra. Named after the mythical creature that’s been said to reside deep within the river, Ponyfish Island is great for you and your mates to enjoy yummy share platters paired with a chilled bevvy of choice whilst watching the sun kiss the skyline.
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Up for a refreshing beer by the river? Look no further. It’s just a stone’s throw from the Yarra and stocked with all of the Matilda Bay Brewing Co beers on tap. We recommend grabbing a sampling paddle of five beers for $16. Imagine your drink paired with The Hopkin’s River and Ranger’s Valley beef charcoal-grilled to perfection. It’s beef and beer heaven.
ARBORY BAR & EATERY
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner or supper alfresco, Arbory’s the place to be. Open daily from 7.30am till late, the city’s longest bar is sandwiched between two of Melbourne’s greatest assets – Flinders Street Station and the Yarra River. On top of the European cuisine, you and two others could enjoy some cocktails to share like the spicy Arbory Sangria or the minty Pimms No.1 Cup.
Feeling fancy? Riverside at Crown, this degustation restaurant not only offers superb Modern Australian cuisine with a wine list of 888 wines served amidst Latin American and jazz tunes, but also stunning views of Melbourne city from across the Yarra. We recommend the beef carpaccio with egg yolk dressing and the pan fried snapper with saffron and leek veloute for a night of luxury.
THE MEAT & WINE CO
The Southbank branch of The Meat & Wine Co offers an amazing view in every direction. Its perfect position overlooks the river AND the CBD, plus, the impressive open kitchen adds a theatrical element to the dining experience. On top of that, all of their dishes are beautifully crafted with the paddock to plate philosophy.
The waterfront restaurant bar has not one, but three levels serving up succulent skewers, saucy ribs and an extensive steak range paired with Australia’s most unique wines. Up for something smaller? Check out their happy hour tapas menu.
What about those who’ve got bottomless pits for stomachs? You’ll want to drop by Melbourne’s Langham Hotel to visit this lively riverfront buffet of inventive fine dining from around the world. Choose between breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets to suit the special occasion. Their adorable Smurf-themed high tea’s one to bring the kids.
A brief walk from the CBD, it’s perfect for after work drinks and riverside snacks with the best view overlooking the Yarra. The bar even has a cosy fireplace for snuggling on the couches when it’s chilly, as well as light entertainment in the form of trivia and sports. With food specials daily, plus $30 Corona buckets and $20 Pimms jugs every Sunday, you’re practically saving money. (Right?) If you’re in need of a good fill, their salmon, pork belly and crab linguini are what make the Wharf Hotel one of the best riverfront pubs here.
By The Bay
For this charming Middle Eastern canteen by the harbour, you’ll want to bring all your friends to enjoy a mouth-watering spread that’s meant to be shared amongst vegetarians and carnivores alike. Right in the heart of Docklands at the end of Central Pier, enjoy your meal on Mama’s Terrace for the full effect.
The philosophy at Black Cod is simple: Everyone who comes will be severed truly fresh seafood and the best burgers in town, cooked to perfection. With a prime location overlooking the beautiful harbour, you’ll want to be seated on the blue and white seats outside.
Catch the amazing sunset and stunning ocean view at Station Pier with Mr Hobson, paired with the constantly refreshing menu that’s full of consistently delectable meals. It’s a dynamic space with lots of choices at a variety of budgets, suitable for any occasion. Plus, the tapas has an amazing selection at under $15.
This is where you drop your diets. Mr Hobson’s neighbour has completely nailed the sinful deep-fried Nutella balls and Nutella-slathered gelato burgers. If you’re not too guilty to have some more, their savoury plates are a step above your local chipper. Choose to have your meal by the harbor or trot on down with your takeaway haul to Port Melbourne beach and sit amongst the sand with the cherry-on-top ocean view.
THE CERBERUS BEACH HOUSE
Half Moon Bay
Tucked away in the peace and quiet of Half Moon Bay, this beach house is the most relaxing spot for modern Aussie cuisine by the bay. It’s a feast for your eyes, too, as you’d be surrounded by the gorgeous Red Bluff cliffs, overlooking the historic shipwreck of HMVS Cerberus—a rare spectacle indeed. You can’t not try the fish and chips here, as it’s one of the consistent top 10 in Melb. And snack on their cheeky sweet potato cakes while you’re at it.
It’s your best bet for the weekend! Blessed with spectacular views of the Port Philip Bay, Tenpin serves up South East Asian flavours, an eclectic wine list and 10/10 cocktails. Try the wok-fried Port Arlington mussels with chilli jam and Thai basil—a crowd favourite. Seats fill up fast though, so it’s wise to book early.
You could spend all day at this must-try café with a 270 degree view of the Spirit of Tassie approaching the harbour. It’s both the cyclist’s destination and puppy’s wonderland. The coffee addicts will be happy to know that it’s got a lengthy, seasonal coffee menu which sources the freshest single origins from different regions. It’s got one of the most interesting Australasian fusion menus we’ve seen and offers some incredibly unique dishes (they’ve got MATCHA hotcakes!) For the Instagram-conscious, their specialty raindrop cakes and freakshakes are both quirky, yummy and make for a great photo!
Grab everyone you know just so you can share this fine dining restaurant’s most giant dish – The Strand Tower – that’s king prawns, blue swimmer crab, scallops in garlic and parsley butter, battered King George whiting, oysters natural and kilpatrick, salt and pepper calamari, Portarlington mussels in marinière sauce, smoked salmon and fries. Snag a sun-soaked seat on the side deck, and you’ll get an unparalleled view of Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay stretching out before your eyes.
If you’re feelin’ like fish ‘n’ chips and ice cold granitas by the beach, this beachside kiosk within the Stokehouse Precinct on St Kilda Beach is the fresher, healthier alternative. With wooden blocks as tables and seats lined up by the beach, the location is perfect for lunch on a sunny day out or to watch the sunset with your loved ones. Their adorable takeaway cups are perfect to take on a beach stroll while you wriggle your toes in the sand.
ST KILDA PIER KIOSK AND LITTLE BLUE RESTAURANT
It’s that charming yellow house you might have walked past to catch the little penguins after sunset. How about a pit stop to the kiosk in the day, where you can choose between having coffee, milkshakes, soft drinks and juice by the water? Alternatively, you can pop by Little Blue for their fillet steak topped with bearnaise sauce, dressed salad & battered onion rings to conclude your relaxing beach day.
On The Coast
CHRIS’S BEACON POINT
Here’s where you’ve got to go during your road trip along the Great Ocean Road. Located high in the Otways overlooking Bass Strait, you’ll want to perch yourself on the ocean-side balcony of the restaurant that calls themselves the Mecca for gourmet travellers. Their kitchen turns out stellar Greek-style dishes, including the confit duck leg with spiced poached quince, golden raisins and potato. Also try their heavenly cardamom and cinnamon crème brulée with earl grey tea sorbet and poached fruit compote. Hot tip: Stay for sunset, as the lights of Apollo Bay come on, illuminating the manna gums where koalas often feed.
THE GEELONG BOAT HOUSE
Fish and chips on the rooftop? How about yes! Positioned at the western end of the Geelong waterfront, you'll find the Geelong Boat House where you can set yourself up on the gangplank or up on the bridge deck for great bay views while scarfing down Geelong’s finest.
By The Lake
THE COVE HOTEL
Located on the marina, Victoria’s best bistro is a terrific venue for premier dining off a multi award-winning menu with a gorgeous view of the water close by. The thyme roasted chicken roulade with duck fat potatoes is sure to reel you in for a second visit. They’ve even got a Sports Bar hangout area where you can watch any sport you’d like on a large screen and even place your bets in the TAB whilst sipping on ice cold beer.
HIDDEN JADE AND THE POINT
Albert Park Lake
Here’s where the east meets the west on the edge of Albert Park Lake. At Hidden Jade, they’ve combined Australian ingredients with authentic Sichuan flavour in order to create something new while staying true to their heritage. Or you could treat yourself to a six or ten-course modern Australian degustation experience at The Point, where the floor-to-ceiling windows at overlooking the lake are perfect for enjoying the lake views. Pro tip: Walk up the spiral staircase for another breathtaking perspective of the lake.
Perhaps you feel more like a classic fish & chips when you're by the water, well we've got just the list for you here.