Bayside in 5: The best bayside restaurants and bars for a date night
The season of love is upon us, and if there’s one way to someone’s heart, it’s through an excellent plate of food (and a glass of wine!). This week, we’ve found five of the bayside’s best restaurants and bars for kindling a bit of romance.
It’s been plating up the freshest fish in Melbourne for decades, but it’s clear the love affair between bayside locals Stokehouse isn’t ending any time soon. For a truly luxe beachside dining experience, head upstairs to take advantage of the uninterrupted sunset views. For something a bit more relaxed, opt for simple, expertly done Mediterranean food at the downstairs pasta restaurant and bar. Booking is highly recommended, especially if you want to take advantage of their Valentine’s menu, but if you don’t manage to nab a spot, Stokebar will happily accept walk-in couples looking for a cocktail and a snack.
Address: 30 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda VIC 3182
Opening hours: 12pm - 12am every day.
We all love our local Italian restaurant, but Valentine’s Day calls for something a bit more elevated. Ciao Cielo’s Valentine’s Day menu is a celebration of contemporary Italian cuisine, offering up elegant takes on the classics; highlights include the confit duck arancini, Sardidian goat leg and a tiramisu with orange mascarpone. And it’s all served up in the old Port Melbourne Courthouse, a beautiful heritage building which owners Kate and Bryan have fitted out with a sympathetic, ambient interior.
Address: 115 Bay St, Port Melbourne VIC 3207
Opening hours: 12pm - 9:30pm every day.
A casual vibe doesn’t mean compromising on the menu. Las Tapas feels rustic with its exposed brick walls, salsa music and the daily blackboard of specials, but the Spanish tapas here are refined, made using only traditional techniques and the freshest produce. Javier and Linus, the owners, are adamant about doing things as they would do in Spain. There’s no cool room – Javier visits the markets every morning for the day’s ingredients – and the bread is made from a traditional Catalan recipe his mother had translated into English. Bookings for Valentine’s Day are highly recommended.
Address: 100 Chapel St, St Kilda VIC 3183
Opening hours: Wednesday - Sunday: 5:30pm - late.
The Espy’s epic refurbishment has kept plenty of history intact. At the top of the grand staircase, in the iconic Gershwin room, Mya Tiger provides a welcoming spot for date night. The fit-out reflects plenty of local history, too. It’s inspired by the gold rush-era Chinese cook-shops of St Kilda. On the menu, you’ll find Cantonese classics with a bit of Melburnian flair, like prawn toast garnished with caviar and charred octopus with XO sauce. The drinks list features a fun cocktail section. The Yuzu-tini or the Espresso Martini with an oolong tea infusion will provide plenty of talking points for date night.
Address: 11 The Esplanade, St Kilda VIC 3182
Opening hours: 12pm - 10pm every day, excluding Mondays, when they open at 5:30pm.
Brooklyn Cocktail Bar
If your idea of a great date involves an expertly-made drink, you can’t go further than Brooklyn Cocktail Bar. In the heart of Elwood Village, it’s a little blue sanctuary promising relaxation, good conversation, and an extensive drinks list that covers both modern and classic tastes. And you can bet their espresso martini is perfect – it’s the reason owners James and Rach opened the bar. If you get hungry, the meat and cheese boards won’t disappoint; all the fresh produce is sourced locally from Cleo’s Deli.
Address: 81 Ormond Rd, Elwood VIC 3184
Opening hours: Thursday: 5pm - 10:30pm. Saturday and Sunday: 4pm - 1am. Sundays: 4pm - 5pm.