Alfresco dining in Melbourne: here's where to go

Make the most of the warmer months by heading to these outdoor restaurants in Melbourne.

The terrace at French Saloon is Melbourne's hottest lunch spot.
  • Larissa Dubecki
  • February 2019

If the weather is warm and the atmosphere is right, you can settle in for hours enjoying cocktails and snacks on a terrace overlooking the Yarra River or Melbourne opens in new window city skyline. For guaranteed good food and vibes in the great outdoors, try these hotspots…

French Saloon

When the sun is shining, join half of Melbourne in making a beeline for the balcony terrace at French Saloon opens in new window in the heart of the city. If the real estate gods are smiling, settle in for a session of serious Eurocentrism with four types of caviar and oysters served as nature intended (au naturel or with horseradish and bottarga) and a French-leaning wine list.

Long Chim

It’s Bangkok by way of Southbank at David Thompson’s Crown casino-based celebration of Thai street food. The best seats at this vibrant canteen opens in new window can be found on the terrace overlooking the colourful riverfront promenade. If Melbourne’s fickle weather doesn’t live up to Thailand’s tropical promise, the chilli-laden heat of the chicken larb certainly will.

Long Chim has exotic cocktails, Thai bites and a lively outdoor setting.
Long Chim has exotic cocktails, Thai bites and a lively outdoor setting.

Harley and Rose

There are many good things about this place and the picnic-style tables out front – perfect for families and West Footscray’s growing tribe of tattooed hipsters – are one of them. Nestled down the quiet end of Barkly Street, the Harley and Rose opens in new window the area’s go-to spot for perfect salumi, pizza and pasta.

Arbory Afloat

This pontoon opens in new window floating on the Yarra River is the buzzing headquarters of Melbourne’s party crowd. Striped umbrellas and sunbeds nail the Amalfi Coast vibe and the menu follows suit, delivering easy-peasy drinking food, including beef carpaccio, fried zucchini flowers and Neapolitan-style pizza. Just add an Aperol spritz and a pout.

This floating restaurants is where you go to see and be seen!
This floating restaurants is where you go to see and be seen!

Hotel Esplanade

Give a cheer for the return of the Espy. Once beloved by locals and visitors alike, St Kilda’s Hotel Esplanade opens in new window has been under thorough renovation to prepare for a sunny future. Now with 12 bars, 200 beers on tap, a band room and, of course, a large beer garden with views of the bay, the reinvented Espy is sure to draw in crowds every day of the week.


Madame Brussels

Melbourne’s original rooftop bar to rule them all, Madame Brussels opens in new window is a captivating garden party where waiters in tennis whites tend to your every cocktail need amid an astroturfed fantasia. Order a poached chicken, chive and mayo toasted sandwich with a Pimms chaser – and don’t forget to crook your pinkie.