St Kilda is an iconic Melbourne inner city suburb. You will most likely have seen images of the very well known St Kilda beach and St Kilda Pier. The suburb contains some great Melbourne eating and a bit of grunge giving it an authentic Melbourne feel!
Where to Stay
Tolarno’s is the place to stay in St Kilda. It has been around for years and has a great location on Fitzroy Street with several tram options right on its door step.
It is a modern boutique hotel with an art feel – it was once owned my Melbourne artist Mirka Mora. Many of her works are still hung around the hotel – as well as those of up and coming Melbournian artists which gives the hotel a great feel. It is a funky and unusual set up. I have stayed in both the standard rooms which are very nice as well as the suites. My favourite room is 332. The rooms are comfortable and stylish and the suites have balconies fronting onto Fitzroy street.
The beds are very comfortable with high quality sheets and there are good grade toiletries. The suites have a little kitchen and a table. There is a Woolworths just up the road so you can eat in if you desire quite easily. You can also use local delivery services like Deliveroo if you would like a night in. The Tolarno’s restaurant was closed when I was there but I believe it is opening again in 2017.
If you feel like heading out Tolarno’s is smack in the middle of many great restaurants. The staff are fantastic for recommendations – and most of the places listed below are in easy walking distance.
What to Do
Take a stroll along St Kilda beach which is also home to some amazing sunsets. Don’t forget to walk to the end of the pier to get the view and to get shots back. You can then head east towards Brighton or west towards the city once you hit the boardwalk. I love the walk towards the city – this takes you through Middle Park, Albert Park and Port Melbourne. Once you hit Port Melbourne you can check out the iconic Station Pier – point of entry for so many new Australians. You can also hop on a tram here and be in the heart of the city within ten minutes.
Another famous Melbourne image is the gaping mouth of the entry to Luna Park. Pop in for some retro shots and perhaps hop on a rollercoaster. From here you are only a short stroll to atmospheric Acland Street. Acland street is filled with cafes, restaurants and cute shops. But it is most famous for its cakes so this is the thing to do – my favourite is the Europa Cake Shop.
If you feel up for a bit of exercise in addition to your walking head to the St Kilda bowls club on Fitzroy Street. About 20 years ago this place made bowls young and it is worth a visit for a fun afternoon.
Finally if you have time see if you can get to a gig at the Palais. There wouldn’t be a person who grew up in Melbourne that hasn’t been to at least one gig here!
What and Where to Eat
There are so many good food options in St Kilda. So many in fact that I can give you a recommendation based on your preferred cuisine type!
If it is Mexican you are after head to Newmarket. This is modern Mexican – no sloppy sour cream and heavy on the guac. This is fresh and light and flavoursome. If you’re feeling European head to Luxembourg on Fitzroy street – they do fantastic meat and cheese platters.
For seafood head to Claypots on Fitzroy street for a great value meal. There is another Claypots at South Melbourne market. This is a more casual set up with a menu that reflects this. But the calamari is to die for!
Finally perhaps my preferred option if I had to choose one would be Ichi Ni on the esplanade. I do love a funky Asian restaurant and Ichi Ni hits the spot. The aubergine with miso paste was especially good. And you must try the deep fried prawns with mayonnaise – the Ebi mayo. Like most places in st Kilda they have a great outdoor area so that you can check out the view weather permitting.
My number one for coffee is Fitzrovia – more on that below in If You only do one thing. It is almost hard to get bad coffee in inner city Melbourne but a couple of other proven spots are GB Espresso on Fitzroy Street and then coffee plus at Il Fornaio a great little bakery on the Fitzroy Street end of Acland Street.
If you have space in your stomach head to Milk the Cow – a fantastic cheese bar on Fitzroy Street. They have done a lot of the work for you here and have many different recommendations on flights of cheese, cheese and wine, cheese and treats, cheese and everything! If you’re into all things cheese check their website before you go as they often have cheese and wine evening events on. It is a lovely little bar/restaurant and has a great outdoor seating area if the weather works. It is also next door to the Luxembourg Café mentioned above so could also be dessert after dinner there.
If you only do one thing during your 24 hours in St Kilda
Have breakfast or brunch at Fitzrovia. Or really anything here – they are open for dinner some evenings mid week. The food here is FANTASTIC! I have tried most of the breakfast/brunch menu and there are no bad choices. However the classic bacon and eggs is my absolute favourite – with their tomato relish. The quality of their ingredients is out of this world. The staff are fantastically friendly. The place itself has a lovely atmosphere. They also do outstandingly good muffins and more amazing sweet things. And then there is the coffee. Even decaf is brilliant here. I have been to Fitzrovia at least 10 times and it has never disappointed!
Also published on Medium.