Take yours with a side of sunshine in these warmer months at one of the city’s best new alfresco openings.

A Melbourne spring is a thing of beauty, and with a fresh crop of promising alfresco activity popping up in recent months, the city is primed to bask in the sunshine once again. From modern Thai on CBD rooftops to local produce with a river view, follow the light this spring with Melbourne’s best new places to dine alfresco. 

1. Victoria by Farmer's Daughters

If the concept of ‘local and seasonal’ has been front and centre in the state’s food and drink philosophy for at least the last couple of years, it may have found its most interesting form yet in Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters, a brand-new river-facing addition to Fed Square. Overlooking the Yarra, chef Alejandro Saravia’s blockbuster opening takes the idea of regional cuisine one step further, highlighting produce from a different part of Victoria every season – the spring menu a guided forage through Ballarat and its hinterland. With a wine library showcasing Victorian excellence new and old and a sunny outdoor terrace overlooking the Yarra, Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters is a new culinary gateway to Melbourne and beyond, and a surefire springtime winner. 

2. Her Rooftop

Melbourne loves nothing more than a sparkling new venue replete with banging rooftop, and that’s precisely what it got when five-storey hospitality tower Her opened doors earlier this year. There’s a lot to take in here: HER Bar on the ground floor, the feted Music Room on the second floor, but it’s the combination of the opulent Her Rooftop and the food from chic Thai restaurant BKK one floor below that kept Her in the limelight throughout winter, priming it for an all-out spring. Order something handheld and delicious from BKK – or indeed a full Thai feast – and a Margarita from Her Rooftop, and soak up the city with a side of sunshine from its freshest new vantage point. 

3. Connie's

Connie’s Italian Dining & Pizza began life as a hole-in-the-wall by-the-slice joint downstairs in Heartbreaker, serving delicious New York-style pizza until deep into the night. Delicious enough to warrant a fully realised restaurant, as it would happen – the Made in the Shade Group (Bar Margaux, Heartbreaker, The Everleigh) honouring its cult popularity with a standalone pleather-banquetted trattoria earlier this year. What’s more, it’s equipped with another glowing CBD rooftop. If you’re into things like meatballs, stateside nostalgia, and something called a tirami-sundae – a surprisingly elegant mash-up dessert – and you like it all with another great view of downtown Melbourne, you’re going to love Connie’s. 

4. Arbory Afloat

Arbory Afloat is not new – this spring will be the seventh coming of Melbourne’s best-loved pontoon restaurant and bar – but it is made new every year with a brand-new concept sailing into town as soon as the frost begins to thaw. Just which country Afloat will be channelling is kept secret until she docks outside Flinders Street Station, but the quality of her offering is always guaranteed. Last year she returned from the high seas bearing the tall tales and edible treasures of the Turkish Riviera, and while this year’s theme remains a mystery, the sunny good times are sure to roll no matter where they’re rolling from. 

5. Yarra Botanica

Across the river and new in 2022, Yarra Botanica is another high-concept pontoon bar. Like Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters, it offers a menu that is almost entirely Victorian: a riverside celebration of local produce and producers. Order a terrine made from delicious Otways pork, doughnuts filled with Yarra Valley rainbow trout and caviar, and crumpets topped with Portarlington mussels, drink a 100 per cent Victorian cocktail, and wink at the sun as it glides over a gentle river swell.   



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