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Sorry London lovelies, but as you dig around for your winter coat, down-under Smiths are getting set for a scorching summer in St Kilda, Melbourne. This seaside suburb beckons with a host of hot new places to eat, drink and play. Make a weekend of it and stay at St Kilda boutique hotel The Prince, where a rated restaurant, rock-star bars and a soothing day spa mean you can keep the party going or recover in style.

Stokehouse restaurant in St Kilda, MelbourneThere’s no surer sign that the warm days have arrived than the reopening of the Stokehouse balcony (pictured above). This sun-kissed spot becomes a magnet for Melbourne’s A-list, as the city’s beautiful people gather for Bellinis as the sun slips below Port Phillip Bay. Inside, the two-hatted restaurant dishes up flapping-fresh seafood and a signature bombe Alaska in chic, light-filled surrounds. Downstairs, there’s a more casual bar and terrace restaurant touting pizzas and fish ’n’ chips.

The Newmarket Hotel, St KildaSmith reviewer Andrew McConnell is also making a splash in the south, with the opening of his achingly hip eatery Golden Fields. Andrew draws on cheffing stints in Shanghai and Hong Kong to serve a modern take on Asian favourites, including pillowy pork buns, braised beef shin with five-spice, and a lobster roll that’s taken on cult status. Seriously good stuff.

Another must is The Newmarket Hotel (pictured left), a one-time pub that’s now a temple to Cali-Mex cuisine. Chef-about-town Paul Wilson oversees a menu that offers knockout soft-shell crab tacos, sigh-worthy suckling pig, and quesadillas filled with mushrooms and huitlacoche, a Mexican delicacy that involves the word ‘smut’ (go on, look it up).

Fitzrovia cafe, St Kilda, MelbourneNewest kid on the block (and neighbour to Golden Fields) is Fitzrovia (pictured right), a polished café from the team behind Melbourne coffee masters St Ali. Victorian produce stars in a line-up that includes all-day breakfasts of smoky baked beans with poached eggs (the perfect foil for a big night-before), and mains of prawn pasta or parmesan-crumbed veal. On the drink front, along with spot-on St Ali espresso, there are detox juices, fragrant tisanes and a tight list of wines – and no-one will mind if you order bubbles before noon.

155 Fitzroy Street (+61 (0)3 9537 0001)
Golden Fields 157 Fitzroy Street (+61 (0)3 9525 4488)
The Newmarket Hotel 34 Inkerman Street (+61 (0)3 9537 1777)
Stokehouse 30 Jacka Boulevard (+61 (0)3 9525 5555)

Still want more? Check out our jam-packed Melbourne destination guide.

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