Times are weird, friends. But one thing is for sure; there has never been a better time to get outdoors and enjoy some good food and fresh air with your nearest and dearest. Whether you're after a casual bite or a sophisticated sit-down, we've rounded up a few of our favourite alfresco dining spots on The Ninch.
St Andrews Beach Brewery – Wash down a wood-fired pizza with a tasting paddle in the old stables-turned-dining-booths at St Andrews Beach Brewery in Fingal. The spacious outdoor beer garden is the place to be in summer, offering easy, breezy brewery food at its best. Open 11am-8pm daily.
Ten Minutes by Tractor – Take in the view from the terrace at Ten Minutes by Tractor in Main Ridge. Experience their celebrated cool climate wines whilst overlooking the vineyard below. Choose from a casual menu of cheese, charcuterie, terrine and toasties, then top it all off with a chocolate delice for dessert – a nod to the fine-dining offering in the restaurant. Open 11:30am-4pm Friday to Sunday.
Montalto – Enjoy relaxed kitchen garden dining in the Piazza at Montalto in Red Hill South. Choose from a selection of tasty share plates, pizzas, sides and desserts – all matched with their award-winning wines. Finish the afternoon with a self-guided tour of the iconic Sculpture Trail. Open 11am-5pm daily.
Kerri Greens – Pack a picnic and graze the day away at Kerri Greens, with tastings and tipples available at the Cellar Door. Open for bookings and walks ins from 11am-5pm on Saturday and 12pm-5pm on Friday and Sunday. Keep an eye out on their socials for pop-up events with local DJs and food trucks.
Cellar and Pantry – Hit the deck at Cellar and Pantry and enjoy lunch with the locals of Red Hill. The team serve up relaxed fare from the window at the front of the store, including seasonal salads, toasted Turkish rolls and moreish cheese and charcuterie boards with local wines by the glass. Whilst you're there, you can stock up on some of the best produce and pantry goodies that the Peninsula has to offer. Open 7am-7pm daily.
Green Olive – Share tasting plates amongst the olive groves at this family-run farm in Main Ridge. The all-day farm menu features grazing platters piled with local produce and goodness from their garden, alongside wines from the estate vineyard. There's even a trampoline and playground to keep the kids occupied. Open 9am-5pm Thursday to Monday.
Foxeys Hangout – Foxeys Hangout is a destination for natural wine lovers, offering the first fully-certified biodynamic wines on the Peninsula. The terraced decks are perfect for laidback dining with low seating and uninterrupted valley views. Daily specials are written on a large blackboard in the cellar door, with small plates showcasing seasonal ingredients. Its walk-in only, and groups are limited to four persons, so gather your closest crew for the occasion. Open 11am-5pm daily.
The Verandah at Merricks General Wine Store – Order a nourishing breaky and freshly-baked pastry from the window, along with a Little Rebel coffee, of course. With landscaped gardens and a charming front porch covered in vines, there's plenty of space to sit back and soak in the serenity. Open from 7am daily.
Alatonero – Whilst a European holiday may still feel like a distant dream, you can transport yourself to Santorini with relaxed outdoor dining at Alatonero in McCrae. Located directly opposite the beach, the restaurant offers a share style menu of Greek favourites with cocktails to match. The ‘Santorini Donkey’ is our pick for summer sipping – a refreshing mix of vodka, limoncello, fig, ginger ale, lime and mint. Open 12pm-late Wednesday to Sunday.
Jetty Road Brewery – Located in Dromana Industrial Estate, Jetty Road Brewery has got you sorted for laidback outdoor dining with an expansive beer garden out front. Rustic planter beds and festoon lighting set the vibe, with live music playing Friday through Sunday. Whilst this place is famous for its ales, their JFC (Jetty Road Fried Chicken) and indoor Shufl board also attract a crowd. Open from 12pm Wednesday-Sunday.
Café Heronswood – Treat your Mum to Devonshire tea and scones with jam and cream at Café Heronswood in Dromana, followed by a leisurely stroll around the historic gardens and nursery. It's the perfect spot to reconnect with nature and inspire your inner green thumb. Open 10am-3pm daily.
Schnapper Point Kiosk – Swing into Schnapper Point Kiosk in Mornington for breaky rolls in the A.M, or cocktails and fish tacos in the afternoon. Best enjoyed whilst hanging out at the benches overlooking the bay. Open 8am-4pm daily.
Commonfolk Coffee Roaster & Cafe – Sip on some seriously good specialty coffee in the courtyard at Commonfolk, or drop in for a leisurely breakfast or lunch. The hippie house granola and cold-brew are no-brainers when the weather is warm. Open 6am-3pm weekdays and 8am-3pm on weekends.
Hobson – The newly opened Hobson in Rosebud is the ideal Sunday brunch spot, with a stellar location directly opposite the foreshore. Spacious outdoor picnic tables and striped umbrellas set the scene for quality coffee from Inglewood Coffee Roasters. The breaky menu includes picture-perfect acai bowls, a prawn and kimchi omelette and the ever-popular seeded smashed avo. Open 8am-4pm daily.
Haba – The old Baha in Rye has recently been revamped into Haba, a modern live-music venue and beach bar by industry legend Jerome Borazio. Walk across from the beach for ambient DJ sets, icy cold drinks and classic pub fare in the open beer garden. Open daily from 12pm-late.
Ocean Beach Pavilion – Think beach club vibes with a café, bar, kids' playground, and restaurant all rolled into one. Expect good tunes and share plates with a South-East Asian flare, as well as regular pop-ups and collabs with local vendors. Just look for the giant palm trees on Ocean Beach Road in Sorrento. Open daily from 10am-late.
Hotel Sorrento – Head straight to the top to enjoy outdoor dining at Hotel Sorrento, with a rooftop bar overlooking the sparkling waters of Port Phillip Bay. The menu is made for a good time, featuring Mexican street eats, signature cocktails and an extensive wine list. Open daily from 12pm-late.