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Donovan's Restaurant

Home > Melbourne > Romantic | Restaurants | Pubs | Outdoor | Food and Wine
by AbbyC (subscribe)
Freelance writer with a passion for anything that involves eating and drinking.
Published March 25th 2014

For those of you out there who are St Kilda dwellers, or regular visitors to the area, you may have noticed the rather quaint looking pale yellow building with a terracotta roof that sits elegantly on the water's edge at the back of Luna Park.

You may have noticed it, but you may not have been in.

On Tuesday night my charming other half decided to treat me to a lovely meal to celebrate an insignificant X amount of years and X amount of months anniversary, also known as the "any excuse for a meal out" faux anniversary. This month it was Donovan's. Donovan's is quite possibly the homeliest fine dining restaurant that I have ever stepped foot in to. I felt as if I was back at home in my mother's house in England and she had miraculously transformed into an expert chef. Donovan's is an old bathing house from the 1920's that has now been converted by Kevin and Gail Donovan into a cozy restaurant. The ambiance at Donovan's is ultra relaxed with its open fireplaces, a library and a gorgeous verandah to enjoy a drink on.


Myself and my other half entered the restaurant perfectly vertical and ready to eat, and just a few short hours later we were both lying perfectly horizontal, cocktail in hand, on the outdoor terrace lounges.

As this was a "special occasion" we reserved one of the indoor tables by the window. This makes a huge difference at Donovan's as the windows look out on to the bay and the view at sunset is beautiful. This is also the perfect position for people watching the weird and wonderful St Kilda residents who prowl along the beach front. Immediately we were offered drinks, one Long Island Iced Tea (for me) and one whisky and diet coke (for him).

We weren't particularly hungry so we decided to skip the starters and head straight for the main course. This was also partly due to our recent excursion to Rosetta which left a rather large hole in our pockets, and at $60 a pop for a main we tried to ignore the fact that the hole was rapidly turning into a crater. Price aside, I opted for the milk-fed veal cutlet, cooked medium rare, and served with a beurre noisette, which is just a fancy way of saying brown butter. My other half ordered the famous Donovan's classic beer-battered fish and house chips.


A long island iced tea later, the food arrived. It was beautifully presented and it tasted fantastic. Donovan's really does transform classic homely food into sophisticated and satisfying dishes that hit the spot. There were yummy noises all round. After the food we moved outside to rub our full bellies and watch the world go by.

The waiter successfully managed to sell us some "great cocktails to help you relax" and we swiftly made ourselves comfortable on the lounge chairs. Donovan's is beautiful and as someone who is not interested in posing for "selfies" at every occasion and posting pictures of my food online, I found myself doing just that and savouring the memory of this lovely experience.

Donovan's is gorgeous restaurant for any occasion and I wholeheartedly recommend that you go there whilst the weather is still semi-decent.
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Why? Perfect place for the sunset and people watching
Phone: 9534 8221
Where: 40 Jacka Boulevard St Kilda 3182 Victoria Australia
Cost: $$$
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