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The Baths Sorrento

Home > Melbourne > Beaches | Brunch | Escape the City | Fine Dining | Food and Wine
by Tricia Ziemer (subscribe)
Television Producer & Photojournalist with a passion for sharing adventures in and around Melbourne, Australia. See my www.youtube.com/user/tmztvaustralia for other adventures. Subscribe to me so I can tell you of upcoming fab things not to miss.
Published August 8th 2021
Seafood so fresh, it could have been caught off the pier
Back in the 1870s, there were lovely salt baths in Sorrento but shorelines change with the wind, waves and tides of time. They used to be walled off, so no fish could enter, but stayed as fresh and clean as possible. There was separation between the men and women with tents to change in. Very English and of the times.

Sorrento Foreshore Pier and Historic Buildings 1870s - Nepean Historical Society
Sorrento Foreshore Pier and Historic Buildings 1870s - Nepean Historical Society


From history research, I was able to surmise that during the 1860s, Parliamentarians Charles Gavan Duffy and the theatrical entrepreneur George Coppin fell in love with the front and back beaches of Sorrento. Dubby built a holiday house there and Coppin began promoting it to friends and travellers from Melbourne. They started bringing tourists in by bay steamer to explore the beaches and the 'Ocean Amphitheatre' on the Sorrento back beach with the sea baths. They built a tram line across to these back beaches. While I was researching this, I triggered. "Oh my goodness, I have a historical picture of the Sorrento back beaches trams, that have been in the family for years."

Sorrento Back Beach Tram 1910 - Tricia Ziemer Collection
Sorrento Back Beach Tram 1910 - Tricia Ziemer Collection


But I digress, Duffy selected the name Sorrento, based on Sorrento, Italy on the Gulf of Naples. In the 1870s, Coppin began building an extensive pier on the bay, where a steamer would dock, receiving buildings and the Historic Sorrento Hotel. A few years later, swimming baths were built, the walking tracks formed, and Sorrento Park along Port Phillip Bay foreshore was laid out.

Historical Photo of Steamer Sorrento Pier
Historical Photo of Steamer Sorrento Pier

The pier still exists to this day and those original historic buildings have become a modern restaurant, The Baths.

The Baths Restaurant, Wedding and Function Venue
The Baths Restaurant, Wedding and Function Venue


We stumbled upon The Baths, when we were out and about, during our out of lockdown time. We headed to the beaches and stayed in Cape Schanck, at a lovely venue called the VIEWS, a stunning facility in the Mornington Peninsula.

We took the quick drive to Sorrento from the resort to explore the beaches and to find some lunch. I wanted to be able to see the water. I am a beach baby at heart. We discovered The Baths.

Fish off the Sorrento Pier
Fish off the Sorrento Pier


We were not sure what to expect with distancing requirements and sometimes stripped down menus. But The Baths did not disappoint in any way.

The Baths Sorrento 180 degree Views
The Baths Sorrento 180 degree Views - All Photos by Tricia Ziemer unless noted


Even with restrictions, this restaurant was at capacity. Once you walk in, you know why. This star level eatery is right on the water with breathtaking 180-degree views across Port Phillip, the Sorrento Pier and the coming and goings of the Sorrento Fairy.

Sorrento to Queenscliff Ferry
Sorrento to Queenscliff Ferry


This is another lovely trip you must take when you are there. Even though the first release of free Ferry tickets are gone, keep an eye on their website.

You had a choice of indoor or alfresco dining. We were happy to just get in. Do book ahead - they are very popular!

Alfresco dining as well as Indoor - perfect for any weather
Alfresco dining as well as Indoor - perfect for any weather


And they cater for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays or any other special event. Can you imagine anything more wonderful than getting married on the beach and then walking into your wedding reception? Even as we were there, they were setting up for a function in the back room, with balloons, flowers and fine trimmings.

Function being set up as we enjoyed our meal
Function being set up as we enjoyed our meal


I was a bit concerned about a cut-down menu. I have found this at many venues as they try to keep costs down and still keep the freshest produce, menus have trimmed down. But the menu was robust with seafood. Just what you want at the sea, the freshest seafood.

REAL Calamari - not calamari product
REAL Calamari - not calamari product


And the calamari was real calamari/squid, not calamari product. Many pubs are serving a soft calamari product made of something else. It is soft and mushy. Calamari/Squid should be slightly chewy if it is a real product. Just ask a waiter to clarify with the chef that is true squid.

It is set up as a 3-course menu for $69 or 2-course menu for $59. This is very reasonable and great for us who are not sweet eaters. The menu is updated seasonally by the chef.

Modern and Classy
Modern and Classy


The service was stellar. Customer service has gotten a bit lost in these modern times of quick, part-time, and turnover staff. But not here. It was spot on.

The freshest of seafood
The freshest of seafood


We spent a lovely time enjoying sunny views, local wines, fresh seafood and friendship. I would check the menu before you go to make sure something suits your taste and do book as they are very popular. The Baths is a very popular spot and at weekends, it is packed. If you can sneak away mid-week, you can enjoy with less "traffic".

Salmon sea to plate
Salmon sea to plate


Hearty serves for the lads
Hearty serves for the lads


Thank you to the historical society for some of the historic images.
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Why? You love eating the freshest seafood on the waterfront
When: Most days 11:30 to 9pm Sunday to 3 pm
Phone: 03 59841500
Where: 3278 Point Nepean Rd, Sorrento VIC 3943
Cost: $59 for 2 courses, $69 for 3 courses - wine extra
Your Comment
Nice informative article Tricia. Have been on the Sorrento - Queenscliff ferry many times. It's definitely a place to visit.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|3191) 80 days ago
What an interesting bit of history to set the scene for your review Tricia.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|9257) 79 days ago
We've had a very very delicious breakfast at The Baths before. I highly recommend it.
by Marton (score: 1|12) 78 days ago
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