Best Restaurants in Regional Victoria

Updated 2 months ago

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Sometimes, it feels like Melbourne is the be-all and end-all of dining in this state. But visit certain parts of regional Victoria and that illusion quickly falls away. You’ve probably heard of Brae, which has twice appeared on the World’s Best Restaurants list. Browse this group of restaurants and you’ll see there are plenty more places worth taking a road trip for, regardless of how many hours the drive is. Our tip? Stay the night and make a weekend of it – it’ll only make the meal that much more memorable and special.

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  • It’s one of world’s finest restaurants, but this country cottage also has a comforting, familial character that makes chef Dan Hunter’s creative food that much more enjoyable. Don’t leave without strolling the extensive grounds, where much of the restaurant’s produce is grown.

  • This rustic, intimate 30-seater by acclaimed chef Brigitte Hafner and wine whiz James Broadway feels less like a restaurant and more like a friend’s house – if your friend had access to farm-fresh produce and a cellar full of wines from Victoria’s most interesting new producers. A prime long-lunch destination.

  • House-made dashi, miso, pickles and ferments are the hallmarks of this decade-old fine diner by chef Michael Ryan, who spins hyperlocal produce into creative, Japanese-inspired dishes. On the floor, his wife Jeanette Henderson pours matched sakes and local wines.

  • Just two people work at this tiny eight-seat fine diner. They do everything: wash the dishes, pour the wines, and cook the outstanding multi-course, daily-changing menu. This is one of the best – and most intimate – dining experiences Victoria has to offer.

  • Long, slow lunches and degustation dinners at the edge of the lake – Alla and Allan Wolf-Tasker have been doing their thing since 1979 and it's never lost relevance.

  • The dining room of this sleek, matchbox-shaped building has one of the most impressive restaurant views in Australia. The regional menu showcases the Grampians just as well.

  • It takes at least three months to secure a seat at this set-menu fine diner from chef Tobin Kent. Not just because it’s excellent – which it is – but because there are just 12 seats, making for a particularly intimate and memorable dining experience.

  • Point Leo Estate’s in-house fine diner is up there with the peninsula’s best culinary experiences. Chef Josep Espuga and his team are firmly committed to local produce, so the only constant on the changeable European-leaning menu is that most ingredients come from nearby, if not from Point Leo itself.

  • This stalwart winery has some of the oldest vines on the Mornington Peninsula, and some of the most impressive dining. Although the restaurant was originally built to help showcase the maturing range of wines, it's since grown an esteemed reputation of its own.

  • Jackalope’s in-house fine diner is just as extravagant and eccentric as the rest of the sprawling complex. But it's grounded by a steadfast commitment to local produce and seasonality. And caviar.

  • A modern, leather-clad dining room led by executive chef Josh Pelham that looks out over Fingal Beach.

  • An ex-Vue de Monde chef championing local seafood at this lakeside bistro.

  • Four generations. That’s how long this family has been perfecting the art of exceptional wine and homegrown produce. Enjoy a drop of its revered barrel-fermented chardonnay, or complex old-vine shiraz in the bright and spacious dining room.

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  • From the helipad to the high-profile architect, no expense has been spared at Levantine Hill. At the restaurant, a Levant-inspired menu that leans into the owners’ heritage. Settle into a wine-barrel-shaped booth for Middle Eastern snack plates, Beluga caviar for an eye-popping $340, three-wine flights and more.

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  • This farm-to-table diner isn’t as far-flung as some of the others on this list, but it wholly deserves to be here. Wildly inventive degustations featuring produce from the restaurant's own Cardinia farm take place in a light-filled, spacious dining room. It also has a mood-lit wine bar for casual but no-less-inventive bar snacks and Victorian wines.

  • Named for the patron saint of cooks, this homey fine diner by a pair of Levantine Hill alumni champions produce from the Yarra Valley and pairs it with drops from the region’s top wineries. On the weekend, the low-lit dining room transforms into a sunny bakeshop selling cakes, tarts, cookies and more.

  • There are bowlo restaurants, and then there’s Little Picket. Set within a beautiful old weatherboard building, Lorne Bowling Club's in-house diner is helmed by a young Victorian chef who’s using local produce to create a menu of rustic, modern Australian dishes. Plus, nostalgic sweets from a by-the-slice buffet.

  • At this singular Korean restaurant, chef Jung Eun Chae cooks, cleans and serves for just six guests at a time – in the living room of her home. If you can score a hotly contested booking, expect a serene, wholesome meal underpinned by homemade ferments, including booze.

  • Enjoy some of Gippsland’s finest nose-to-tail dining in a spacious, award-winning restaurant that overlooks the Strzelecki Ranges. The menu champions local produce, house-smoked ethical meats and natural wines from across Victoria.

  • A small winery and historic homestead dating back to the 1800s, set against the backdrop of undulant green and yellow pastures. It’s just a 20-minute drive from Melbourne Airport, so time it well and drop by for a tasting before your flight (or right after you land).

  • Two Jan Juc veterans are behind this tiny powerhouse inside a former pizza shop. One of them has Michelin-star stripes, and he's using that experience to showcase local produce in a veg-forward menu that speaks lovingly to the surrounding coast.

  • The set menu at this bucolic French bistro ebbs and flows with what’s available from the garden. Preface your lunch with a game of petanque and a glass of pastis outside.

  • Two siblings and their partners are behind the next-gen diner set in a former church. The unfussy cooking shows off some of Gippsland’s finest produce. While the mood lighting and local wine list give off inner-city wine bar vibes.

  • This 200-acre property has a slick Chinese-inspired restaurant with uninterrupted lake views. Lunch in the restaurant or stop by the cellar door for snacks. Or turn your day trip into a weekender and stay in one of its 16 luxe rooms.