The Best Restaurants on the Mornington Peninsula

Updated 3 months ago

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Good wine and good food always go hand in hand. And the Mornington Peninsula, a wine region with at least 50 wineries and as many cellar doors, is unsurprisingly flush with outstanding dining experiences. Most of them are winery restaurants attached to vineyards and cellar doors, but not all.

Tedesca Osteria, one of the best regional restaurants in the entire state, is here, and so is Audrey’s, Scott Pickett’s seafood-focussed diner inside the Continental Hotel. And if you’re looking for something more casual – much more casual – don’t sleep on the excellent Red Gum BBQ, some of the best American barbeque available outside of Melbourne.

  • 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.

  • Any meal here is a sophisticated affair, combining silver service with country casualness. Elegant dishes are matched with the winery’s award-winning cellar, complete with stunning views of the surrounding vineyards and bushland.

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  • 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.

  • Pulled pork, beef brisket and smoked chicken are all possibilities at this rollicking American barbeque joint, located in an airy warehouse filled with picnic-style tables. Order a tray of your favourite meats, then head up to the bar for a jar of local beer.

  • Whether you’re passing through Crittenden Estate or staying at one of its charming villas, a visit to Zac Poulier’s seasonally-driven restaurant is a must. Do a long lunch in the breezy dining room, or jostle for the best seats in the house: the verandah overlooking the estate’s gorgeous lawn and lake.

  • Spanner-crab crumpets. Melba toast crowned with malt-glazed eel. And an entirely fancified pavlova. This seafood-centric stunner, by star chef Scott Pickett, is the jewel in the crown of Sorrento’s Conti Hotel – overlooking Port Phillip Bay.

  • Some of the finest food, wine and views on the entire Mornington Peninsula, which is saying something. And the accommodation is no slouch either, with a range of beautiful king-sized suites to choose from.

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

  • 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.

  • 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 quintessential Mornington Peninsula food and wine experience. The dining rooms offers panoramic views of the vines and native trees – a stunning contrast to the clean interiors. The menu, meanwhile, respectfully combines influences from around the world, with an emphasis on share dishes.

  • Sri Lankan flavours and techniques combine with European wine bar ambience at this unique bar and restaurant from the team behind Polperro winery, where ingredients like curry leaves, tamarind chutney and pickled lime on high rotation.

  • In business since 1998, this relaxed cellar door and restaurant is known for its outstanding single vineyard (and even single block) chardonnay, pinot noir, shiraz and pinot gris. And the consistently excellent restaurant, a two- or three-course affair, makes Yabby Lake one of the most well-rounded winery experiences in the region.

  • The Mornington Peninsula is flush with outstanding eateries. But this one, helmed by a former Lancemore Linderderry chef, is among the best-looking. Between the marine-hued dining room, casual aperitivo bar and in-house provedore, this handsome all-in-one brings a touch of Mediterranean living to Martha Marina Cove.

  • Once a creperie, this intimate French bistro is bringing a slice of Brittany to the Mornington Peninsula. Look for the blue-and-white awning, and be rewarded with classic dishes, Breton specialties, and small-producer French wines with a focus on Burgundy.

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  • Twice-baked cheese soufflé, hand-cut steak tartare and other French classics are the game at this beach-y, artfully dilapidated bistro. Pull up a bentwood chair and peruse the wine list of small, emerging French producers.

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  • In a quiet corner of the peninsula, Donna Maria is a cosy and eclectic Italian joint worth travelling for. Premium local seafood is a focus, as are Italian wine varietals rarely seen in this part of the world.

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  • An 1890s-built cafe has been brought into the modern era as an all-day diner serving fluffy ricotta hotcakes for breakfast and Neapolitan pizzas for lunch. There's also a wine shop and provedore selling fancy deli and grocery items.

  • This vibrant gastropub sits in a heritage-listed hotel and former bank. Stop by for a pint and parma in the main bar, catch a gig in the bandroom upstairs, or book a private dinner inside the building’s old vault.

  • The playful restaurant – with large-format pastas like ravioli Dauphiné and Jurassic-sized gnocchi – has big 1970s vibes. Its walls are lined with photos of older Sicilian people on the beach, and Mornington’s water is just as closed.