Discover inventive fine dining in Victoria's unassuming regional backyard, where experimental chefs serve up hyperlocal dishes from Ballarat to Beechworth and beyond.
Venture into Victoria's verdant regional towns and discover a smorgasbord of delectable fine-dining experiences. With farm-fresh ingredients sourced from local growers, onsite gardens and cellar doors, and ethically sourced produce, these regional institutions hold their own despite being located hours away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Discover time-honoured fine-dining titans, intimate gems and endless chef’s hats sprinkled across Victoria’s rich outskirts.
Discover our collection of Victorian stays here.
Brae occupies an unassuming location in the small town of Birregurra, a 90-minute drive from the typical chef-hatted fine-dining venues you’d find in Melbourne CBD. Recognised as one of the World’s Top 50 restaurants, Brae is where you can find Australia’s finest hyperlocal fare, surrounded and fuelled by its own flourishing kitchen garden. Drawing from its pastoral surroundings, each dish is reminiscent of a leisurely Christmas lunch, crafted with fresh veggies, meat and seafood. But inside every inconspicuous dish is an inventive twist, from the famous Iced Oyster ice cream, topped with dehydrated oyster shavings, or the crispy smoked eel doughnut.
Looking for somewhere to stay nearby? Check into a waterfront apartment at R Hotel Geelong.
Doot Doot Doot, Mornington Peninsula
Doot Doot Doot invites you to indulge in a bit of luxury. The brooding 80-seat venue is gilded with a wash of gold from over 10,000 glimmering ceiling lights installed by artist Jan Flook, while views over the rolling vineyard add a perfect touch of romance. Fresh produce from the surrounding Mornington Peninsula (one hour from Melbourne) graces all five courses, which can include tomato tartare with goat’s curd, succulent roast lamb and poached blackberries. For drinks, the 1,200-bottle wine cellar is at your beck and call for the perfect pairing, but an equally impressive cocktail menu beckons for something a little stronger.
Want to make a night of it? Stay at the nearby Lancemore Lindenderry Red Hill.
SARDINE Eatery + Bar, Gippsland
With one Chef Hat and ongoing accolades from The Age Good Food Guide under its belt, SARDINE Eatery + Bar in Paynesville (3.5 hours out of Melbourne) continues to prove its worth. The ethically sourced seafood menu changes constantly, championing local fish from a myriad of Gippsland watering holes. The sardines are hand-filleted, fresh and served simply, accompanied by salty locals such as abalone from Mallacoota and octopus from Lakes Entrance. If you are looking for ultra-fresh regional seafood, then Sardine Dining has all that and the sparkling sea views to match.
Browse our Gippsland collection here.
Three hours out of Melbourne in the former Bank of Australasia building, a scientist-turned-chef creates wow-inducing Japanese fare at Provenance. Tables are treated to 18 dishes over four courses, each produced with hyperlocal ingredients and marked by the chef’s inclination for experimentation. Secure a reservation and enjoy a colourful spread of braised and grilled octopus, mushroom tofu or hand-made Chinese sausage, arranged tantalisingly on ornate plates. Complete the experience with an expertly matched wine from the restaurant's own cellar, or a house-picked sake, served hot or cold to your liking.
Discover our collection of Beechworth properties here.
Tedesca Osteria, Mornington Peninsula
Set in a 20th-century weatherboard home, with views that wouldn’t be amiss in the rolling valleys of southern Italy, Tedesca Osteria is the Mornington Peninsula’s organic fine-dining titan. Make the hour-long drive from Melbourne easily in a day or linger a little longer with a stay at the nearby RACV Cape Schanck Resort. Indulge in a hearty prix-fixe lunch on the Tedesca terrace, overlooking 27 spellbinding acres of Red Hill farmland, and expect fresh pasta and ethically sourced seafood. The menu changes fortnightly, but biodynamic, in-house-grown organics and selective local produce is guaranteed. Past dishes include pasta with zucchini flowers and duck-fat potatoes, conjured in an electric open kitchen with an impressive brick hearth at its centre.
Lake House, Daylesford
The Lake House has pioneered Daylesford’s farm-to-table movement, with ingredients sourced primarily from its own Dairy Flat Farm that boasts an orchard of 300 trees, a vineyard and a bakehouse. Meanwhile, any remaining ingredients can be traced to local growers. With a location only 1.5 hours out of Melbourne, the elegant waterside jewel feels worlds away. Guests can be seen taking a breather on the Lagoon Deck between vegetable-laden courses, overlooking the lake with an internationally acclaimed wine in hand. With three Chefs Hats and countless accolades, it’s no surprise this Victorian institution is still a crowd favourite three decades on.
Stay nearby at RACV Goldfields Resort.
Underbar is open two days a week with a mere 14 seats up for grabs, fostering an appropriate sense of exclusivity that’s well suited to its locale in the city of gold. Hidden behind an unassuming Ballarat shopfront 1.5 hours out of Melbourne, this intimate restaurant is a standout venture from Chef Derek Boath, a former multi-Michelin star restaurant alum. Embark on a culinary journey from Japan to France, with dishes championed by fresh ingredients from the region’s best mum-and-pop growers. The menu is ever-changing, but guests can expect an inventive experience that lingers long after the taste of oven-fresh cornbread leaves your mouth.
If you're looking for a hotel nearby, you can't beat RACV Goldfields Resort, just a 15-minute drive from the restaurant.
The Shared Table, Buninyong
Journey 1.5 hours northwest from Melbourne CBD to Buninyong, where a quaint, community-centred restaurant experience awaits. The Shared Table is nestled in a cosy cottage-style shopfront with an open kitchen and charming exposed brick walls. Drawing inspiration from across the globe and using farm-fresh ingredients from local makers and growers, its ‘dine without decision’ menu is where tradition meets international flare. The three-course Asian-fusion menu rotates often but tasty BBQ buns, plum sauces, fresh vegetables and fruity desserts are deliciously consistent menu highlights.
Stay overnight nearby at RACV Goldfields Resort.
Feature image: Provenance, Beechworth.
Discover our collection of Victorian stays here.
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