Melbourne’s food scene is a diverse culinary playground, shaped by the city’s multicultural population. But here’s the twist — there’s a whole world of restaurants in regional Victoria worth the road trip.
Venture beyond Melbourne, and you’ll stumble upon regional restaurants that elevate local ingredients in ways that’ll make your taste buds tingle with global flavours. They’ve earned their stripes with critical acclaim, and there are more chef’s hats here than you can imagine.
From the Mornington Peninsula to the charming town of Birregurra, these aren’t just places to eat—they’re journeys into the heart of Victoria’s local produce. Here’s our list of regional restaurants that’ll have you planning a road trip before you know it.
Distance from Melbourne: 1hr 41 min
Chef Dan Hunter’s Brae is a regional dining experience continually earning international acclaim. Named one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, it’s a place where dining becomes a leisurely journey. Brae’s menu, technically a degustation, uses ingredients from the restaurant’s own extensive kitchen garden to create a celebration of flavours and techniques. Signature dishes like the iced oyster and the smoked eel doughnut showcase Hunter’s mastery of both simplicity and innovation. The option to stay overnight at this rural gem in Birregurra, just 90 minutes from Melbourne, is highly recommended.
Distance from Melbourne: 1hr 25min
It’s easy to see why Lake House keeps its two hats. With a focus on in-house production, from bread to charcuterie, the menu evolves with the seasons, focusing on self-produced food and an ever-changing countryside dining experience. Diners relish offerings like butter-poached pheasant in autumn, spring lamb, and morels—all served with a lake view. The impressive wine cellar is also worth a peek and a taste. After a long lunch wander around the grounds, founders Alla and Allan Wolf-Tasker transformed the surroundings and expanded to include accommodation, a spa, a cooking school, and function spaces. Consider a stay at the Lake House for a taste of quintessential Victorian hospitality.
Distance from Melbourne: 53 min
Chef Zoe Birch and Lachlan Gardner were so fed up with the restaurant scene that they decided to change the game. So they packed up and headed to regional Victoria to open Greasy Zoe’s in 2017, a tiny, rustic fine diner in Hurstbridge focused on local and seasonal food. In this cosy eight-seat dining room, there’s no set menu. It’s a 12-course journey that changes daily, full of delicious stories about their close relationships with local suppliers. And don’t forget to check out their own preserves and pickles. For drinks, you can go with the suggested wine pairings or choose your own from a list highlighting local winemakers. It’s a unique, intimate dining adventure that’s worth every bite.
Distance from Melbourne: 1hr 26min
This regional restaurant on the outskirts of Warragul is a haven for ethical food sourcing, featuring Happy Valley Free Range Pork, Tennessee Tasty Black Angus, and Noojee-farmed fish. The menu also champions local, seasonal produce from nearby farmers and the on-site veggie patch, truly embracing the farm-to-table ethos. Diners can choose from a four or six-course chef’s menu designed weekly and pair it with a Victoria-only wine list highlighting small and independent growers.
Distance from Melbourne: 3hr 9min
While the Royal Mail Hotel is primarily a hotel, it’s the culinary gem known as Wickens that elevates this regional destination, justifying a three-hour road trip. With a daily changing menu, the element of surprise is part of the experience. What you can count on, however, is that any ingredient not sourced from the hotel’s expansive 1.2 hectares of gardens or the vast 25,000-hectare farmland comes from the rich Grampians region.
Distance from Melbourne: 1hr 20min
In Trentham, Annie Smithers, one of Australia’s most highly regarded chefs and one of the first chefs to truly epitomise the paddock-to-plate ethos, has conjured culinary magic at Du Fermier, where French provincial cuisine meets a rustic Australian touch. Like most restaurants on this list, there’s no menu. Smithers skillfully crafts homely dishes using seasonal produce in a pared-back dining room that looks more like someone’s house than a fine dining restaurant.
Distance from Melbourne: 1hr 16min
Suppose you’ve ever been to Pt. Leo Estate, you will know there’s a 40-seat fine diner tucked away from its main dining room. It’s called Laura. Diners are presented with the option of a seasonal menu or signature menu featuring the perennial favourites, including the sea urchin mousse and Tuerong Farm epi bread with a spread of olive butter. Following your meal, stop by the sculpture park on your way to a complimentary premium cellar door tasting.