From Middle-Eastern feasts overlooking the ocean to gourmet burger bars and hidden rainforest retreats. Get the scoop on the most exciting new openings on the Great Ocean Road, then taste your way through them all.
Hidden between the vines of Minya winery, Moonah is imbued with romance. This secluded restaurant between Geelong and Torquay seats just 12 guests for an intimate evening of fine dining. Sit back and let the staff guide you through a multi-course menu served over three hours. All the ingredients are foraged, harvested from the kitchen garden or sourced from local producers. All paired with biodynamic wines, because what would a romantic evening be without a bottle or two?
Head to the highest point on the Great Ocean Road and you’ll land on The Perch. A place to gather with friends or family, the restaurant overlooks the lush Otways. Large windows and a sprawling deck make the most of the views and the menu is ever-evolving. Try burrata and figs with truffle honey, and confit Great Ocean Duck leg with blackberry jus. There’s also a kids menu for little ones. Stretch your legs post-feast on a rainforest walk.
Stay a little closer to the action at Apollo Bay’s casual foodie bistro. Tucked in the back streets of town, Graze is perfect for when you want a relaxed dinner with big flavours. The modern Australian menu is continually changing. But the constant is always ultra-fresh seafood, sourced directly from local fishermen.
The Great Ocean Road has no shortage of fine dining with spectacular views and The Birdhouse is another local favourite. Snag a seat by the window and enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner overlooking the water. If you’re looking for fresh local seafood you can’t go past the kingfish ceviche. Or make it a long lunch and enjoy burnt butter scallop agnolotti and chargrilled veg.
Cheesy croque monsieurs, stacked burgers and decadent frangelico waffles. The food at Tilly’s is simply indulgent. It’s a fabulous spot for brunch with the girls or a cheeky lunchtime cocktail. And did we mention the tropical interiors are oh so Instagrammable? If you’re continuing on your road trip, fuel up with coffee and a reuben to go.
Just nine months after going up in flames, Torquay’s newest restaurant has opened its beachfront doors. You’ll find this warm and homey eatery inside an old weatherboard house on the Esplanade. The Kyn is ideal for a special date night, or bringing together loved ones over a beautiful meal. The Middle Eastern–inspired dishes are designed to be shared. Graze on small plates of za’atar focaccia with stracciatella, and shucked oysters with pomegranate vinaigrette. Then dig into overnight lamb shoulder.
Torquay is no stranger to a brewery and this new addition is a big one. The architectural 400-person craft brewery has taken over the Quiksilver headquarters. Inspired by the ocean and rugged coast, Sou’West has a laid back approach. You don’t need to book – just roll in and pull up a stool on the open-air terrace. Order a tasting paddle of inhouse brews, plus a round of bar snacks or a fresh seafood platter.
This new addition is bringing authentic Turkish cuisine to Colac. You’ll find Babil at Oddfellows restaurant, right by Lake Colac in a beautiful 1891 heritage building. Big, warm and welcoming, this family-friendly eatery is great for large group catch ups. Order a bunch of mezze plates for the table, like the saganaki with fig jam. Then it’s your choice of chargrilled skewers served on pita bread. A sweet hit of traditional baklava to finish is essential.
The stunning bluestone building that houses Oak & Anchor sets the mood before you even step foot inside. An all-day eatery in a boutique hotel, a lot of love has gone into the design and the food. Whether you’re staying in the hotel (it’s a popular hideaway for couples retreats) or just popping in for a romantic dinner, taste your way through the chef’s menu. Think slow cooked beef cheek, fried potatoes and lemon tart. Then come back in the morning for coffee and a nourishing brekky.
Groke is all about the simple pleasures in life. Like tasty burgers, craft beers and fresh cocktails. Head in for a relaxed family dinner overlooking the bay. Or linger over wine and a cheese board. But you can’t go past the flavour-packed burgers at this vibey spot. Try the pulled pork, or Korean fried chicken. And throw in a side of charred corn on the cob. Yum.
Gin fiends and foodies alike will find a lot to love about the Gin Kitchen. Located across the garden from the Great Ocean Road Gin Tasting Room, naturally the menu is studded with a bevy of tasty cocktails. (Gin-aritas, anyone?) The fresh flavours in the gin like lemongrass and yuzu perfectly complement the bright Southeast Asian dishes. Must-trys on the menu include the red duck curry and pillowy bao buns. Or order the banquet to try a bit of everything.
The regional town of Birregurra earned its cult foodie status feeding gourmands at Brae. But if your style is more pub-grub than fine dining, hightail it to the Royal Mail Hotel. The local watering hole has been given a zhush by its new owners. The classic country pub fare is elevated and modernised and there are plenty of vegetarian options. Devour the cheesy eggplant parmigiana. And mop up the Portarlington mussels with some crusty bread.
Now you’re in the know about the best new foodie spots on the Great Ocean Road. Where will you hit first?
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.