When it comes to quality restaurants and wineries, the Mornington Peninsula is a treasure trove full of goodies. Just take a drive through the rolling hills and discover a sun soaked terrace and blossoming vineyard around every corner. From casual eateries to chef hatted fine dining restaurants, there’s a wide range of restaurants available for any taste and budget. Here’s my list of the best restaurants in this gorgeous part of Victoria.
This charming dining room and wine bar is a local favourite in the Mornington Peninsula for good reason. Located in the heart of Red Hill, The Long Table has a European style menu inspired by the seasons and the harvest it brings, which means it is constantly evolving throughout the year. Husband and wife team, Andrew and Samantha, have forged strong relationships with local producers, growers and wine makers to showcase Mornington Peninsula’s spectacular produce. For a casual affair, choose from a range of taste bud tantalising share plates like sticky pork croquettes and chicken liver parfait with spiced prunes and walnuts. Or if you’re looking for something a little heartier, dishes like the Otway pork belly with slow cooked fennel, burnt apple and zucchini never disappoint. The only difficulty is trying to decide!
A 159 Shoreham Rd, Red Hill South VIC 3937
T (03) 5989 2326
“The sharing of food and conversation is one of life’s simplest yet most enjoyable experiences” is the introduction to Stillwater at Crittenden’s menu. And I couldn’t agree with this more. Stillwater is deservedly one of the Peninsula’s finest restaurants. The bright and airy dining room is perfectly sandwiched between the vineyard and the shimmering lake at the foot of Red Hill, making it the perfect spot to kick back and relax. Here you can expect superb fresh and seasonal produce in a relaxed fine dining environment. Where possible Stillwater sources their ingredients from local, sustainable, organic producers or grow it in their very own kitchen garden. The Organic Kitchen Garden currently supplies 25% of their own home-grown vegetables, herbs and fruit so you can experience the best of the seasons with every mouthful!
A 25 Harrisons Rd, Dromana VIC 3936
T (03) 5981 9555
For one of the best fine dining experiences in the Mornington Peninsula, head to Ten Minutes by Tractor in Main Ridge. Perched on a small hill overlooking the spectacular rolling hills of the countryside, the charming restaurant is a perfect venue for a romantic dinner or a special occasion. Chef Stuart Bell’s innovative menu is sure to delight, showcasing the best of fresh regional produce, much of it sourced from their very own kitchen garden. Expect dishes influenced by his classic French training combined with Asian and European cuisines. The mind-boggling ‘encyclopedia style’ wine list (focusing on Pinor Noir and Chardonnay from around the world) has been judged Australia’s best. The vineyards that supply the grapes are ten minutes apart by tractor, hence the name. To fully immerse yourself in the experience, I’d recommend the degustation with matching wine.
A 1333 Mornington Flinders Road, Main Ride, Victoria 3928
T (03) 5989 6080
Paringa Estate was established by owner/winemaker Lindsay McCall in 1985 and is one of the most awarded wineries in Australia. The adjoining restaurant has developed a reputation in its own right through its exciting and imaginative modern European menu of beautifully presented food. They are most famous for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but they also produce an incredible Shiraz. The restaurant is slightly elevated so you can enjoy unparalleled views of the vineyard and valley below. On cooler days, the roaring wood fire is sure to keep you nice and toasty.
A 44 Paringa Road, Red Hill South VIC 3937
T (03) 5989 2669
As far as locations go, Montalto Restaurant definitely picked a winner. The restaurant is housed on a breathtaking property which grows grapes, olives and other fresh produce. They even have their own sculpture garden on site, which weaves between the beauty of the vines. For a more laid back atmosphere check out the adjoining Piazza, which has a lovely courtyard setting, or try one of their sumptuous picnics on the lawns. But the real magic happens in the chef hatted restaurant, which serves food inspired by regional France, while maintaining its distinct focus on fresh, seasonal produce. Think roast lamp rump with broad bean, brassicas, sage and anchovy fritto or a slow cooked prawn and market fish paired with zucchini, a veil of spring herbs and lime kosho. Take advantage of the wonderful views with a table by their floor to ceiling windows at the front – if it’s clear you may even see a hint of the ocean in the distance.
A 33 Shoreham Rd, Red Hill South VIC 3937
T (03) 5989 8412
In the heart of Red Hill, Max’s Restaurant on the Red Hill Estate is one of the pioneers of the dining scene ; and enjoys the iconic states of the first winery restaurant on the Peninsula. Offering sweeping views over Westernport Bay and Phillip Island , Max’s has one of the best views of any winery in Australia, if not the world. The menu is all about local produce from the Mornington Peninsula; the players include Red Hill Brewery’ pale ale which provides a base for their beer batter, Red Hill morello cherries for their famed balsamic vinegar and award-winning Red Hill Cheese. A multiple course menu is recommended, matched with some of their outstanding cool climate wines. There’s no better spot in the summer months than the inviting lawn on a sunny day.
A 53 Shoreham Rd, Red Hill South VIC 3937
T (03) 5931 0177
One of the Peninsula’s architectural masterpieces, the Port Phillip Estate, has quickly become one of the most interesting food and wine destinations in Victoria. Offering exceptional food and wine, the sophisticated dining room has one of the most impressive decks in the region, boasting spectacular views over the vineyard and Westernport Bay and Bass Strait. Chef Stuart Deller has done a beautiful job crafting the menu, with a strong sense of the European influences that lie at the core of Port Phillip Estate. The menu changes regularly, inspired by the seasons and the terroir. Don’t miss the tasting bar on your next visit.
A 263 Red Hill Road, Red Hill South VIC 3937
T (03) 5989 4444
Nestled on the picturesque Willow Creek vineyard, Salix Restaurant is dedicated to the concepts of ‘paddock to plate’ and foraging. The elegant dining room has a laid back yet stylish atmosphere with absolutely gorgeous views of the surrounding vineyard. The menu showcases the highest quality of local produce with the kitchen sourcing the best seasonal, organic and free-range produce available. For starters the tasting plate of house made charcuteries is always guaranteed to go down a treat, while larger plates consist of modern takes on traditional classics. Fellow sweet tooths will quiver with joy at one sight of their famous dessert platter.
A 166 Balnarring Rd, Merricks North VIC 3926
T (03) 5989 7640