Geelong is well known for its rich history of manufacturing and industrial prowess, beautiful beaches and vibrant artistic culture. But in recent years, it has also enjoyed a boom in its restaurant scene, thanks to a significant revitalisation of its urban area and the plethora of new culinary venues run by talented and creative chefs. The last time I went to Geelong, I was impressed by the overall gastronomic scene, particularly the sheer range of international food genres available now. Indeed, there are so many excellent dining options in the city knowing which one to pick can be challenging. To help you decide, I’ve compiled a list of the ten best restaurants in Geelong. This list has something for everyone, from fine dining establishments to casual eateries. So whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner for two or a restaurant for a family meal, it has got you covered.
Looking for a top-notch restaurant in Geelong that serves Asian-inspired cuisine? Then, look no further than Frankie. Contained within a beautifully renovated space that features elegant banquet seating, cosy chairs, and booths for a comfortable dining experience, the venue is considered by many to be one of the best restaurants in Geelong. Their menu offers a variety of specialities that are perfect for sharing with friends and family. They include a fantastic range of dim sum in various exotic flavours and lamb, pork and Korean fried chicken ribs. To accompany your meal, diners can enjoy an exotic cocktail menu and an impressive wine list that pairs perfectly with the dishes. While this restaurant’s main dining room is refined and stylish, it also offers two private spaces to enjoy a more intimate dining experience.
Located at the end of Cunningham Pier, Wah Wah Gee is a lively restaurant serving lunch and dinner daily. As well as having the coolest name of any restaurant I have ever been to, it offers beautiful waterfront views, making it a perfect spot to dine. The restaurant presents a menu of Asian-inspired share dishes, making it an excellent place to go with friends. You’ll love spicy steamed buns, while their broth dumplings also have a lovely zest. For those into curries or poke bowls, plenty of options are available to get your fix. However, my favourite is the cumin-roasted lamb shanks which pack a heavy punch of mouth-watering flavours. If you don’t fancy a full meal, head upstairs for snacks and drinks at Wah Bah, where you can enjoy a stunning view, an impressive cocktail menu, and some delicious bao buns.
If you’re craving delicious Sri Lankan cuisine, Rook restaurant in the heart of Geelong is a must-visit. Located on Malop Street, this restaurant is set within a charming, relaxed space with a friendly atmosphere, making it a terrific venue for families or friends to enjoy a meal and each other’s company.
The venue has become very popular since it opened its doors in 2016 due to its delightful menu of humble yet eccentric Sri Lankan dishes. It includes Eggs Benedict Sri-Style, Rook’s take on a Big Breakfast, and the delicious String Hoppers. To fully appreciate the flavours of Sri Lankan culture, remember to ask for some Ceylon tea.
For those wanting to learn the secrets behind their beautiful dishes, Rook also runs cooking classes, including some specifically for children, where you can learn to cook various Sri Lankan dishes.
Anyone who lives in the area will tell you that Pakington Street is a terrific place to head to when you’re in the mood for some delicious food, as it is home to some of the best restaurants in Geelong.
This lively strip runs from the trendy Newtown on the Barwon River to Geelong West and is home to many high-quality eateries. One of the standout places to visit is the fabulous King of the Castle, at the street’s northern end. This venue boasts a funky warehouse atmosphere, cool decor and lush greenery. It is renowned for its creative selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes featuring produce sourced for local suppliers. You’ll find a range of mouth-watering dishes on the menu, such as Thai eggs and roti, brioche French toast and halloumi and bacon with roasted sesame and chilli jam. All of which are guaranteed to leave your tastebuds dancing with delight.
Enjoy authentic Italian cuisine in a charming and welcoming atmosphere at Osteria Fiorenza. Despite being in the middle of Geelong, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Italy with its dimly lit interior and Azzuri-inspired decor. Like most good Italian restaurants, these guys offer generous portions of top-notch food cooked with love at reasonable prices. Their menu includes mouth-watering antipasto dishes, seafood pici, pizzas and pasta. At the same time, their tiramisu is also an absolute must for those with a sweet tooth! They also offer a fabulous range of wines sourced locally and from Europe and excellent Italian coffee to complement both. Due to high demand and limited seating, we advise you to make a reservation well before your visit. Additionally, if you need help with birthday present ideas for your family and friends, they even offer gift vouchers you can purchase.
For those who enjoy traditional Cantonese cuisine and dim sum meals, Golden Dragon Yumcha Restaurant is the perfect destination in Geelong for you. Since 2015, this local restaurant on Moorabool Street has been a favourite among discerning diners, who are attracted to its stylish setting within a former bank building, warm ambience and top-notch food.
Presented within a dining space that features white-clothed tables, statement pendant lights, and vibrant artwork adorning the walls, their plates of the steamed, pan, and deep-fried dishes are perfect for sharing.
One of the best restaurants in Geelong for those who want a delicious meal representing excellent value for money, Golden Dragon is another place where prior reservations are advised. Some of their most popular dishes are the prawn and scallop dumplings, roast crispy skin duck and golden-fried crab claws. All of which go very well with their signature Chinese tea.
Parkers Steakhouse is an institution in Geelong. Located in a charming bluestone building at the end of Shorts Place, it is just a short stroll from the Little Malop Street Mall. Well known for its warm and welcoming vibe, the traditional steakhouse has a reputation for serving some of the city’s best cuts of prime pasture-fed Aussie beef. If you are a meat lover, this is the place to come! Its char-grilled meats are lightly seasoned with their signature house baste and come with hot chips or baked potatoes. Their most popular meal choice is finger-lickin’ good maple and chilli glazed beef ribs with a garden salad. However, for those who prefer something other than red meat, tempting options like tiger prawn skewers with garlic sauce are also available. Should you have any room left for dessert, why not enjoy a sweet indulgence with their incredible banoffee tart?
Tulip is another excellent restaurant to visit on Pakington Street. A cosy and award-winning venue, they take pride in using locally sourced and sustainable ingredients to create high-quality, produce-driven dishes. Their modern and relaxed interiors feature bright lighting and contemporary, chic-rustic decor, providing the perfect atmosphere for lunch or dinner with friends. As a rule, their 2- or 4-course menu features share plates that change frequently. However, you can expect to find dishes like artichokes with button mushrooms and grilled radicchio, fried school prawns with smoky garlic mayo and salt-baked celeriac with red pickled cabbage on it. One of the restaurant’s unique selling points is its extensive all-Victorian wine list. It is also known for its beautiful plating, courteous staff and the speed of its fantastic service.
Located on Little Malop Street – a trendy laneway area popular for eating and drinking, The Arborist is one of the newer eateries in the city. However, it has quickly established a reputation for being one of the best restaurants in Geelong. Featuring a design that embraces the ash tree that is growing in the centre of it, the venue radiates a beautiful and sustainable atmosphere with natural green, cream, and timber tones. Guests can savour exotic small, medium, or large plates influenced by Middle Eastern cuisines, such as roasted-spice pumpkin with zhoug, coriander and crushed seeds, grilled sourdough with muhammara and white anchovy and roasted chicken with purée parsnip, white beans and braised silverbeet. Bursting with flavour, colour and aromas, they provide a treat for your taste buds that few other establishments in the area can match. For this reason, you should definitely put The Arborist on your ‘must-visit’ list.
Offering the exquisite flavours of South America in Geelong, Alma is a sophisticated restaurant that takes modern Australian dining to the next level. Priding itself on respecting the food they make by sourcing it from like-minded suppliers, they use ingredients from local market gardens and farms. Subsequently, they can offer a superb menu of authentic and unadulterated dishes that burst with creativity and flavour. You won’t want to miss their delicious scallop or snapper ceviche paired, while their sweet treats like almond and citrus panna cotta are out of this world! They also have a terrific selection of boutique beers to complement your meal. Overall, it is the perfect spot for a date night or a special occasion meal, and the restaurant also provides good accessibility for those who depend on a wheelchair. They can also easily accommodate diners’ requests concerning gluten, dairy or other food allergies or preferences.