As someone who is a foodie, I have had the pleasure of exploring the Mornington Peninsula’s vibrant culinary scene in depth over the years. From fine dining establishments to casual beachside cafes, this beautiful region has its fair share of fantastic places to eat. In this article, I’ll share my top 10 picks for the best restaurants on the Mornington Peninsula. So, whether you’re a local looking to try something new or a visitor seeking a taste of the region’s finest cuisine, there’s something on this list for you. All these restaurants will blow you away with their unique menus, exceptional service, and stunning settings. From fresh seafood caught daily by local fishermen to creative vegetarian dishes made with locally sourced produce, the Mornington Peninsula’s restaurants offer an eclectic range of flavours and experiences. So put on your napkin, get your knife and fork ready and join me as we explore the top 10 best restaurants on the Mornington Peninsula.
The Bay Hotel in Mornington is a newly restored gem that offers a complete package of pints, live music, and delicious pub grub. Located on the main street in the former Commercial Bank building, the interiors are a nod to the traditional Aussie pubs of yesteryear, with a touch of Irish charm. The restaurant’s menu offers a winning mix of Aussie and American flavours, catering to all tastes.
All my favourites are there, including their famous chicken parma and signature cheeseburger. But if you’re in the mood for something more adventurous, try the grilled salmon nicoise salad or blue swimmer crab linguini. The menu includes snackier offerings such as yellowfin tartare, oyster mignonette, and buffalo wings with blue cheese dressing for those who prefer a lighter bite.
The menu perfectly balances refined and approachable to ensure something for everyone. The restaurant also offers a rotating weekend roast special on Sundays, adding to its fantastic selection.
Wildgrain is a must-visit spot on the Mornington Peninsula for those who appreciate fine cuisine!
Located on Blamey Place, the venue features a sleek matte black facade, lush greenery-filled interior, and stylish, European-inspired decor, creating a contemporary dining experience that will surely delight.
Championing the best fresh ingredients they can source, their modern Australian menu presents several share plates that are perfect for enjoying with loved ones or friends.
Start your dining experience with the miso-cured yellowfin tuna or the smoked lamb and saganaki croquettes before indulging in more substantial dishes like the confit dry-aged leg of duck with poached quince and buttered brussels sprouts for your main.
Afterwards, relax with a drink from their impressive bar and cocktail menu and spend the rest of your evening soaking up this fantastic destination’s warm and friendly atmosphere.
Ten Minutes By Tractor is a top destination for foodies and oenophiles on the Mornington Peninsula. The estate takes its name from the convergence of three family-owned wineries, each ten minutes apart by tractor, and offers one of the area’s best wining and dining experiences.
Its restaurant has received two hats and combines gourmet food with award-winning wines. Overseen by Head Chef Hayden Ellis, it focuses on locally sourced ingredients and presents a range of sustainable, produce-driven dishes that will tantalise your taste buds.
You can choose between a five or seven-course tasting menu that features courses like deliciously cooked marron with foraged pine mushrooms in a foaming marron bisque. Each dish pairs with a perfect wine from the estate’s award-winning cellar.
The restaurant’s elegant dishes are matched by its stunning location, showcasing breathtaking views of the surrounding vineyards and bushland. Sophisticated yet relaxed, it combines silver service with country casualness to provide the perfect spot for a romantic dinner or a special occasion with family and friends.
Assaggini is a stylish and intimate Italian restaurant located on the Mornington Peninsula. The restaurant’s name translates to ‘small tastings,’ and its menu reflects this, offering a range of share plates and small bites that are perfect for a casual night out with friends.
Emitting a distinctly European feel, the food at Assaggini is comfort food with a contemporary twist, with dishes like cavatelli with oxtail ragu, seafood fritto misto, and salumi platters being particular standouts.
These dishes can be enjoyed with a glass from their thoughtfully curated wine list, which takes you to every winemaking corner of the world. Why not start with a Pinot Gris from the local Paringa Estate and end with a delightful Domaine de la Tour du Bief Beaujolais? Alternatively, go Italian and choose from a fantastic selection of imported varietals from that country. If it is an aperitivo and bites in a chic setting you are after, Assaggini ticks all the boxes.
Tio Tapas Y Vino is a vibrant and welcoming restaurant that transports you to Spain with its mouth-watering tapas and drinks. The lively bar-restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, serving delicious Barcelona-style tapas plates and an extensive wine list. Don’t miss their summery sangria, which comes in various flavours, including the refreshing Lychee with Elderflower and Paraiso Liqueur. The cheeses and cured meats are a perfect match for your wine, and make sure to try the seared scallops served on a bed of squid ink rice and topped with smoky aioli. The larger plates, especially the paella, are also must-tries. You would be well advised to bring a big group of your friends so you can order more dishes to share. Although the word ‘share’ might not be in your vocabulary when it comes to finishing the meal with churros dipped in chocolate! Undoubtedly one of the best restaurants on the Mornington Peninsula, Tio Tapas Y Vino is a terrific place to enjoy delicious food and drinks in a lively atmosphere.
DOC Mornington is an authentic Italian restaurant that offers some of the best pizzas on the Mornington Peninsula. Located on Main Street, close to many of the area’s bustling bars, it is set within a space that has a large and lively dining hall. Complete with alfresco tables, the venue is an excellent setting for a casual lunch or dinner with friends and family. The thin and crispy bases are constructed just like a Neapolitan nonna would make them, and the ingredients are imported from Italy to ensure the highest quality possible. The flavour combinations are simple yet effective, and there is something for everyone, including vegan cheese and gluten-free bases.
After eating, why not stock up on some of the take-home pasta and sauces before you leave to try and recreate some of the dishes in your kitchen?
The Paringa Estate restaurant is an award-winning dining destination offering contemporary Australian cuisine focusing on locally sourced ingredients. Nestled within the Paringa Estate winery, it has a modern and elegant design, with large windows providing stunning views of the surrounding vineyards. The restaurant’s menu changes seasonally to reflect the availability of the freshest local produce. But some popular dishes previously offered include pan-seared duck breast with beetroot, hazelnut and raspberry, slow-cooked beef cheek with smoked eggplant, mushrooms and spinach, and roasted lamb rump with asparagus, mushroom and black garlic. For seafood lovers, the pan-seared scallops with apple, fennel and vanilla are a must-try, as are the oysters with cucumber, lime and jalapeno. Vegetarians will also find plenty of options on the menu, such as the beetroot tartare with goat’s cheese, pickled onion and quinoa or the pumpkin risotto with aged parmesan, sage and crispy kale. Paringa Estate offers a wide selection of wines to complement your meal, including their own award-winning varietals.
For something a little different, visit Afghan Marco Polo, a cosy and eclectic restaurant on Main Street that offers traditional cuisine from Afghanistan.
Family-run, the restaurant is known for its warm and welcoming atmosphere and charming setting that features a cosy decor with rugs and paintings. The menu features a variety of dishes such as dumplings, kebabs, kormas, and naan bread, all cooked with exotic herbs and spices.
For those with a sweet tooth, their homemade baglowa topped with Nutella is a must-try dessert. If you’ve never had Afghan food, it would be worth coming here on a Wednesday when they offer an ‘all you can eat’ menu. It is an excellent option for those who want to try various flavours of a new style of cuisine, and should you wish to know more about what you are eating, the engaging staff are only too happy to tell you.
Audrey’s is a fine dining restaurant located in the coastal town of Sorrento. It is named in honour of the grandmother of the restauranter and head chef Scott Pickett, who taught him to cook. Situated in a historic building, replete with white-washed walls, high ceilings, and large windows that let in plenty of natural light, it has a very upmarket feel which reflects in the menu. Several standout dishes focus on modern Australian cuisine, with a strong emphasis on seafood and locally-sourced produce. They include spanner-crab crumpets, malt-glazed eel on melba toast, King George whiting with roast onion, green peppercorn, and yellow beans. All of which are beautifully plated and presented with world-class service. The wine list at Audrey’s is also extensive, featuring a carefully curated selection of Australian and international wines to pair with your meal. Overall, this venue is hard to beat for those wanting a relaxed, sophisticated and elegant dining experience.
Doot Doot Doot is a fine-dining restaurant located within the Jackalope Hotel on the Mornington Peninsula. The restaurant is notable for featuring an industrial-chic design with a spectacular centrepiece of a 10,000-bulb chandelier hanging from the ceiling. While that might impress, so will the food menu, which focuses on contemporary Australian cuisine with a strong emphasis on locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients. All dishes are beautifully presented and carefully crafted, making it an ideal spot for a special occasion or a romantic dinner. The menu changes regularly to reflect the seasons, but you can expect to find dishes like kingfish with burnt cucumber and horseradish and lamb with charred leek and native pepper. The restaurant also has an extensive wine list to support its meal offerings, with many hailing from wineries on the Mornington Peninsula and other parts of Victoria. For those who want a more private dining experience, you can hire a separate room to accommodate up to 14 guests.