To understand the rise of the Surf Coast region as a culinary powerhouse, we’re going to take you back over 10,000 years, to a time when Victoria’s South West was a bubbling hive of volcanic action. Okay, that might be overselling it a bit. But the region is the world’s third largest volcanic plain, so their significance is nothing to be sneezed at either.
The volcanoes found in the South West of the state are called monogenetic volcanoes, meaning they deliver once-off small bouts of lava before moving on. Their understated nature is probably what’s kept them out of the public’s eye. But whilst their eruptions might not be spectacular, the effects they have on the soil’s fertility surely is.
Fertile soil and a consistent amount of rain has made South West Victoria one of the country’s most important food producers. The region produces 23% of Australia’s dairy. It ranks #9 on the list of top cattle regions and more importantly for the local restaurants, is home to numerous green thumbs whose supply of top quality produce is a must for a top restaurant.
With a constant supply of premium local ingredients and an influx of top chefs ready to take advantage of the fact, Anglesea and its surrounds is home to 2 of regional Victoria’s best 10 restaurants and a host of others worthy of a mention.
Here are five of our favourite local restaurants suitable for a range of budgets:
1. Captain Moonlite ($$$) Calling the top level of Anglesea Life Saving Club home, Captain Moonlite is a delight on the eyes and the palette. In 2018, Gourmet Traveller rated Captain Moonlite as the 68th best restaurant in Australia and 6th best in regional Victoria.
2. The Coast Restaurant ($$) The Coast Restaurant is located in the heart of the beautiful Great Ocean Road Resort. It has established a fantastic reputation with both locals and visitors. The Coast is known for its premium steaks, fresh local seafood and house-made traditional thin based pizzas.
3. The Farmers Place ($$) Growing as much produce on site as possible, The Farmers Place is a restaurant with a big conscience. Their eco-dining experience means everything served is locally produced, seasonal, fresh and full of flavour.
4. Brae Restaurant ($$$) Owned by chef Dan Hunter, Brae is Victoria’s new shining light. In 2018, it ranked 4th in Gourmet Traveller’s Best Australia Restaurants alongside regular favourites like Attica, Cutler and Co. and Vue de Monde.
5. Blackmans Brewery ($) From a clean crisp larger to an in your face 6.2% IPA, Blackmans Brewery is a local institution. You’ll find their beer being poured across the region! But the Torquay brewhouse is a worthwhile spot to wet you whistle and satisfy your hunger.
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