As the second largest city in Victoria, it is no wonder that Geelong is home to a cosmopolitan dining scene and some great Geelong restaurants. Whether you live in Geelong or you are visiting the Bellarine Peninsula on vacation, don’t pass up the chance to patronize some of Victoria’s most delicious restaurants, cafes, and pubs for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Best Geelong Restaurants
It doesn’t matter if you are looking for traditional Italian food, South American delights, or cutting-edge contemporary Australian cuisine, there’s something for everybody in Geelong.
For boundary-pushing contemporary Australian dining, look no further than IGNI! Named after the Latin word for fire, the wood-fired grill sets the tone for the menu of elevated Australian classics.
The restaurant was founded in 2016 by one of Australia’s most inventive and enigmatic chefs, Aaron Turner, and the establishment has since become an internationally recognized foodie destination. Turner’s obsession with using local produce from independent farmers and artisans for his dishes leads to a constantly changing menu that depends on what the restaurant has been able to acquire recently. To many, this only adds to the allure and mystique of the food mecca.
Guests compliment the friendly service, pleasant atmosphere, and skilled sommelier. For the full experience, try the 6-course surprise menu. The dishes change constantly, but the food is ever intriguing.
If you are looking for an Italian escape in the middle of Victoria, LA Vista is your ticket. Created to deliver authentic Italian food to Victoria Australia, LA Vista is an Italian oasis in an Australian town. The waterfront restaurant overlooks Geelong’s famous Eastern beach, and houses an additional bar and cafe, making it the perfect destination whatever your occasion. The restaurant also features kids’ menus.
LA Vista’s inviting Italian charm is expressed through the friendly waitstaff and cheerful atmosphere, making it the perfect destination for casual lunches and romantic dinners alike. The restaurant is inviting to all types of diets, featuring vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free, and vegan options.
Settle into the stunning ocean backdrop of Eastern Beach and relax to views of yachts bobbing in the water while enjoying an authentic Italian experience in the heart of Geelong!
Grab a taste of South America in the Argentine ALMA restaurant on upscale Ryrie street. The restaurant offers traditional South American dishes such as empanadas, fish ceviche, as well as modern classics like wagyu steak.
The Geelong restaurant is decorated in a clean, modern style, making it the perfect option for any occasion, from a night out with your friends, to a romantic date. Whoever you are and whatever your purpose for visiting, the attentive and professional waitstaff will ensure that you will enjoy your time at the restaurant.
The restaurant is set on Ryrie street, one of the busiest streets in the town of Geelong. This makes ALMA just a short walk away from many of Geelong’s top attractions and experiences, like the nearby Johnstone Park. Ryrie street is also home to Geelong’s entertainment strip, housing many of the cities pubs and clubs, as well as the huge Villiage Cinema complex.
Pistol Pete’s Food N Blues
An oasis of southern hospitality in a very Australian city, Pistol Pete’s Food N Blues will transport you to the deep south (of the U.S.) with its southern comfort food.
The restaurant takes inspiration from the food and culture of Memphis, Clarksdale, and New Orleans to create an immersive deep south experience. Look forward to Louisiana classics such as pulled pork, gumbo, and chicken and waffles to warm your stomach and your soul!
Decorated in the style of a down to earth southern bar, and featuring live blues music, Pistol Pete’s brings together all the elements to create a cohesive deep south atmosphere. Once you step inside you can easily forget which continent you are on!
The restaurant is the result of chef Pete Raimondo’s passion for southern United States culture. Patrons compliment the immersive atmosphere, high-quality food, friendly waitstaff, and soulful music.
Set in the busy Geelong CBD district on Little Malop street, the Arborist is a sophisticated wine bar offering a striking new concept of execution. The building is carefully constructed around a Fraxinus Excelsior Ash tree, calling attention to the restaurants message of sustainability.
Every element of the restaurant has been thoughtfully crafted to create a pleasant environment reminiscent of nature. The color palette consists of earthy greens, blacks, and browns; and the bulding’s open, airy feel gives patrons and appreciation for the nature around them.
The Little Malop street restaurant is run by head chef Michael Welsh, also the creative force behind sister venue Zigfrids Dining Hall & Bar, and offers a twist on contemporary Australian cusine with the addition of Middle Eastern flavours. The Arborist also boasts an excellent selection of fine beverages, from craft beers and cocktails, to tastefully selected wines.
Open five days a week, from Wednesday to Sunday, the Arborist provides the perfect accomodation for after work drinks or a high-end lunch.
The Best Geelong Cafes
If a restaurant isn’t what you are looking for, maybe a cafe with a relaxed atmosphere is more your speed. Here are the best Geelong cafes for late morning brunches, casual coffee dates, or a quick bite before you set out on a Great Ocean Road adventure.
Providing equal doses of history and entertainment, Sailors Rest is a must-visit Geelong waterfront restaurant. The history of the building goes back to 1913 when it was opened as an evangelical entertainment hall for sailors. Initally called King Edward The VII Sailors Rest, the establishment gained its iconic electric lightbulb sign in 1926, the oldest remaining in Victoria.
Nowadays, the historic building continues its purpose, providing a place for travelers and locals alike to enjoy both each others company and the great food. The cafe is home to the only rooftop bar in the city, providing views over Geelong’s redeveloped waterfront landscape and across the Corio bay.
The family friendly restaurant serves classic cafe fare like scrambled eggs and pancakes, as well as more elevated menu items such as the salt and pepper calamari and the wagyu beef burger. The restaurant promises hearty food fit for a sailor, or a hungry family! The restaurant features a kids menu for younger patrons, while adults can enjoy an excellent selection of cocktails, wines, beer, and ciders.
Read Next: The Ultimate Guide to the Geelong Waterfront
Fuel: Coffee + Food
Founded downtown in central Geelong in 2010 to cater to a higher class of coffee drinkers, Fuel Cafe provides high-quality coffee beverages for those l0oking for their caffiene fix. The small storefront is located down a small lane in Geelong’s CBD and is packed with energy and passion for the coffee making craft.
The cafe was established as the perfect place for caffeine lovers to get their morning or afternoon fill-up, or to enjoy a simple breakfast on a slow day. Additionally, Fuel offers a simple menu as well as daily baked cakes and pastries for those looking for a bite to eat. Those with strict diets shouldn’t feel left out as vegetarian and gluten free options are also available.
Fuel is a proud seller of Campos coffee, one of Australias premier coffee producers. Campos was founded in 2002 to create the worlds best coffee. As one of the worlds first direct-trade brands, Campos is able to ethically offer great coffee at a reasonable price.
For a dog-friendly cafe, look no further than Sodi! Based on the premise that you shouldn’t have to leave your dog at home to enjoy a good time at a charming eatery, Sodi is 100% dog-friendly and encourages you to bring your best companion along for a good time.
The Geelong bistro is open 7 days a week from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm Monday through Sunday, making it the perfect stop for a brunch with your friends, or lunch with your dog. Sodi features specialty coffee from local roasters Ocean Grind, Torquay. The menu offers all the cafe classics you would expect such as eggs on toast and breakfast burgers.
Additionally, Sodi has both a drinks and a cocktails menu, perfect for days off. Guests compliment the atmosphere, high-quality food, and dog-friendly policy as creating an enjoyable dining experience.
The Best Geelong Pubs
No Australian city would be complete without a solid selection of down to earth pubs. We have selected the best watering holes for you to make yourself at home, meet some new friends, and enjoy the quality nightlife of busy Geelong, Victoria!
Another one of Geelong’s iconic historical landmarks, the establishment that would become Murphys was built over 150 years ago in 1855, then called The Argyle Hotel. The Hotel would become known by the moniker “the original meeting place,” and functioned as coming together place for the disparate Geelong communities. In 1995 Tasmanian man Ralph Norton realised his dream of owning an authentic Irish pub, and to this day Murphys remains an Irish haven on the south coast of Australia.
More than just an Irish pub, Murphys also houses a restaurant dining room, cocktail deck, and skygarden, making it the perfect place for any occasion. The pub is decorated in the typical Irish style and features Fox Sports played throughout the entire establishment, as well as live music Friday through Sunday every week.
Murphys top tier kitchen provides elevated classic pub food including burgers, garlic bread, and Angus steak. The Geelong pub also serves brunch on Saturdays with a reservation. Whether you are just dropping by for a drink, or are looking for a quality dining experience, Murphys is the place!
The Deck Geelong
Catering to the younger Geelong crowd, The Deck has become a hotspot for Uni students and lovers of Geelong’s vibrant nightlife. Featuring an extensive array of local and out of town tap beers, as well as cocktail specials on Friday and Saturday nights, The Deck is the perfect venue to begin your weekend fun and meet some new friends.
On the weekends, the central Geelong bar provides all sorts of entertainment, from DJs and RnB acts, to open mic nights. For students, the weekend starts early with Thursday night specials kicking off the fun. Don’t get the idea that The Deck is just a place to drink though, their excellent menu offers a wide range of food choices spanning from beer battered fish to Hawaiian pizza. The menu also includes vegan and vegetarian options.
Being situated in Geelong’s redeveloped waterfront landscape, The Deck is the ideal stop for a night of fellowship and mixing with the locals!
Sawyers Arms Tavern
Sawyers Arms Tavern dates back to 1850, with the current building being constructed in 1907. Run by the Clatworthy family for around 50 years, the pub is also known as simply, “the Clat’s.” As you might imagine, by now it has become one of Geelong’s staple hangouts and watering holes.
Recently, the once very traditional Geelong pub has been updated to offer exceptional contemporary Australian cuisine under the direction of executive chef Jackson Hunt. Look forward to beef cheeks, calamari, and delicious ribeye! Or if you are in the mood for some dessert, the tasty doughnuts and fruitcake will satisfy.
Beyond the craft beers and cocktails, Sawyers Arms Tavern also has an extensive wine list, perfect for an upscale dining experience. The bar also features a beer garden and a private function room for those looking to have an event hosted there. Guests compliment the delicious food, fast service, and relaxed atmosphere.
Read Next: The Best Things to Do in Geelong
More than just another Australian coastal town, Geelong provides a wide array of culinary delights. From Italian spaghetti, to Argentine empanadas, to the latest modern Australian cuisine, multicultural Geelong has something for every palette. All of this is set against a stunning ocean backdrop and near the beginning of the Great Ocean Road.
It’s easy to see why the second-largest city in Victoria is a foodie favourite!