14 July, 2022

These are Geelong’s Best Restaurants

Melbournians are quickly catching onto Geelong’s charms and migrating to the city in droves – meaning its stellar gourmet scene has naturally followed. Today, Victoria’s second-largest city gives Australia’s culinary capital a run for its money, offering everything from chef-hatted indulgence to hearty bites washed down with craft beer at local breweries.

Whether your favoured cuisine is French, Middle-Eastern, modern Australian or Asian, there is something for every type of foodie here, incorporating the abundance of natural produce from the region including seafood, lamb and farm-fresh vegetables.

This is our pick of Geelong’s exciting dining scene – from fine dining to tapas-inspired share plates.


Chances are you’ve already heard of this chef-hatted gem, unassumingly tucked down a backstreet of Geelong – because IGNI just so happens to be one of the country’s finest restaurants. Masterminded by chef Aaron Turner, the set six-course menu evolves depending on the produce available on the day, all sourced from local artisanal growers and farmers. Flame-licked dishes are cooked to perfection on the custom-made wood-burning grill, resulting in modern Australian flavours as you’ve never experienced before.

Little Creatures Brewery. Photo: Geelong and the Bellarine.

Little Creatures Canteen

A decidedly more casual eating experience, Little Creatures Canteen is where the good times flow along with the brewery’s extensive selection of tap beers, all made onsite. Take a seat outside or in the lofty, warehouse-style restaurant, where you’ll surely over-order from the menu of share plates, woodfired pizzas and flavour-packed salads. Why? Because with dishes such as beef tacos with slaw, chilli and yoghurt, charred corn cobs with manchego cheese and chipotle butter, and spiced lamb, zucchini and goats cheese pizza on offer, we challenge you to choose just one.

ALMA. Photo: ALMA.


Another jewel in Geelong’s dining crown is ALMA, bringing contemporary South American flavours to the Bellarine Peninsula. Although its menu showcases a global influence, it’s local markets and gardens that supply the raw materials for chef Jesse Hughes’ creations. Expect fresh and exciting dishes that pack a punch on your palate, such as cured salmon with pink peppercorn, orange and salted shallot, grilled chorizo with white bean, pear and parmesan and snapper ceviche with apple and rhubarb.

Emerge. Photo: Leah Gill / Emerge.


Meat-lovers rejoice: Emerge steakhouse has every cut you think of, cooked exactly as you like it. Porterhouse, rump, eye fillet, rib-eye: all cuts are sourced locally in Gippsland and Ballan or from Tasmanian breeders. Whether you like yours well-done with a slathering of creamy garlic sauce or rare with a dollop of mustard, you’re sure to fulfil your steak fantasies here. There’s plenty aside to delight all types of diner, from a vegetable tagine served with cous cous, mint yoghurt and coriander, to Otway seafood fettucine. 

The Arborist. Photo: Donna Schneider-Flanders / The Arborist.

The Arborist

If you’re wondering where this popular eatery gained its moniker, look to the European ash tree at its heart, which the entire space was designed around. This nod to nature extends throughout The Arborist, with muted greens and earthy tones embracing diners in search of sophisticated fare accompanied by Australian wine. A Middle-Eastern influence is felt across the menu, with dishes like baked halloumi with sultanas, saffron, honey, almonds and oregano, and slow-cooked pork belly with fesenjān, sweet potato puree and shaved cabbage best enjoyed with friends.

Preserved Lemon Cake with Marscapone and Sage Ice Cream at La Cachette. Photo: La Cachette.

La Cachette

Ooh la la, this is modern French-inspired dining at its best. La Cachette, a family-run restaurant just steps from the waterfront, bucks the stuffy reputation that follows traditional French dining. Cosy and welcoming, the bistro serves a weekly-changing menu that showcases the finest produce the peninsula has to offer. You might find yourself enjoying Otway fallow deer with red cabbage and juniper or Murray cod with pine mushrooms and sauce ‘vin jaune’ – just be sure to leave space for that classically French post-dinner indulgence: cheese.

Lunch at Wah Wah Gee. Photo: Geelong and the Bellarine.

Wah Wah Gee

Restaurant locations don’t get much more spectacular than Wah Wah Gee. First-time visitors to Geelong will delight in a waterfront stroll followed by a feed at this Asian restaurant, whose location at the tip of Cunningham Pier ensures uninterrupted ocean views. Embark on a culinary journey through spicy, sour and sweet, tucking into share plates of Korean crispy fried chicken, Thai fishcake, dumplings, Chinese chilli beef and more. Feeling the burn? Cool your tastebuds with a colourful, handcrafted cocktail.

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