A Foodie's Guide to Phillip Island and Surrounds
From artisan cheese shops to Indigenous food trails and waterside dining, Phillip Island effortlessly combines idyllic landscapes with culinary excellence.
August 31, 2022
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If the idea of breathtaking coastal views, unique wildlife and farm-to-table food experiences sounds like the ultimate road trip for you, it might be time to add Phillip Island to the top of your list.
This underrated holiday spot, just a short drive from Melbourne's CBD, is abundant in things to see, do and, most importantly, eat. From artisan cheese shops and indigenous food trails to waterside dining and more, Phillip Island is the ideal place for a nature-filled holiday that combines idyllic landscapes with culinary excellence.
To take the guesswork out of planning, we've compiled a list of our favourite dining destinations on the island. Proceed with an empty stomach.
ENJOY BREATHTAKING VIEWS AND LOCAL PRODUCE AT A LOCAL WINERY
Best known as a wedding destination and for its stunning views, Phillip Island Winery is a haven for anyone looking to experience the area via eating and drinking. Sprawled across 14 acres of vineyards, the winery boasts rolling rural views and glimpses of the Bass Strait — the perfect backdrop for wine sampling at the boutique cellar door.
If you're peckish, try a grazing board or lunch special from the kitchen, or stick around for a top-tier dinner experience. The seasonally changing menu here champions local produce, so expect things like locally foraged mushrooms, native greens or a local catch of the day to be on offer. Plus, the winery is only a few moments from the Phillip Island Penguin Parade — a must-see experience when visiting the region.
NAB LOCAL BREWS AND BITES AT THIS TAPHOUSE
As the name suggests, Ocean Reach Taphouse is located just a stone's throw from the big blue. The independent brewery is located in the charming beachside village of Cowes, the main town on Phillip Island.
With all of its beer proudly brewed and poured on site, you can choose from an IPA, pale ale, lager or porter to sample. Feeling adventurous? Try one of the taphouse's experimental seasonal flavours like its chocolate fudge stout. While you're there, you can also fill up on a bite from the resident food van which slings wings, burgers and other tasty snacks to satisfy all appetites. Make a beeline to this spot if you love brews, burgers and the beach.
CHECK OUT A BEACH SHACK WITH CHARMING FARE
Serving up everything from breakfast bagels to birria queso tacos, Kelp is the perfect pit stop for your travels through Phillip Island. Located right by the bridge connecting Newhaven and San Remo, the charming venue features an interior inspired by the surrounding seaside with a rustic fit out.
Stop by to try out one of the venue's beloved margaritas and mingle with locals as the sun sets over San Remo. Or, pop in for a coffee fix to fuel an action-packed day of adventuring around the island.
SAMPLE A SELECTION OF FRESHLY CAUGHT SEAFOOD
Being situated on the coast has its advantages. Perhaps the best of them all? Fresh seafood at your front door. Bass Strait Direct offers a huge selection of fresh, locally sourced seafood that is transported straight from boat to the shop.
Flathead, gummy flake, scallops and squid are just some of the regular offerings you'll find here, with friendly staff to help you with choosing the best catch of the day. Bring home a taste of the region at the end of your trip, or set yourself up for a hearty seaside barbecue in a nearby group-friendly park or reserve.
DINE ON A JETTY WITH PICTURESQUE VIEWS
Situated right on the shoreline, Saltwater is a light-filled restaurant and bar that boasts impressive 270-degree views of the Phillip Island Bridge and Western Port Bay. Its sleek interior is framed by the surrounding jetties, offering a relaxed yet elevated dining experience for visitors and locals alike.
Watch the boats sail by while you fill up on a woodfired pizza or take your pick from some of the fresh seafood on offer. The ceiling-to-floor windows allow you to marvel at the views of the water well into the night, making it a picturesque place to spend the evening and enjoy a cocktail or two, too.
A DAY-TO-NIGHT PUB WITH TOP-NOTCH FOOD AND LIVE MUSIC
Located along the central Esplanade in Cowes is Hotel Phillip Island, famed for its food scene by day and party scene by night. Overlooking the island's historic jetty, the hotel allows you to soak up views of Western Port, French Island and the Mornington Peninsula while enjoying classic pub fare.
Snacks like spicy Korean chicken and handmade spring rolls are also up for grabs and are best paired with one of the pub's experimental signature cocktails — Gingerbread Martini or Wizz Fizz Sour, anyone?
SAMPLE NATIVE FLAVOURS ON AN INCREDIBLE FOOD TRAIL
Wild Food Farm is a farm, homestead, cafe and retail boutique showcasing some of Australia's incredible variety of native herbs, spices, fruits and berries. Join a tour or explore the property — sprawled over acres of parkland, ponds and plantations all connected by a native food trail — at your own pace.
While you're there, be sure to pick up some treats from the shop to take home — there's everything from tea, muesli, curries, bush rubs, special jams, relishes and sauces, all made on site. Locals and tourists are encouraged to meet here to learn more about the Indigenous ingredients on offer and to sample the delicious food from the on-site cafe. Our picks from the menu are the wattle-seed scones and pepper-berry beef pies.
AN AWARD-WINNING CHEESE SHOP BELOVED BY CURD NERDS
Indulge in a stop at Bassine Cheese, an award-winning artisan cheese shop and cafe selling gourmet toasties, milkshakes and other dairy delights. This boutique is situated on a family-run farm that lovingly produces cheese three days a week in small batches from cows living on the property. And, you can sample the goods via free tastings at the shop.
There's a wide range of cheeses to choose from including brie, camembert, haloumi, ricotta or parmesan to name a few. The Bassine feta, marinated in various oils and spices including lemon myrtle, peppercorn, tuscan herbs and chilli, is a crowd favourite. Got a sweet tooth? Order one of the cafe's freshly baked scones with cream and local jam, best paired with a coffee or tea finished with the farm's own milk.
TAKE YOURSELF ON A CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURE TASTING TRAIL
Phillip Island's cooler climate offers favourable conditions for produce, resulting in an abundance of incredible ingredients grown on the island. Discover it with the The Phillip Island and Bass Coast Tasting Trail, a downloadable map developed to help you choose your own adventure across the island.
Explore gin distilleries, spice farms, fresh food markets, decadent chocolate factories, brasseries and bars while traipsing across the island. The map not only celebrates and showcases local producers and businesses, but it also helps you find just about anything you could have a craving for on your travels.
Keen to see (and taste) Phillip Island for yourself? For more information and to start planning your trip, visit the website.
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