Eating country Victoria – Great experiences

Eating country Victoria north of Melbourne – Summary

This story is a summary of the places that we have visited recently in country Victoria immediately north of Melbourne. Each of these places can be visited for lunch enabling you to return to Melbourne, or there are many very nice places to stay overnight if you want a more leisurely experience.

No 7 Healsville – Healsville, Yarra Valley

No 7 Healsville is a full service restaurant housed in a high-ceiling converted cabinet factory in the centre of Healsville which is located in country Victoria. We find that the drive from the centre of Melbourne takes about an hour. The food here is both interesting and very tasty and the wine selection ecelectic. It is well worth a visit!

Surly Goat – Hepburn Springs

Surly Goat is tucked down a side road in Hepburn Springs but it is well worth looking for as the food is quite delicious and the wine list has some interesting offerings. The chefs here know their stuff and have considerable experience behind them as can be seen from the photographs of the food that we have included in the story about them on this site here.

3 Tenth St, Hepburn Springs VIC 3461

Bar Merenda – Daylesford

It is unusual for us to use the word institution for a restaurant/bar that hasn’t been open for very long but Bar Merenda certainly deserves such a designation. The minute you walk into this inviting space you are enveloped with smiles, enthusiasm and joy. Both the food and the wine selections are exciting with plenty of natural selections to satisfy the most ardent naturalists. We have visited twice since they have opened and are already looking forward to our next visit.

Shop 3, 22-24 Howe St. Daylesford

Winespeake – Daylesford

Could this be the most exciting wine store and cafe outside the major Australian cities? We are constantly amazed by what the owners are doing here in country Victoria. The wine selection is comprehensive (with some of the natural wines we import from France on display here) and the food and coffee very appealing. The wines are also very reasonably priced. We have a separate story about this venue on this site here.

4/26 Vincent St, Daylesford VIC 3460

Tortoise Espresso – Castlemaine

This place could lay claim to the oddest coffee yet most appealing venue in Australia. It is a window on a corner in Castlemaine with some outdoor seating under a tree and one of the best selections of coffee outside Disciple in Melbourne. We enjoyed visiting this country Victoria venue and sampling some excellent brews here.

You can read a more detailed story about this venue here.

233 Barker St, Castlemaine VIC 3450

“A Table” Pop-Up – Castlemaine

We have been closely following the career of chef Ali Currey-Voumard since she was in her mid teens. We have particularly enjoyed her deft hand at the stoves during her time at both the Agrarian Kitchen and Public Wine Shop where she has taken the best of fresh produce and created tasty, exciting dishes. Early this year (2024) she and Mali Mitchell-Court have “popped-up” at the Temperance House in Castlemaine to create a dining destination that is attracting diners from near and far.

We thoroughly enjoyed our recent meal here and will post more details shortly.

du Fermier – Trentham

Du Fermier is the country Victoria restaurant of Annie Smithers which is quite close to her established produce garden next to her home. We have only dined here once but thoroughly enjoyed the experience enhanced through the skilled service of Bronwyn Kabboord and Annie’s clever cooking and great produce. We are very much looking forward to our next visit.

You can read more about this restaurant on their Web site here.


We have a few other restaurants in country Victoria that we are hoping to visit this year and we will add them to this story when we manage another visit. Our biggest problem is that we want to visit many of the restaurants mentioned in this story again and again!

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