You can’t wander more than a few doors without stumbling on an eatery in Geelong. How to decide where to eat dinner? Let me help you out with my personal edit of five not-to-be-missed Geelong dinners. Old favourites, new kids on the block. Fancy and fine, informal and hang-loose. I give them all a run. Go on … you’ll kick yourself if you don’t.
Wah Wah Gee
The cool kids tell me this newcomer is on fleek with its lively vibe, amazing bay views and funky food sharing ethos. Choose the “feed me” option then sit back and let the crew serve you a no-limits banquet of Asian-inspired dishes that will have your tastebuds popping. Tasty dumplings, spicy broths, fresh salads, seafood and sides. Wash it down with $10 mason jar cocktails with names like Pash Mi Pash Yu, Cherry Bomb and Tokyo Moon.
Customs House Restaurant and Wine Bar
Thinking romance? Arrive early and sink into plush leather club chairs in bar “1856” for pre-dinner drinks. With ambience harking back to Geelong’s glory days as a port, the 1850s bluestone building sits reservedly, just back from the Geelong waterfront, offering a grand forecourt and superb vistas. Relax into a sophisticated and elegant dining experience centred on fresh local produce and a star-studded wine list. The cuisine channels international influences – flavour-filled pastas, cooked-to-perfection steaks and unpretentious desserts. Who doesn’t love a lemon tart?
A 30-year tradition of fine food served up with a pleasing touch of flamboyance. The go-to experience is the week-night Empire Degustation Menu, a five-course wine-matched journey through the chef team’s favourite flavours. Citrus cured kingfish, slow-cooked pork belly, twice-roasted duck – you get the idea. It’s delectable, affordable and oh-so doable with a table of your besties.
Geelong Boat House
Built on a 100-year old barge perched over the water on Geelong’s waterfront, the boat house is perfect for an early, casual dinner. Take a seat on the deck and order a sumptuous seafood dish. Always fresh and always cooked simply. Chillax and enjoy one of Geelong’s best views across yacht-dotted Corio Bay.
Gold Diggers Arms Hotel
The Diggers is a Geelong institution, a favourite after-work gathering spot for decades. I should know. It’s my local! Even allowing for natural bias, it’s a brilliant experience styled up with a decor make-over and modern menu. Pop into the public bar to mingle with the locals then head to the restaurant for a fancier-than-you-think dinner where the fare and service are top-notch. Scan the menu for your most-loved pub favourites alongside South American inspired dishes and delve into wine list with plenty of depth. Can’t decide? Opt for the signature dish: Cape Grim Pasture Fed Beef Steak, served just how you love it.