Not sure where to eat in Daylesford? One-half of the duo behind the new Daylesford edition of the Produce to Platter books, Jonette George has a few firm favourites from the region…
1. The Convent Gallery
7 Daly St, Daylesford
“This mansion was first built as a private pad for the gold commissioner during the 1860s Gold Rush, then transformed into a convent before becoming a gallery – it’s absolutely beautiful. Come for the art, stay for a café-style lunch or some afternoon tea.”
The Bad Habits Café enhances the cafe atmosphere with a high atrium ceiling, peaceful palms filtering light, art-filled spaces, brightly painted walls and the pleasant coffee bean aromas.
The most recent addition, the Altar Bar brings to life a contemporary and stylish bar and lounge that offers guests a fabulous selection of cakes and light snacks, cocktails, refreshments and an extensive wine list.
2. Sault Restaurant
2349 Ballan-Daylesford Rd, Sailors Falls
“One of Daylesford’s best restaurants, Sault is set on a spectacular 125 acre estate against the backdrop of the Wombat State Forest with beautiful views overlooking our own lake and fields of lavender. Indulge your culinary senses with sumptuous cuisine, lovingly prepared by Sault’s team of Chefs. Only a 70 minute drive from Melbourne, Sault provides the perfect setting for lunch, dinner or that special occasion.”
Take advantage of the surrounding countryside and enjoy a meal at Sault Restaurant; boasting 180-degree views of the Lake, lavender and the forest through their large Bay windows.
The seasonal Australian menu showcases the fabulous regional produce, with most of the herbs sourced from their very own gardens, as well as many of their vegetables and fruits.
3. Cliffy’s Emporium
30 Raglan St, Daylesford
“An institution – a provedore with all sorts of local produce. It’s housed in an old Australian building with a big old verandah, and it really honours the old-style Australian café. The food is fantastic.”
An iconic 1950s styled cafe in the heart of Daylesford, with locals and visitors alike pulling up stools at one of the original long timber counters or sitting outdoors under the shade of the verandah and grapevines.
Cliffy’s has that hard to come by, rare character and history that welcomes its visitors to a warm and home-like space.
Order from the menu and indulge in the local produce; cheese, meat, eggs, oil, honey and preserves. Order the eggs with a sides of roasted sumac tomatoes and marinated roast mushrooms, or the go-to charcuterie plate featuring local cured meats, cheese, olives and pickled vegetables.
4. Mercato @ Daylesford
32 Raglan St, Daylesford
“A spot for romantics. It’s all starched tablecloths and silver service here, again in a big old Australian building. They’re very particular about the food – Richard the chef does some really special meals, and there’s a beautiful drinks menu with lots of local wines.”
Italian for market, Mercato is known for their scrumptious food, delectable wines and impeccable service. The stylish restaurant is situated in a converted cottage, serving up modern Australian cuisine from regional produce.
Experience the restaurant’s culinary delights and choose from their standard menu, the tapas menu, or really treat yourself to the degustation menu with matched wines; we know what we would choose!
5. Lake House
4 King St, Daylesford
“You just cannot go to Daylesford without dropping in here – it’s hardly a best-kept secret, but absolutely worthy of its reputation. Have a champagne breakfast, some lunch or dinner, or even stay the night – it’s right on the lake and beautiful.”
Cutting edge, the Lake House has a seasonally focussed menu matched with an internationally acclaimed wine list. With produce often hand-picked for a morning delivery, and a policy that focusses on constantly developing direct relationships with their nearby growers and producers.
The on-site five-acre farm is currently dedicated to vegetable gardens, a working barn for future classes and workshops, three hoop houses, a glasshouse, an orchard of 300 trees, an existing rejuvenated olive grove and a half-acre vineyard.
6. Galley Diner
105 Vincent St, Daylesford
The American obsession of burgers, beers, and ribs has landed in Daylesford with the 50s styled Galley Diner.
2 Leggatt St, Daylesford
Located on the banks of Lake Daylesford, guests can take in the exquisite water views from any vantage point. The Boathouse restaurant provides year-round comfort with easy meals in a relaxed dining environment.
Bring along some old bread and feed the ducks whilst watching paddle boaters make the way around the lake.
8. Wombat Hill House
Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens, Daylesford
The cafe sits amongst the recently renovated 1940s caretaker cottage, right in the heart of Daylesford’s Botanic Gardens.
Serving delicious breakfast, brunch, and lunch in the casual country style cafe, perfect for all-day grazing in the enchanted gardens, by the open fire or under the heated pergola.
Eat-in, take away, grab a coffee whilst walking the dog, order a picnic or draw a stool up at the bar and enjoy the cafe’s simple seasonal food.