February 13, 2023
10 mins Read
Good food and wine go hand in hand and Yarra Valley restaurants are a perfect fit for one of Australia’s best wine regions. From fine dining to top pub grub, here are some of the best spots to treat your tastebuds.
From winery restaurants to those set within converted stables and chalets, Yarra Valley chefs are creating dishes that are worth travelling for.
Best for: Fine dining and architecture
At Levantine Hill, where some guests arrive by helicopter and with private chauffeurs, you can limber up with a bespoke food and wine flight where house-made snacks have been created to match some of the rarest and most expensive wines in the world.
If you’d rather skip ahead to the main event you can choose between four or six plates of Mediterranean-inspired dishes in a space designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects, the firm that created the Museum of New and Old Art (MONA) in Tasmania.
Address: 882 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream
Best for: Modern Australian with a view
After losing Rae’s Restaurant to a mid-lockdown fire in 2020 the team at Balgownie Estate now have an even bigger and better space thanks to a multi-million dollar rebuild.
The new restaurant, 1309, includes a 100-seat dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows for panoramic Yarra Valley views, a refurbished deck, private dining spaces and a function room.
Standouts on Head Chef Beth Candy’s modern Australian menu include the anise myrtle cured Hiramasa Kingfish, warm smoked duck breast and native lemon tart with myrtle meringue.
Address: 1309 Melba Highway, Yarra Glen
Best for: Hyper-local dishes and long lunches
Thanks to its ever-evolving and seasonally changing menu we can’t tell you what you might find at Oakridge Restaurant when you visit. But we do know that whatever it is, it won’t have come far before it was transformed into something special in the kitchen.
As well as growing a lot of his own ingredients in the kitchen garden, Executive Chef Aaron Brodie is committed to a hyper-local menu and only using ingredients from local farms. It’s Thursday to Sunday lunchtime dining only at Oakridge where those lunches can be very long.
Address: 864 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream.
Best for: Old-world charm and vegan meals
Destination dining in a 19th-century chateau, at Eleonore’s you can enjoy five-course tasting menus from Executive Chef Mark Ebbels under gold leaf ceiling roses and antique brass light fittings.
After growing up in the Yarra Valley Mark worked at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck in the UK and Bacchanalia in Singapore before returning to Australia.
Mark’s passion for plant-based food will see two tasting menu options at every sitting, one for omnivores and one for vegans. Bookings are essential and Eleonore’s is open for Thursday, Friday and Saturday dinners.
Address: 42 Melba Highway, Yering
Best for: Casual and elegant dining
Next door to the chateau in the Yarra Valley’s oldest vineyard Yering Station is home to a light and bright contemporary restaurant where huge glass windows look out over lush fields with grazing cattle.
Open seven days a week for lunch the restaurant has a focus on small, local growers and guests are invited to not only peruse the full range of Yering Station wines but also try exclusive releases and special back-vintages. Lunches can also be enjoyed as part of a helicopter voyage from Melbourne’s CBD.
Address: 38 Melba Highway, Yarra Glen
Best for: Flame grilled dishes and desserts
A new addition to the Yarra Valley winery restaurants list, Quarters opened its doors in March 2022 as part of the new look Huberts Estate.
Led by local Eltham resident and Executive Chef Michael Smith, the modern Australian and European dishes are cooked over wood and charcoal in the custom-made grill, while the pizzas that are cooked in an Italian-made Marana oven can be traced back to the sourdough starter that Smith started in lockdown.
And with a team of pastry chefs working on the sweet treats you may need to activate that separate dessert corner of your stomach to enjoy it all.
Address: 1-3 St Huberts Rd, Coldstream
Best for: Chef’s table experience
Back in 1868, The Stables at Stones was used as the sleeping quarters for St Huberts’ winery stable hands. Flash forward more than 150 years and it’s now a boutique restaurant with a focus on sustainable and ethical produce.
The restaurant is only open for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays and has a private dining room where up to nine guests can enjoy the Chef’s Table.
Executive Chef Samuel Eng changes the Chef’s Table menu every night while sommeliers pair the latest dishes with a selection of wines.
Address: 14 St Huberts Rd, Coldstream
Cosy, creative and fun, Yarra Valley cafes are the perfect way to start the day with a good breakfast or brunch or for a more casual refuel over lunch.
Best for: Brunch, comfort food
When the former head chef for Yering Station Wine Bar Restaurant, Laura Webb-James, and the restaurant and cellar door manager Evan James decided to break away and do their own thing they wanted to create a place where they’d cook the kind of food they’d make for house guests.
And what lucky friends they must have because at Round Bird Can’t Fly those dishes include truffled mushroom ‘croque monsieur’ on brioche with mornay sauce, shaved ham and comte, and hot cakes with banana fritters, maple, peanut butter mousse and toasted seeds.
Address: 170 Main St, Lilydale
Best for: Lunch or dinner
In the old Colonial Bank building in Yarra Glen Heartswood serves up locally sourced seasonal dishes from Thursdays to Sundays, including dinners on Friday and Saturday nights. Menus can include chilli scramble and citrus waffles if you’re in breakfast mode while pulled wagyu burgers and buttermilk brined chicken schnittys may appear on the ‘more lunch than brunch’ options. As well as cosy seat options inside the heritage building you can grab a spot under an umbrella out the front and watch Yarra Glen life go by.
Address: 25 Bell St Service Rd, Yarra Glen
Best for: Retro charm
At Nancy’s of the Valley you may find yourself smiling as soon as you step through the door. There’s something about the mish mash of retro laminate and old wooden tables with mixed chairs from different decades that feels good even before you’ve seen the seasonal and, where possible, organic menu options. There’s a separate menu for vegans and celiacs are also well catered for, and along with the organic fair trade and locally roasted Silva coffee there are organic teas and turmeric and chai lattes. And there’s a good milkshake selection too if you’re feeling that retro theme.
Address: 3/2460 Warburton Hwy, Yarra Junction
Whether it’s a sunny beer garden kind of day or cold and rainy let’s shelter together in the pub weather, some days you just feel like a drink and a bite in a good pub or bar.
Best for: Group get-togethers
Colourful umbrellas and bright white tables outside, high tables and stools inside, at this cellar bar you’re sharing a shed with the wine barrels that are helping to bring future wines to life. As well as a chance to try all four of Jayden Ong’s wine ranges you can sip cocktails and local beers, while dining on fresh local and sustainable food. Kingfish crudo and pork & pistachio terrine are among the dishes you might find on the seasonally changing menu. Just remember to dress warm. In this bar, the temperature is set for the cool climate wines rather than people who feel the cold.
Address: 8 Hunter Rd, Healesville
Best for: Sustainable brews and food
At Matilda Bay Brewery they get a green tick for operating off 100% renewable energy, a beer tick for their old-school beers with contemporary twists, and a good food tick for their local and seasonal bar menu.
Organic ingredients are used whenever possible and dishes include Nashville cauliflower with smoked jalapeno cream, mussels in OWL beer, and a Beyond Meat Burger. Gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options are also on the menu and you can do a brewery tour while you’re there to see how Yarra Valley spring water gets turned into beer.
Address: 336 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville
Best for: Hearty pub fare and beer garden meals
Also known as the Middle Pub to the locals you may find yourself sharing a drink with, the Healesville Hotel features large windows, pressed metal ceilings and a big beer garden with plenty of space for larger groups of family and friends.
Expect a modern gastropub menu with some classic pub favourites including wagyu beef Bolognese and beer battered king George whiting and fries, along with wagyu and plant-based burger options.
Address: 256 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville
Best for: Parma lovers
When the Coldstream Brewery outgrew its old digs it moved the beer and cider-making side of the business off-site and turned the old brick building in the centre of Coldstream into a restaurant and bar.
As well as burgers and pizzas, steaks and sliders, they have an impressive nine parmas to choose from including a Nacho Parma topped with salsa, corn chips and guacamole, and a Vegan Dream Parma with a veggie schnitzel. And while the parmas come with salad and beer battered chips you can also upgrade them to a truffle fries side.
Address: 694 Maroondah Hwy, Coldstream
For more insider tips and advice, read our ultimate travel guide to Yarra Valley.
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