Just a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, the Bendigo region is a place where you can step back in time to get a fix of the state's history. Here, you’ll uncover a vibrant arts scene, old-world architecture and some of Victoria’s most delicious eats.
We've linked up with Visit Victoria and Bendigo Regional Tourism to help you discover the culinary delights in the Bendigo region faster. Here are the nine plates you simply can’t miss next time you're in the area.
Bull And Mouth Hotel: Herbivore Burger
When visiting Maryborough and its surrounds, make sure you add Bull And Mouth Hotel to your must-eat-meals hit list. With most of the usual pub classics available on the menu, the real standout dish to us is found in one of its impressive vegetarian options: the herbivore burger. This handheld meal is layered with a plant-based patty, coral lettuce, tomato and avocado—and is topped with crispy onion rings and a next-level kale and walnut pesto. A burger so satisfying even your meat-eating mates will love it.
Bridgewater Hotel: Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder
Featuring lamb from nearby supplier, Fat Butcher Inglewood, the slow-cooked lamb shoulder at Bridgewater Hotel is not to be missed when in the Bendigo region. After delicately cooking for 12 hours, the tender lamb shoulder is then served up with buttery mashed potatoes, honey-glazed baby carrots, sautéed beans—and a moreish reduction featuring local winemakers Black Wallaby Wines. Pull up a seat at this riverside Art Deco pub—this is local eating at its finest.
Ghosty's Diner: Crumbed Chicken Sandwich
Sometimes you just want tasty, fuss-free food, and Ghosty's Diner delivers on that front. The Bendigo newbie is making waves in the food scene here, with fresh takes on classic American diner-style dishes. Our must-try dish at this all-day diner? Its crumbed chicken sandwich layered with pickles, cheese and shredded iceberg lettuce for added crunch. Paired with coffee from Coffee Supreme, you can't go wrong.
Chauncy is a slice of the French countryside in the heart of central Victoria. Sitting pretty in a heritage-listed sandstone building on High Street in Heathcote, this chic dining room is the ultimate spot for a long lunch. Settle in for their menu du jour, a seasonal, six-course culinary adventure. Get prepped to try plates of duck with mulberries, and cod with cauliflower and grenobloise. Make sure you save room for their crème brûlée—it’s delicious.
Malayan Orchid: Malaysian Chicken Curry
Serving hungry locals since 1993, Malayan Orchid is a Bendigo institution. Pro tip: arrive hungry, bring a crew and order a little bit of everything so you can sample a few dishes. Start with the sambal chilli prawns, vegetarian mee goreng and kangaroo plum jus. For mains, the Malaysian chicken curry is an absolute favourite—it’s the perfect mix of spicy and creamy.
Bar Midland: Seasonal Specials
Housed in the historic Midland Hotel, this intimate eatery’s menu is a love letter to Victoria—with all food sourced, grown and produced within the state. The seasonal menu changes monthly, so multiple visits to Bar Midland aren't just encouraged—they're an absolute must. To get you drooling, previous specials include mussels, venison, rabbit, and its seven canapes loaded with creative and tasty morsels from local producers.
Masons of Bendigo: Camel Milk Panna Cotta
Sophisticated and minimalist, Masons of Bendigo wouldn’t be out of place in the laneways of Melbourne—and its menu would stand up too. Serving dishes that look like works of art, the modern-Australian menu is a feast for the senses. While you’re going to want to tuck into the crispy pork belly and Japanese eggplant, and the chicken ballotine with jamon and quail egg, be sure to leave some room for the star—the dessert. The camel milk panna cotta is a game-changer, served with quandong, roasted nectarine, macadamia, and peach sorbet.
Harvest Food and Wine: Brunch
Part bistro, part deli, you can’t visit Bendigo without stopping by Harvest for brunch. Tuck into a pillow-soft milk roll loaded with thick-cut bacon, fried egg and lashings of tomato relish. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you can’t go wrong with crumpets and jam or a pain au chocolat—warm and fresh from the oven. Take your meal to the next level with a round of peach bellinis, and don’t forget to stock up on picnic staples from the deli on your way out.
Balgownie Estate: Set Menu
A visit to Balgownie Estate isn’t one you’ll soon forget. Bendigo’s oldest working winery sits on 33 lush hectares and it’s the perfect place to wine and dine the day away, before spending the night in one of its luxe glamping tents. Snack on freshly shucked oysters with finger lime and Applewood smoked salmon with Yarra Valley caviar. Then feast on gnocchi, with tomato and basil fondue, or Aylesbury duck breast with plum compote, and pomegranate jus. If you can squeeze it in, you won’t regret sampling the lime cheesecake mousse either.
Editor’s note: this article was produced in partnership with Visit Victoria and Bendigo Regional Tourism as part of the "Stay close, go further" campaign. Thank you for supporting the partners who make Urban List possible. To read our editorial policy, click here.