Geelong isn’t called the gateway city for nothing, and being at the crossroads of several key food producing regions in Victoria provides the city with a thriving restaurant scene. If you like your food fine, make a reservation at Igni. The five-star, degustation-only restaurant is big on showcasing small producers in the region – hence the menu is constantly changing depending on what is in season.
Not as fancy but just as fine is Alma, a South American restaurant that’s all about food you can share with friends and family (over a few Pisco Sours, of course). Just around the corner you’ll find Sober Ramen, a shoebox-sized, IKEA-chic ramen bar. There are no bookings, and it’s so tiny that it’s unwise to bring more than one dinner guest. When the ramen (and selection of natural wines) is this good, though, your dinner date is really playing second fiddle.
Pop in your car and head to Freshwater Creek (about 20 minutes outside Geelong) to visit Common Ground Project. The venue is part café, part social enterprise and part farm, with produce grown on site used in the café menu (which features, among other things, breakfast gnocchi).
Those looking for sweets by the sea best head to Twisted Dessert Bar. Everything from the decor to the dishes is sweet here, with a pastel-hued fitout straight out of a 2010 Katy Perry film clip. It’s here you can enjoy thick slabs of New York cheesecake, brownie-topped hot chocolates and pavlova sandwiches (two meringues sandwiched with cream and various toppings).