Photo Credit: Quinn Dombrowski

The food and restaurant industry of Victoria is centered on Melbourne. However, this isn’t to say that visitors will not find delightful restaurants outside the capital city. On the contrary, Victoria’s smaller cities and towns have some fantastic dining options. Melbourne’s CBD features a cluster of magnificent cuisines from around the globe. Greek, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Middle Eastern, Australian and more can be found inside the city. Even though the outer areas boast a more limited selection, the cuisine is still mouthwatering. When it comes to a social drink, clubs and pubs are scattered throughout Melbourne. Most cities and towns have bars and pubs; even smaller rural settlements have a local watering hole to escape into.

Bars and Pubbing in Victoria

Melbourne is where the nightlife flourishes. The capital of Victoria is arguably home to Australia’s best night scene. However, Geelong and Bendigo also boast an impressive night line-up. Melbourne’s CBD is awash is magnificent nightclubs. Cookie (Swanston Street, Melbourne CBD, Melbourne) is well worth a visit, although the crowd is quite upper-class. Nevertheless, they still love to party. The Carlton Club (193 Bourke Street, Melbourne) is another popular place for all newcomers and returnees to Melbourne. Outside of downtown Melbourne is Chapel Street’s Electric Lady (265 Chapel Street, Prahran, Melbourne). It is one of the newest nightclub flavors in the city.

Geelong shouldn’t be overlooked as an entertainment district after dark. Mr Hyde (11 Malop Street, Geelong) is a chic and trendy bar with great cocktail ammunition. The Blue Martini Lounge (5 James Street, Geelong) is great for martinis, although plenty of other drink options are available at this relaxing social spot. Toast Club (114-122 Moorabool Street, Geelong) is the most exciting DJ nightclub in Geelong.

The gateway to the Goldfields, Ballarat, may not be the most exciting city in Victoria, but there are plenty of places to spend an evening out. On Friday and Saturday nights, tourists can party and even stay at the George Hotel (27 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat). Despite a cover charge on some nights, the Karova Lounge (15 Field Street, Ballarat) is great for live music. The most exclusive and newest-oldest club in town is the Bended Elbow (120 Lydiard Street, Ballarat). It was recently re-opened and features a thriving atmosphere on the weekends.

Dining and Cuisine in Victoria

Melbourne’s culinary delights will entice any traveler. However, the only problem is tourists never get a chance to sample everything. Vue de Monde (525 Collins Street, Melbourne) is one of the finest French restaurants in the city. The Crown Casino’s World Restaurant and Bar (4/2 Riverside Drive, Southbank, Melbourne) is a great place to eat anytime of the day. Seafood, steaks, salads and a range of other meals are found at The Mint (318 William Street, Melbourne).

The Yarra Valley is blessed with a stunning landscape that compliments many wonderful restaurants superbly. Try the Riverstone Estate (Skye Road, Coldstream, Victoria), which contains an awesome Yarra Ranges view with a great barbecue menu. For a taste of luxury, try the Tokar Estate Restaurant (6 Maddens Lane, Coldstream, Victoria). Boasting stupendous wines and succulent local flavors, Stone of the Yarra Valley (14 St Huberts Road, Coldstream, Victoria) is an ideal dining located in the region.

Bendigo’s local restaurants may not have the glitz and glamour of Melbourne’s culinary scene but there are some great spots to savor. The Dispensary Enoteca (Chancery Lane, Bendigo) is one of the newest and most exciting dining options with a great food and wine list. The GPO (60-64 Pall Mall, Bendigo) is the best spot for local Australian meals. Of course, Asian cuisine is a must, so sample the menus at Malayan Orchid (155 View Street, Bendigo).

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