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From Farmers' Markets to Fine Dining - A Guide to Eating in Bendigo

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Bendigo’s dining scene reflects its cultural and demographic shift from backwater to modern boom town. Fish and chips and pub meals are no longer the order of the day, but are now complemented by sophisticated dining establishments that would be just as at home in Sydney or Melbourne. Look out for the rich red wines made in the Bendigo and Heathcote regions to go with your meal.

Typical dishes

 

Like most of Australia, Bendigo's cuisine is a hotchpotch of international influences. Yet you can't go wrong with a grilled steak ("rib eye" is considered the prime cut) or focaccia - a staple snack food in Australia. Fish and chips are ubiquitous and often made extremely well. Don't forget to try an Aussie hamburger, which is served with beetroot and a ring of pineapple!

Fine dining in Bendigo

 

Australia’s culinary reputation has come along in leaps and bounds in the past years, and Bendigo has kept up with the pace. Modern Australian cuisine relies heavily on farm-to-table principles, with an ample dash of Asian spice and simple Mediterranean-inspired techniques. Masons of Bendigo is a smart bistro that aims to showcase Central Victorian meats, cheeses, and heirloom vegetables. Wine Bank On View has strong Italian tendencies and formal surrounds, and a cellar bursting with local wines.

 

  • Masons of Bendigo, 25 Queen St., Bendigo VIC 3550; Tel: + 61 3 5443 3877; Website: Masons of Bendigo
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  • Wine Bank On View, 45 View St., Bendigo VIC 3550; Tel: +61 3 5444 4655; Website: Wine Bank On View

 

Casual dining in Bendigo

 

Bendigo is awash with cozy cafés where you can pop in for a focaccia or light lunch, particularly around the Hargreaves Mall. You’ll also find a sprinkling of restaurants serving Chinese, Thai, and other Asian cuisines across town. Pubs offer "counter meals," which range from a basic “steak and salad” menu to sophisticated bistro-type fare. Rifle Brigade Hotel welcomes with an enticing menu, ranging from Thai Beef Salad to pasta with prawn tails. GPO - set In the old General Post Office - is a lively place offering superb Italian cuisine in a family-friendly atmosphere.

 

  • GPO, 60-64 Pall Mall, Bendigo VIC 3550; Tel: +61 3 5443 4343; Website: GPO
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  • Rifle Brigade Hotel, 137 View St., Bendigo VIC 3550; Tel: http://www.riflebrigadehotel.com.au/

 

Destination dining around Bendigo

 

Australians will travel far for a good meal. Bendigo’s surrounding towns offer a host of great destination eateries - best enjoyed for lunch after a morning exploring historic streets or a walk through the bush. Castlemaine in particular has a clutch of restaurants worth travelling for, from the charming Origini Italian café to one of the best Thai restaurants in Victoria. Some of Bendigo’s wineries, such as Balgownie Estate, also have informal eateries on their grounds, where you can pair tipples with share-plates and gourmet snacks.

 

  • Origini, 213 Barker St., Castlemaine VIC 3450; Tel: +61 3 5472 1766; Website: Origini
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  • Balgownie Estate, 1309 Melba Highway, Yarra Glen VIC 3775; Tel: +61 3 9730 0700; Website: Balgownie Estate

 

Farmers' markets and food fossicking in Bendigo

 

Every second Saturday, Rosalind Park is the venue for the lively Bendigo Community Farmers’ Market, where producers and suppliers from all over the region come to tout their delicious farmhouse cheeses, organic coffee, homemade breads, and more. Food vans churn out tasty snacks, and music and a strong community atmosphere hold sway. Gourmands should consider booking a place on the Food Fossickers' Tour of Bendigo, where a local expert leads you to the town’s best purveyors and producers. There are plenty of tastings along the way and a goodie bag to take home.