You don’t have to look too hard to see why Apollo Bay is such an adored coastal town.
Sitting about 2 hours 40 mins drive south west of Melbourne on the iconic Great Ocean Road, it’s a popular spot for family holidays. And no wonder. With the ancient trees and stunning walking trails of the Otway Ranges on one side and the expanse of the Southern Ocean on the other, Apollo Bay is blessed with more than its fair share of natural beauty.
There really is something for everyone in this dynamic seaside community. Whilst Apollo Bay itself has glorious sandy beaches, you don’t have to go far to find a more dramatic, rugged coastline. In contrast, the Great Otway National Park is a place of astounding beauty of a totally different kind. Filled with old-growth forests, amazing wildlife and some truly exceptional walks, it’s a stunning contrast to seashore.
Really, it’s not surprising that with so much to recommend it, Apollo Bay is a favourite destination. And thankfully, it has a thriving dining scene as well. Whether you want a decent coffee before a walk, a hearty brunch after a swim or somewhere special to celebrate an important anniversary, Apollo Bay has the perfect place.
So join us as we take a look at the best restaurants in Apollo Bay.
Location: 15 Great Ocean Rd, Apollo Bay, VIC 3233 Ph: (03) 5237 7411
If you want to sample the best of what’s available in and around Apollo Bay, it’s hard to go past La Bimba.
Why? Because when Chef Steve Earl took control he made local produce the focus of his Modern Australian menu. Not only that, but when he struggled to find the ingredients he wanted from local suppliers, he moved into providing them himself. This commitment to using only the finest available saw him firstly buying the Otway Harvest farm to raise lamb and beef, and then expanding to cultivate fruit and veggies.
And this dedication translates into dish after dish of honest, but beautiful, food.
Open with a plate of vermillion Beetroot Carpaccio, Ricotta, Hazelnut & Saltbush ($18) or the locally caught School Prawns, crunchy against a Preserved Lemon Aioli ($23). The Leatherjacket with Jerk Spice & Cabbage Slaw ($38) is fantastic if you like a dish with a bit of a kick. However, if seafood gets you excited, make sure you keep a space for the La Bimba Paella ($80) – which is made using the whatever the top seafood of the the day happens to be.
The wine list is good, but personally, we like to chill with a jug of Sangria and watch the waves rolling to the shore through the restaurant’s big windows after a taxing day lying on the beach. It’s just one more reason why La Bimba is one of the top restaurants in Apollo Bay.
Editor’s Update: Sadly, we’ve heard that Steve Earl is no longer manning the kitchen at La Bimba and that the restaurant, as was, has closed. However, all is not lost, as a new team have taken over the venue…
Location: 125 Great Ocean Rd, Apollo Bay, VIC 3233 Ph: (03) 5237 7411
When a location is as prime as this, good food will surely follow.
So is the case with the latest eatery to settle in above the famed Apollo Bay Bakery, overlooking the foreshore at Apollo Bay.
Like the previous tenant’s, the current owners are keen to make the most of the best that the region has to offer in terms of fresh produce. And happily, the Birdhouse Apollo Bay is open all day.
Start your morning with a good cup of coffee and a plate of their Mixed Mushrooms, Hazelnut Pesto & Salted Seeds on Sourdough ($18). Then at lunch, we reckon the Cataplana ($42/80) – a seafood-packed Portuguese stew – is a must-try. If not, then maybe the Cuban Sandwich ($20), fat with Mojo Roasted Pork, Smoked Ham, Gruyere Cheese and Condiments, might be more to your liking.
Come dinner, the Mediterranean theme continues with delights such as Leek and Manchego Croquettes ($19) and Whole Baked Flathead, dressed with Chermoula & Pico De Gallo ($39).
Combine all this with a warm welcome from the moment you walk through the door, and you have another great place to dine out if you’re in the area. Pop it on your list of the finest restaurants in Apollo Bay
If you find yourself in this part of the world, check out our guide to the Best Restaurants in Geelong
Location: 14 Pascoe St, Apollo Bay, VIC 3233 Ph: (03) 5237 7303
Although a relative newcomer to the Apollo Bay dining scene, this restaurant and bar is a great addition.
Graze Apollo Bay might not have waterfront views, but this chic, sleek modern bistro serves top notch food. This is an eatery worthy of a special occasion. In fact, it’s already gained a solid following as one of the top restaurants in Apollo Bay. Not least because the staff are incredibly attentive and offer superb, yet friendly, service.
The Entree of Chargrilled Cuttlefish, Eggplant, Olive & Basil Salsa with a Smoked Tomato Sauce ($16) tastes every bit as good as it sounds. Meanwhile, the Seared Bass Strait Scallops, Pernod & Garlic Butter ($16) is delicious. It also reminds us that we really should dust off that bottle of Pernod at the back of the cupboard and cook with it more often.
Over on the Mains, the Sri Lankan Coconut Fish Curry with Basmati Rice, Roti Bread, Fresh Salsa, Mango Chutney & Yoghurt ($40) hums with fragrant spices. We’ve yet to try it, but we’ve also heard rave reviews about the Wild Harvested Otway Venison Osso Bucco. Braised until melting in the oven, its paired with a Garlic Mashed Potato. Honestly, what more could you want?
Dessert maybe? How about a bowlful of Warm Ginger Bread Pudding, Cinnamon Anglaise & House Made Vanilla Bean Ice Cream ($16)?
Whilst the Wine List is small, it is – as you might expect – carefully chosen and predominantly Australian. But if you fancy something a little fancy, the Limoncello Spritz ($20) is a lovely way to either open, or close, a meal at Graze Apollo Bay.
If you take a trip up to FNQ, see our picks for the Best Restaurants in Port Douglas
Location: 125 Great Ocean Rd, Apollo Bay, VIC 3233 Ph: (03) 5237 6440
For many regular visitors to this seaside haven, no trip is complete without a stop at the Apollo Bay Bakery. And what is their go-to order? Well, for many, it’s the famous Scallop Pie. Whether you prefer the Curry Scallop or the Scallop Mornay version, you’ll find the home made pastry case stuffed full of plump, whole crustaceans.
But that’s not the only item on often. This is a genuine country-style bakery with a large range of pies, breads and cakes, all hand made and baked daily. What’s more, they do a great selection of freshly filled rolls too. Even breakfast is covered at the Apollo Bay Bakery with their Egg and Bacon Roll and Coffee making a great start to the day for many a hungry beachcomber.
There’s nothing worse than arriving at the beach and realising you’re missing something. Do you need a beach game for all the family? Or a sand-proof towel? Or how about one of those great cabanas that everyone else seems to have? Well, don’t fret. We’re got everything you could possibly want. Click here for more information and prices.
And the icing on the cake? The staff are absolutely wonderful and amongst the friendliest people in town.
For a budget-friendly feed, cheery service and decent caffeine hit, make sure you try the Apollo Bay Bakery.
For a guide to the Best Seafood Restaurants in Melbourne, see here.
Location: 1G Moore St, Apollo Bay, VIC 3233
Eatability has a bit of a oft spot for Icaro Wholefood Cafe.
Check out their website and you’ll find their heart-felt Ethos written proud – no addititives, food made with love from scratch and a concern for sustainability and the environment. Honestly, what’s not to love?
But what about the food at this cute little vegetarian eatery?
Well, as you might expect, there is a pretty superior Smoothie Bowl ($18). Vibrant with Acai, Blueberry, Strawberry, Raspberry, Banana, Dates & Coconut Water and topped with an abundance of Fruits and Organic Gluten Free Cacao Crunch Granola, it’ll have you pinging into the new day.
If you lean more towards the savoury, the Keto Breakfast($22) might be for you. An Omelette made of 2 Free Range Eggs fried in Grass Fed Butter, with Organic Beetroot Sauerkraut, Avocado and House MAde Activated Cashew Cream, it’s a pretty as it is nourishing.
However, the real stars of the Icaro Cafe are the seemingly endless array of healthy drinks. From ST. ALi’s Coffee, to Smoothies, to Slushies & Coolers and a fabulous range of Medicinal Elixirs. Our recommendation? The Ceremonial Cacao ($10). And I quote: “high grade, high vibration, energy intense Cacao. Organic whole bean, heirloom criollo native cacao (cacao chuncho) from Peru. 20g dose with spice mix and raw honey on your choice of milk or keep it traditional with water only.” Bring it on!
If you prefer to eat vegetarian – or even fully plant-based – here’s our definite Vegan & Vegetarian Guide.
Editor’s Note: We are currently updating our page on Apollo Bay. Please come back soon and see which restaurants, cafes and bars have been added to our guide.