Rye on the Mornington Peninsula has a lot going for it.
Situated between Tootgarook and Blairgowerie, it’s lucky enough to both a bay beach and an ocean side one. Popular with families, the Rye Bay Beach offers sheltered swimming spots and features a busy foreshore camping ground. In contrast, Rye Ocean Beach – also known as St. Andrews Beach – is one for the surfers, as there are some great reef breaks. It’s a beautiful stretch of coastal, and home to the striking Dragon’s Head Rock.
Although not as boujiee as Sorrento and Portsea just down the road, Rye has plenty of appeal in its own right. And, of course, it also has some good restaurants, cafes and bars.
So read on and we’ll tell you where to go in Rye for a good coffee, some Asian fusion heat or a crispy, loaded slice of pizza.
Here’s our rundown of the best restaurants in Rye and neighbouring Tootgarook.
Location: 2409 Point Nepean Rd, Rye, VIC 3940 Ph: (03) 5985 6498
We’re opening our look at the best restaurants in Rye with an authentic taste of the flavours of Italy.
Del Posto 2409 offers a trim, carefully considered menu of beautifully prepared food. Check online and you’ll find review after review raving about what a gem this eatery is in the local dining crown.
And no wonder. The Carpaccio di Manzo ($24) evokes images of wandering around Florence. The tender slices of raw beef enlivened by peppery rocket leaves and umami rich Parmesan. The Gnocchi ($34) is homemade, and it shows. Pillowy potato dumplings cloaked in a luscious Gorgonzola cream. Yes. I know it’s arguably a heart attack on a plate, but what do I care when it tastes this good?
If you’re unsure about a side, may I suggest the Peas, Radicchio, Crispy Prosciutto & Anchovy Dressing? Honestly, I’d be happy with just a big bowl of this and a heel of homemade bread.
Del Posto 2409 describes itself as an Italian Kitchen & Bar, so – not surprisingly – there’s an extensive wine list for those who wish to indulge. Aussie wineries are well-represented with some decent Italian options for good measure.
Add in great service from knowledgeable and accommodating staff and you have the perfect place for a special dinner whilst holidaying on the Mornington Peninsula.
Do we even suggest you drive up from Sorrento for a meal? Yes. We do.
If Italian food sets your heart thumping, see our piece on the Best Italian Restaurants in Melbourne.
Location: 2283 Point Nepean Rd, Rye, VIC 3941 Ph: (03) 5912 1010
At first glance, Papi’s Pizza does one thing really well. Make pizza.
However, pop in for lunch or a bite to eat in the evening and you’ll find that this corner pizzeria manages to do a whole lot more as well.
Yes, their pizzas are excellent.
Here you’ll find flavoursome bases that have just the right amount of chew and a pleasing char on their bubbly edges. This is the place to come if you like authentic wood-fired crusts. But never fear. At Papi’s Pizza it isn’t just about the dough – the toppings are generous too.
The Prawns, Garlic, Tomatoes, Chilli and Scamorza ($27) is given a zip by the addition of Capers. Meanwhile, the Potato, Taleggio, Garlic, Rosemary & Crispy Prosciutto ($30) reminds me why potato-topped pizza are amongst my favourites.
The team offers customers the chance to ‘Pimp your Papi’s’ with various additions and even does an array of sauces on the side for you to dip any excess pizza crust in. Oh. And if you’re not up for pizza, their Bites section includes treats like a Prawn Roll ($14) and Roasted Carrots, Stracciatella & Dukkah ($11).
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So what are those extra that I talked about at the start? Well, it’s the whole vibe of the place. Papi’s Pizza is effortlessly chilled, with friendly staff who genuinely make you feel like looking after you is no bother at all. The interior of the restaurant is welcoming, but they also have seating outside to the side of the building.
On a hot, sunny afternoon, sitting at one of Papi’s benches with a slice of pizza and a cooling cocktail or beer is a pretty idyllic place to be.
And did we mention that they also do both a Bottomless Brunch at the weekends for $59 pp and a Papi’s Feed Me menu for $40 pp? Really, what more could you want? Papi’s Pizza is definitely one of the top restaurants in Rye.
Looking for good pizza in the Victoria capital? Click here for our Best Pizza Places in Melbourne
Location: 4/2257 Point Nepean Rd, Rye, VIC 3941 Ph: (03) 5985 7700
Steam Restaurant Rye has 2 major things going for it. Firstly, it serves yummy asian fusion in a groovy modern space. Secondly, this cool eatery lies just across the road from the beach. No wonder Steam Restaurant is so popular with locals and tourists alike.
The food at Steam lends itself perfectly to sharing, making dining at this buzzing eatery a fun, interactive experience. This is the kind of place where it pays to round up a few friends and book a en masse, so ensuring that you get to try as many dishes as possible.
With this in mind, the kitchen at Steam has put together a number of Set Menus. These range from a Yum Cha selection, through to a Dinner Menu and a Banquet Menu. Conveniently, with so much choice, there is little chance of anyone in your party going home hungry – especially if you plump for the 9 course Set Banquet Menu.
So what would we recommend?
Well, the Pork Hock is a standout – sticky cubes of burnished pork, fragrant with 5 spice. Similarly, the Korean-inspired Scallop sashimi with Gochujang Mayo & Soy Pearls is both delicate and punchy. Here at Eatability, we have a mild obsession with Bao Buns. Happily, the ones at Steam Restaurant tick all the right boxes – filled with Slow Cooked Pork, Pickled Cucumber, Kimchi & an addictive Smoked Mayo.
Vegetarians, don’t worry. You are not forgotten. The Larger Meals section features a Vegetarian Thai Yellow Curry, packed with Cauliflowers, Bean Shoots, Pumpkin and more. However, our tip is the try to Miso Pumpkin. The umami kick of the Miso Glaze works beautifully against the sweetness of the Pumpkin, whilst tofu adds a soft, creamy protein hit.
For Dessert, it’s hard to ignore the White Choc Brownie. This decadent blondie comes with a lush Pandan Ice Cream, the richness of the dish cut by a well-judged Salted Caramel.
Throw in a round of Beers or a couple of Cocktails from the bar and we reckon you’ve got a meal at one of the best restaurants in Rye.
If you love the variety and dare of asian fusion food, check out our guide to the Best Asian Fusion Restaurants in Melbourne
Location: 1891 Point Nepean Rd, Tootgarook, VIC 3941 Ph: (03) 5985 8888
Just on the edge of Rye at Tootgarook lies a well-kept secret – Veraison Wine Bar & Dining.
Priding themselves at getting the most out of the best local produce available to them on the Mornington Peninsula, Veraison does Modern Australian fine dining with a European edge.
Given the focus on quality ingredients, it’s no surprise that the menus reflect the seasons. At the time of writing this, one of the stand-out Entrees is a simply-sounding Green Asparagus ($20). However, this is a far from basic dish. Instead, the hero vegetable comes with a tangy Manchego Creme, Blood Orange & Cured Egg Yolk, with texture from a Toasted Walnut Praline.
Meanwhile amongst the Mains, there’s a dish that just screams my name – Pan Roasted Western Duck Breast ($45). Here, rich, perfectly rested Duck flesh is accompanied by Pickled Purple Carrot Ribbons, a fruity Orange Date Cigar & Olive Reduction.
For Dessert, a couple of Aussie classics get a chic update in the Coconut Spheres Cherry & Raspberry Lamington ($18). The Cherry Ripe chocolate bar and the humble Lammie have never sounded so appetising!
We also appreciate the intelligent wine suggestions that match each plate of food.
Along with outstanding food, the warmth of the service at Veraison is mentioned again and agin in reviews. Similarly, customers rave about the lovely atmosphere.
If you are looking for something a little special, give Veraison restaurant a try. We feel it’s amongst the top restaurants in Rye, if not the whole ‘Peninsula.
Location: 1917 Point Nepean Rd, Toogarook, VIC 3941 Ph: (03) 5903 5450
Ok. Confession time. The next entry on our rundown of the top restaurants in Rye technically isn’t in Rye, but very nearby in Tootgarook.
Either way, if you’ve driven ocean-side down to Rye, you’ve probably seen the striking white mural on the dark side wall of the venue as you cruise past. Obviously, it makes identifying The Kitchen pretty easy. And if it’s tempts you to stop, you’re in for a treat.
Another thing about The Kitchen is that it’s part of The Kitchens. Currently comprising the Tootgarook bistro and St Andrews Kitchen – a cafe down at St Andrews Beach – the group also has The Hidden Kitchen a few streets back in Tootgarook. However, the latter is Temporarily Closed as we write – you’ll let you know if we hear of a re-opening.
But let’s talk about The Kitchen for now.
This attractive eatery is exactly the kind of place you want to find in a seaside town. Here, the day starts early with a comprehensive Breakfast Menu. Whether you like to go health(ish) with Keto Friendly Fritters ($20.9) of Broccoli & Feta, served with Creme Fraiche, Tomato & Basil Salsa & Poached Eggs, or blow out on their Tootgarook Pancakes ($20.9), they’ve got you covered. Personally, we think those Pancakes with their Maple Poached Blueberries, Toasted Hazelnuts & Lemon Whipped Ricotta are hard to ignore.
Wisely, the crew then roll Lunch & Dinner into one menu. Maybe open with the Salmon Croquettes ($21.9) or the Sardines on Toast ($21.9). After that, tuck into Pasta Ai Funghi ($26.9) or meltingly tender Confit of Duck ($34.9) with a Spicy, Sticky Cherry Sauce.
Whatever you choose to eat, the atmosphere inside the cafe is welcoming and the service as sunny as a spot outside on the deck.
Next time you’re whizzing by on your way to Rye, pull over for a feed. You won’t regret it.
Looking for somewhere to step on your trip down to Rye? See our guide to the Best Restaurants in Mornington.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We are currently in the process of updating this piece. Please come back and check for further recommendations.