Wondering where to eat? Ballarat is a mecca of exceptional chefs, fine food and an electric atmosphere. You just need to know where to find them.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the city’s most popular eateries to help you on your journey of culinary discovery.
It doesn’t get much better than wood-fired pizza, so head into The Forge to quash those cravings. For those sweet tooths, we highly recommend the Nutella and strawberry pizza.
Right next door is 1816 Bakehouse. Grab some lunch and local coffee at this artisan bakery/patisserie/cafe or take home a little bit of Ballarat with you. From sourdough to baguettes and French croissants, your biggest decision will be deciding what not to take home.
Get your fill of tacos, loaded fries and pimped-up cocktails from the crew at Dr Fill.
Enjoy a modern twist on Vietnamese at Saigon Allee. We can confirm they also put a Vietnamese twist on their popular cocktails and they are delicious!
You’ll find Asian-inspired fair and plenty of gin on the menu at Roy Hammond.
Sit down with your favourite cocktail and snack on traditional South American cuisine long into the evening at Pancho. From traditional Mexican fish tacos to some of the best guac in town, you’ll want to taste the whole menu here.
If Spanish cuisine is more your thing, then grab the crew together for a night of tapas and sangria at Meigas.
With someone who can’t decide what to eat? No problem, just ask for the “feed me” option and the team at Meigas will serve up a selection of their favourite dishes.
Be entertained at Tokyo Grill House as you watch the chefs cook up a Japanese feast right before your eyes.
Feel like a night in with your own cheese platter and local wine? Then you’re going to want to chat with the team at Campana’s. They been providing locals with advice on all things wine and delicatessen since 1976.
If Armstrong Street is Ballarat’s foodie core, then it’s the surrounding network of streets lined with phenomenal food experiences that completes it.
Head down McKenzie Lane and you could be enjoy brunch in the renovated heritage warehouse that is Hydrant Food Hall.
You’ll find a menu of a different sort at Hop Temple. Located in Hop Lane, you will find yourself spoilt for choice with more than 220 craft beer and cider varieties to choose from.
Just around the corner you’ll see Moon and Mountain, a modern Asian eatery with an Australian twist. But it’s their seasonal citrus and floral note cocktails that make this experience one of a kind.
Head west on Mair Street and you’ll pass The Comfort of Strangers (a good place to stop for a quick drop) before coming across Ragazzone, Ballarat’s new modern Italian pasta and vino restaurant.
Right next door is brewpub Aunty Jacks, which combines quality craft beer and deliciously snackable food.
It’s in Mair Street you’ll also find cocktail bar and social club, Renard. They serve contemporary bistro dishes with your favourite cocktail, and are open late for your late-night disco needs.
If you’re someone who loves a sleep-in before heading out for brunch, then make Johnny Alloo your first stop for coffee. Located at the top end of Mair Street, this popular cafe has recently launched outdoor dining – making it the perfect spot to soak up some sun over breakfast or lunch.
3350 Coffee Bar and Lilly’s Ballarat (which also serves up homemade chocolate and lollies) are also popular stops for a good brew.
It’s here you will find Underbar chef Derek Boath serving up a tasting menu inspired by the season and the region’s highest quality produce.
Each season, Derek also hosts a vegetarian tasting showcasing the wonderful natural ingredients foraged from Ballarat and surrounding areas.
For good coffee, you can’t go pass Fika. Always bustling, you’ll appreciate the attention to detail you get with every coffee. Their brunch menu is also worth returning for. From Nan’s hotcakes (with streaky bacon and Canadian maple) to Nonna’s vegemite toast (with avocado, burnt tomatoes, feta and a hint of chilli), they sure know how to put the right twist on our all-time favs.
For wine, you need to stop by Mitchell Harris Wines. Winemaker John Harris works with growers in Pyrenees, Macedon, Ballarat and Henty to craft wines that reflect the cool-climate characters of the nearby regions.
Head towards the train station and you’ll discover Lola at The Provincial Hotel, where the menu is seasonally driven from the region’s best locally-sourced produce.
It’s also the perfect place to pick up a St Ali Coffee or Grounded Pleasures hot chocolate before you head back home.
The coffee is also a standout at Cobb’s Coffee.
Just around the corner in Sturt Street you’ll find plenty of places to simply sit back and watch the traffic pass by. Some of our favourite cafes are L’espresso, Higher Society and Yellow Espresso, while newly-opened Ellington’s Wine Bar and Midtown Cellars & Bar are Ballarat’s newest go-to for tasty wine and craft beer.
Known as a 10-minute city, it’s easy to get around Ballarat – meaning finding somewhere for brunch just got a whole lot less stressful.
Ballarat loves a good neighbourhood cafe and we now have another one to add to our growing collection – Hideaway Coffee Bar. If you love a sleep in then you’ll love the fact this cafe boasts an all day breakfast menu.
Sit outside at Drive Cafe, which started out in life as a service station, or grab a toastie on the run from Husker Du.
It’s a local produce haven at Webster’s Market and Cafe, while at Clothesline Cafe it’s all about a refined take on brunch. The food here is not only delicious, but super Instagramable (it’s like art on a plate). It’s almost too good to eat (almost!).
Some other spots frequented by the locals include Fossick Coffee & Wares, Common Ground, Lydiard General Store, The Tin Roof and The Green House.