Victoria’s best winter dining

Travelling Well | Megan Whitfield | Posted on 20 May 2019

Warm up with a full belly and a glass of wine at these cosy winter dining spots.

Winter is upon us, but it’s not all sniffles and frosted fingers. Celebrate the chill with that most welcome seasonal ingredient – a roaring fire. We’ve compiled a guide to some of Victoria’s cosiest fireside spots, from fine dining to bars to classic Aussie pubs.

Tables and chairs in industrial, warehouse style restaurant with high ceilings and indoor plants

Red Gum BBQ, Red Hill

10 of the cosiest places to get your winter feast on in Victoria

Sault, Daylesford

For a fine-dining experience that will warm you from the inside out, head to Sault restaurant in Daylesford. Enjoy a three or four-course seasonal menu with the backdrop of a crackling fire and beautiful views over the 50-hectare estate and Wombat State Forest.

Why not turn a Daylesford visit into a weekend getaway with a night at RACV Goldfields Resort?

Swiss Mountain Hotel, Blampied

In the tiny town of Blampied (in the Shire of Hepburn) you’ll find this beautifully updated weatherboard pub that dates back to 1865. The menu has pub classics from fish and chips to a Swiss Mountain Parma, and a steak sandwich is hard to go past – tuck in beside the roaring fire in the middle of the restaurant.

Healesville Hotel Restaurant

Escape winter in the city at the Healesville Hotel. The menu changes seasonally (including the cocktail list), and on Sundays from May to September you can enjoy a family-style roast dinner, cooked in the wood-fired grill in the garden. Enjoy your meal alongside a carefully selected wine list as you soak up the warmth of the crackling fire. The classic country charm of the dining room doesn’t hurt either.

RACV members save 10 per cent on lunch and dinner on weekdays at Healesville Hotel Restaurant.

Plate of crispy, golden fried chicken wings with mayonnaise
Plate with slow-roasted pork knuckle, mashed potato and gravy, with a beer on the side

Warm your belly with hearty, Bavarian-inspired grub at The Hof Downtown.

The Hof Downtown, Docklands

Time for some classic pub grub – Bavarian pub grub to be specific. You won’t go home hungry from this Marvel Stadium-side place, sister venue to Hofbrauhaus in Melbourne’s CBD. Polish off a generously sized schnitzel, split a few ‘Happchen’ (share plates, essentially) with friends, or try the freshly baked pretzels and three-cheese Knodel (Bavarian dumplings) with cauliflower puree. In winter wash this all down with a mug of mulled wine and the cold weather won’t be so hard to swallow.

Red Gum BBQ, Red Hill

We’ll be up front – there’s no fireplace here. What there is, however, is a four-metre-long red gum barbecue smoker in the middle of the restaurant. Combined with the succulent southern-style smoked barbecue dishes and warm timber-filled interior, the cosy factor at Red Gum BBQ is 10 out of 10. What better way to spend a chilly winter evening? Plus RACV members can take advantage of this exclusive feast for two. Red Gum BBQ is also a short drive from RACV’s Cape Schanck Resort where members save on accommodation and special offers.

The Palace Hotel, South Melbourne

To wrap things up, we have one more classic pub to get some feeling back into your toes this winter. The Palace Hotel in South Melbourne offers no-frills decor, a heated dog-friendly beer garden, or grab a table inside and treat yourself to a warming curry around the fire. Kids are welcome, there are daily specials, live music, and yes, you can watch the footy.

Cocktail with lemon wedge sitting on a table in front of a fireplace
Man wearing jeans standing with a shovel next to a smoker machine
Flat lay of people sharing a range of southern American style smooed brisket, mac and cheese, salads and chips

Soothe your soul with a spicy cocktail at The Lost Ones Gallery and Basement Bar in Ballarat (left) or get your fill of smoky, southern American-inspired eats at Red Gum BBQ in Red Hill.

Moo’s at Meeniyan

There’s a lot to be said for a laidback local cafe by day, cosy winter escape by night. Moo’s at Meeniyan in South Gippsland (30 minutes from RACV Inverloch Resort is just that. Have your smashed avo for breakfast or sit by the fire on a Friday or Saturday evening and choose from a weekly-changing menu that champions local produce.

The Lost Ones Gallery and Basement Bar, Ballarat

With its dark timber furnishings, low lights and old-school styling, this Ballarat gem has a cosy, luxurious vibe that makes winter feel tolerable. It’s not easy to find, but that’s part of the experience. Turn into the small laneway of Camp Street and step into a different time in this former Masonic temple. Treat yourself to a classic cocktail, craft beer or local spirit, settle into a lush leather armchair and enjoy with a cheese plate or cured meat selection. The bar hosts live performances by local musicians, or check out the connected art gallery on a chilly afternoon.

Make a weekend of it by staying the night at RACV Goldfields Resort.

Marquis of Lorne, Fitzroy

Who doesn’t love a chicken schnitzel by an open fire? At Fitzroy’s Marquis of Lorne, the pub grub has had a modern update, but the classic warmth of an Aussie watering hole remains. Grab a counter meal and choose from an extensive collection of wines and craft beers to accompany it. There are three levels (including a rooftop bar), but you can’t beat the fireplace on the ground floor.

Harding’s Lounge, Torquay

Heading down to the Great Ocean Road this winter? Settle into one of the lounges next to the crackling fire at Harding’s Lounge at RACV Torquay Resort. Take in views over the golf course and accompany your cosy evening with a tasting plate of manzanillo olives, cured meats and dips.

With eight resorts to choose from, find the moments you'll remember at an RACV Resort