Long known for its world-class produce and hospitality, in 2019 Bendigo was formally recognised when UNESCO appointed it as Australia’s first and only Creative City and Region of Gastronomy. Fossick at a farmers' market, enjoy a vino with a view at more than 60 wineries, or nab a table at one of the region’s hottest restaurants. 

1. Bendigo Wholefoods

Stocked with products from over 100 farmers and producers, Bendigo Wholefoods is the best place to fill up your pantry. Inside the heritage-fronted grocer you’ll also find an edible garden nursery where you can pick up new additions to your veggie patch, as well as a café with a seasonal organic menu.

2. Masons of Bendigo

Masons of Bendigo’s minimalist interior is designed to let the food do the talking – and there’s a lot to talk about. The seasonal menu makes the most of ingredients sourced from local community gardens, with produce used to create jazzed up dishes like Tooborac lamb shoulder, steak tartare and zucchini flowers paired with yeast mayo.

3. Wine Bank On View

Housed inside a heritage-listed 19th-century former bank building, every drop is gold at Wine Bank On View. Touted as Bendigo’s best wine merchant, drop in on Wednesday nights for the weekly free wine tasting or stay a little longer to enjoy the stylish all-day dining menu.

4. Percy and Percy

This former milk bar has found new life as one of Bendigo’s favourite corner cafes. Grab a coffee and a baguette to go, or pull up a coveted seat at the sunny corner bench and dive into Percy and Percy’s globe-trotting menu, featuring Spanish eggs, pumpkin pancakes and chicken Waldorf rolls.

5. Ellis Wines

Rich red Cambrian soil in Colbinabbin have helped Ellis Wines to produce some of the best shiraz in the region. Try their award-winning wines during a visit to the cellar door in the heart of Bendigo's township, where you can also pair your tastings with a cheese platter.

6. Bendigo Community Farmers' Market

Whether you’re doing the groceries or enjoying a roving meal among the stalls, you can buy straight from Bendigo’s best producers at the community farmers' market. The weekend market takes place every second Saturday of the month, with a weekly market every Thursday.

7. El Gordo

Follow the fairy lights down Chancery Lane to discover a colourful slice of Spain at El Gordo. The laneway is regularly pumping with live music and art exhibits, with Bendigo locals tucking into plates of authentic tapas, including Jamón Serrano bocadillo and sardines in olive oil. Check ahead for their everchanging dinner events.

8. The Dispensary

Delve deeper into Chancery Lane and you’ll also find The Dispensary, a bar and diner that borrows from Melbourne's speakeasy culture. The contemporary menu is crowd-pleasingly snackable, and the ‘Lucky Seven’ sharing option is ideal for the indecisive. The drink list is eclectic, however, gin and whisky nerds will froth over the monthly flight tasting classes.

9. The Woodhouse Restaurant

Expertly grilled meat is the name of the game at The Woodhouse Restaurant. Bendigo’s only dedicated steakhouse is also ranked one of the best in Australia. Let the smoky aromas of redgum and applewood wash over you as you peruse a menu featuring the likes of wagyu brisket skewers, pork belly and scotch fillet.  

10. Nimbus Rooftop

Ride the elevator to the top of a nondescript office building to find a garden oasis hiding in the clouds. Nimbus Rooftop is a laidback rooftop bar (with cover) ideal for grazing on pizzas and dumplings with friends. Salute the sunset with a colourful cocktail then chill out with live music.

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