If you thought all Torquay had to offer was surf, oh boy were you wrong!
This one’s for the foodies, the café snobs, the pizza lovers and just the plain hungry. We’re taking you through the streets of our little beach town to taste and gorge on some of the tastiest food around.
Eat your way around the world
Torquay does international cuisine oh so well. While we can’t travel to Vietnam or Indian, we can still devour their amazing dishes. Go forth and explore, you hungry little nomad.
Does Pho Mi Goreng sound like the dish of your dreams? How about Pho Laksa? When you can’t decide between Vietnamese and Chinese… or Vietnamese and Japanese or Vietnamese and… well, you get it! Pholklore will be your culinary haven. Their menu mashes up classic Vietnamese favourites like Bun bowls, rice paper rolls and Pho with new and exciting flavours. Everything is ridiculously good but if you try just one thing, make it the passionfruit kingfish ceviche. Your taste buds will do a little happy dance, guaranteed. Pholklore boasts one of the best locations in town, plunked right on the corner of Gilbert Street and The Esplanade with some pretty speccy ocean views. But with eclectic decor and plants exploding from every inch of the wall, the view the other way is just as good.
38 The Esplanade, 5261 4270, Mon-Fri 5-9pm, Sat-Sun 12-9pm, @pholklore_
Got a craving for a Mexican feed? Or have you just heard Alisitos have the best Margaritas that will ever pass your lips? Whatever you come for, it’s gonna be a good time! Alisitos is a little restaurant on the corner of Bell St with a cute little courtyard out the front where you can sit and enjoy the good vibes. They serve all your classic Mexican favourite dishes like tacos, burritos and a damn good charred street corn. Don’t forget the guac! We love heading to Alisitos for a Sunday session when the DJ is pumping out tunes, or during the week for their Live Music Thursdays. Good food, dangerously good drinks and a boogie with pals - what could be better?
46 Bell St, 5261 5629, Tues-Sun 5.30-10pm, @alisitos_torquay
If you love getting punched in the face with your flavours, you’re undoubtedly a huge fan of Indian, and Lentils Indian Cuisine in Torquay certainly lives up to this flavour packed reputation. The tantalising aromatics will hit you from the moment you walk in the door and won’t stop until you leave incredibly satisfied. They’ve got the vegetarians covered with their menu, with a tonne of mains so no one will be left out on this tasty night out.
27 Gilbert St, 5209 2258, Mon-Thur 5-11pm, Fri-Sun 12-11pm
You can't go wrong with a banging curry.
Sushi... but make it upscale and jaw-droppingly delicious! Roku Den is a Japanese Inspired Restaurant and Sushi Bar that will make you feel like you just jumped on a flight to Tokyo. This is one of our favourite spots to gorge ourselves in Torquay without feeling too guilty. We recommend bringing your mates and ordering a bevvy of share plates but if you want to keep it all to yourself we certainly won’t judge! Either way, you’ll be dreaming about their bao buns for weeks.
34 Bell St, 5264 6190, Wed-Sat 12-8.30pm, Sun-Tues 5.30-8.30pm, @rokuden
Ahhhh, Torquay Thai. You had us at crispy pork belly. If you like your Thai food chock full of fresh herbs and veggies, Torquay Thai will not disappoint. The restaurant has all your favourites including classic dishes like Pad Thai and green curry but you’ll also discover exciting new flavours.
44 Bell St, 5261 4203, Mon-Sun 5-9pm
Drooling over those Thai flavours.
Fine AF dining
When you want to get just *a little bit fancy* Torquay has got you covered. These restaurants have unbelievably good nosh with all wrapped up in a chic atmosphere. Take a date or your classiest mate.
We’re licking our lips just thinking about Bob Sugar because this little restaurant has the tastiest fare in all of Torquay. Despite the top notch Asian-fusion dishes and drop-dead gorgeous decor, our mate Bob doesn’t take himself too seriously. In fact - the website dubs him ‘your likeable douchebag.’ You cheeky scoundrel, you! In a prime position on the Esplanade, the restaurant is small but buzzing and we love the little nooks inside, perfect for date night. The curry is a knockout and make sure you try at least one of the cocktails, if not ten. The Yuzu Sour is what cocktail dreams are made of.
17 The Esplanade, 5261 6032, 11.30am-11pm, @bobsugartorquay
Samesyn means togetherness, referring to how we connect over food. If that isn’t a fantastic reason to gather some new friends to bond with over bloody phenomenal food, we don’t know what is. Headed by a Jan Juc local chef, Samesyn is from the team at Tulip in Geelong and our Torquay outpost absolutely lives up to the hype of its hat-awarded predecessor. Samesyn showcases the best of the Surf Coast region with seasonal, ever-changing dishes sourced from local suppliers and designed to share.
3/24 Bell St, 5291 9117, Tue-Thur 5.30-9.30pm, Fri 12-10.30pm, Sat 12-11pm, @samesynrestaurant
We love when an unconventional environment sets the tone for our meals. You’ll find The Stoop inside a gorgeous old 50’s beach house and this is just the beginning of its charm. This restaurant is all about socialising and relaxing with good company. With a clash of French, Mediterranean and Australian, you’ll find simple but stylish offerings on their menu (including a parma!) The Stoop uses the finest local and seasonal produce and the wine menu features some of the best local Surf Coast wines. Cheers to that!
1 Cliff St, 5261 6006, Wed-Thur 11.30am-8pm, Fri-Sat 11.30am-9pm, Sun 11.30am-2.30pm, @thestooptorquay
Who’s got a cafe culture to rival Melbourne? Yep, that would be Torquay. We do seriously good coffee around here and the brunches aren’t too shabby either!
When you find a brunch destination that presents ingredients and flavours in unconventional ways, you hold on tight to that cafe and you never let go! This kind of menu generally means there’ll be exciting and experimental culinary times ahead and Pond is no exception. Local surfer and former Seven Seeds barista Tom Sereika created Pond to bring good food and great coffee to his home town. A clash of cuisines and a dollop of healthy options means there’s something for everyone to enjoy here. Add a cold-pressed juice on the side and you’ve got the ultimate Sunday morning fix.
39 The Esplanade, Mon-Sun 6:30am-3pm, @pondcafe
Salads never looked so sexy. Ginger Monkey is one of our favourite spots to grab lunch in Torquay, partly for the cute aesthetics we admit, but mostly because the food is so damn tasty. And don’t even get us started on the coffee - dare we say, some of the best in Torquay? Head in for Paella Friday or Taco Tuesday or simply grab one of their insane salads to go. Absolutely brimming with fresh produce and big flavours, these creations bring a whole new meaning to salad.
4 Baines Cres, 5291 9734, Mon-Sat 8am-3pm @gingermonkeycafe
Have we got any coffee fans here? If you’re a bit of a bean afficionado, a visit to 9 Grams in Torquay is a non negotiable. With an all-day brekky and array of simply gorgeous cakes and sweet nibbles, 9 Grams will take your brunch up to a whole new level. All their dishes look just as good as they taste and are oh-so Instagrammable! But the coffee is the real star of the show here, so grab a cup (or three.) This cafe also has outposts in Geelong and Mt Duneed (although our biased little selves think the Torquay one is the bees knees!)
6 Gilbert St, @9gramscafe
Did someone say St Ali coffee? With one of Melbourne’s top coffee roasts on the menu, you know a trip to Cafe El Nido is going to be a treat for your tastebuds. Their menu is a mix of Asian fusion and modern Australian flavours, taking both the name and flavours from the tropical oasis of El Nido in the Philippines. Whisk us away right now! The breakfasts at Cafe El Nido are enough to make any foodie drool, especially when you hear how many sides they’ve got so you can create your own dream dish. But the star of the show has to be the Cereal Milk French Toast with brioche toast, yuzu custard, fruit loops, strawberry pocky sticks, nutella soil, fresh berries and lychee ice cream. We can die happy now.
222 Fischer St, 5261 5549, Mon-Thu 7am-2.30pm, Fri-Sat 7am-7.30pm, Sun 8am-7.30pm, @cafeelnido
Cafe El Nido
Seriously good takeaway
Can’t decide between going out for good food or staying in with a movie on the couch? Torquay’s takeaway options are the best of both worlds and we highly recommend enjoying them on the beach.
Once you’ve tasted Fishos, you’ll never settle for ordinary fish and chips again. Shifting the takeaway staple into a whole new territory, Fishos is bougie F&C… In the best possible way. Fishos serve fresh and locally caught seafood with both healthy and traditional sides. Chips are a gimme, but have you ever tried fish and fried corn!? We especially love their fancy salads that elevate your dinner, with ingredients like wombok and pickled daikon. You can even mix things up with a fish taco. All too much for you? Don’t worry - their standard fried fish and chips is a cut above the rest. Eat in at their casual restaurant on the Esplanade or take it to enjoy on the beach, you can’t go wrong really.
36 The Esplanade, 5264 7739, Mon-Sun 12-8pm, @fishostorquay
Want to experience a taste of Sicily in little old Torquay? Get your butt down to Il Matto for some of the best pizza in Torquay. This authentic Italian restaurant on Bell St has all your classic dishes from the perfect prosciutto pizza to fresh tomato bruschetta. And the pastas? Ooooooh boy they are a pasta lover’s dream. Fancy a big bowl of pappardelle al guancile di manzo? If your Italian isn’t up to scratch - that’s pappardelle sauteed in a 6 hours slow cooked beef cheeks ragout. If that isn’t “last meal” worthy I don’t know what is. Do yourself a favour and finish your meal with a Nutella pizza. It would be rude not to.
3/15 Bell St, 04241 2008, Mon-Sun 11.30am-10.30pm @ilmattotorquay
Sometimes you’ve just gotta keep it simple. And by simple, we mean just a good old fashioned pizza and beer. Dough Bros are one of our hostel’s neighbours, just a few doors up but don’t go thinking we just love them for the convenience (although that certainly helps!) These pizzas are seriously good, especially the gourmet range. Do yourself a favour and try the pesto feta. It’s a godsend. Their gluten free bases are one of the best around and they also sell pizza kits so you can recreate the magic at home.
1/57 Geelong Rd, 5261 6540, Tue-Sat 5-9pm, @doughbrostorquay
Looking for somewhere to stay while you eat your way around Torquay? Waddle your way to Bells Beach Backpackers where you can stay from just $30 a night.
Rachel Wagner is a freelance producer who writes about the good things in life - travel, culture, creativity and how to tread lightly on our Earth along the way.
She previously flexed her creative muscles as a Podcast Producer for the Mamamia Women’s Network before she gave up the desk life to travel the world. Over the past three years Rachel has found her home in Melbourne, Scotland, England, Mount Buller and the Bellarine Peninsula. And now? Torquay baby!
Her top travel tip is not to be afraid of exploring a new place alone. You’ll be amazed at how many locals and other travellers you meet along the way, plus you’ll never have to say no to a spur of the moment adventure.