Being world famous for the biggest surfing competition on Bells Beach and as the home of surf brands Rip Curl and Quicksilver, Torquay breathes surf. When you drive around in the early morning you will see cool looking surf dudes from all ages going to the beach to catch some waves before their day at work starts. The love for surfing is tangible, you will even find in the bars and restaurants in Torquay. Either the name, menu or interior choices are part of the huge surf culture in this small town. We were in Torquay and discovered it’s not only a great town for surf lovers but also for foodies! In this food guide we will take you through our personal favs of this cute little place that’s just a short drive away from Melbourne.
Just like the rest of Australia, Torquay takes healthy food to the next level. Organic, vegan and raw are just some words you will find on almost every common menu. Although I am not a health freak, I really enjoy brekkies that are very filling but leave you some room for a second round at lunch. You know how I said that the love for surfing is even reflected in the bar and restaurant culture? Check out the names of my favourite breakfast bars in town
Swell – A cool bar in a beautiful building. The friendly owner even said that some guest come in simply to see the building from the inside. And truth be told, it’s a nice place to start your day! Coffee as you’d expect it and a lots of tasty sweets to go along with it.
I curled up in front of the fireplace with a Chai Latte and a rather large selection of cakes. Although they were all good, the (raw) caramel and chocolate bar was my favourite! If you’re not really into eating cake for breakfast, there is a lot of other good stuff to choose from. Swell is not only a nice place to enjoy a meal, they also sell fresh local veggies and products like leather bags, soap, jewellery and other nice to haves.
Birdrock – On your way to Swell, there’s a good chance you’ll get distracted by a corner-bar that is covered in colorful graffiti.
The graffiti got caught our attention and as we couldn’t find Swell we decided to go inside for a chat and some guidance. A cool dude with friendly eyes, wearing a vintage basketball shirt and with socks up to his knees, asked if I wanted a coffee.
I was going to ask for directions to Swell but when I looked around, I noticed that this bar looked like a little museum of vintage surf stuff and lots of other random awesome things.
The owner told me he owned a skate shop before he opened the bar. He showed me the customised boards he was still selling and is planning to make this a part of the bar a little board shop again.
Birdrock does the usuals for breakfast. It also does good Italian pizzas (and some other dishes) for lunch and looked like a bar I would definitely go back to for afternoon/night drinks (Lychee martini!). In case you were wondering: the bar is named after the surf beach that lies between Rocky Point and Birdrock. And that beach is right next to the café.
Surfcoast Wholefoods – These guys are king when it comes to a healthier and greener lifestyle and here you really can’t go wrong. Inside it almost looks like there are little in store concepts, within the store.
There is a bar where you can buy fresh made smoothies and yummy food, but there is also a supermarket with organic and vegan food to take home. Having a green lifestyle is not only about food, and that why you can also find products and brands that are produced in a green way. From cleaning products to make up and from clothes to shampoo. Another great thing is that you can buy package-less products in the bulk section. Here you can fill up a paper bag with however much you need of certain grains, raisins and nuts. Finally, there is someone to assist and tell you about some natural remedies if you want to take a more holistic approach to healing.
We asked the friendly staff for a recommendation and they let us try out two of their finest smoothies. For lunch, we enjoyed some delicious coconut pancakes and some zucchini bread. Both were so good! I am so happy that Melbourne is around the corner because even this non-health freak needs to come back to try out more!
Bar 61 – Above the Quicksilver store you will find Bar 61, the perfect place to grab lunch, a quick bite or good coffee while shopping in the small shopping centre where you can find all the big surf brands. We placed ourselves on the high chairs at the end of the terrace so we could overlook the sea (don’t make the picture too idyllic – there is a parking lot and a busy road in the view too). Go to Bar 61 for Friendly staff, a sunny terrace and good food. On weekend nights there is live music
Fisho’s – More than once Fisho’s was recommended to us, although it wasn’t immediately obvious if it was a fish restaurant or a fish and chips joint. When we arrived, it was obvious it was a fish and chips shop because of the cute wooden shack that resembled a chilled beach house. Owner Luke welcomed us and offered to make a selection from the menu. We gladly accepted and were happily surprised when the first plates were served. On top of the classic Fish and Chips we were expecting, Fisho’s also serves some delicious finger foods; an asparagus, horseradish and octopus taco and a plate of freshly shucked oysters. Needless to say, we were two happy kids, but things got even better… Luke came out with a box of crunchy crisps and calamari, and a plate of creamy noodles with mackerel.
Before we came to Fisho’s we didn’t really know what to expect. Although it does have the relaxed and friendly vibe one would expect of a fish and chips spot, it also serves higher quality dishes you would find in a restaurant. We imagine that in summer this place gets even better because it’s right on the Esplanade. Just take your fish and chips box (don’t forget to try the popular buttery corn as a side dish) and enjoy it on the beach.
Blackman’s Brewery – Even if you don’t love beer, you will love Blackman’s Brewery. Their bar food is easy to share, but you’ll not find the ordinary nachos, wedges or pizza, but exotic versions of classic dishes. For example their pumpkin, spinach, goats cheese and caramelised onion pizza or pork pancakes. Make sure to try the lamb cubes, they’re delicious!
Like said: I don’t like beer, but their cider is just up my alley – fruity but not too sweet. The boyfriend was very happy with his tasting board of 6 different beers, all brewed in the back of the building.
You can ask the friendly staff to take you on a tour of their small brewery and they’ll share the story behind Blackmans beer. This brewery is the perfect place to chat with friends and taste some beers.
RAVC Resort – When we told people where we were staying they all said the same thing: “You need to try their desserts!” So after our dinner at Fisho’s we gladly made our way to the hotel restaurant for a dessert (or two..)
As there were so many things that sounded delicious, we decided on a dessert tasting platter and taste everything that was on the menu. There was white chocolate mousse, a raspberry Creme Brule, some chocolate chips, a mango parfait on a crunchy biscuit, and a scoop of homemade coconut sorbet. Although we were convinced we wouldn’t be able to finish, we found ourselves almost wanting to lick the plate as it was that delicious. When you’re eating your way around Torquay you should definitely consider ending the trip with one of the delicious desserts in this resort that looks out over the golf course and the sea.
If you’re looking for a fun weekend away from the city, Torquay deserves a spot your short list!
ALSO READ: VISITING TORQUAY – A FULL DAY OF SURFING
We couldn’t possibly have spent spend the weekend here without having tried to catch some waves ourselves. But before we hopped on our boards, we decided that we wanted to know a little bit more about the sport and why Torquay loves it so much.