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The Mornington Peninsula is a foodies destination with all the wineries, fresh produce, pubs, cafes, and more. As a local, I have put together a list of my favourite places that I frequent and few that I haven't been to but know are favourites amongst friends and locals.
Fine food: For special occasions think wineries, with some outstanding ones such as Salix @ Willowcreek for great views over the vineyard, romantic atmosphere and fantastic food and wine.
Stillwater @ Crittenden Estate ( winner of the 2013 Restaurant and Catering Services Award by Victorian Tourism) is a lovely spot and very child friendly.
Max's @ Red Hill Estate for fantastic views, food and wine and a multi award winning restaurant that's hard to beat for a special occasion.
Pizza: Get Down Dog in Flinders has fresh ingredients and thin pizza bases and they taste delicious. The shop is on the small side with communal tables inside and smaller ones out the front.
Ciao Bella in Balnarring is the most authentic Italian pizza you will find on the Mornington Peninsula and are highly awarded and have a great outdoor deck and garden area. It's perfect for a lazy afternoon with a few friends or family and is child friendly.
D.O.C in Mornington serves up fantastic pizza's and other Italian dishes in a modern relaxed atmosphere, though waiters can feel pushy at times.
Coffee: There are two well hidden cafes in Mornington that anyone that isn't local wouldn't know about. Both are receiving rave reviews and new customers turn into regulars in no time. Commonfolk is situated in a revamped warehouse in Progress St Mornington and Grazen Cafe in Carbine Way, Mornington ( near the Mornington Racecourse). Other favourites are Coffee Traders in Mornington,Via Battisti and Coffee Traders in Mt Martha.
Sweets: Perhaps the most favourite category out of this list and the easiest to compile. Mornington Peninsula Chocolates in Flinders is outstanding for quality, expensive in price but definitely worth a look.
Family friendly cafes:Buckleys Chance in Sorrento serves great pancakes and has plenty of variety, including the kids menu which comes on the back of a colouring in page with a cup of crayons on the table.
Apple Espresso @ Tulleys is good to visit during the week to avoid the weekend crowds and it give the kids a little more room to move. Colouring in sheets and pencils are provided to help keep the younger ones amused.
Angus and Rose at the Briars in Mt Martha is best described as affordable, rustic and extremely child friendly. The kids will be kept entertained within the garden and once finished set off exploring the rest of the Briars. It may not be the best coffee around but is a great spot for the kids.
Lilo in Mornington is child friendly and serves good food and coffee. A few friends say service can be off on some days with drinks not arriving together. Good location across from the beach.
Breweries: I will be honest and say I've not been to either brewery because I don't like beer but I can say by the amount of friends and acquaintances that go to MP Brewery in the industrial estate in Mornington is phenomenal for such an unassuming place. If you hadn't heard about it through word of mouth, chances are you wouldn't know it was there, even if you drove past it. The only giveaway is the amount of cars parked outside of it. Live music is on Sundays 2pm-5pm and you can enjoy it with an award winning beer and a pizza.
Red Hill Brewery grow their own hops to make the beer. For opening days and times click here.
Main Ridge Dairy run farm tours on Saturday's at 2:30pm where you can see the goats being milked, they also run cheese making classes and are open Fri, Sat and Sun for cheese tastings, platters and coffee.
Blue Bay Cheese factory in Mornington is open to the public 2 days per week on Friday's 9am-5pm and Saturdays 9am-2pm.
Red Hill Dairy is open for cheese tastings 3 days a week all year round and more often over summer holidays. They offer sheep, goat and cow cheese products.
Strawberries: Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm in Red Hill is extremely popular with families and tourists alike enjoying the opportunity to pick ones own strawberries. There is also a cafe and strawberry shop.