“Were to eat?” is easily the most frequently asked question we answer during Rent-A-Row times at the Shiraz Republic. While everyone is welcome to BYO lunch to The Shiraz Republic, many of our citizens like to find a local eatery for lunch to complement their day of winemaking. If your plan is to stay overnight, you’ll probably want to head out for dinner or find brekky the morning after. For those who are booked in early, you’ll want to know where to get coffee or something quick on the way up.

While options for dinner can be limited in Heathcote, we’ve put together a brief summary of our honest recommendations for local restaurants and cafés. They were chosen for reasons like proximity to the Shiraz Republic, personal favourites of our staff or for having a point of difference. There is loads more information on each of their own websites and even many more options available on the Heathcote Tourism website.


The Shiraz Republic

Yeah that’s right, food at the Shiraz Republic! For lunch on the picking and crushing Rent-A-Row weekends this year, we will again be host to Tacoman, Bendigo’s Mexican food truck (NB. March 4th will be catered by us). As usual, our barbecue is free to use between Monday and Friday. Also, stay tuned for more food options to be offered throughout the year as we approach the completion of our new cellar door set-up.


Toolleen Hotel

The Toolleen Hotel is a historical pub with quirky rural decor, just over the hill from The Shiraz Republic. The menu is classic, farmstyle pub-fare and the wine list includes a lot of the nearby wineries. This will be your best option for dinner, depending on location of your accommodation. Check out the Tin Shed and the noisy cockatoo while you’re there.


Heathcote Harvest

Steve and Lyndal run a very cute paddock-to-plate farm and café about half way between Heathcote and The Shiraz Republic. The café serves glorious platters, which are best enjoyed on a picnic rug on the grass at the café, amongst the farm and scenery. The à la carte menu is also fantastic, but is probably better eaten sitting up at the table. Take in the delicious food and view over a glass of local wine or beer.

Open 11-4pm Friday to Sunday. Bookings are a must for Saturday dinner and for groups of 4+.


Gaffney’s Bakery & Pie Kitchen

A country town is nothing without a first class bakery. Gaffney’s is an institution in Heathcote, and absolutley worth a visit. My ‘pies to look out for’ are the Beef & Shiraz, Pepper & Steak, Chicken Parma and Slow Roasted Beef. For those who can tolerate some heat, the Triple Chilli pie is unreal.



Fodder is the new kid on the block in Heathcote, run by Aaron & Hun. They run a modern style cafe, with a focus on great coffee and quality, local food. Probably the best coffee in town, making use of Melbourne’s Proud Mary beans. They offer breakfast (using free range eggs) from 9-12 and lunch from 12-3, with heaps of sweets and sandwiches to choose from in the fridge.


Please note, Fodder usually opens Friday-Tuesday, but will be closed until March 1st. 

Notable Mentions and Other Options

The Axedale Tavern, The Heathcote Wine Hub, The Tooborac Hotel & Brewery as well as the other pubs and takeaways in Heathcote town.

As mentioned at the start of the article, these food options are the ones we’ve had personal experience with or offer something different. There are many more options left to be explored, so if you’d like to do your own research head to heathcote.org.au or contact the Heathcote Visitor Centre – (or Google it or Trip Advisor it or whatever!).

This article is the second of a series to be posted in the lead up to the Rent-A-Row vintage of 2018. The series concerns some of the more frequent recommendations we are asked to provide by our citizens about the local accommodation, eateries, amenities and other things to fit into a trip to the Heathcote Wine Region.

Click here to go to the first article about accommodation.

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