1. The Lake House
The Lake House has been wowing diners since 1984. It's a two-hatted restaurant set on the picturesque banks of Lake Daylesford, just across the water from The Boathouse (more on that one down below). The Lake House is not only the hottest foodie ticket in town, but there are 33 luxury rooms on-site. Book well ahead, though: this place fills up fast during peak season.
The title of 'Best Cafe in Daylesford' is hotly contested, but Larder has to be in the conversation. You can't miss this one: it's right on the main street (C141) as you drive in from the south. Just look for the crowds swarming over the outside tables. Larder runs a cracking all-day breakfast, and the Johnny's Chilli Scrambled Eggs are a definite stand out. There’s also a kids menu and rotating seasonal specials, sourced from the farms and market gardens around Daylesford.
3. Le Peche Gourmand
This one's not technically in Daylesford. It's in Creswick, which is an easy 20-minute drive down the road. We're including for it completeness, because Le Peche Gourmand might just be the best French boulangerie in central Victoria. Crusty baguettes, home-baked macaroons, sweet Sault (not a typo), the crown jewel of head chef Liam Scott. Sault is high-class seasonal dining at its best, and visitors can choose from either a three or four-course menu. Think beef tartare with confit egg yolk, fresh pork belly with sticky grilled figs, baked spuds spiked with garlic and rosemary, and a wine list to rival anything in Melbourne.
5. Wombat Hill House Cafe
Set amongst 120 acres of wilderness on the Ballan Daylesford Road, inside a gorgeous two-storey country house, surrounded by kitchen gardens and lazy bees, you'll find Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens. There you'll find one of the region’s most charming cafes: Wombat Hill House. This is a spin-off venue from Alla Wolfe-Tasker AM, of Lake House fame, so you know we’re dealing with no ordinary cafe. There's slow-fermented sourdough from the bake house, fresh produce from Dairy Flat Farm, gooey marmalade with grapefruit and lemon, crusty Reuben sandwiches, served with pickles and chips, and stone backed pizzas by the truckload.
6. Sweet Decadence at Locantro
Daylesford's first coffee house, and still one of its best, Sweet Decadence has been pumping out incredible chocolates for more than 30 years. We recommend dropping in during the afternoon, when it’s time to refuel with a pot of Earl Grey tea and a sweet treat from the cabinet. Try Daylesford Delight (white chocolate ganache with fruit and macadamia nuts) or the famous 'Milkshake' truffles (three layers of chocolate ganache in white, milk and dark). You can dine-in here, or grab a box of truffles to take away.