Where to eat in Apollo Bay Victoria

Liliana Engelhardt
Cruise the iconic Great Ocean Road and stop at Apollo Bay for its beautiful beach and sensational food.
The Otway Ranges meet the wild sea at Apollo Bay, on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, where the surf, beach, fishing and forest escapes have lured visitors for decades - there’s some great food, too, as Club Marine Magazine’s Culinary Cruising team discovered.

Arriving in the township of Apollo Bay, our first port of call was the legendary Fishermen’s Co-op at the Apollo Bay Harbour. Every type of locally caught seafood is on the menu, but we only had eyes for the famous crayfish … caught that morning, grilled with garlic butter, and devoured outdoors while basking in the mild winter sun.

Morning tea the next day after a guided walk through the Wildlife Wonders sanctuary was at the in-house Emu Café, with a seasonal menu of house-made light meals, daily specials and cakes – including some irresistible flourless orange cakes.

The café’s coffee is an exclusive ‘The Wildside’ blend by local roaster Hello Coffee using beans from the Pinhal Farm in Brazil. The farm’s ‘Wings’ project rehabilitates native birds taken from their habitat by illegal poaching and releases them back into the rainforest. Proceeds from each cuppa also go towards conserving endangered wildlife and ecosystems in the Otways.

For lunch, where better than the iconic Great Ocean Road Brewhouse. After a heated debate over which classic pub grub was best – schnitzel, parma, fish and chips, or an angus porterhouse steak with the works – we went with an unexpected choice: lamb shank tagine style, and seafood laksa. Delicious.

Along with some cheeky cocktails (including with Apollo Bay Distillery gin, distilled next door), the Brewhouse serves a fine selection of local wines and more than 100 craft beers, including the house-own Prickly Moses brews – sample and buy them in the Tastes of the Region bottleshop.

The sprawling pub includes two dog-friendly beer gardens, regular live entertainment, and budget-friendly accommodation upstairs.

For a fine-dining experience with views of the bay, make a beeline to The Birdhouse restaurant. The menu is refined and classy, featuring seasonal local produce and seafood, and the bar is stocked with favourites and a few unexpected spirits – such as Peruvian pisco, just the thing for a pisco sour aperitif.

We tried the delicate and fragrant kingfish ceviche, followed by cataplana – this Portuguese dish is named after the copper pot it’s cooked in, which looks like two clamshells clamped together. There’s a bit of theatre when it’s opened to reveal a flavourful tomato-based sauce packed with seafood.

You’ll find the recipes for the dishes we tried in the August-September 2022 edition of Club Marine Magazine - including the seafood laksa recipe below, which is courtesy of the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse.

Serves 4


  • 125g laksa paste
  • 350ml coconut milk
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into quarters
  • 200g fresh garlic
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 100g galangal, minced or grated
  • 2 bunches coriander leaves, reserve a few for garnish
  • Palm sugar, shaved or grated
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil


  • 1 crab, cut in half
  • 1 squid, sliced into 4
  • 2 mussels
  • 4 prawns


  • 1 slice firm tofu (optional)
  • 125g hokkien noodles per serve
  • 50g red Thai chilli, thin slices
  • 150g peanuts, crushed
  • 1 boiled egg, sliced in half

    : the broth ingredients will make enough for 4 serves
  1. Cook the hokkien noodles as per the packet instructions.
  2. In a large wok or pan over medium-high heat, add a little oil and sauté the onion, garlic, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal. Add the laksa paste together with the coconut milk, and some palm sugar, salt and pepper to taste – simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Add the coriander leaves to finish the broth.
  3. Add all the seafood and the tofu if using, cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Divide the cooked hokkien noodles among bowls. Add the seafood laksa. Garnish with chilli, peanuts and a boiled egg.
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