Best Bites

Best Bites Food Guide and Awards

Mornington Peninsula Shire's Best Bites food awards program assesses local food businesses on measures they are taking to provide safe and healthy food; use environmentally sustainable business practices; and provide safe and accessible food premises.

Businesses that meet the requirements will be featured in the Best Bites Food Guide and are eligible for the Best Bites Food Awards. All local food businesses can take part in Best Bites, and can apply for assessment in the areas of:

  • Access and Inclusion
  • Nutrition
  • Waste & Recycling
  • Energy & Water Efficiency
  • Tobacco & Alcohol Compliance

The program was developed by a steering committee of food businesses, consumers and traders groups and included representatives from Peninsula Health, Disability Advisory Committee, Western Port Biosphere Reserve, Monash University, MP Tourism, Heart Foundation, Mornington Peninsula Produce and Sustainability Victoria. 

Does your business have the best bite? 

Nominations are now open for food businesses to enter the 2019 Best Bites Food Awards!

There are more than 1,200 registered food businesses on the Peninsula catering for thousands of customers each day and the Shire encourages you to take part in our annual Best Bites awards.

Best Bites aims to recognise the most outstanding local food business in the areas of food safety, healthy eating, sustainability, reduction of tobacco/alcohol and access and inclusion. Best Bites is co-ordinated in partnership with a steering committee including Mornington Peninsula Shire, Peninsula Health and the Disability Advisory Committee, aiming to raise the profile of great food enterprises on the Peninsula.

Nominated businesses go into the running to be featured in the 2019 Best Bites Food Guide – putting you on the map together with hundreds of other food businesses serving safe, healthy and sustainable food.

This year the Best Bites nomination kit was launched during an Information Workshop held on Tuesday 7 May 2019 at the Peninsula Community Theatre in Mornington. Over 40 food businesses attended to get tips and tricks on how to grow their businesses using the Mornington Peninsula Shire's national award-winning Best Bites Program. Business owners learnt from real-life case studies during a panel discussion featuring businesses that are using best practice to leverage the benefits of this invaluable program. There were also expert presentations on the five areas of the program:

  • Access and Inclusion
  • Healthy Eating
  • Smoke Free and Alcohol Management initiatives
  • Waste and Recycling
  • Energy and Water Efficiency

The workshop presentations will be made available on video for businesses that were unable to attend.

The Best Bites steering committee has also released case study videos of previous Best Bites Award winners, including this video from the Tyabb Village Children's Centre.

The committee has also developed an online nomination form that you can complete easily online and send directly to the Best Bites team.

Alternatively, the nomination kit is available at Shire customer service centres, or download the Best Bites Application Kit 2019(PDF, 3MB).

Once you have nominated you will receive a one-on-one consultation visit from a member of the Best Bites Team to guide you through the Best Bites program.

There are many benefits of being a part of this award winning program:

  • Free listing on the Best Bites web directory
  • Free listing on MPBusiness online
  • Window sticker and certificates recognising each Best Bites area your business achieves
  • Opportunity to be a part of the Best Bites Awards which will be announced in October
  • Promotion through the printed Best Bites Food Guide – to be launched in October

Applications close 22 July 2019. Entry is free for all local food businesses.

You can contact the Shire at or phone 1300 850 600 for more information. 

Current Best Bites Food Guide

The Best Bites Food Guide features the most outstanding food businesses on the Mornington Peninsula in the areas of nutrition, tobacco and alcohol, waste and recycling, energy and water efficiency and access for all.  

The Guide - which lists more than 100 local food businesses serving safe, healthy and sustainable food - is now available free from Shire customer service centres, libraries and tourism centres. 

Download: Best Bites Food Guide 2019(PDF, 9MB)

Download Microsoft Word Version: Best Bites 2019 Accessible Version(DOCX, 41KB)

 The Shire and the All Abilities Consultative Committee has also created a video promoting accessible, safe and sustainable food businesses on the Mornington Peninsula.

2018 Best Bites Food Awards Winners

Fork to Fork at Heronswood Dromana won the Restaurant of the Year award at the Shire’s 2018 Best Bites Awards!

Merchant and Maker McCrae won the Café of the Year closely followed by Blue Mini Café in Rosebud as Highly Commended. The other category award winners were:

  • Innovation: La Casa Nostra Deli in Rosebud
  • Aged Care: Opal By The Bay Mt Martha
  • Bed and Breakfast: Sunnyside Up Bed and Breakfast in Rye
  • School Canteen/Child Care: Joint Winners - Balnarring Early Learning Centre and Tyabb Childrens Centre
  • Supermarket: Woolworths in Rye
  • Takeaway: Be Fit Food in Mornington
  • People’s Choice: Shazza’s Takeaway in Rosebud 

Finalists in each of these categories were judged by an independent panel to determine the award winners.

The award winners were presented with their awards on Monday 19 November 2018 by Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Councillor David Gill at the RACV Cape Schanck Resort.

Mayor Councillor Gill congratulated all the winners and nominees of this year’s Best Bites Awards.

“Best Bites winners and nominees set great examples for our local food industry by demonstrating safe and healthy food options using environmentally sustainable food practices in safe and accessible premises”.

Access recognition awards were also presented to the following premises by members of the Disability Advisory Committee:

  • Assaggini Mornington: Investigating Braille menus
  • Alatonero: Basic Auslan & the Cheer Theory
  • Rare Hare @ Jackalope: Concierge available
  • Heronswood: Multiple Access Improvements
  • Blue Mini: Staff training & welcoming People with Disabilities

The finalists for the 2018 Best Bites Food Awards in the Restaurant category were:

  • Alatonero McCrae
  • Assaggini Mornington  
  • Heronswood Dromana  
  • Rare Hare@Jackalope Balnarring  

The Restaurant judges are Andie Murphy and Josh Pereira (Peninsula Health), David Garnock (Western Port Chamber of Commerce), and Claire Hogan (Disability Advocate).

The finalists in the other categories were:


  • Blue Mini Cafe Rosebud
  • Jacque's Cafe Hastings
  • Merchant and Maker McCrae
  • The Winey Cow Mornington
  • Wombat Dromana

Take Away:

  • Be Fit Food Mornington
  • La Casa Nostra Deli Rosebud
  • Shazza's Takeaway Rosebud
  • Zarb and Ru Rosebud


  • HomeGround Cafe Mornington
  • La Casa Nostra Deli Rosebud
  • Zarb and Ru Rosebud
  • Rye Hotel
  • Conscious Cravings Moorooduc
  • Seahorse Cafe, Seawinds Community Hub Capel Sound

School Canteen/Child Care:

  • Balnarring Early Learning Centre
  • Hastings Child Care 
  • Peninsula Grammar 
  • Tyabb Childrens Centre

Bed and Breakfast:

  • Harmony Bed and Breakfast Rye
  • Plantation House Rye
  • Sunnyside Up Bed and Breakfast Rye


  • Aldi Dromana
  • Ritchies IGA Dromana
  • Woolworths Rye

Aged Care:

  • Opal By The Bay Mt Martha

Best Bites Judges

Mornington Peninsula Shire, Peninsula Health and the Best Bites Steering Committee is committed to assisting food businesses and consumers through the Best Bites Food Guide and the Best Bites Food Awards.

An independent judging panel was used for the 2018/19 Best Bites Food Awards including representatives from program partners and supporters including Peninsula Health, Western Port Biosphere Reserve, MP Tourism, Disability Advisory Committee, Sustainability Victoria, and Mornington Peninsula Shire.   The judges for each Best Bites category have great knowledge and experience in the program areas of access and inclusion, nutrition, tobacco control, and sustainability. All of the judges are volunteers who kindly donate their time and expertise to support Best Bites. Without their support the Best Bites Awards would not be possible    

Partners and Useful Links