RESTAURANTS in Bendigo and surrounding districts are celebrating being recognised as among the best places to eat in Victoria thanks to the 2015 Age Good Food Guide.
Restaurants listed in the guide are The Woodhouse, The Dispensary Enoteca, Masons of Bendigo, Mr Beebes, Bouchon, Wine Bank, Malayan Orchid, GPO and Heathcote’s Merindoc Café and Cellar Door and Willow Room.
This year marks the highest number of venues ever chosen from the region.
The Woodhouse is one of four eateries celebrating their first time in the prestigious food-rating publication.
Head chef and owner Paul Pitcher said he was stoked.
It's just so exciting. We've worked so hard," he said.
Mr Pitcher has been cooking for 27 years and said it was a wonderful feeling to be recognised.
We know people do use the Age Good Food Guide to work out where they're going to eat.- Kathryn McKenzie
He thanked his staff for their contribution.
"They all work tirelessly to provide a great service," Mr Pitcher said.
"We cook with wood, that's our uniqueness. We have a different take on what we do. We are the only steakhouse and red gum char grill."
The GPO is celebrating its ninth consecutive year in the guide.
Head chef Chad Aldred said the listing was useful for knowing how GPO compared to other eateries in town.
"It's a really good marketing tool," Mr Aldred said.
He said the GPO's defining features were it's use of local produce and informal atmosphere.
City of Greater Bendigo executive manager for tourism Kathryn McKenzie said the ten restaurants chosen were a "validation" for the work put in to promote the region.
"We know people do use the Age Good Food Guide to work out where they're going to eat," she said.
Ms McKenzie said the region's boutique hospitality sector was being rewarded for its innovation and risk taking over the last five years.
"They haven't tried to copy Melbourne. They've actually tried to put out what they believe in and showcase their own story and their own personality," she said.
"I think having the profile in the age good food guide certainly puts Bendigo on the map as a foodie destination.
"A few years ago we weren't known for our food and wine."
Ms McKenzie said tourism data indicated visitors came to Bendigo primarily to see art and culture.
"They love to dine out and eat and that's where our yield is," she said.
The Woodhouse, Malayan Orchid, Mr Beebes and Willow Room are all new inclusions in the guide.
Brewhouse Coffee Roasters, Coffee Business, Merindoc Whistler Café and Re-Public Cured Café were also mentioned in the Country Coffee Trail section for the region.