This new restaurant, La Cantina, will have you kissing the chef

Subscribe to Forte Magazine


This new restaurant, La Cantina, will have you kissing the chef

Words by Riya Kiran

Discover Italy in regional Victoria.

Missing the European sun? Find yourself dreaming about a bowl of delicious pasta, wine glass in hand, and watching the gondolas ride down? 

Although we can’t fly you out to Italy right now, we present to you an Italian restaurant that is guaranteed to fulfill all your fantasies. And maybe even give your Nonna some competition!

La Cantina, an exciting addition to the Great Ocean Road, is taking on a simple approach to Italian cooking while simultaneously celebrating the best of the local region. 

Led by Glenn Laurie and Lolo Hanser, the experienced husband-and-wife team have worked at The River Café and also ran Little Black Pig & Sons in Melbourne, which are some pretty decent credentials. Swapping the city for the ocean, the food-savvy pair are joining the Common Ground Project in Freshwater Creek to create a produce-driven farmhouse restaurant. 

The Common Ground Project is grounded in regenerative farming has a mission to do its home grown produce justice. The non-for-profit community farm promotes food security by creating fair access to locally grown food. Therefore, every single element of La Catina’s menu is ensured to be sustainably sourced, with ingredients picked fresh from the farm or from the Surf Coast and Otway areas. 

It’s a place where home-style cooking is the number one priority, the menu embraces Italian flavour with a number of scrumptious meals. Think homemade spaghetti, with rich cheese and prosciutto, beautifully marinated lamb or roasted pork belly. They also make their own ice cream and sorbet. Wow, we would go on, but we seem to be already drooling! (Check the menu out for yourself here). 

The menu is also frequently changed to ensure that the restaurant is making the most of the produced sourced daily. You will never run out of things to eat here!

Moreover, the farm runs as a social enterprise and employs disadvantaged members of the Surf Coast, most recently working with Diversitat to aid refugees and asylum seekers. Guests of the restaurant are encouraged to explore the farm between courses and seeing firsthand where majority of the menu is grown. 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by La Cantina (@lacantina_commonground)

Pop into La Cantina for lunch, dinner or even a road trip stop off as it is open from Thursday to Sunday. Located at 675 Anglesea Rd, Freshwater Creek, the restaurant is only 20 minutes away from Geelong. It’s exactly where you’ll find us… Bon Appetit!

Check out the restaurant on Instagram and via the website.

Turn your inbox up to 11. Sign up to Forte’s newsletter and you’ll be served fresh music, arts, food, booze and culture stories twice a week.