The best Italian restaurant in country Victoria calls Kyneton home.

Piper Street’s La Bonta won the best regional Italian restaurant award at the Victorian Savour Australia Restaurant and Catering Hostplus awards for excellence last week.

Owner and chef Tim Austin, who opened the restaurant in September 2014 with wife Janet, says: “We’re really, really chuffed to have won this award”.

“I’ve been in this business for too long … this is the first restaurant I’ve owned, and it’s great to be recognised in this way.”

Mr Austin was mentored by some of the best chefs in the industry, including television maestro Iain Hewitson, and also worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in Britain.

“La Bonta means ‘the bounty’ and that’s what we’re all about. We’re celebrating the bounty of Kyneton.

“We’re grateful to all the growers and producers of this region who give us the freshest and best ingredients to cook with.”

He says that although he’s not of Italian descent, he “just loves it”.

“I come from a very ‘Anglo’ background, but I just adore the food and the culture.

“The Macedon Ranges region lends itself so easily to producing amazing European food too.”

More than 550 restaurants, cafes and caterers celebrate their peers, who won in 32 categories at the August 15 awards. The national awards will be announced in Sydney on October 24.