We're not kidding when we say that Barossans really love food. Our rich, traditional food culture was established with the early European settlers of this region and its continuance through the generations means that today we enjoy an embarrassment of riches – seasonally abundant fresh produce, traditional baked goods, smoked meats and smallgoods…the list goes on and on and on…..
This love of food means our region offers an incredible selection of cafes for more informal dining but also a delicious array of restaurants. Some skew to the formal, while others are all about relaxed grazing. No matter what your appetite, you’ll find something to satisfy and delight. Here are four of our favourite Barossa restaurants.
Helmed by one of our favourite Barossa chefs – the incomparable Mark McNamara – St Hugo is Barossa fine dining at its absolute best. The eight course degustation menu is thing of delight, with a seemingly endless parade of interesting and delicious morsels all paired with great thought and consideration with a range of St Hugo’s ultra-premium wines.
The restaurant itself is light and airy, with beautiful views across the Barossa Ranges and staff who achieve the perfect balance of friendly and professional.
Be warned – this is not a light lunch. St Hugo feels like An Occasion. Wear something a little fancy, prepare to indulge yourself, and perhaps plan for not much more than half a toasted sandwich for dinner!
Our tip: opt for the full degustation, paired with wines and then sit back, relax and enjoy. Simple.
The deck at Harvest Kitchen is one of my Barossa happy places. Take in the gorgeous view from the base of Mengler Hill as it stretches out towards the Valley floor, glass of reisling in hand, and you’ll understand why. Their menu is diverse, thoughtful and very, very tasty with bright, fresh flavours and great visibility of local ingredients. They offer a “Feed Me Like a Barossan” tasting menu that might be the end of your culinary adventures for the day (perhaps just the other half of that toasted sandwich for dinner…) but for my money you really can’t go past the crispy fried chicken with harissa mayo. It’s incredible.
Our tip: really, try the chicken.
Vintners Bar and Grill
In our family, Vintners Bar and Grill is the special occasion restaurant of choice. We’ve toasted all manner of celebration, milestones, birthdays and new arrivals in their sleek and stylish restaurant whether by the enormous fireplace in winter or outside in the fragrant, pretty flower garden during the warmer months.
Chef Pete Clarke's food is delicious and unfussy with a subtle influence of Asian flavours and is complimented by Rami Heer’s flawless front of house service. If the weather’s fine, take your entrée and first glass of wine out in the garden and move inside later if you like but don’t worry if you feel like staying put; there’s many a local dinner that’s ended up under a moonlit sky.
Our tip: Order the “Barossa entrée” of VBG fries and the Oritz anchovies. And shhh… don’t tell but I always dip my fries into the left over anchovy oil. It may not be very sophisticated but oh my goodness it’s delicious!
It’s true that a Vietnamese restaurant may not be what immediately springs to mind when you think about the Barossa, but you’ll be forever converted after a visit to Fermentasian.
Co-owner Grant is a wine savant – his wine list is legendary for its breadth and depth and the newly renovated wine cellar at Fermantasian allows for plenty of envious peering, while his wife Tuoi’s food is exactly on point with the Barossa’s love of fresh, seasonal, local produce. Her parents run their enormous home garden, supplying the restaurant with all manner of herbs and Asian greens – you really can taste how fresh they are.
Grant’s wine pairings are frequently surprising, always entertaining and a great way to explore some of his encyclopedic wine knowledge.
Our tip: the Chef’s selection menu is an excellent way to experience Fermentasian without having to make too many decisions. However, if it’s a warm summer’s day, and you’re feeling a bit devil-may-care, order a bottle of reisling and three full serves of the Ha Noi spring rolls. I did it once for my birthday and it was an act of indulgence that was worth every bite.
Our recommendations may be a great starting point, but there's absolutely no reason why you should stop here. Check out barossa.com's Dining Search to explore all of the wonderful options for gastronomic delight across the Barossa and...... happy eating!