You’ve ditched your day job, packed the car and hit the road. Sure, we all get hungry for new horizons, but why can’t we take our tastebuds on holiday too?
Because gorging on Insta-licious pics of pretty plates doesn’t really fill the void - and hey, there’s nothing like finding the perfect spot to soak it all in. Here’s a few of our favourites – just remember to check opening hours and book ahead before heading their way.
If fine dining with a stunning city backdrop sounds like your bag, you’d be tough pressed to go past Thyme at The Lakes, which is magnificently perched on one of the highest points in town. With some seriously impressive scapes to feast your eyes on in between courses, this is the perfect spot for a special occasion, or even just because... Afterall, you’re on holiday, right?
With more tattoos and piercings than Guns n’ Roses gig, Metro Bakery and Café is literally a riot of colour. This isn’t your average cheap and cheerful, with seriously credentialled chefs dishing up anything from fresh local seafood, pasta and burgers to vego and vegan numbers that’ll even convert a carnivore. With wild splashes of street art and other oddities dotted throughout, it’s an urban eye-popper that’ll rock your hungry little socks off.
For something a little more low-key, Presto Eatery also holds its own in the historic town centre, with its heritage façade the gateway to a casual vibe and lots of stone and wood. Embracing its ‘brunch is the new lunch’ ethos with a cool, creative twist, its local menu and eye-catching décor are complimented with enviable street views of both old and new.
Head Upstairs at Hollick Estates and you’ll be picking your jaw off the floor, with perfectly placed tables set before arguably one of the best vineyard views anywhere.
With age-old vines stretching to the horizon and a magic menu to match, this is one of those places you’ll find all too hard to leave. Make space on your camera, as well as your stomach!
Of course, when the weather rolls in it’s time to get cosy, and Brand’s Laira seriously turns it on in winter. With its floor to ceiling windows that overlook the vines, it’s also held onto its heritage. Take your ploughman’s platter into the historic old shed where you’ll be met with wooden beams, a bevy of old bottles, and warm vibes to thaw out those frozen feet.
For something more casual back in Penola town, The Royal Oak Penola is far from your average country pub, with a locavore menu showcasing the best of the season. Sitting out the back under the shade of the Golden Elm while watching the world walk by is simply food for the soul - and if that’s not enough to grab you, the extraordinary gin menu will.
For something totally unique, take a gastronomic gallop through Wrattonbully wine region with the knowledgeable crew at Coonawarra Experiences. After salivating your way through one of Australia’s most underrated patches of terroir, join local producers for a hosted lunch in the rustic tasting hut under the gums of the incredible Land of Tomorrow Wines. Feasting with local families that have made this unique patch of terror their home for generations, we’ll guarantee you’ll leave with a bulging waistline and a full camera roll.
This fabled little patch produces some of the country’s finest Shiraz and Chardonnay, with a renowned flavour and intensity that reflects the richness of its soils. Reaping the rewards of its stunning location, you’ll find Farmer’s Leap Wines sitting pretty, dishing up light meals with sweeping vineyard views and a seriously session-worthy deck.
Down the road, you’ll find a generous slice of history at Landaire Wines. Housed in the historic stables of the grand old Padthaway Estate, this place oozes old world charm (with a modern twist) in the front yard of a Victorian mansion (circa 1881). On sunny days, pull up a table in the garden, or retreat inside to the fire when the crisp air turns to a chill.
On the Coast.
In summer The Caledonian Inn (a.k.a. The Cally) seriously turns it on, not just in the restaurant and beer garden, but also on lawn - which happen to front directly onto the pristine white sands of Town Beach. This is the spot to grab that half-crayfish, chips and salad and leg it to a deck chair or table while the Sun’s out. It’s Insta-famous for a reason!
Adventurous Spoon is a great go-to for a casual bite with a serene little courtyard set beside leafy trees and lush lawns that are prime for ‘little spooners’ to run themselves ragged. This place is more than just cappuccinos and big breakfasts, with a lunch menu that’ll have you grazing in the greenery for longer than you’d think.
Pull up a window seat at Bompas of Beachport and you’ll enjoy a great little view across the grassy reserve out front to the ocean and jetty. This grand old building has been sitting pretty since 1878, and a prime place to soak in those seaside vibes over a casual meal.
With Mount Benson wine region on Robe and Beachport’s doorstep, a lazy hour or two at Cape Jaffa Wines is always time well spent (you could spend all day here easily too). Pulling up a table by the vines and washing down a local platter with their flagship vino is pretty close to utopia – even more-so with a picnic rug.
Further south, in the lobster-loving town of Port MacDonnell, you’ll find Periwinkles Café plonked conveniently on the Esplanade, with commanding views over the jetty and Southern Ocean. Watching the cray boats come in as you’re tucking into a generous seafood platter or gargantuan feast of lobster is one of life’s great pleasures!
Savour the Limestone Coast.
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