January 14, 2021
Wine & Dine

12 great regional SA restaurants

Whether you’re away for the weekend or just looking for a special venue to share a meal with family and friends, SA’s destination restaurants are well worth the drive.

Adelaide Hills: Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant
Step into the world of Arthur Hardy, a young English man from the 1850s, after whom the restaurant is named. Hardy’s Verandah, situated within the five-star boutique hotel Mt Lofty House, gives guests the most impressive view of the Piccadilly Valley. The refined and opulent menu changes with the seasons and offers guests a choice of a three to seven-course degustation paired with award-winning wines or a cocktail or two.

Adelaide Hills: The Haus Restaurant
Along Hahndorf’s main street, The Haus features a plethora of German dishes on its menu, including the Haus German Feast, best shared between four people. You’ll find plenty of local produce on your plate, including smallgoods from Skara, who are based just down the road at Totness. If you like your breakfast sweet, stop by for the pancakes with Adelaide Hills mixed berry compote.

Fleurieu: Leonards Mill
Set on two and a half acres of gardens and fruit trees is an old 1850s flour mill, now home to the rustic Leonards Mill restaurant. With a strong focus on local produce, Leonards Mill fully embraces the paddock to plate ethos using vegetables and garnishes grown from their own garden. Choose from the a la carte options or leave it to the kitchen and indulge in many flavours through the degustation options. The Second Valley restaurant is open for lunch Wednesday to Sunday and for dinner Friday and Saturday nights.

Fleurieu: The Salopian Inn
A McLaren Vale must-visit for foodies, the Salopian Inn, set in an 1850s homestead makes all that it offers from scratch. Chef and owner Karena Armstrong runs the establishment with business partner and sommelier Alex Marchetti. The menu is serviced by a garden tended by head green thumb Maddie Aird and her team of helpers. The Salopian Inn only uses local pasture-fed beef and lamb, free-range poultry and pork, and Aussie seafood. The wine and gin list is extensive; those wanting to indulge in more than a glass can select a bottle of wine from the historic cellar.

Fleurieu: Hortas Restaurant 
Set on the beachfront at Port Noarlunga, discover a delicious array of fresh seafood and local produce at Hortas Restaurant. Portuguese and Mediterranean-inspired dishes are on offer, from tapas to a la carte fare, all designed to match the local Fleurieu wines. With uninterrupted views of the ocean, enjoy fresh seafood from sun-soaked balconies, or get cosy by the fire and watch the sunset roll in. Hortas is an inviting space for a leisurely lunch, relaxed dinner or cocktails with friends. In the summer months, Hortas will also have a licensed kiosk area downstairs, the Foreshore Kiosk, and for a few weeks in December and January, check out the pop-up bar, the Cabana Club, with live local music, wines, beers and beachy cocktails.

Fleurieu: The Currant Shed
Steeped in history, The Currant Shed offers one of the region’s most intriguing restaurants at McLaren Flat. Ingredients are thoughtfully picked from the garden or foraged nearby, bringing local flavours and produce to the plate. From handmade ricotta gnocchi to freshly caught barramundi, this is an eclectic and exciting menu that won’t disappoint. Between courses, feel free to treat yourself to a self-guided tour of the Currant Shed’s own vegetable patch and delightful Tahitian lime grove, or simply sit back, relax and take in the charming ambiance that only McLaren Vale can offer.

Barossa: Appellation @ The Louise
Appellation @ The Louise in Marananga uses fresh ingredients from local growers and farmers as well as produce from the restaurant’s own kitchen garden in an elegant modern menu that reflects the growing seasons in the Barossa. Appellation’s sommelier can make wine pairing suggestions, or a bottle of wine can be chosen from the restaurant’s cellar. A refurbishment of Appellation’s dining room was unveiled in March. This included the installation of handcrafted Danish furnishings and floor-to-ceiling glass windows to bring in the stunning vineyard views.

Barossa: Fino Seppeltsfield 
Since Sharon Romeo and David Swain were invited to bring Fino from Willunga to the Seppeltsfield village in 2014, executive chef Sam Smith has used his skills and vast knowledge to curate elegant plates that express both regionality and seasonality. The menu reflects an honest, simple, and thoughtful approach to dining, using fresh, seasonal sustainable South Australian produce. Small batch handcrafted wine, from the region and elsewhere, are thoughtfully selected.  

Kangaroo Island: Enchanted Fig Tree
When visiting Kangaroo Island, be sure your to-do list includes the majestic Enchanted Fig Tree – an open-air restaurant set amongst a magical 120-year-old fig tree, with tables separated by its gnarled limbs and bathed in the dappled light that filters through the foliage. Operated by Nick Hannaford, who also runs Lifetime Private Retreats, the Enchanted Fig Tree must be booked through Gastronomo — The Enchanted Fig Tree: a luncheon experience that starts with canapes before guests venture into the tree for a magical three-course dining experience. The luncheon is available during spring and summer each year, with packages and transfers via SeaLink.

Limestone Coast: Mayura Station
Mayura Station’s Tasting Room offers the ultimate paddock-to-plate experience, with the menu’s majestic star attraction – 100 per cent full-blood Japanese Wagyu – grazing in the lush paddocks surrounding this boutique cellar door for steak. Book a seat at the Chef’s Table to see how different cuts of the highly-marbled delicacy are prepared during a three or four-course interactive meal. The Tasting Room is a multiple award-winner, taking silver at the latest Australian 

Eyre Peninsula: Del Giorno’s
An award-winning cafe restaurant on the foreshore of Port Lincoln, overlooking Boston Bay, with owners committed to showcasing Eyre Peninsula’s premium seafood and serving only locally-caught and farmed seafood on the menu. This restaurant has played a significant role in the development of the Eyre Peninsula as a culinary food destination and showcases not only the local Southern bluefin tuna and Hirasama kingfish, but also locally grown lamb and olives. 

Eyre Peninsula: Sarins Restaurant
Menus change seasonally but the focus is always the same, paying homage to local produce in the region with dishes letting their ingredients shine. Sarins Restaurant is based at the Port Lincoln Hotel overlooking Boston Bay – with oysters and the region’s famed tuna on the menu. There is also a more casual bistro with fish and chips on offer and different specials throughout the week.

This information first appeared in The SALIFE Food & Wine List 2020.

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