Whether you're holidaying in the region or looking for a lunchtime escape from the city, the Fleurieu has some of SA's most perfect summer dining options.
Happy holidays: 10 places to eat on the Fleurieu
Star of Greece
Simple, local and fresh food and blissful views are what greet visitors to the Star of Greece. From the fish and chip kiosk to sit-down three or four-course meals or drinks on the deck, the Port Willunga restaurant is an adaptive seaside experience of fresh flair in the Fleurieu.
An inspired refit has transformed an 1850s homestead into the colourful Salopian Inn. With the space full of international and local wines, more than 200 gins, and a contemporary Australian menu heavy on seafood and organic vegetables. Dishes range from prawn and blue swimmer crab dumplings to salted caramel ice cream sandwiches.
After a series of successful pop-ups throughout the region, Pizzateca went brick-and-mortar in 2016 and has continued to pull both city-dwellers and country folk to their rustic restaurant. An imported Italian pizza oven sits in pride of place, with owner Tony Mitolo’s inspiration from the Mediterranean and time in the US clearly evident. Each summer, the team and their families are hard at work making the sauce used on every one of their pizzas from scratch; all hands, no cans. Pizzateca is constantly experimenting with whatever produce is local and in season, building and trying new things.
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 as flavours of the land are translated onto the plate using the best produce from the region. From handmade ricotta gnocchi to freshly caught barramundi, the chefs produce a menu that is continually eclectic and edgy.
The Olfactory Inn
Beyond the Adelaide Hills and on the way to the Langhorne Creek wine region is the Olfactory Inn, located in Strathalbyn. Simple and local are at the heart of the inn, as regional ingredients, wines and a friendly atmosphere combine to delight visitors and locals. Chef Simon Burr and former coffee roaster Lauren Alexander set up their destination dining in an old cottage on the main street that’s worth the 40-minute drive from the city. Within the quaint residence, the inn is a tailored, personal experience for lunch and dinner Thursday to Sunday.
The Fleurieu’s fine grub food truck found a home in the main street of McLaren Vale. Popular at events for two years prior, Willunga chef Sean Mullholland and father Alan bring their kaleidoscope of grub to a cafe setting, showcasing their simple and creative array of tastes, all cooked from scratch to make the most of the produce. The food truck will still appear at select events and a liquor licence is in the works.
The Coorong Cafe
An unassuming seafood food truck pops up on the Murray mouth at Hindmarsh Island on weekends, to be met with crowds of hungry locals. The Coorong Cafe serves fish caught on the day, simply grilled and served with hand-cut chips, alongside burgers and ice cream. A simple fare, but The Coorong Cafe do it well, sourcing local fish to highlight the true Fleurieu experience.
Gourmet food in the southern beaches of SA never came with such charm as at Leonard’s Mill. Situated in a flour mill built in 1858, the award-winning restaurant has a fiercely sustainable, local ethos with the menu evolving as Fleurieu produce goes in and out of season. On its idyllic grounds is a growing permaculture kitchen garden, supplying the chefs with herbs, fruit and vegetables. Open for lunch Wednesday to Saturday with an a la carte menu or chef’s sharing menu. Dinners on Friday and Saturday feature a new degustation menu selected by the chef each week.
The Victory Hotel
Surveying a spectacular panorama over the Gulf of St Vincent, The Victory Hotel serves up modern Australian and upscale pub food, with a deep wine cellar atmosphere to match, making full use of the best produce available on the Fleurieu.
On the beachfront at Port Noarlunga, you will find a mouth-watering array of fresh seafood and local produce at Hortas Restaurant and Cafe. Portuguese and Mediterranean-inspired dishes are on the menu, from tapas to a la carte and main fare, all designed to match with Fleurieu wine. Soak up the fresh seafood from sun-soaked balconies, or see a wintry sunset roll in by the warmth of the fire.
This story first appeared in the SALIFE Food & Wine List 2019.