Taste your way around the McLaren Vale wine region, here’s a few must try dishes.
STAR OF GREECE, Port Willunga
With spectacular sea views taking in the pristine coastline, you’ve simply got to opt for fish at this iconic dining destination. Enjoy the famous Kangaroo Island King George Whiting beer battered, crumbed or grilled, the choice is yours. Or for a more casual option, order whiting at the kiosk with chips to go and walk down to the sand at Port Willunga beach.
LUSCIOUS RED KITCHEN, McLaren Vale
There’s as much reason to visit Waywood’s cellar door for the food as there is for the wine. Lisa Wood (wife of winemaker Andrew) is a whiz in the kitchen and makes a mind-blowing chicken liver pate with red wine jelly. Stop at just one serve… if you can. Her raspberry chocolate brownies are also divine and best washed down with Shiraz.
RUSSELL’S PIZZA, Willunga
Any pizza at this bustling restaurant is a good pick, but the Turkish twist on classic toppings are particularly tasty. Opt for the chilli chicken Turkish (chicken, garlic, pickled lime, yoghurt, fresh tomato and coriander) or the lamb Turkish (slow-cooked lamb, fresh tomato, pickled lime, yoghurt, dukkah and mint) and let the good times roll.
THE FARM WILLUNGA, Willunga
You can’t go past The Farmer’s Platter for two to three people. It features a selection of regional, fresh, dried, cured, marinated and preserved produce, some of which is made onsite. All produce is also sold at the café to recreate the platter at home. For breakfast, try the Willunga sausage (pan-seared chorizo), Baharat spiced baked beans and fried eggs.
BEACH ROAD WINES, McLaren Vale
Most people tuck in to pizzas and seasonal salads at the leafy hilltop cellar door’s restaurant but here’s a tip: go straight for dessert with a kick. The Beach Road Wines affogato is a double shot espresso with creamy chocolate ice-cream and Beach Road Home Block Pedro Ximenez. There’s a version for designated drivers too!
THE CONFESSIONAL, McLaren Vale
Cass Holland’s duck spring rolls are amazing. They’re so good a group of city professionals heard about the spring rolls on the grapevine and made the trip from Adelaide to try them. They’re not always on the menu (ask nicely and you might get lucky).
d’ARRY’S VERANDAH, McLaren Vale
The dishes at this picturesque restaurant change with the seasons, but one thing is certain: a degustation is the best way to experience the menu. While there’s plenty of meat on the regular menus, they also offer a vegan degustation option too. That means there really is something for everyone. If you need a must-try, you can’t go past the lobster ravioli – it never comes off the menu.
HARRY’S DELI, McLaren Vale
For a taste of New York in the heart of the Vale, head to Wirra Wirra winery’s café. The Reuben a la Rob (named after chef Rob Kolencik) comprises smoked Ellis pastrami on toasted Home Grain rye with grilled Swiss cheese, Lacewood sauerkraut, baby spinach and seeded mustard.
CORIOLE RESTAURANT, McLaren Vale
During winter you can’t go past chef Tom Reid’s Oxtail, fermented cabbage and parsnip cream. “The oxtail is marinated in red wine for a day, then braised whole in a reduction of wine and good quality beef stock,” he says. “When it is ‘fall off the bone’ tender, we pick off all the meat so that the dish is boneless.” Tom then adds caramelised onions, sage and dried porcini and seasons to perfection. Perfect on a cold day.
THE SALOPIAN INN, McLaren Vale
Sometimes the simplest things speak the loudest and taste the best. Chef Karena Armstrong’s entire menu is special (especially the pork buns) but she says the kitchen green salad tells the restaurant’s story best. “We grow the greens and in winter they are perfect,” she says. “The oil is local from Diana Olive Oil and we add some lemon and Olsson’s sea salt. That’s it. It’s a bowl of green vibrant love that is our daily ritual at Salopian.”
THREE MONKEYS, Willunga
It’s the kind of breakfast dish you crave night and day. The Shakshuka eggs at this Willunga café are best consumed in the sunny courtyard. They’ve got a bit of bite so they’re a great way to kick start the day.
ELLEN STREET RESTAURANT, McLaren Vale
Chef Fabian Lehmann is so smitten with the mushrooms grown onsite in Maxwell Wines’ Lime Cave, he makes sure they’re on every menu. “There’s always a dish with mushroom as the hero,” he says. “It’s stunning and very unique to be able to have something like the lime cave. It’s the first time I’ve come across anything like it and I absolutely love it.”
To discover other culinary delights and degustation style dining across the McLaren Vale Wine Region, explore our post – Let Them Feed You.
Enjoyed a new dining experience (or an old favourite) in the region? Share it on social media using the hashtag #mclarenvaleguide