As they say, where’s there’s good wine, there is good food, and Margaret River being a premium winery region is a point fact. Spend time in Margaret River in Western Australia’s south west and you’ll too soon discover that you’re spoilt for choice of great places to eat.
Did you know that Margaret River produces just three per cent of wine in Australia but 25 per cent of Australia’s premium export wine?
With any trip to Margaret River, your first stop should be the Augusta Margaret River Visitors Centre to pick up the latest map of the region.
Here’s a list of my favourite places to eat in Margaret River with links to previous blog posts if I’ve blogged about them before.
Winery restaurants for lunch
In alphabetical order:
Aravina Estate – the amazing food by ex Cape Lodge chef Tony Howell and the setting are the draw cards, not to mention the fantastic playground for kids, beautiful cellar door and homeware shop, and a car museum with ferraris and muscle cars (my favourite, the Torana SLR 5000 – brings back so many high school memories). It also has a kitchen garden that’ll make you green with envy.
Cullen Winery – biodynamic and organic principals guide not only the wine making but the kitchen too. A rustic cellar door leads through to the restaurant with a deck overlooking the vines. The food is delicious, simple, mostly organic and sourced from the kitchen garden on site. Highly regarded prized wines and good service make any lunch at Cullen a fab experience.
Hay Shed Hill – Pretty country setting, alfresco deck, a deli counter to make you drool, top class wines and great food are the perfect ingredients to while away an afternoon at Hay Shed Hill. It’s casual yet gorgeous. The wines are excellent – my favourite being the K&B Riesling. Open for breakfast also.
Knee Deep – for a more formal lunch – we’re talking crisp table linen, smartly dressed wait staff, and cutlery choices to send ‘Pretty Woman’ into a spin, this place is where local chefs eat on a special occasion. The food really is sensational. Try the 3-course ‘trust the chef’ menu. Great wines too and almost impossible to leave without a purchase.
Leeuwin Estate – One of the best regarded wineries not only in Margaret River, but in Australia with a reputation that reaches far beyond our shores. The setting, service, amazing wines, and fabulous food are a reason why so many love Leeuwin Estate. There is an impressive art gallery downstairs and owner Dennis Horgan has an order of Australia for his services to tourism in Western Australia.
Vasse Felix – the oldest winery in Margaret River, Vasse Felix’s restaurant is gorgeous and the food exceptional. Chef Aaron Carr places great importance on sourcing the best local produce, and prepares food so that the produce shines on the plate. Everything is made from scratch, including kangaroo pastrami. Beautiful wines, art gallery, cellar room, stunning grounds and views make this a lunch you won’t forget.
Voyager – So many have raved about Voyager’s new menu. Because of my enormous expectations, I left feeling a little underwhelmed. The food was fine, very nice actually, but I didn’t get a ‘foodie high’ from it. The setting reminds me of a French luxury Chateau with the rich drapes, chesterfield sofas, and ornate light fittings – sitting inside you could forget you were at a winery. It does have the prettiest rose garden in the region and the biggest Australian flag in the country, after the one at Parliament House. The white stucco Dutch inspired building stands proud in the beautifully manicured garden. Their wines are sublime and the restaurant service absolutely first class.
Gravlax trout, bread and butter pickles, buckwheat snacks at Wills Domain
Wills Domain – Now get ready to have your culinary socks blown off. A relaxed vibe, stunning winery views of rolling hills with a Manor House perched atop a distant hill, and food that’ll have you asking questions. Chef Seth James (ex Cutler & Co) uses native ingredients in his dishes that surprise and delight the taste buds. Everything is executed beautifully. Price point is at the upper end of the spectrum but totally worth the indulgence.
Blue Ginger – Blue Ginger is tucked away in the industrial area of Margaret River and it’s a secret the locals try to keep to themselves. Great coffee, nice vibe, mismatched quirky old furniture, a fabulous breakfast and wonderful whole food and gourmet food store. Bring an empty container and get it filled with local honey, buy grains and nuts by the scoop and pick up those hard to find international ingredients.
Urban Bean – on the main street in Margaret River, this is a popular cafe with great coffee, a good breakfast and they welcome dogs on the terrace. Nothing fancy, but who wants fancy when you just want a good breakfast? Relaxed friendly atmosphere that attracts locals and visitors alike. Convenient location.
Muster – This place is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. A casual sister restaurant to Must in Perth, chef Russell Blaikie serves up local produce with a focus on great meat. For breakfast, the trio platter is hard to resist, so why bother? Just order it and enjoy. A good fit out and convenient location on the main strip of the township with bench seats along the windows that face the street.
Morries Anytime – Anytime you need a great breakfast, lunch or dinner, Morries is ready to serve. It’s popular for good reason. Don’t expect to turn up for breakfast at 10am on a weekend and get a table straight away. But the efficient staff will seat you at the bar until a table is free. A funky fit out, great vibe, good food, some healthy choices too and really good coffee. A good choice for any meal, anytime. Cocktails to die for.
Cape Lodge – Known for fabulous dinners, Cape Lodge does a super breakfast. It’s refined, satisfying, and comforting. Beautiful fresh seasonal fruits, yoghurts, pastries and house made granola and breads adorn the buffet and there’s a tempting selection of cooked breakfasts on the menu. Choosing what to order will be your biggest challenge. Impeccable service and good coffee.
Other good spots worth a try are Sea Garden at Prevelley Beach (near Surfers Point) and the White Elephant cafe in Gnarabup. Both have good coffee but White Elephant has stunning views, friendly service, good food and really great coffee. The last time I went to Sea Garden (April 2015), I was asked to take a seat despite wanting to quickly order something at the counter and after 15 mins, no one had taken my order so I left. And it wasn’t busy.
The view from the White Elephant Beach Cafe
And there’s always the Margaret River Farmers’ Market (Saturday morning only) where you can buy all sorts of delicious local produce and grab breakfast.
Besides Cape Lodge, Muster, Morries Anytime, Swings & Roundabouts and a few wineries on selected nights (Friday and Saturday usually), Studio Bistro in Yallingup in a great choice. For good pub food, Settlers Tavern in town will keep those that like man-size portions happy. Best lamb shanks I’ve had in a long time were at Settlers.
Often we are so full from a great lunch that a light snack or a cheese and wine dinner is enough.
Other honourable mentions
Arimina Estate – tucked away down a dirt road but has a lovely outdoor area, space for kids to run around, really good wine and pretty good food.
What do you think?
What are your favourite places in Margaret River to eat? Is there anywhere you think I should try?
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