If you are visiting Barossa you will find a broad range of wine experiences. But on the foodie side of things there is probably a more limited range of recommended experiences available. With most locals being great home cooks, and making and preserving food very much a way of life in the valley there seems to be a shortage of sensational restaurants in the Barossa. Below are a few recommended places which help to tell the Barossa story. We have visited each multiple times, and while every restaurant has its off days with food or service, these are a few we would recommend.
Appellation – Marananga
Appellation is the in-house restaurant for The Louise, although you don’t need to be a guest to dine there. The degustation menu is strongly recommended and arriving early and hungry is beneficial. The wine list is definitely one of South Australia’s best and most comprehensive. The menu is designed around the best locally sourced ingredients, and changes daily. But best of all, the dishes are designed to showcase the matching wines. Although Mark McNamara (previous Exec Chef) is no longer there the team now headed by Ryan Edwards still deliver an outstanding experience.
Ferment Asian – Tanunda
Running a restaurant in a wine region like Barossa requires soothing locals, visitors, and winemakers. Ferment Asian has struck a nice balance in providing fresh modern Vietnamese dishes which you probably wouldn’t prepare at home, and a winelist which doesn’t gouge the patrons. Owner Grant Dickson (of Rockford Wines fame) has coordinated a wide-ranging wine list full of domestic and international treasures. Definitely worth seeking out.
Ferment Asian in Tanunda
1918 – Tanunda
1918 is set in an old villa of a Tanunda mayor (built in 1918). It has a menu with an Asian and sometimes middle-eastern influence – best described as modern Australian. This makes the menu at 1918 interesting and the dishes full of complex flavours. I’ve had some of my best dishes here, but also some of my most underwhelming – but worth the adventure.
1918 Restaurant in Tanunda
Vintners – Angaston
The haunt for many a local winemakers and home of the long lunch. A Barossa institution with an eclectic and sometimes variable menu, with a regular Asian influence. Many items are made inhouse – eg cured salmon, sausages, etc and they are loyal supporters of local producers (and winemakers).
Barossa Valley Cheese Co
If you have a penchant for stinky cheeses then Barossa Valley Cheese Co is worth a visit. Producers of soft goat’s milk and cow’s milk cheese, with milk coming from local herds. They usually have a selection available for tasting, which is recommended, to see how mature and flavoursome they are on the day of purchase.
Le Petite Prince wash rind goats cheese
Barossa Valley Cheese
Mt Pleasant Farmer Market
Barossa Farmers Market – Saturday 7:30 to 11:00. Angaston
A diverse range of producers, all from within the Barossa area. Stall holders vary depending upon the season and availability, but regularly include smallgoods makers, butchers, bakers, locally roasted coffee, olive oil producers, fruit and vegetable producers, etc. All very down to earth. The standard breakfast fare is a free range egg and bacon roll.
Barossa Farmers Market
Mt Pleasant Farmers Market – Saturday 8:00 to 12:00 Mt Pleasant
Somewhat more bucolic than the Barossa market, the Mt Pleasant market has a broad range of excellent fruit and vegetables. A number of stalls selling various homemade pies and pastries, various Greek indulgences, wines, and olive oils. You wont find any big-city overly priced ‘gourmet’ frivolities here.
Cupcakes at Farmers Market
Maggie Beers Farm Shop
No visit to Barossa would be complete without a visit to Maggie Beers Farm Shop. Whether it’s for a light lunch or to stock up on various gourmet goodies, it is almost a pilgrimage for some people to visit the store. Set overlooking the lake and surrounded by orchards it’s an ideal spot to pause for a coffee. It is very popular, especially on the weekends, and the coach loads arriving can sometimes detract from its idyllic nature experienced in quieter times. But I imagine they used to say that about the Hajj pilgrimage as well.
Maggie Beers gourmet goodies
So what other great foodie experiences would you recommend in Barossa?