Take your fine dining experience to a new level with a visual feast sensation - beyond what's in front of you on the plate.
Enjoy South Australia’s finest restaurants that not only offer sumptuous food and wine to match, but with equally impressive views that will have you coming back, time and time again.
Star of Greece, Port Willunga
There are few restaurants in Australia that can beat Star of Greece’s astonishing location. The Port Willunga fine-diner - named after a three-masted iron cargo ship that came to grief on the beach below in 1888 - is perched atop high cliffs, offering diners a 180-degree view of the Gulf St Vincent.
From the street outside, the restaurant’s looks are deceiving. The modest roofline and wall of corrugated iron suggest nothing more than a humble 1950s beach shack. Step inside, though, and you’ll find a thoroughly modern minimalist interior that puts the view front and centre. There’s also an outdoor dining deck where you can enjoy meals with a side of salty sea air.
Owner Doug Govan is a noted wine connoisseur so expect some unusual offerings on the wine list, which leans towards Australian, New Zealand and French drops. The menu showcases South Australian produce: Willunga almonds dusted with smoked paprika salt, King George whiting and squid from Kangaroo Island
, and Port Lincoln kingfish, which might be served as a ceviche with pickled ginger, fennel, apple and green tea.
There’s even a local cheese – Alexandrina black wax cheddar from the Fleurieu Peninsula
– that competes against a French brie and an English stilton for those who prefer a savoury rather than sweet finish to a meal.
D’arry’s Verandah, McLaren Vale
The McLaren Vale vineyard d’Arenberg makes an art out of being different. Its quirkily named wines (The Hermit Crab, The Dry Dam, The Feral Fox), which all bear a diagonal red stripe on the label, are recognisable from across a room.
Chief winemaker Chester Osborn also cuts a striking figure with his blond curls and colourful vintage shirts. It’s to be expected, then, that his winery would host a restaurant that also stands out.
Those who slide into a seat at d’Arry’s Verandah, perched on a hilltop, enjoy an all-the-way-to-the-horizon vista that takes in neat rows of vines, towering gum trees and rolling hills. The enclosed dining room was once the verandah of an 1880 homestead; massive shade sails protect the outdoor dining area.
Chef Peter Reschke designs his menu of generous dishes to complement the d’Arenberg portfolio of wines. Start with the signature entrée - a lobster medallion with blue swimmer crab and prawn ravioli and lobster bisque – and perhaps move on to chocolate and chilli braised kangaroo tail and seared roo saddle with mint labne, date, preserved lemon and parsley pearl couscous.
If there’s any room left, pair a signature dessert such as passionfruit soufflé with pouring cream with a glass of The Noble Wrinkled Riesling.
The Lane Vineyard is quintessential Adelaide Hills with gorgeous views to match the fantastic food.
It’s the rooftop restaurant and bar - with extraordinary views - that Adelaide’s been crying out for.
2KW, perched on Level 8 of an historic former bank building on the city centre’s northern edge, offers a panorama that stretches from the ocean to the Adelaide Hills. Refocus on what’s closer to hand and you’ll spot landmarks such as Government House Grounds, Adelaide Oval, the River Torrens and the spires of St Peter’s Cathedral that are illuminated at night.
The spacious outdoor deck includes comfy cushioned benches – although some patrons say it’s a shame the seating pivots them away from the view. Others prefer to sit inside in the restaurant where they can tussle over small, medium and large share plates cradling the likes of Streaky Bay oysters, roasted heirloom carrot salad, crispy spiced duck and kangaroo shank tagine with fig, prunes, pumpkin, honey, onions and couscous.
The bar pours four South Australian wines made exclusively for the venue; there’s also an intriguing selection of craft beers, including locals such as Prancing Pony Double Red Ale and Brew Boys Hoppotamus IPA. Even the bar food menu is a cut above the norm, with pizza toppings that include smoked rainbow trout and raw broccoli pesto.
Hill of Grace Restaurant, North Adelaide
As far as views go, Hill of Grace Restaurant boasts one of the state’s most unusual outlooks – right over the hallowed turf of Adelaide Oval, which has hosted cricket and football matches since the 1870s.
The glass-lined restaurant, which opened within the Audi Stadium Club on level three of the Eastern Stand in 2014, is believed to be the world’s only fine-diner located within a stadium.
Wine connoisseurs might be more interested in looking at something other than the grounds: the restaurant also houses the only complete set of the Hill of Grace single-vineyard shiraz dating back to 1958 (the famed Henschke vineyard is in the Eden Valley). The restaurant serves dinner from Tuesday to Saturday, along with Friday lunch. On major event days, it’s open only to Audi Stadium members and their guests.
Chef Dennis Leslie’s Filipino heritage is on show in some dishes such as sinigang – a Filipino stew – stuffed with Spencer Gulf prawns, lemongrass, radish, rainforest cherry and native tamarind.
Dessert aficionados should leave room for tres leche cake with kumquat marmalade, calamansi curd and sorbet, and crunchy mandarin or the toasted stout sourdough with stout and sourdough ice-cream, pecans, guava custard and marshmallow.
Aquacaf, Goolwa South
Feel the serenity as you gaze out over the waters of the Murray River as they near the end of a 2508km journey from the Australian Alps at Goolwa, a historic port town 83km from Adelaide.
The riverside Aquacaf has a perfectly positioned timber deck that offers full-frontal water views that extend across to Hindmarsh Island.
Breakfast on free-range poached eggs with house-made beans, pork sausage, double-smoked bacon and giant sourdough toast or try its version of an egg and bacon roll that’s served on damper bread with cheese, bush chutney and spinach.
Lunch on Coorong smoked mullet pate with caperberries and crostini or try the fish and chips with a glass of South Australian white. The tapas menu served on Friday and Saturday nights includes unusual offerings such as marinated roo with shiraz sauce and soft-shell crab served in Serbian flatbread.
Eat @ Whalers, Encounter Bay
With a prime spot overlooking Encounter Bay south of Victor Harbor, Eat @ Whalers serves up in-your-face ocean and island views along with a menu that’s focused on seafood and complemented by a wine list that’s big on promoting South Australian drops.
Sit inside the restaurant or outside on the deck to watch the antics of the pelicans and gulls. The restaurant is near The Bluff – a prominent granite headland that’s a popular whale-watching spot from May to October.
Those who hike The Bluff’s walking trails will find a plaque commemorating the meeting between English explorer Matthew Flinders and French explorer Nicolas Baudin in 1802 that inspired Encounter Bay’s name. Both men had been dispatched to chart the continent’s southern coastline.
Eat serves comfort brekkies – think toasties and eggs a few different ways – along with inspired kids’ breakfast choices such as boiled eggs and soldiers, and hotcakes with maple syrup and ice-cream.
For lunch or dinner, tuck into a seafood platter, prawn and chicken larb salad, pork belly or seared beef fillet paired with a Coonawarra cab sav, Barossa shiraz, McLaren Vale chardonnay or Adelaide Hills sparkling. There’s also quite a list of post-prandial tipples, including Penfolds’ renowned Grandfather port.
1802 Oyster Bar & Bistro, Coffin Bay
With a nod to colonial history, 1802 acknowledges the year explorer Matthew Flinders sailed into Coffin Bay and named it after his friend, the American-born Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin.
The oyster bar, which overlooks the bay and its famous oyster leases, serves “stupendously fresh local oysters and seafood”.
Certainly, oyster lovers won’t be disappointed with the 16 ways oysters can be served (from natural with a lemon wedge to others topped with jalapeno sorbet, crumbed with macadamia nuts and deep-fried, or even as a bellini shooter).
If oysters every which way aren’t your thing, there’s an impressive list of entrees that include a deconstructed prawn cocktail, lemon pepper calamari and chargrilled octopus skewers. Move on to a seafood platter, bluefin tuna steak or Szechuan-style kingfish.
Those who need a break from seafood can always order the scotch fillet, Moroccan crispy chicken or a pizza (although the signature pizza, naturally, is crowned with prawns, calamari, mussels and smoked oysters).
Pair the feast with a Turkey Flat rose from the Barossa
or a Knappstein riesling from the Clare Valley
, and you might struggle to leave 1802’s alfresco timber deck.
Penneshaw Hotel, Kangaroo Island
The Penneshaw Hotel is a hop and a skip from the ferry terminal that shuttles visitors from the Fleurieu Peninsula
to Kangaroo Island
(known as KI to locals).
The clifftop hotel, nicknamed the Penny, offers sweeping views of the mainland and Backstairs Passage (named by explorer Matthew Flinders, who thought the narrow strait felt like a private entrance to Gulf St Vincent and Spencer Gulf).
Pull up a seat inside (bifold windows and doors let in plenty of that view) or settle in on the outdoor deck and study the menu over a glass of KI wine (there are nine drops from local vineyards such as False Cape, Bay of Shoals and Dudley Wines).
The Penny unashamedly serves up classic pub fare - schnitties, parmies, burgers and steaks - but it also cleverly offers a mixed catch of battered whiting, salt and pepper squid, grilled prawns, fries and salad.
Those with more adventurous tastebuds might want to try the snapper with smoked almond cream, ancient grains and soft leaves, the prawn and watermelon salad, or the bang bang chicken salad with rice noodles and a citrus dressing.
The Lane Vineyard, Adelaide Hills
This is quintessential Adelaide Hills
. A gorgeous glass-encased pavilion attached to the cellar door affording views across verdant hills and vineyards rimmed by giant gum trees.
On a cold, crisp grey day when there’s a wispy mist lying on the vineyard, it’s a magically warm cocoon while on a clear day, sit out on the verandah and bask in the Hills sunshine.
Chef James Brinklow has built a menu that reflects a sense of place. The cool climate wines provide a starting point and ground the menu but his creations reflect a dash of whimsy. Seared scallops with madras, fennel and apple snap on the tastebuds and with desserts like pumpkin and rum ice cream, ricotta and grilled mandarin are a fanciful treat.
Well worth trying is The Lane’s tasting experience with a group of friends or extended family. For eight or more people the experience matches a selection of The Lane’s wines with some tantalizing treats created by James Brinklow.
Woolshed Restaurant at Rawnsley Park, Flinders Ranges
Drive for around 450 kilometres north of Adelaide and up into the Flinders Ranges
on the southern side of Wilpena Pound and a meal in the Woolshed Restaurant at Rawnsley Park provides diners with a meal of incongruity. Outside is some of the nation’s harshest wilderness while the Woolshed is just a classic Australian icon of hard yakka and sweat.
What diners get is Elizabeth and Andrew Zdravkovski’s culinary take on the Flinders. Andrew who has served his time behind the pans in the UK at the Bread Street Kitchen with Gordon Ramsay and at Jamie’s Italian for Jamie Oliver has embraced the tranquility of the outback.
With views across to Rawnsley Bluff, the restaurant setting reflects the harsh beauty of its environs yet Zdravkovski’s culinary finesse lies in stark contrast to the surrounds. His desire to create finer flavoured food highlighting local produce has elevated the Woolshed to something well-beyond more traditional pub fare. Visit for the local Rawnsley Park lamb or to savour Andrew’s delightful pastries or homemade ice cream.