Home to pristine coastlines, untamed wilderness and unique flora and fauna, Kangaroo Island offers up a bounty of nature’s best produce.
The dining scene is local, seasonal, and always close to its source. Devour oysters metres from where they were plucked, feast under the branches of a century-old fig tree, and taste honey straight from the hive. Set your watch to island time and discover a laid-back place where locals know one another by name and opening hours are a guide, not a promise.
Dig into our guide to the best cafes, restaurants and farm gates on Kangaroo Island.
1. Millie Mae’s Pantry, Penneshaw
Millie Mae's Pantry is a labour of love, located in the heart of Kangaroo Island. If you're arriving to the Island by ferry, make this cosy cafe your first port of call and tuck into a hearty breakfast or lunch, lovingly sourced from local producers. Grab a takeaway coffee to keep you fuelled for the adventure ahead, and don't forget to leave with some gourmet goodies from the pantry store.
2. The Enchanted Fig Tree, Middle River
Kangaroo Island is a magical place, but this peculiar dining destination takes ‘fairy-tale’ to a whole new level. Tucked off the picture-perfect shores of Snelling Beach, your table is set under the gnarled branches of the ancient Enchanted Fig Tree. Planted some 120 years ago to sustain the first settlers of the island, its bending boughs and shaded canopy now provide the perfect setting for a feast worthy of a fairy tale. From progressive long lunches to decadent dinners dished up by some of South Australia’s best chefs including Simon Bryant and Africola’s Duncan Welgemoed, the Enchanted Fig Tree is the ultimate destination dining experience.
3. The Oyster Farm shop, American River
There's no better place to taste the spoils of the sea than at the Oyster Farm Shop. This iconic seafood shack is located in American River, overlooking the produce-rich bay below. Taste pacific and native oysters fresh from the ocean, or try your hand at shucking as you watch the day's haul being brought to shore. After you've had your fill of oysters, taste your way through local marron, abalone and King George whiting at the iconic turquoise shack.
4. Sunset Food and Wine
Owned by Jack Ingram, former Head Chef of the iconic Southern Ocean Lodge, Sunset Food and Wine is one of Kangaroo Island's premier foodie destinations. Just 10 minutes outside of Penneshaw, you'll find this restaurant nestled on a steep hillside, overlooking American Beach below. With a tantalising degustation menu and an extensive wine list just begging to be explored, lunch or dinner at this modern bistro is a must. Writer's tip: As the name suggests, this is the perfect location to view the sunset over the ocean. Make your booking for dusk and soak up golden hour while feasting on delicious local dishes.
5. Clifford’s Honey Farm, Haines
Kangaroo Island produces the purest form of Ligurian honey in the world, brought to the island by European beekeepers in 1881 in a move that inadvertently saved this northern Italy bee species. One of the best places to taste the island’s famous Ligurian products is at Clifford’s Honey Farm gate, where honey stars in everything from honey pots, mead, candles, ice cream, drinks and cosmetics. Learn about beekeeping, see a working hive, then taste your way through premium honey ranges to choose your favourite to take home. Be sure to also stop off at Island Beehive and stock up on their famous honey mead after a tasting and tour.
6. Cactus, Kingscote
For good coffee, always go where the locals go. In this case it's Cactus in Kingscote. The coffee is smooth and perfect every time, the food is bursting with flavour and the setting is a mix between laid back Tulum, Mexico vibes with a kick of country KI. Dishing up breakfast and lunch 7 days a week, the food is generous, fresh and delicious with a menu spanning fully loaded big breakfasts, and pancakes to pastas, dumplings and curries.
7. Emu Bay Lavender Farm, Emu Bay
People flock to Emu Bay Lavender Farm for the iconic, lavender-infused scones that are pumped out of the oven all day. Smothered with house-made lavender jam and a generous helping of cream, they are certainly worth the drive alone, but there's also plenty of other tasty morsels on the menu to satisfy hungry travellers. Surrounded by rows of lavender and with a range of lavender products sold onsite, this floral, foodie destination is not to be missed.
8. Vivonne Bay General Store, Vivonne Bay
This rustic eatery is home to one of Kangaroo Island's most iconic dishes - the famous KI Whiting Burger. Perched on the edge of one of the island's many stunning beaches, the Vivonne Bay General Store marks the halfway point between the east and west ends of the island, making it the perfect pit-spot for your island adventure. Take a seat on the leafy verandah and tuck into local whiting and hot chips, then drive five minutes down the road to discover Vivonne Bay's sand dunes. Writer's tip: for meat-free travellers, the vegetarian burger is a must-try!
WASH IT DOWN WITH KANGAROO ISLAND'S BEST DROPS
Thirsty for more of Kangaroo Island? Check out the Island's best wineries and cellar doors and get planning for the ultimate food and drink adventure.