The Ultimate Guide To Eating (And ‘Wineing’) Around McLaren Vale

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When you’re out on a fabulous day sipping wine in the McLaren Vale region there’s nothing worse than not knowing where to grab lunch. When you get up there Google isn’t always your friend, and even if you CAN get the internet on your phone, you don’t always know what to expect when you show up to a venue that the internet says serves ‘food.’

Unfortunately some of the beautiful wineries that you’ve got on your list may not provide food or at least food that you feel like, and you most certainly can’t last the whole day on an empty stomach! So where should you head? We’ve done the careful research to discover which wineries serve up a fabulous lunch to add to your afternoon in one of our state’s finest wine regions. We ensured we sipped wines at each location, just to be thorough.

Light Lunches, Platters and Nibbles

Alpha Box & Dice– Lot 8 Olivers Rd, McLaren Vale. The young and funky winery. They’re ready to tell you about length and palate, if you so require but also ready to tone it down and meet you on an approachable level if you aren’t an expert. With funky tunes playing in a cool setting this is a fun place to grab pates, cheese, olives and lavosh. Great for that mid morning or late arvo nibbles stop.

Alpha Box and Dice.

Alpha Box and Dice. Image by @mister_foodie

Angove– 117 Chalk Hill Rd, McLaren Vale. Delightful nibble platters with a great view. They serve their wines from Enomatic wine serving cabinets to ensure each wine is preserved and poured at perfect temperature. Pair that with their regional platter for two, with cheeses, meats, frittata, bread and many dips. Served 12-3pm.

Beach Road Wines– 309 Seaview Road, McLaren Vale. Was once Settlement Wines, a very popular spot. Now Beach Road Wines, they certainly haven’t dropped the ball in terms of quality or experience. For the area they serve up very well priced light lunches, pizzas and little bites. We love the pizzas the most though, try the mushroom served with the Beach Road Greco.

Gemtree Wines– 167 Elliott Road, McLaren Flat. It isn’t only the wines that are organic at this fab McLaren Vale winery… They also offer delicious platters chock full of the finest local and, of course, organic produce. Their deck overlooks their organic vineyards and all the way to the sea, so it is basically the perfect spot to sit while you indulge in some wine and their regional platter or their cheese platter. Or both….

Gemtree Wines.

Gemtree Wines.

Leconfield– 439 Main Road McLaren Vale. They serve up delicious platters for $38. You can choose from the Ploughman’s or Wine Tasters platters. If we had to pick a fave it’d have to be the Ploughmans crammed with paté, vintage cheddar, Beerenberg pickled onions, pickled cucumbers, olives, Moroccan jam, mixed fresh greens with fresh tomatoes, olive oil, candied balsamic vinegar, dukkah and lavosh. Holy yum! These are available daily 11am – 3pm.

Oxenberry Farm Wines– 24-26 Kangarilla Road, McLaren Vale. So cute and quaint, almost like you’re stepping into someone’s home. The restaurant itself has a simple cafe style dining feel, but the food is lovely. It’s perfect if you’re after something tasty, light and on the lower range of the price scale for the region. Their platters have a brilliant and filling selection but we really love the famous Oxenbury grapple pie with ‘grapple’ cider, chicken and chorizo. Amazing.

Parri Estate The Oven at Lot 49– Ingoldby Rd, McLaren Flat. Open on weekends this little kitchen serves up massive amounts of flavour. Great pizzas, sliders and charcuterie style food all made with rustic seasonal flavours. We love the wood oven pizza with roasted beets, goats chèvre and rocket pesto.

Parri Estate. Image by @tea_biscuits.

Parri Estate. Image by @tea_biscuits.

Penny’s Hill– 281 Main Road McLaren Vale. A great casual space for sharing, grazing and unwinding. Enjoy platters, a delish steak sandwich or a tasty mini burger. Really great food and super affordable too. A beautiful outdoor setting to sit on picnic chairs and enjoy the ambience.

Red Poles/ Vale Brewing/ Brick Kiln– 190 McMurtrie Road, McLaren Vale. Aka the home of Vale Ale. The staff here are all about having a fun time but you can combine the experience with great food. They even have a ping pong table! and beautiful views. Lunch comes in the form or light nibbles (pate, cheese plates and smallgoods) or full main mains. You can also grab some sweet treats if your palate desires.

Wirra Wirra– Corner Strout and McMurtrie Roads, McLaren Vale. The beautifully picturesque grounds offer the perfect lush lawns to throw down a picnic rug and enjoy one of their platters full of local cheese. There’s also Harry’s Deli, a relaxed providore-style café boasting a menu full of South Australian regional produce. The menu focuses on seasonal local produce and offers things like toasted paninis (matched with wine, of course), salads, their famous Son of Trott Pie and an epic selection of platters.

Full Lunches, Restaurant Dining and Three Course Meals

Coriole– Chaffeys Rd, McLaren Vale. We’re always a fan of putting the chefs in control. The Coriole ‘Let us feed you’ menu for just $59 gives you more delicious food than you think you can handle. Alternatively you can pick from the menu as you choose. The 24hr braised beef cheek is hearty and pairs perfect with red. Lunches are Thursday-Monday from 12- 2.30pm.

D’arenberg d’Arry’s Verandah– Osborn Rd, McLaren Vale. Now this place is on the higher end of the price scale, but simply stunning. If you’re trying to impress or indulge in McLaren Vale, this is your destination. We always recommend the degustation, as it’s so perfectly paired with their amazing wines. However there is an a la carte menu option too. The chocolate and chilli braised kangaroo tail and seared kangaroo saddle with mint labne, date, preserved lemon and parsley mograbieh is out of this world, if you’re a little more on the adventurous side.

D'Arrys Verandah.

D’Arry’s Verandah. Image by @avanastasia

Ekhidna– Cnr Kangarilla & Foggo Rd, McLaren Vale. As well as serving up platters the restaurant also provides a fine dining style lunch. The ambience in the restaurant amongst the vines is beautiful. They source only fresh and local ingredients to create wonderful dishes such as Willunga beetroot truffle pasta with caramelised onion, olive salsa, Hindmarsh Valley goats curd and salted macadamia. So tasty.

Maxwell Wines Ellen Street Restaurant– Corner of Olivers & Chalk Hill Roads, McLaren Vale. Now this is fine dining. Incredible food and first class service all while you soak in the beauty of the rolling McLaren Vale hills abundant with vines. A stand out dish for us is the onion and bacon tart with goats cheese ice cream for $21. Twists on classics that you’ll never forget. Lunch is Thursday-Monday from 12pm. Bookings advised.

Ellen Street Restaurant.

Ellen Street Restaurant.

Middlebrook Estate– 252 Sand Road, McLaren Vale. Still more restaurant style dining but you can choose from fine dining, alfresco or a la carte. Boasting a wonderful ‘Eat Local SA’ menu that highlights regional, local, fresh and seasonal ingredients. The Tournedos Rossini on the menu is listed as “The World’s Best Beef Dish” and we can see why. Chaetuebriend, pancetta wrapped eye fillet on brioche with foie gras, porcini, truffles and madeira jus. To. Die. For.

Penny’s Hill Gedney Room- 281 Main Road McLaren Vale. Sophisticated fine dining. Awarded the National Restaurant & Catering Awards title of “Best Restaurant in a Winery” in 2007 and 2013 and has won the same title for the state four times. Mains can be pricey (up to $70) but there are incredible flavours and choices which are well worth it! Trust us. Try the mutton and eucalyptus pie floater for something uniquely South Aussie.

Serafino McLaren Vale– Kangarilla Road, McLaren Vale. Serving up a full 3-course fine dining lunch Thursday to Sunday 12:00-2:30pm. This is yet another coveted McLaren Vale dining experience to be had. The Serafino kitchen team, led by Head Chef Sarah Contin, take pride in following current food trends and they are mindful of letting the natural flavours of each dish reach the palate, rather than over complicating the food. The cooking style is honest, real and unpretentious. The menu changes seasonally too – so there will always be something new to try.

Shingleback Wines.

Shingleback Wines, The Elbow Room.

Shingleback Wines, The Elbow Room– Lot 11 Cnr of Stumphill Rd & Main Rd, McLaren Vale. Rustic style food in a restaurant style setting. Delightfully innovative food, served on wooden boards to match the rustic charm of McLaren Vale. If you have people who are a little traditional in their dining style, this would be a great spot. We love the pork cutlet, gorgonzola, sherry-soaked prune, apple and endive salad for $34. Lunch 7 days. Yippee.

The Currant Shed– 104 Ingoldby Rd, McLaren Flat. This place is unassuming but delightful. It’s often pinned as a stunning wedding venue, but many don’t realise they also serve meals. An inspired menu using only the best produce. They have 2 courses for $55, or 3 courses for $70. We love the slow cooked pork jowl, pickled vegetable, miso mustard and greens.

The Currant Shed.

The Currant Shed.

Woodstock Coterie– 215 Douglas Gully Rd, McLaren Flat. High end dining in a historical setting. The Coterie was built in between the gum trees in 1988 and highlights the wonderful surrounding Australian landscape. Local and ethically sourced ingredients come together for fine dining style dishes. You can still grab a share platter or nibbles, but you should really try the full foodie experience. You would only regret it if you didn’t.

Enjoy!

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About Author

Hannah is a passionate young writer who loves food, wine, fashion and wine. Oh did we say wine already? She is thrilled to be able to share what is new and exciting here in South Australia, through writing the regular 'Glam Guides' and other feature stories.

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