May 23, 2020 / By Jacqueline Alanne
Just when you thought you knew all of South Australia’s foodie regions, we hit you with another! The Adelaide Hills offer incredible dining experiences and top notch food to please every palate. It's a beautiful drive any time of year and there are also great wineries to visit along the way. From Stirling to Birdwood, the Adelaide Hills are as suited to a couple's escape as they are to a weekend away with the crew. Get ready to settle in with a glass of wine and a view, and make the most of an Adelaide Hills weekender.
Pikes & Joyce - Lenswood (image above)
If I were to describe my idea of heaven on a sunny day, Pikes & Joyce with the doors thrown open would be it. Light, bright and airy is the only way to describe Pikes & Joyces’ restaurant. A glass of their delightful sparkling is an appropriate place to start, while their Pinot Noir will suit just about everything on the menu. I recommend sharing entrees, but choosing your own main. Whatever you order, I guarantee you won’t want to share! Get potatoes on the side, and don’t skip dessert.
A special place to take special people, Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard Restaurant is the perfect high altitude winter lunch date destination. Describing their cellar door and restaurant as a ‘Regional encounter’ is fitting with the stunning view overlooking the estate vines, and the warmth of the front of house staff ready to impart their wisdom. The food here is phenomenal, with the menu changing monthly. I recommend committing to the tasting menu if you have the time. If not, make sure you order ALL of the sides with your main, and leave room for a shared dessert and a sticky!
Howard Vineyard – Clover Restaurant, Nairne (image above)
After one visit, you'll wish you knew about this place sooner! The flavours here are bountiful. With an Asian twist to the menu stemming from their Korean born head chef, you’ll enjoy everything from crispy pork dumplings to tea-smoked duck, with kimchi, wasabi and ponzu flavours punctuating the menu. Visit on a Sunday for a long lunch set menu featuring lawn games and live music, or from Wednesdays onwards for Á la carte.
A great place for that celebratory catch up, Bird in Hand has it all - the wines, the vines, the view, and the food. The Gallery Restaurant offers two experiences – a four course Chef’s Flight, and a six course Joy Flight, both inviting you to slow down and take it all in. If you're drinking, start with a glass of their easy-going sparkling, move on to their Italian range rosé if available, and choose your own adventure from thereon in!
A unique destination, the Summertown Aristologist is a sort of food and wine Co-op, but without the choppy-changey vibe. Bringing together Adelaide Hills wineries with organic principles, and garden-to-plate meals, the food here is designed to be shared. As you might expect, the garden-based menu changes every week, depending on what’s available. Slide into a super-cute booth with your other half, and keep ordering until you are bursting at the seams, or monopolise one of the beautiful big tables with your posse and try some of the great wine on the menu.
The Lane - Hahndorf (image above)
Recognised as one of the best restaurants in SA, not to mention the country, The Lane is also a winery, so its star cellar door and restaurant are both at your disposal. Enjoy stunning food overlooking the vines and if you have time, look into the 360 Panorama Experience for a tasting you’ll never forget.
For a twist on Italiano that would make Nonna shake her head, Uraidla’s Lost in a Forest is one of a kind. Calling themselves a ‘Wood oven wine bar’, this eatery operates out of an 130-something year old church and functions here are pretty special. With everything from Bacon ’n cheese to banh mi flavours, you’re in for a ride. Make sure you grab a salad so you can add a little to your pizza when the feeling is right. Offering the wines of Ochota Barrels and neighbouring wines, there’s plenty of gins, local spirits, and beers to enjoy too if you're not driving.
While a lot of people think of the Adelaide Hills as a small, centralised region like McLaren Vale, the reality is, it’s sprawling. So choose your destinations carefully and add in a few nearby wineries to visit so you can spend more time on the good bits rather than in the car! You'll also find some Adelaide Hills winery restaurants only open for a full lunch service in the second half of the week, so call ahead to check.
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