Best Foodie Experiences in the Clare Valley
The Clare Valley isn't all about wine, uncover the best foodies experience across the region!
Sure, this is wine country. Nobody goes home thirsty, right? But clearly you’ve got an appetite for more and as you turn the key to start that engine, your tummy’s already starting to rumble….
Lucky for you, we don’t do anything by halves around here. In fact, not only do we feel that world-class wines deserve to be enjoyed with world-class food, but it’s pretty much a way of life. Here’s why you should start carving an extra notch into that favourite belt of yours immediately…
Fine Dining Experiences
Let’s be honest. While a stuffed-crust pizza and bucket of fried chicken might sound a great Saturday night in, it’s just not why you came on holiday. Good news. We’re a genuine mecca for foodies, and if you’re looking for something really special, there’s plenty of options to dial up the decadence and take your taste buds to the next level…
Perched on top of the very soils that produce some of Australia’s (read: the World’s) finest Riesling, a visit to Slate Restaurant at Pikes Wines delivers a chef-hatted feast of Modern Australian with a European twist in every drool-worthy dish. With a menu reflecting all four seasons, expect an ever-changing assortment of hand-picked produce to hit your plate, usually fresh from the kitchen garden. As you quaff and taste your way through the menu, you’ll also be glad to know that no matter where you’re sitting, you’ll enjoy seriously stunning vineyard views.
Slate Restaurant, Pikes Wines
At Ragu & Co in Clare, every detail is as important as all others with Italian goodness oozing from every plate. This place is chock-full of rustic charm, with exposed brick, wine barrels, wooden beams and a vibe that’ll have you thinking you’ve woken up in provincial Italy. The chefs here showcase the traditions of Italian cuisine blended with creativity and simplicity with uncomplicated and contemporary dining. Whilst unapologetically old school, this place isn’t afraid to combine its traditional recipes with fresh new ideas, and if you haven’t tried their signature ragus (Maccheroni al Ragù Napoletano, Trofie Al Ragù di Agnello), then drop everything and order immediately.
With a strict locavore philosophy and ever-changing menu that fuses new culinary techniques with age-old traditions, Terroir Auburn is a celebration of all things Clare Valley, with locally sourced meats combining effortlessly with fruits, vegetables and herbs grown in the kitchen garden. With four-course chefs tasting experience that’s matched to local wines and a three-course daily menu this place is all about quality, old school cooking, and as you dine under those gloriously high ceilings (perhaps by the large windows) you’ll feel an airy Parisian vibe that oozes colonial charm.
Don’t be fooled by it’s simple interior - Indii Of Clare has been racking up rave reviews of its authentic Indian for years now, and it’s not hard to see why. This is straight up honest cuisine that fuses age-old traditions with modern presentation, packing in flavours from just about every corner of India. With top-quality, locally sourced meats and an extensive drinks list boasting wine, gin and single malt whiskeys, it’s a low-key local legend that just keeps on dishing up dreams.
Indii of Clare
This is no ordinary pub. In fact, the Watervale Hotel has firmly cemented its place as one of South Australia’s hottest dining destinations. A celebration of Clare Valley’s glorious local produce, prime ingredients are plucked fresh from the owners’ garden before being crafted into some of the most to-die-for dinners you’ve ever seen. If you’re keen to dig deeper, it’s worth taking the chef-guided farm tour to really get an appreciation for the organic, bio-dynamic and permaculture principles that provide the bedrock to their stunning dishes. After smelling, touching and tasting your way around Penobscot Farm, sit down to a degustation dinner with wines matched straight from heaven.
Watervale Hotel Six Sense Farm Tour and Degustation Dinner
Kicking back under the dappled light of the old olive tree, you’ll think you died and went to some sort of long lunch heaven at Skillogalee Winery & Restaurant. A culinary icon of Clare Valley, this place is known for top-notch local food and incredible vineyard views, and if their stunning menu isn’t enough to have you waxing on about how good it felt to ditch your diet plan, their wine certainly will. With a relaxed vibe and an eclectic a la carte menu that heroes local, seasonal produce you’ll find many ingredients are picked straight from their cottage veggie garden. Befitting of its stellar reputation, this place is also wildly popular, so it’s a good idea to book in advance.
Skillogalee Winery and Restaurant, Sevenhill
Wineries With A Little More…
We all know that a winery platter is a thing to behold - and curling up with a wheel of cheese while quaffing quality vino can be an almost a cerebral experience (check out our guide to wineries with awesome platers right here). But what if you’re craving that little bit more? Well, as locals will tell you, many cellar doors take food just as seriously as their wine. Here’s some of the best…
It’s always worth a stop at O’Leary Walker Wines, where a generous gourmet platter overlooking the vines is somewhere to the left of utopia. But beyond those light eats and vineyard views, you’ll also find a newly renovated restaurant that’s fast earning a reputation for excellence. With a lunch menu celebrating seasonality and provenance of produce, it’ll take all your will-power not to be swayed by their house made duck pâté, hand-cut spinach linguini or slow cooked pork belly. Oh, and don’t miss their indulgent picnic experience when the Sun’s out either... Just saying.
O'Leary Walker Wines, Leasingham
No doubt about it, Reilly’s Wines in Mintaro punches well above its weight for foodies, and beyond its excellent a la carte menu, you’ll find a decadent five-course Long Lunch experience to keep you occupied for hours. Unashamedly indulgent, and in the words of many – ‘generous’ – expect plenty of hearty goodness on your plate, along with equally exceptional wines. Think: eye-fillet steaks, crispy skinned Barramundi, slow braised lamb shanks and a range of desserts to die for. Oh, and how about a fortified to finish? Don’t mind if we do…
Reilly's Wines, Mintaro
Right in the heart of Clare, Mr Mick Cellar Door and Kitchen is known for combining food, wine and art, but now they’ve found a way to cycle and savour the region’s best. Hop on board their Ride, Riesling and Relax experience to soak in some of our most scenic countryside before switching gears at Tim Adams, where a single vineyard wine and cheese tasting awaits. From here, you’ll roll across to Sevenhill Cellars for a decadent fortified and chocolate matching experience before jumping out of the saddle for a tapas lunch at their brilliant cellar door restaurant.
Mr Mick Cellar Door and Kitchen, Clare
With a dreamy deck that’s made for lazy luncheons, Paulett Wines & Bush DeVine Café will have you soaking in the flavours of the Australian bush with views across rolling hills and vines. With some of the most spectacular vino in the region to wash it all down with, you’ll find it’s near impossible to leave after sitting down to their natively inspired menu. With an emphasis on ‘foraged finds’, plucked fresh from their native garden, this is bush tucker at its very best.
Paulett Wines and Bush DeVine Cafe, Polish Hill
Housed in a stunning old stone apple shed, Mitchell Wines has earned a reputation as one of the stalwarts of Clare Valley, and beyond their incredible wine flights and tastings, you’ll find a range of experiences to really prime your palate. Book their amazing Vineyard Lunch and Masterclass and you’ll not only get an inside look at the old barrel hall, the homestead, and their multitude of vineyards (hosted by one of Mitchell family), but also a gourmet lunch overlooking the vines, courtesy of their mates at Terroir Auburn.