Bec’s favourite Fleurieu food and drink gems
McLaren Vale is home to more than 80 cellar doors and vineyards and many of the world’s oldest grape vines. There are world-class restaurants, breweries, distilleries, cafes and markets. We’re so lucky in McLaren Vale to have such proximity to the beach and Adelaide’s food bowl on the Fleurieu Peninsula, surrounded by world class produce be it seafood, fruit, vegetables, beef, pork, lamb.
For those that love the good things in life, all things epicurean, you’ve come to the right place.
Food wise, if you’re heading down from the city, we’d definitely recommend a pit-stop at the wonderful, family owned Hortas restaurant at Port Noarlunga – outstanding local food and breathtaking oceans views and sunsets. The signature Cataplana Portuguese Seafood dish is a family favourite. Another good spot in Old Noarlunga is Eighty Eight Seafood and Grill – it’s relatively new and is a great casual dining spot for superb seafood and wonderful grills with lovely views across the Onkaparinga River and Old Noarlunga Oval to the hills beyond.
One of our favourite restaurants that flies a bit under the radar is The Currant Shed – outstanding local food, menus that change seasonally all complemented by a great wine list with some local drops, as well as an international component. It’s actually just round the corner from our home, Tipsy Hill in Blewitt Springs so you’ll often find us there on a Sunday lunch, and we’ll stumble home across the paddocks.
At Tipsy Hill, we also offer food experiences which are a little bit different from the normal winery restaurant meal. Book in for a relaxed, bespoke three-course meal suited to your tastes, paired with wines from the Bec Hardy portfolio. You can quiz Bec and Richard what it’s like to be part of one of Australia’s most famous wine families, and pick their brains on other tips for making the most of your trip to McLaren Vale. If you want something a little more informal, we also offer Premium Picnic Experiences which include a three hour wine package, grazing platter and a tour of the garden, which was recently named in the Top 25 of South Australia’s ‘Most Astonishing Gardens’ by the Adelaide Advertiser.
Our little sub-pocket of McLaren Vale – Blewitt Springs – is becoming quite a destination in its own right. McLaren Vale Distillery nearby is run by Scottish descendant Jock Harvey and produces a range of Australian whiskies. The distillery is only open once a month so make sure to research before you make the trip.
If you feel all wined-out from Cellar Door visits, head down to Goodieson Brewery. We often end up here for knock-offs after closing up the Pertaringa cellar door on a Friday evening. You can try a tasting paddle of four of their beers to see what’s your favourite, or for the serious hopheads, you can consult the calendar to check out what’s brewing when!
McLaren Vale centre has quite a few restaurants and cafes. If we’re looking for a mid-week bite to eat we often head to the newly refurbished McLaren Vale Hotel, a venue with a long connection to the Hardy family. For a coffee or a hearty and healthy bite to eat we recommend Manna not far away on the Main Road.
It would be remiss of us not to give a shout out to some of our favourite winery neighbours, as there are dozens to choose from some personal recommendations can go a long way. We love to drop in and visit our friends round the corner at Blewitt Springs Wine Co. Winemaker Phil offers tours of the vineyards and educates on his viticulture philosophy. They also have luxury accommodation available to book which has been beautifully furnished. It’s a great option if you’re dining at Tipsy Hill and don’t want to drive!