The problem with choosing from the top restaurants in the Hunter Valley is that there are just so many fantastic options it’s difficult to know where to start. Here’s a little food-for-thought that might help you make an informed choice.
What’s so good about Hunter Valley restaurants?
World-renowned as a food and wine tourism hotspot, it’s not surprising that the Hunter Valley boasts some of the country’s best restaurants and top chefs.
What makes the Hunter Valley particularly special is that it’s most likely produced locally, from world-class wines (naturally) to handcrafted beers and spirits, award-winning beef, poultry and cheeses, to fresh fruits and vegetables bursting with goodness.
The broad diversity of regional produce means that, no matter what the time of year, you can expect an incredible array of seasonal dishes with a unique Hunter Valley flavour.
Premium fine dining in the Hunter Valley
If you are looking for a bit of white-tablecloth dining luxury, you won’t be disappointed in the Hunter Valley. From creative modern Australian cuisine using only the best ingredients, to classic European and Asian influenced menus with a distinct Hunter Valley twist, there is something wonderful waiting for every palate in the Hunter. And, as you would expect, the finest local and imported wines are carefully selected and matched to every course. It’s what the Hunter does best.
Here are some popular options to consider:
Circa 1876 – A Hunter Valley institution, famous for its farm-to-fork ethos and its organic kitchen gardens directly outside its windows. Get a taste for the region with the chef’s two-course, three-course, five-course and seven course tasting menus.
EXP – This Hunter Valley favourite is famous for it’s inspired Australian menu that’s driven by local in-season produce. The wine-list features distinctive handcrafted wines from the family-owned Oakvale Winery.
Margan Restaurant – Another of the Hunter’s most recognised restaurants, attached to the award-winning, family-owned winery. Pioneers of agri-dining in the region, the menu is based on what’s grown and raised on the estate.
Muse Restaurant – Another of the Hunter Valley’s foodie favourites, known for it’s fresh contemporary Australian dishes. Located in the iconic Hungerford Hill Winery, this award-winning restaurant also boasts it’s own on-site farm garden.
Restaurant Botanica at Spicers Vineyard Estate – Known for its sophisticated contemporary cuisine with a focus on wholesome and healthy local ingredients, not to mention its award-winning wine list and stunning views. Great for vegetarians and vegans.
Hunters Quarter – Located in the Cockfighters Ghost Vineyard, Hunters Quarter is the perfect stop in for any foodie. Under the watchful guise of chef Brian Duncan, Hunters Quarter produces tantalising seasonal dishes
Bistro Molines – Bistro Molines is the Hunter Valley’s little slice of France. Feel welcomed by award winning owners Robert and Sally as you indulge in some of the finest food the Hunter has to offer.
Villa Du Pays – Take advantage of the stunning alfresco views that Villa Du Pays has to offer. With a wonderfully paired À la carte menu that caters to the vegetarians of the group and a reputation for the best dry aged steaks in the Valley, you can’t go past this one.
Eremo Restaurant at Spicers Guesthouse – After years in an Italian kitchen, hatted head chef Cameron Matthews found his way to the Hunter Valley and Eremo Restaurant. With an extensive menu displaying the best of Italian cuisine Eremo has earned its reputation in the Valley in a short space of time.
Top casual dining restaurants, cafes and more
The beauty of Hunter Valley dining is that even if the atmosphere is a little more casual and relaxed, you can be sure of the same superb standard of food and wine, with a focus on the best local and seasonal produce.
With a myriad of boutique producers, farms and providers throughout the Hunter Valley region, getting off the beaten track and heading to the farm gate or producer’s table can be another great way of experiencing the bounty of the region.
Here are some popular options to consider:
Amanda’s on the Edge – This charming restaurant is located on the hill above Windsor’s Edge Vineyard in Pokolbin and is famous for its charming verandah outlook and gorgeous views from every table.
Blaxlands Inn – If you’re looking for some hearty country comfort food and boutique wines, this is the place. For that special ambience, dine outside under stars by the open fire pit.
Lillino’s Bar and Trattoria – A taste of Italy in the Hunter Valley. Situated above the vines of St Clements Estate. Know for it’s wood-fired pizzas and Sardinian classics.
Goldfish Bar & Restaurant – Located within Roche Estate, Goldfish Bar & Restaurant is known as the social hub of the Hunter Valley. With its extensive wine list, numerous craft beers on tap and beautifully created cocktails, it is no wonder they have earned this reputation.
Yellow Billy Restaurant – There is nothing better than sitting by a fire in the colder months – nothing except watching your dinner being cooked over a custom made fire pit. Yellow Billy is unlike anything else in the Hunter Valley and strives to provide a flexible “shared plate” dining experience
Il Cacciatorie – Award winning bringing the best of Northern Italian cuisine to the Hunter Valley. Using the best ingredients from the area, II Cacciatorie creates a relaxed and delicious dining experience.
Leaves and Fishes – With decor that is sure to stun and a menu to match, Leaves and Fishes is the perfect venue for a long leisurely lunch or dinner that focusses on beautiful Modern Australian Produce with an Asian twist.
Peterson’s House – A Hunter Valley institution, Peterson’s House is known not only for its premium sparkling wines cellar door, but it’s extensive menu at Restaurant Cuvee. The perfectly paired menu combines the best of what Peterson’s has to offer.
Tatlers Tapas – With 30 years experience as a chef, Andreas Burri brings the best tapas to the Hunter Valley. With share plates using the best ingredients in the area, Tatlers Tapas is perfect for large groups or something more intimate.
How to experience the best food and wine in the Hunter Valley
iHop’s Premium Food & Drink Pairing Tours and Twilight Tasting & Dinner Tours offer a convenient and hassle-free way to experience the best of the Hunter Valley’s restaurants, wineries and more at relaxed pace. No need to nominate a designated driver is just one of the added advantage.
You can find out more about Hunter Valley restaurants here.