If you’re interested in experiencing dining outside of Canberra (even though the options are endless), our neighbouring towns in NSW also have a reputation for good food and wine, with most championing local produce. While all of these restaurants are reachable in a day, the fully experience the menu and enjoy yourself, they are definitely worth the overnight stay, with most of them located within a hotel. Each unique in their own right, they promise exceptional cuisine with only the best country hospitality.
A unique dining location with a creative re-invention that sees seasonal vegetables take centre stage, find a unique, personalised degustation at Restaurant Amara at Spicers Sangoma Retreat. Located in the picturesque Blue Mountains, the restaurant sources only the freshest of local organic and sustainable produce within a one-hour drive radius. Known as the ‘chef’s harvest experience’, the best of the region is at the forefront of every dish, connecting guests with the land. While staying at the luxury retreat is not essential to making a reservation, it’s worth pairing the intimate dining experience with an indulgent overnight stay.
An impeccably designed five-star luxury boutique hotel in the heart of the Southern Highlands, let your worry wash away at the secluded Osborn House. Boasting two dining options, while the hotel offers a relaxing daytime menu at George’s, it’s worth the overnight stay just to experience their dinner offering at Dinah’s. Where traditional rustic recipes are transformed into sophisticated, savoury dishes, enjoy the best of the Southern Highlands through an exquisite seasonal menu before you retreat back to your art deco suite.
Where Palm Springs meets Spanish Mission style architecture, The Oaks Ranch’s signature house restaurant Arlo offers relaxed long-lunch resort vibes for the perfect summer’s day. Blessed with the incredible produce of the South Coast, Arlo’s vibrant menu comprises of local ingredients and flavours, with a particular focus on seafood. With a golf course and extensive cocktail menu, it is easy to lose track of the hours in complete bliss, so, why not make a weekend of it and stay at the idyllic hotel?
Located in the heart of the historic Berrima Village, Eschalot has firmly established itself as one of the Southern Highlands’ best restaurants. With a flourishing produce garden and over 10 years of creating relationships with local growers, the restaurant’s menu boasts seasonality at its core, whether it be the ‘feed me’ or seasonal menu. For people who seek pleasure from their dining experience, while Eschalot is not part of a hotel, it is not far from the gorgeous boutiques you’ll find up and down the region.
Bringing locals and interstate travellers in for their favourite pizzas and cocktails on the lawn, award-winning wine and food pairings in the restaurant, and most importantly a coastal escape, Cupitt’s Estate is more than just a drive-by. Collaborating closely with the Estate’s gardeners and winemakers, the restaurant offers a truly spectacular regional dining experience. A picturesque location, make your experience all-encompassing and stay in one of the luxury pods and truly unwind over great food and wine.
Three Blue Ducks
Nestled in the Snowy Valleys, at the northern end of Kosciuszko National Park between Gundagai and Tumut, sits Nimbo Fork Lodge. Boasting the famous Three Blue Ducks on-site, this is the perfect foodie-inspired getaway. Surrounded by spectacular landscapes and breathtaking views, get cosy by the fireplace and enjoy flavours of the region. Adventurous at heart, the restaurant is under the helm of three mates who put their love for travel, sustainability and cooking into a business. Fitting in perfectly with the Snowy Mountains, the nostalgic, heart-warming menu, including a rotating Sunday roast, invites guests to enjoy dining at their own pace.
Rick Stein at Bannisters
The iconic Rick Stein at Bannisters is a truly memorable dining experience for those foodies who love seafood. Perched up high on a breathtaking sweep of the South Coast headland, the menu highlights incredibly fresh local seafood and produce in Rick Stein’s beloved style. A gorgeous hotel in its own right, forget about who will have to bear the designated driver responsibility and stay the night.
Dine at Bowral’s Bendooley Estate and get a true taste of the region. Whether it’s inside by the fire with a glass of red and a hearty meal, or out in the sunshine with a spritz and charcuterie platter, the restaurant’s seasonal menu is perfect for any occasion. Boasting their own winery and accommodation, enjoy the full experience with a wine pairing and forget about the drive home until the next day.
Bull & Bell
Located in the ‘food bowl of Australia’, Griffith’s Bull & Bell steakhouse in the Gem Hotel utilises the rich terrains and farmland surrounds as you’ve never seen it before. With majority of its produce sourced within a 300km radius, the meat-heavy menu sees exceptional cuts of Black Angus Beef, lamb and pork, as well as locally sourced fish and handmade pasta for those who aren’t as serious about their meats. While the drive from Canberra is pushing it for a day trip, it’s definitely worth a visit to try Bull & Bell and some of the other unique restaurants in the area.
Love to escape the city? Check out our guide to NSW’s best spa getaways.