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Australia may be known for its adventure opportunities, but the Barossa Valley, in South Australia, is one of the world’s great food-and-wine destinations. This region is known for its small farms and ranches, as well as for its abundance of premium vineyards.
Visitors to the Barossa Valley will definitely want to do some wine tasting, but for a complete experience, they should also sit down for a meal that combines the region’s fresh local food and top-notch wine. It’s not only the best way to truly understand what makes this part of Australia so unique, it’s also a supremely enjoyable way to cap off a long day of sightseeing.
Here are three can’t-miss fine-dining options.
2K.W. Bar and RestaurantA culinary visit to this part of Australia would likely begin in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia and gateway to the Barossa Valley — and 2K.W. Bar and Restaurant is the place to go in Adelaide.
The first thing diners will notice here is the restaurant’s rooftop setting, offering expansive views of the entire city, especially the Festival Centre area — site of the city’s stadium complex, theaters, convention center and more. The restaurant’s outdoor lounge area is great for a sunset cocktail or a glass from the restaurant’s stellar list of Australian wines. In particular, suggest that clients ask about the “Barrel Thieves” selection: half-barrels of wine from different local vineyards in the Barossa Valley. Often, these barrels are from hard-to-find, smaller labels.
The restaurant also features a variety of curated wine-tasting experiences.
But 2K.W. isn’t just the place to go for a glass of shiraz; the food here is outstanding as well. The menu is mostly focused on fresh seafood — especially notable is the sashimi, oysters and fish entrees — and local lamb and beef. Portions are hearty and meant to be shared. But like the general ambiance, the dining here is sophisticated without feeling stuffy and pretentious.
Overall, it’s an excellent way to start a visit to the Barossa Valley.
AppellationThe Louise hotel, in the heart of the Barossa Valley, is widely considered one of the top hotels in all of Australia. Not surprisingly, Appellation, the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, shares in the accolades.
Appellation feels like an elegant country home, with soft lighting and lots of wood accents. The owners of The Louise and Appellation fell in love with the region before they opened a business here, and their appreciation for the Barossa Valley can be felt in the attention to detail.
The menu at Appellation takes full advantage of products from the region’s farms. In fact, they say that 85 percent of the menu comes from South Australia (and 100 percent is from Australia in general). Guests at The Louise can even accompany the restaurant’s chefs to the Barossa Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings.
Of course, the amazing wine list at Appellation is made up of mostly local vineyards, many of which are just available in the region. The selection has earned the restaurant a number of awards, including a Wine Spectator Best of Award for Excellence. The extremely knowledgeable staff is happy to help diners learn more about the region’s wine and pair them with various dishes.
If your clients don’t stay at The Louise, at least encourage them to make a reservation at Appellation. It’s the ideal way to explore the best of the valley’s food and wine and cap off a day of wine tasting.
Ferment AsianFor a completely different, but equally impressive, fine-dining experience in the Barossa, visitors should head to Ferment Asian. Located in a historic house in the town of Tanunda, this five-star restaurant specializes in modern Southeast Asian cuisine. Chef Tuoi Do, a former winner of the South Australia Chef of the Year award, combines Asian cuisine with local wine, for a truly unique dining experience.
Do’s cooking uses fresh, local ingredients — many from her own garden — to create seemingly simple dishes that harken to her early days in northern Vietnam. Let clients know that they should choose the Chef’s Table menu here, a seven-dish set menu that runs about $75. Wine matching is available with this option for an additional cost.