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26, March 2024

A visit to McLaren Vale wine region is not complete without a signature long lunch at one of the many awarded restaurants in our region, none more so than the six Chef-hatted restaurants that McLaren Vale wine region is home to.

The Australian Good Food Guide (AGFG) Chef Hat's have been awarded to discerning Chefs around Australia since 1982. The coveted Chef Hat Awards are determined by anonymous inspectors’ reviews and the opinions of the dining public, who submit their reviews throughout the year. The objective of the Chef Hat Awards is to reward exceptional chefs that meet the Australian Good Food Guides six attributes for success:

  1. Ingredients: The integrity and use of first rate ingredients is essential.
  2. Taste: Technically flavours have to be amazing, but balance is critical!
  3. Presentation: The sight of food elicits a range of physiological and cognitive responses.
  4. Technique: Individuality is at the heart of great cooking. A chef's creativity and individual interpretation of a dish is what makes for an exciting and memorable experience.
  5. Value: AGFG inspectors are mindful in their evaluations to measure restaurants by what they are attempting to be.
  6. Consistency: Of utmost importance is consistency of quality, though consistency of technique, presentation and taste are also of decisive significance.


The McLaren Vale wine region is a must-visit destination for the avid foodie. The highly-awarded McLaren Vale restaurants featured in the 2024 Australian Good Food Guide Awards are:


3 CHEF HATS


Maxwell Restaurant

Led by Executive Chef Fabian Lehmann

Maxwell Restaurant, Three Chef Hat Restaurant in McLaren Vale Wine Region


A hidden gem in McLaren Vale, the restaurant at Maxwell is a must-do when visiting the region. Maxwell's restaurant offers a standout culinary experience promoting seasonal produce from local suppliers. Every dish is carefully crafted and presented, while views of the winery, vineyards and the Fleurieu Peninsula lie just through the window. Chef Fabian Lehmann and the restaurant team seek to emphasise and showcase the high-quality produce that South Australia offers in abundance.

The Maxwell restaurant has received other notable awards including Top 10 South Australia Restaurant in 2023 Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide and Best Regional Restaurant in South Australia by delicious.100.

Must-try dish: wagyu, eel, green pepper

10 courses $180 or 6 courses $145
maxwellwines.com.au





2 CHEF HATS



d'Arry's Verandah Restaurant

Led by Head Chef Peter Reschke

d'Arry's Verandah, McLaren Vale Wine Region Two Chef Hat Restaurant

Longtime favourite d'Arry's menus are guided by the seasons, showcasing the finest produce from the Fleurieu Peninsula at its mouth-watering best. For more than twenty years, diners have been treated to d’Arry’s hospitality with a generous heart.

d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant is housed in a restored 19th century homestead, where spectacular views of the rolling hills and vineyards sets the scene for long leisurely lunches. d’Arry’s showcases the finest local and seasonal produce, enhancing the culinary experience with the extensive and world-renowned d’Arenberg wine portfolio.

Must-try dish: Australian Lobster medallion with Shark Bay blue swimmer crab and Australian prawn ravioli and lobster bisque.

8 course degustation from $125 per person.
Add optional wine pairing for and additional $80 per person. Degustation Signature Lobster Bisque incurs a surcharge of $20.
darenberg.com.au


The Kitchen at Bec Hardy

Led by Chef Connor Bishop

The Kitchen at Bec Hardy Two Chef Hat Restaurant in McLaren Vale Wine Region

The Kitchen at Bec Hardy, is set in a converted winemaking shed where a large oak vat still adorns the corner. The combination of rustic barn styling with high quality furnishings and crockery make for an elevated yet relaxed space in which to immerse yourself in a quality McLaren Vale wine and food experience.

Produce is sourced from their Tipsy Hill Estate garden and the broader Fleurieu region, then crafted into two feed me menus, The Short Story and The Long Story. Both menus seek to tell the story of season and place through local, seasonal and sustainable produce alongside paired wines from the Bec Hardy and Pertaringa ranges.

Must-try dish: Meredith Chèvre | Home Grown Basil | McLaren Vale Almond

Short Story (4 courses) $80 or Long Story (7 courses) $90
bechardywines.com.au



1 CHEF HAT


The Currant Shed

Led by Chef Wayne Lesson

The Currant Shed, Chef Hat Restaurant in McLaren Vale Wine Region

The Currant Shed's culinary team brings many years of experience to the kitchen. With varied experience across many regions, they have the remarkable ability to translate the flavours of the land directly onto the plate using some of the Fleurieu and South Australia's best produce, sourced from a raft of local suppliers. From handmade smoked ricotta gnocchi and heirloom carrots, to locally caught Barramundi with freshly picked greens grown in the restaurant’s own vegetable garden, they painstakingly create seasonally changing menus that are eclectic and edgy.

Must-try dish: Pork belly | satay | bean sprouts | mint | coriander | kaffir lime

2 course $75 | 3 course $90 | degustation $140
3 course with wine pairing $36 | degustation with wine pairing $55
currantshed.com.au


Serafino Restaurant

Led by Head Chef Mark Cooper

Set in a stunning location overlooking Lake McLaren, the Serafino Restaurant offers a superb dining experience with fine hospitality and a contemporary menu.

The focus is on the natural flavours of each dish on the Chef Hat-awarded menu reaching the palate, rather than over complicating the food. The cooking style is honest, real and unpretentious, with a menu that changes seasonally.

Must-try dish: 'Fleurieu' lamb lion, braised shoulder, potato and leek croquette, pea purée, Reserve Grenache reduction.

Degustation Menu $95pp or $190pp with wine pairing

Dining Menu: two course $75pp or three course $90pp
serafinowines.com.au


Star of Greece

Led by Chef Michael Collins

Star of Greece, Chef Hat Restaurant in the McLaren Vale Wine Region

With a focus on fresh, local ingredients, the awarded menu at the Star of Greece aims to showcase the abundant produce that the McLaren Vale wine region offers, in a relaxed beachside dining setting. Seafood is the hero here, with fresh King George whiting and squid delivered from renowned Kangaroo Island just down the coast, as well as an array of McLaren Vale wine.

Though the Star of Greece commands a prime cliff-top location with uninterrupted ocean views overlooking the spectacular Port Willunga beach, they don’t like to be too fancy. In their words: "We call it fine-and-friendly dining. It’s a little bit nice, but it’s also approachable…so you can swish ‘n’ sniff your wine, but take your shoes off under the table and have a drink with us after your meal, too."

Must-try dish: Half-shell scallop, tom kha emulsion, finger lime, shiso

Entrées from $25 | Mains from $36
starofgreece.com.au




According to National Food, Wine and Travel writer David Sly, McLaren Vale is "the best regional dining destination in the country" – we invite you to experience it for yourself.


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