The Clare Valley is a picturesque region in South Australia, known for its rolling hills, vineyards, and gourmet food scene. With an abundance of wineries and restaurants to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide where to dine.
Whether you’re looking for a fine dining experience or a casual spot to enjoy local produce and wines, this guide will help you find where to eat in Clare Valley.
From award-winning restaurants to hidden gems off the beaten path, there’s something for everyone here. I’ve visited twice over the last couple of months and tested out a range of eateries to share with you.
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TL;DR? Here's the outline
We acknowledge that the Clare Valley is the traditional land of the Ngadjuri people.
We ate at the Sevenhill Hotel for lunch when we were riding the Riesling Trail. As one local said to me, the pubs here in the Clare Valley are a step above your usual country pubs when it comes to their restaurants.
There’s plenty more than the standard schnitzel and chips on the menu here (although there is that too!).
The menu changes seasonally, and we were there just days after the autumn menu started. Along with the schnitzels, burgers and fish’n’chips, there was kangaroo, barramundi, some Asian-inspired and pasta dishes too.
Main meals range from $22 for the standard pub grub up to $42 for the top lamb and steak dishes. The desserts are creative and interesting.
For the vegans amongst us, I can vouch for their vegan Sweet Potato and paprika Roasted Eggplant Salad – delicious! There is a vegan dessert on the menu too, and while I was tempted, I didn’t think I would be able to get back on the bike if I ate more.
If you also have dietary requirements, the menu is well-marked, making it easy to find a meal that suits you. There is also a children’s menu with five standard options.
The Sevenhill Hotel has an extensive wine list and customers can go down into the wine cellar and choose their favourite from the racks.
Indii of Clare
First opened in 2013, Indii of Clare has brought authentic flavoursome Indian food to the Clare Valley. It may not look like much from the outside, but this is a nice place to eat in (even though they do takeaway too if you prefer). Voted the best restaurant in Clare for the last five years, this is one you should not miss if you like Indian food.
The menu here at Indii of Clare is extensive – pages and pages of all sorts of dishes made of beef, chicken, lamb, goat, seafood, vegetarian and vegan options.
There are plenty of breads and rice dishes to accompany the mains, with some Indian desserts too. Kids can choose from their own menu, and if there’s just too much on the menu, opt for one of the banquets to try a bit of everything.
The wine list focuses on local Clare Valley wine, but if you’ve already had plenty of that during wine tasting in the region, there are lots of other options too.
You can find wines from around the world, beer, spirits and cocktails. For non-alcoholic options, there are mocktails, soft drinks (including a low-cal range) and, of course, mango lassi.
We ordered a Balti Chicken for the meat eater and a vegan Daal Tadka for me. Both dishes were so tasty, and with a serving of steamed rice, large enough to take home a meal for lunch the next day.
Ragu & Co
Ragu & Co are the new kids on the block, only opening their Italian cucina in 2022. They have since received Ospitalita Italiana accreditation in recognition of their authentic dining experience. The restaurant is located in an old chaff mill, and it has been beautifully restored to give a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
We visited on a Thursday night and the restaurant was full, so I recommend booking in advance to guarantee a table. Bookings can be made on their website, and it is quick and easy.
The menu has a nice range of Italian meals, some traditional, others showcasing local produce with an Italian twist. There is a good range of pastas and pizzas, with vegan cheese an option (with no extra charge) and gluten-free bases. While the menu is not as extensive as in some other places, there is certain to be something here to suit everyone.
The wine list was mostly Italian wines, although there was a handful from the Clare Valley. There were cocktails with an Italian feel to them, and some good alcohol-free mocktails (many using Lyres spirits) along with beers and soft drinks too.
For dessert think of more popular options such as tiramisu, cannoli and affogato, along with a selection of dessert wines and coffees (some with a shot of something special).
Clare Rise Bakery 1895
I’m adding this one in for quick meals on the go. Clare Rise Bakery is located on the outskirts of Clare, towards Adelaide. More than one person has told me that this is THE place to stop for a good pie, pasty or sausage roll in the area.
We did stop in, but unfortunately, there were no vegan options for me, I am told the sausage roll was definitely one of the better ones around.
While the selection wasn’t huge, there were around eight different pies available (like their riesling chicken pie!), with vegetable pasties and sausage rolls too.
There are plenty of made-to-order options, such as rolls, sandwiches and wraps, toasted sandwiches and bacon & egg muffins
There were bread and bread rolls available to purchase, as you would expect from a bakery, and a range of sweets too, such as custard tarts, scrolls, and because we were visiting near Easter, plenty of hot cross buns.
From the outside, it’s your typical small-town pub and looks pretty decent. But step inside, and you’re in for a treat. There’s a bit of magic waiting in the Watervale Hotel.
But hang on, let’s back up a bit. If you’re heading to the Watervale Hotel, splurge on the degustation menu. And hey, while you’re at it, chuck in the Penobscot Farm tour as well.
Warrick & Nicola, the owners, they’re not your everyday hoteliers. Their farm tour? It’s an eye-opener. It gets you thinking about how we grow our food. I loved doing the tour with Warrick. Even in the rain, our whole group was captivated, listening to him for an hour.
After the tour, it’s off to the pub for the degustation. Nicola’s the brain behind it, turning out these incredible street-food-inspired dishes. The menu? Six courses, fresh every day, seasonally driven, with produce mostly coming straight from their farm or the kitchen garden just across the road.
Drink-wise, you’ve got options. Pair each dish with local Clare Valley wines or cocktails, or just buy your drinks as you go. I went with the wines and was blown away. Varieties I’d normally skip were delicious with the right food.
I usually stick to plant-based eating, but for this meal, I wanted to enjoy it all. And let me tell you, it was worth it. One of the best meals I’ve ever had, hands down.
And it’s not just me who thinks so. The Watervale Hotel has been cleaning up with awards. They were named Hotel Restaurant of the Year 2023 in the WORLD by the Corporate Livewire awards. And earlier this year, they snagged a similar global award from LuxLife magazine.
So, in a nutshell, the food here? It’s pretty darn good, to say the least.
Bush Devine Restaurant
The Bush Devine Restaurant can be found at Paulette’s cellar door, and it has stunning views across the vineyards and sheep paddocks of the valley. I ate here as the final meal of my 3-day Clare Valley walk and it was the perfect way to finish.
Bush Devine is known for its unique way of cooking, mixing Aussie flavours with a fresh style. The menu is full of local produce as they focus on using ingredients from the area. The food is all about bringing out the natural tastes of the region.
What’s cool about this place is not just the food, but also the setting. It’s right in the middle of Paulette’s vineyards, so you get to enjoy amazing views while you eat.
This restaurant is all about good food, great wine, and enjoying the beauty around you. Whether you’re really into food or just want to try something different, Bush Devine Restaurant is worth a visit.
Mr Micks Cellar Door & Restaurant
I first heard about Mr Micks when my daughter and her partner when there for lunch – and then I heard about it everywhere.
We stopped in for lunch and it did not disappoint. Even when they were understaffed and working crazy hard to get everyone their meals, the service was friendly and did not feel at all rushed at the table as the staff still made time for some friendly banter.
While you are in the Clare Valley, these posts might help
Discover 20 Top Things to Do in Clare Valley
Riding the Clare Valley Riesling Trail
Sip, Eat, Hike, Repeat: The Clare Valley Wine and Wilderness Walk
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