Best restaurants for wine lovers

By Halliday Promotion

25 Apr, 2024

Here are six restaurants that are perfect for wine enthusiasts. Offering specialty produce and high-quality wine, each of these restaurants are sure to delight your senses. 

Best Wine Restaurants in Australia

There's nothing quite like a perfectly paired wine to elevate your experience of a delicious meal, and vice versa. Most of us will (hopefully!) have experienced that moment when our enjoyment of a wine goes from good to great with a dish that complements and enhances its flavours. Finding the ideal combination isn't always easy though, so we've done the hard work for you and put together a list of restaurants from around the country that specialise in fine food and wine.

If you're in New South Wales, or visiting soon, be sure to check out The Wood and Esca Restaurant, both in Pokolbin. Linked to Brokenwood and Bimbadgen wineries respectively, you can be sure that they know a thing or two about wine. Staying in the Hunter Valley, visit Vines Restaurant at Hollydene for a vibrant dining experience and spectacular views.

For those in Victoria, you can't go past Brae Restaurant in Birregurra or Stokehouse in St Kilda. With fresh, seasonal produce and artisan wine, you'll be coming back again and again. And for those in Tasmania, don't miss Black Cow Bistro in Launceston for premium Tasmanian beef, wine and much more. 

Below, we've asked each of the six restaurants for their must-try food and wine pairing, so you can't go wrong. 

Black Cow Bistro

Black Cow Bistro

70 George Street, Launceston TAS

Black Cow Bistro is a small steak restaurant, set in a 1930s art deco building in the Launceston CBD. The Bistro opened in 2008, and in 2022 three long-term like-minded employees took over the baton. Nabin Gurung (executive chef), Thomas Tyler (general manager) and Ethan Han (restaurant manager/sommelier) have worked in the business for 10, eight years and five years respectively.

People can expect a warm, inviting and busy, bistro style dining room featuring artworks from the local artist John Wren. The menu, while centred around Tasmania’s fantastic beef offerings, is also host to local seafood and vegetable dishes worthy of their quality. The wine list is carefully curated to showcase exceptional Tasmanian beverages – not only wine but also beer, cider, gin, and whisky. A highlight is the full page of Tasmanian pinot noir selections, which captures Tasmania’s distinctive unofficial seven sub regions, classic producers, and up-and-coming young guns.

Executive chef Nabin Gurung says: Our natural food systems in Tasmania are well known; we are one of the very few places on the planet growing beef free of artificial hormones and antibiotics. While premium Tasmanian beef is what we are known for, dishes are designed around a range fresh local produce and seafood, much of it organic, served in a warm, casual bistro-style atmosphere.

Nabin’s must-try food and wine pairing: Robbins Islands’s wagyu scotch fillet (marble score 9+) is one of the signature cuts on the menu. It is rich and full-flavoured with a high contents of mono-unsaturated fat. Our customers are enjoying the steak with Tasmanian pinot noir, which has natural high acidity and concentrated but elegant texture. A perfect marriage.

Local favourite: The Cataract Gorge, located walking distance from the Launceston CBD, is a favourite destination for all locals, including the team at Black Cow Bistro. It is a great place for catch-ups with family and friends, or a swim on a hot summer day.

Find out more | 03 6331 9333 | Open 5:30pm until late, Monday–Saturday

Brae restaurant

Brae Restaurant

4285 Cape Otway Road Birregurra VIC

Brae is a restaurant, organic farm and boutique accommodation nestled in a hillside in Birregurra, in the Otways hinterland. Here, guests of the restaurant settle into a welcoming, light-filled dining room set amid sprawling native gardens and productive farmland. Mid-way through the menu, which can last three to four hours, guests are invited to explore the property, following walking paths dotted with interpretative signage.

Since 2013, the 20 acre property has been managed using regenerative farming techniques to produce the bulk of what is served in the restaurant. Head gardener Jo Lawson and her team harvest produce from the farm, which is complemented with ingredients produced ethically by passionate local growers. A comprehensive beverage list of more than 600 selections focuses on artisan winegrowers and craftspeople. Head sommelier Lyndal Taylor selects beverages for the cellar, not only for their drinking quality, but also for their ethical and sustainable farming and production techniques. 

Owner and chef Dan Hunter says: We are constantly evolving not only the menu, but also our practices throughout the business and learning to be as innovative, ethical and sustainable as we can be – from an environmental, procurement and social perspective. For this work on sustainability, we were recently awarded the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s highest rating of three stars. We're also proud to have received three hats in Good Food Guide 2024, and three glasses in Wine List of the Year 2024. 

Head sommelier Lyndal Taylor's must-try food and wine pairing: Aged Pekin duck roasted on the bone with sweet potato leaf and cape gooseberries, served with 2018 By Farr Tout Pres Pinot Noir. Duck and pinot noir is a classic pairing for good reason. In this instance, the fine-grained tannins of the wine work beautifully with the tenderness of the wood-roasted duck breast. Brooding earthiness, lifted spices and red and black cherry notes pair well with the reduced duck sauce and the intensity and energy of the wine match the brightness of the cape gooseberries. 

Local favourite: Brae is located in the pristine Otways, a region with stunning walks through ancient rainforest, many leading to majestic waterfalls and the dramatic coastline of the Great Ocean Road. One of our favourite day trips is to Stevenson’s Falls via Heroes Vineyard and Forrest, a gorgeous town nestled in the pristine Otways rainforest. 

Find out more | 03 5236 2226 | Open Dinner Wednesday; Lunch Thursday, Friday & Saturday. As of July 2024, opening hours will change to Dinner Wednesday & Thursday; Lunch Friday & Saturday

Brokenwood chefs

The Wood

401–427 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin NSW

Over the past 18 months, Brokenwood has embarked on a journey of innovation and refinement, establishing The Wood Restaurant as a destination dining experience. Under Sean Townsend's stewardship, the Hunter Valley cellar door now offers an elevated dining experience that perfectly complements the award-winning wines. 

Central to The Wood's approach is the deep appreciation and understanding of the local producers who supply the restaurant with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Executive chef Sean Townsend has curated a menu focusing on local and seasonal produce, with synergy flowing between plate and glass. Choose from the àl a carte menu, or let the knowledgable team take care of the choices for you with their 'Feed Me' menu. The Wood focuses on Brokenwood wines but, in order to enhance the wine experience, they've curated a museum list that highlights their philosophy of “All the right regions, for all the right reasons.” 

Executive chef Sean Townsend says: Living in the Hunter Valley provides a unique and vibrant culinary experience, where finding inspiration, designing new dishes, and cooking becomes an exhilarating journey. The region's bountiful produce, sourced directly from local farms and passionate producers, inspires me constantly. For me, cooking is more than a profession; it's the ultimate form of giving. Simple food, respect for the grower, being passionate, understanding and listening to our producers, understanding our customers, are the foundations of what we do!

Sean’s must-try food and wine pairing: Hand-rolled potato gnocchi with rosemary and Brokenwood chardonnay crème sauce, matched with Oakey Creek Vineyard Hunter Valley Chardonnay. Or Upper Hunter lamb shoulder slow-cooked for 12 hours in Brokenwood red wine, matched with Mistress Block Hunter Valley Shiraz. 

Local favourite: Ensure you visit Tyrrell’s Wines, a revered family-owned winery in Hunter Valley. For exceptional dining away from the vineyards, éRemo Restaurant & Bar at Spicers Guesthouse offers picturesque Valley views. Consider staying at Cypress Lakes Resort near Brokenwood for a luxurious retreat in Pokolbin.

Find out more | 02 4998 7559 | Open Lunch: Friday–Tuesday 12pm–3pm; Dinner: Friday and Saturday from 6pm

Bimbadgen restaurant

Esca Restaurant

790 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin NSW

Esca Restaurant’s cuisine is simple yet refined. The menu is thoughtfully crafted, divided into categories highlighting hero proteins sourced 'from the land', 'from the sea', and 'from the pasture', offering you the freedom to curate your own dining experience. Meanwhile, the wine list is a testament to the unparalleled excellence of Australian winemaking, spotlighting both the renowned icons of the Hunter Valley region and the finest vintners from across Australia. Particular prominence is given to Bimbadgen wines, with their seasonal degustation menu thoughtfully paired with a curated selection of Bimbadgen's museum and current release wines. 

Whether you prefer intimate dining for two or a gathering of friends, the restaurant offers both alfresco and indoor seating options, catering to your preference. Overlooking the picturesque McDonalds Road vineyards, the neighbouring golf course, and distant mountain ranges. The floor to ceiling windows offer a view that is a feast for the eyes.

Executive chef Keira Madeley says: At Esca Restaurant, our menu is a fusion of quality execution with minimal fuss. We spotlight seasonal delicacies, employing a blend of classical techniques and modern culinary trends. This approach ensures that our menu remains approachable while consistently delivering an exciting dining experience.

Keira’s must-try food and wine pairing: Our kingfish crudo has emerged as a favourite among our guests this season. Plated with mandarin, grapes, finger lime and pink peppercorns, it reflects our ethos of minimalistic flavours that when combined together, exude a sensory pleasure. For the perfect pairing, we recommend the 2021 Bimbadgen Single Vineyard Palmers Lane Semillon. The crisp acidity and citrus notes of the semillon beautifully complement the delicate texture and vibrant flavours of the dish.

Local favourite: Undoubtedly the Bimbadgen cellar door. Nestled downstairs, it's a haven for wine enthusiasts and those seeking a truly immersive experience. Venture outside to the terrace and you'll discover a vista that's nothing short of breathtaking. And on Friday afternoons you'll be treated to live music, creating an atmosphere that's truly unforgettable.

Find out more | 02 4998 4666 | Open Lunch: Wednesday–Saturday from 12pm; Dinner: Thursday–Saturday from 6pm

Hollydene restaurant

Vines Restaurant at Hollydene

3483 Golden Highway, Jerrys Plains NSW

Nestled between the world-famous thoroughbred studs of Coolmore and Godolphin, Vines Restaurant at Hollydene is a stunning multi award-winning restaurant situated on one of the Hunter’s oldest vineyards at Arrowfield. The restaurant is an integral part of the family-owned Hollydene Estate Wines, which was opened in 2014 by the Williams Family. Located on the Golden Highway halfway between Sydney and the Central West, the restaurant provides for the perfect stopping off point for travellers, whilst at the same time being the venue of choice for the local community.

Able to cater for a variety of events from small romantic and family lunches to weddings and business conferences Vines at Hollydene is a unique one-of-a-kind destination. With breathtaking views towards the Wollemi National Park, manicured gardens, a large alfresco area and a beautiful interior, Hollydene has it all.

Venue manager Amanda Parker says: Our 120-seat restaurant offers modern yet rustic Australian cuisine. We source fresh, local produce for delicious seasonal dishes you can enjoy indoors, or in our alfresco dining. Out of our 18 varietals on our wine list, all bar six come from some of the oldest vineyards in the Upper Hunter, showcasing what the area produces best. This includes semillon, chardonnay, verdelho, shiraz rosé and tempranillo. We also offer some very well made and moreish aged wines – some nearly 10 years old – again showcasing the high quality of Upper Hunter grape production. 

Amanda’s must-try food and wine pairing: Holly Sparkling Rosé and Kimba Sparkling Semillon are perfect as an apéritif or with an antipasto board with local Hunter Belle Cheeses. The 2022 Hollydene Semillon, with its vibrant sweet citrus characteristics and crisp acidity, pairs well with our pistachio-crusted barramundi.

Local favourite: We recommend visiting the other two cellar doors in the area, not to mention the vibrant town of Denman. Stay a couple days, there is much more to do.

Find out more | 02 6576 4021 | Restaurant open Monday & Tuesday for light snacks 10am–4pm; Wednesday–Sunday for breakfast and lunch 8:30am–4pm. Cellar door open daily 10am–4pm.

Stokehouse restaurant


Upper Level, Stokehouse Precinct, 30 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda VIC

Stokehouse restaurant has been an institution in the Melbourne dining scene since it opened in the early 90s. Quality of produce and producer is fundamental for both the wine list and food menu, rounding it out with knowledgeable staff.

The first thing you’re met with on arrival is the stunning design of the building, leading you through striking design features which pay homage to both the industry and Stokehouse's history. If the nuances of design don’t catch your eye, then the wall of Champagne and endless view of the bay surely will. The wine list is a great conversational piece for all levels of knowledge with a guided tour over the pages if requested. The menu has an extensive focus on seafood and seasonal produce, with ingredients frequently changing to serve what’s best during any given season, ensuring they can champion the best of the best.

Head sommelier Will Martin says: Our extensive wine list provides pages full of versatile bottles which highlight the remarkable local wine scene and put it up against the best producers in the world. We have a carefully curated list to match the complexities of the food menu, with a team of knowledgeable staff to guide you to an old favourite or a new adventure.

Will’s must-try food and wine pairing: Where do we start? Champagne and oysters, Rheinhessen riesling and seafood platter, Barolo and duck breast...the list could go on and on! We have the option of a set menu which covers the chef’s favourites with a detailed list of wines to match.

Local favourite: St Kilda Pier – the smell of the salt water and the sound of the waves against the pillars is a great way to disconnect from the city without having to travel. Most days there is a refreshing southerly wind which catches you slightly off guard and persuades your mind to think about a warm plate of fish and chips with a cold beverage.

Find out more | 03 9525 5555 | Open seven days 12pm–late.