The Best Food and Wine Experiences in New South Wales

From a high-end restaurant on the dress circle at Sydney’s Circular Quay to an intimate encounter with a winemaking family in Orange four hours’ drive away, NSW offers visitors some exceptional food and wine experiences. After sampling Sydney’s world-class restaurants jump in a car (or better yet a hop on a seaplane) and discover how the region showcases its bountiful produce and award-winning wine. The Best Food and Wine Experiences in New South Wales
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The Best Food and Wine Experiences in New South Wales

With world-class restaurants, bountiful produce and award-winning wine, NSW offers visitors exceptional food and wine experiences 


From a high-end restaurant on the dress circle at Sydney’s Circular Quay to an intimate encounter with a winemaking family in Orange four hours’ drive away, NSW offers visitors some exceptional food and wine experiences. After sampling Sydney’s world-class restaurants jump in a car (or better yet a hop on a seaplane) and discover how the region showcases its bountiful produce and award-winning wine.

Hunter Valley, NSW

1. Vine and dine

Just two hours drive from Sydney, the Hunter Valley wine region has long been the city’s favourite weekend playground. With pleasant scenery, some of the country’s oldest wineries and a cluster of fine dining restaurants, it has been described as Australia’s answer to the Napa Valley in California by no less an authority than Travel & Leisure magazine.

From dramatic steel-and-glass tasting rooms to rustic family-run cellar doors the stand-out drops are almost always shiraz, semillon and chardonnay. After all that slurping and swilling, you’ll deserve a fine meal. Bistro Molines is a French-themed restaurant set on a pretty hillside while Muse serves clever contemporary food in a slick, art-filled space.

Biota,
Bowral, NSW

2. Keep it local

It used to be that top places to eat in New South Wales were almost exclusively located in Sydney, but then well-known chefs began opening restaurants in regional locations and culinary pilgrims followed. Chef-and-owner James Viles has said his restaurant in Bowral is inspired by Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in England and El Celler de Can Roca in Spain – both of which have Michelin stars.

Biota, which literally means “the animal or plant life of a particular region”, has been critically-acclaimed for its sophisticated food made using local produce wherever possible. There’s a kitchen garden and glass-house on site where shoots, cresses and seedlings are grown, and a farmer’s market held in the grounds on the last Sunday of every month.

Just 90 minutes’ drive from Sydney, the two hatted restaurant has a pared-back Scandinavian feel and there are also 12 stylish accommodation rooms in the grounds - an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding Southern Highlands.

Quay Restaurant,
Sydney, NSW

3. The best of the best

With point-blank views of Sydney’s famous harbour and iconic Opera House - as well as food consistently rated among the best in Australia - Quay has it all. Chef Peter Gilmore has reigned supreme over the Sydney restaurant scene for the best part of a decade by serving up food that is truly unique.

Consider his remarkable snow egg dessert – a ball of poached meringue with a crisp malotese coating with a heart of custard apple ice-cream – that featured in the final of Masterchef Australia in 2010 and has drawn crowds to the restaurant ever since.

As for awards, there aren’t many that Quay hasn’t won. In 2013 it was crowned Restaurant of the Year by Australian Gourmet Traveller and the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Food Guide. It was also included in the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

 

Orange F.O.O.D Week,
Orange, NSW

4. Cool hunting

With some of the best regional restaurants in the state, award-winning cool climate wines and charming boutique accommodation, it’s no surprise Orange has been described as a “food and wine mecca”. The region, a four hour drive west of Sydney, was better known for its orchards until forward-thinking vintners unlocked the potential of its rich, volcanic soil in the early 1980s.

Visitors should book a boutique hotel or homely B&B and tour some of the mostly family-run vineyards and top-notch providores before dining at one of the highly-regarded restaurants such as Lolli Redini, Union Bank and Bistro Ceello. On the second Saturday of the month you can also sample local produce at the Orange Farmers Market.

Consider timing a visit for an event that captures the spirit of Orange such as F.O.O.D. in April or Orange Wine Week in October.

Sydney Seaplanes,
Sydney, NSW

5. Up, up and away

It’s a little-known fact that Australia is one of the best places in the world to eat Italian food and NSW chef Stefano Manfredi is often described as the “godfather” of modern Italian cuisine.

Manfredi has been behind the stoves at some of the city’s most famous restaurants so it turned heads when the chef opened a restaurant at a country retreat on the NSW Central Coast in 2007.

Although Bells at Killcare is just an hour’s drive from Sydney, the best way to get there is by seaplane from Rose Bay in the city’s east. The amphibious floatplane passes over Sydney’s golden Northern Beaches on the way north and does a fly-by of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House on the way back.

Bells has a casual beach-house vibe and a menu that incorporates ingredients grown in its own orchard and kitchen garden. It combines Manfredi’s culinary flair with the best of the region’s produce.