The Best Restaurants in the Hunter Valley, Australia

Pokolbin, in Hunter Valley, is home to many of the regions best wineries – and gastro dining options
Pokolbin, in Hunter Valley, is home to many of the region's best wineries – and gastro dining options | © John Martin - Fotografo / Alamy Stock Photo
Mikki Cusack

It’s not just wine lovers who flock to the Hunter Valley. With farm-to-table produce, agri-dining and plenty of gourmet options, Australia‘s famous wine region has become a foodie heaven, too. Here’s our guide to the best restaurants.

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EXP Restaurant

A seasonal menu curated by chef Frank Fawkner draws an international crowd to this popular restaurant in the small town of Pokolbin, in the Lower Hunter Valley region – also home to the world-famous Linderman’s winery. Handcrafted local furniture fills the dining room, or you can sit at the bar, under a decorative green wall, and watch the chef and his team make your dinner. The menu ranges from Paroo kangaroo with Davidson plum and saltbush to wild kingfish with chilli ferment and fennel pollen vinegar.

Bistro Molines

No matter where you sit in this light-filled French restaurant, you’ll be greeted by views of the rolling green Hunter Valley vineyards and fields. Positioned between Cessnock and Wollombi, Mount View remains one of the best kept secrets of the Hunter Valley. Decorative plates on the walls offset classic French country decor. If you have a sweet tooth, make sure you check out the extensive dessert menu.

Margan Restaurant

Head to the quaint village of Broke for picturesque views and some of the best boutique wineries around. When it’s time to eat, don’t pass up on the indulgence that is Margan Restaurant. This elegant estate offers spectacular views of 100ha (250 acres) of vineyards and gardens, and if you choose to dine outdoors, wall-mounted heaters will ensure that you keep warm.

Leaves and Fishes

Prawn salad

Lovedale is the perfect destination for a weekend escape to the Hunter Valley and this family-friendly restaurant is a great spot for a relaxed seafood-inspired menu. Wooden chairs and bamboo curtains provide a laid-back feel. You can enjoy seafood dishes ranging from soft-shell crab to fresh Australian king prawns, all with an Asian twist. Linger afterwards by the riverfront, or if you’re feeling adventurous, opt for hot air ballooning.

The Cottage

Originally a hospital, the Cottage today plays host to a charming upmarket restaurant. It’s in Scone, which is the horse capital of Australia and the largest thoroughbred breeding area in the world. Enjoy a drink on the traditional Australian veranda before heading into the dining room, where exposed brick complements a working white fireplace, and small tables and chairs come in various shades of green. Do note that booking is essential.

Muse Restaurant

Here at award-winning Muse, you’ll find modern Australian cuisine with a local and seasonal focus. The large fireplace is the centrepiece of the main dining room, where oblong lights hover over the dining tables. Pair your meal with a recommended Australian wine from the Hungerford Hill Winery – try the award-winning 2017 shiraz for an extra indulgence.

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