Always known for its wines and surf, Margaret River has now expanded its repertoire of excellence and innovation into the hallowed ground of the international food scene.
Chefs from around the world are drawn by the diversity and quality of local produce sourced from this pristine environment. Virgin olive oil, daily-caught fish, sun-ripened fruit & vegetables, locally raised meat, organic milk, free-range eggs, and a selection of indigenous bush food can be found at farmer’s markets, farm gates and providores.
The choice is endless: coastal cafes, obsessive coffee roasters, warm bread from traditional bakers, chocolatiers and ice creameries for the kids. And for a drink there are the countless bars, craft breweries and distilleries. Happy days!
You can buy and taste produce direct by wandering around the local farmers market on a Saturday, or visiting the many farm gates or providores. Cheese, chocolate, nougat, fudge, ice-cream, grass-fed beef and lamb, venison, organic sun-ripened fruit and vegetables, seafood, organic dairy, olive oil, free range eggs, French, German and wood-fired breads, chutneys, jams, olives, oils and coffee are all on offer – and that’s just scratching the surface. You can find them all listed in Scoop’s Things To Do guide.
Some of the best restaurants are attached to the wineries and a long lazy lunch is a must. Leafy decks with sublime views of vineyards, farmland and the bush provide the perfect backdrop for a lunch experience. Enjoy the surroundings together with delectable food and premium wines – the perfect ingredients for a long, long lunch. Choose from wineries with architecture that oozes opulence and amazing in-depth food and wine, or casual and rustic boutique delights.
If you just want a good coffee, you’ll find an abundance of great cafes in all the main towns and cafes throughout the region. Many have funky or rustic settings, and are great spots to watch Margaret River’s myriad cultures go by. And on the coasts there are myriad cafes awesome ocean views that are perfect for breakfast after a morning swim.
Where to go
Busselton / Vasse
Along and off Bussell Highway, you’ll find a mix of cafes, restaurants and bars. For takeaway burgers, pizzas or Asian cuisine, keep heading south. Queen Street is the main thoroughfare of Busselton, running from the highway down to the Esplanade, with healthy cafes and a gelateria. Wander down Kent Street and Fig Tree Lane for more cafes, a bakery and gourmet deli. Queen Street, Prince Street and Kent Street are the places to be at night. As well as hotels and pubs, there are wine bars and restaurants, plus cool new bar The Fire Station.
For something special on date night, there are two upmarket eateries on the Esplanade near the jetty, offering stunning views of Geographe Bay. Or, for a cheaper alternative (and a romantic classic), grab some fish ’n’ chips and find a spot along the Busselton Jetty. The view is breathtaking.
Dunsborough / Yallingup
Foodies are spoilt for choice here. Start the day in chic Dunsborough, with a great breakfast and coffee, freshly roasted in-house. Along Naturaliste Terrace and Dunn Bay Road, you’ll find quirky specialist cafes that just do coffee, smoothies and cakes, plus a Dome and health food-focused cafes serving organic coffee, not to mention a couple of typical country-town style bakery cafes in the heart of Dunsborough.
For dinner, there is plenty of choice, from unassuming Asian canteens to pub-style establishments, to wood-fired pizza, fish ’n’ chips, healthy takeaway, an Italian trattoria, and fine dining.
Diners who venture a little further out of town will be rewarded with more choice. Family-friendly seafood places, bistros, wineries, breweries, cafeterias, upmarket restaurants, and casual beachside cafes can all be found in the Dunsborough-Yallingup pocket between Commonage Road on the east side and Canal Rocks Road on the west.
When it comes to dinner, the choice is greater during the warmer months. Many establishments out of town don’t open at night, or have restricted trading hours, opening only on Friday and Saturday nights, for example. Kitchens also tend to close earlier in the winter months, so it’s always best to book ahead.
For a Sunday session, Yallingup’s beachside Caves House is a heritage-listed establishment with an ever-fresh vibe. And don’t miss Yallingup Woodfired Bread. Handcrafted the traditional way, there’s no chemically mistreated or mechanically abused dough here. The ovens are built from volcanic stones and heated by a genuine wood fire. Baked fresh daily, the bread sells out within hours, however it appears on many cafe menus
Margaret River Central
If you just want a good coffee, you’ll find an abundance of great cafes along the main street of town. Many have funky or rustic settings, and are great spots to watch Margaret River’s myriad cultures go by. If you hanker for pastries, you can also try the bakery, complete with retro, Grandma-style decor. For something sweet head to the famous Margaret River Chocolate Factory, one of the most popular tourist attractions of WA. There’s an amazing array of chocolate treats to choose from, free tastings and even an adjoining cafe for those who like to pair their sweet with a savoury light lunch or hot drink.
Another hub is on Station Road, where you can get yummy fresh greens before wandering deli aisles and sitting down to another coffee.
Head to Prevelly and Gnarabup and you’ll find a couple of cafes with awesome ocean views that are perfect for breakfast after a morning swim. For good food, there is an endless choice of delightful restaurants in town or out in the wineries.
Margaret River South / Augusta
Augusta is a great place for dining in, with most accommodation offering kitchens and lovely views. If you don’t feel like doing the cooking yourself, there are a few eating spots on Blackwood Avenue and Albany Terrace, from a well-regarded Chinese restaurant and a family-run cafe, to the renowned ‘last fish ’n’ chip shop before the Antarctic’.
Visiting the historic Augusta Hotel is a must. It boasts one of the best hotel views in WA, overlooking the Blackwood River and Hardy Inlet. The hotel is kid-friendly, with a bistro lounge and outdoor green for bocce or cricket. Alternatively, plenty of Margaret River’s world-renowned wineries and tourist attractions are close at hand.