Where to go for a casual meal in wine country
There’s no doubt that the Hunter Valley has some of the best spots in the way of fine dining. But sometimes, you need a more casual feed to enjoy while you’re in wine country.
The Hunter Valley has plenty to offer for a casual dining experience that doesn't compromise on quality, including wood-fired pizzas, hearty pub meals, and cafe brunches. Keep reading for our guide to the best casual eateries in the Hunter Valley.
This tap room, bistro, and cellar door is a great spot for the family. There’s plenty of space, panoramic views of the vineyards, 4 Pines brews on top, and a bistro menu boasting heaps of pub classics. What’s not to love? Even better, 4 Pines at the Farm is open every day of the week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Where: Cnr Hermitage Rd & Mistletoe Ln, Pokolbin
Whether it’s for a family get together, date night with your significant other, or lunch with the girls, Baumé is the place for any occasion. The food menu is extensive, with pizza specials that change up regularly and an indulgent dessert menu.
Where: 119 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin
Bimbadgen Wood Fire Pizza
Looking for an alfresco dining spot? Grab a seat in the Tuscan-inspired courtyard at Bimbadgen and enjoy one of its wood-fired pizzas. Come Friday night, the courtyard is host to live music – perfect for a chilled dinner date.
Where: 790 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin
Warm up by the fire with a hearty meal and a glass of wine at Blaxland Inn. The bistro is open for lunch and dinner, there’s plenty of craft beer and local wines on offer, and the little ones will be stoked with the kids menu.
Where: 2198 Broke Rd, Pokolbin
Located at Estate Tuscany, Brokenback Bar is great for a casual bite, serving up pizzas, small plates, and staple mains. Sample premium Hunter Valley wine or sip a classic cocktail as you overlook the mountains.
Where: Cnr Hermitage Rd & Mistletoe Ln, Pokolbin
No matter the weather, Cafe Enzo is a lovely spot to enjoy a casual breakfast, brunch or lunch. When the sun’s out, sit back in the courtyard, and when it’s a tad too chilly, warm up by the fire inside. Cafe Enzo’s hearty meals are made with plenty of locally-grown produce too, so you know you’re supporting local.
Where: Broke Rd & Ekerts Rd, Pokolbin
Jimmy Joans is all about delicious and reliable food – dishes you know you can come back and eat time and time again, and the quality won’t waver. The restaurant is open Thursday to Sunday for all-day casual dining, with dishes like Pork Belly Banh Mi and Scotch Egg with piccalilli being menu stand-outs.
Where: 84 Wilderness Rd, Rothbury
Leaves and Fishes is all about casual seafood eats with an Asian twist. The restaurant serves up dishes like Soft Shell Crab with Singapore chilli sauce and Szechuan-spiced chicken wings with pepper caramel and roasted peanuts in eco-friendly, takeaway packaging, so you can enjoy them anywhere on the Leaves and Fishes property.
Where: 737 Lovedale Rd, Lovedale
Lovedale Smokehouse Cafe
Lovedale Smokehouse Cafe is a small batch, artisan smokehouse specialising in charcuterie and low ‘n' slow barbecue. Grab lunch to enjoy in the courtyard or in picnic form on the expansive grounds. Think nachos, wings, burgers, toasties, tacos, and more.
Where: 64 Majors Ln, Lovedale
Located within The Vintage Estate, Nineteen is a bar and dining offering that has something for everyone. There’s a sports bar and beer garden, an upstairs dining deck, and even a Mexican food truck. You don’t worry about booking ahead at Nineteen – just walk in and the friendly staff will organise your table.
Where: 1 Claret Ash Dr, Pokolbin
Oishii Japanese and Thai Restaurant
After something a bit different while you’re in wine country? Stop by Oishii Japanese and Thai restaurant at Roche Estate. With affordable prices and authentic flavours, it’s a great spot for a chilled dinner or for easy takeaway.
Where: 2144 Broke Rd, Pokolbin
Situated at Gartelmann Wines in Lovedale, The Deck Café offers an extensive breakfast and tapas menu, with plenty of wholesome dishes to choose from. Sit on the verandah and take in the views of the bush while you devour your meal.
Where: 701 Lovedale Rd, Lovedale
Right next door to FogHorn Brewery, The Mighty Hunter offers approachable, uncomplicated food in a family-friendly setting. The menu is driven by local produce, featuring dishes like Fish Tacos with battered flathead, pineapple and jalapeno salsa, and aioli and Braised Lamb Shoulder with hummus, pomegranate, seasonal vegetables, and pistachios.
Where: Wine Country Dr, Nulkaba
The Sty Cafe
The Sty Cafe at Piggs Peake Winery is known for its premium toasties and coffee – the perfect option for a casual weekend brekkie in the valley. Soak up the sun in the courtyard while you devour a toastie like The Mega Melt, with gruyère, fontina, mozzarella, confit eschalots and garden collard greens.
Where: 697 Hermitage Rd, Pokolbin
Whether you relax by the open fire or enjoy the sunshine in the al fresco dining area, you can rest assured that the meal you eat at Two Fat Blokes Gourmet Kitchen will leave you satisfied. There’s plenty of cafe classics on the menu, plus out-there drinks and deli platters.
Where: 691 Hermitage Rd, Pokolbin
Wildstreak Pizzeria and Kitchen
Serving up gourmet wood-fired pizzas from its Italian outdoor pizza oven, Wildstreak Pizzeria and Kitchen is an ideal spot for a relaxed lunch overlooking the vines. There’s salads and small plates on offer too, plus the kitchen is on the same site at IronBark Hill Brewhouse and Peter Drayton Wines – tasting time, anyone?
Where: 694 Hermitage Rd, Pokolbin