A trip to the Shoalhaven means an adventure for your tatse buds on one of many foodie trails. The region is bustling with a huge number of incredible restaurants, cafes, wineries and farms, all influenced by the unspoilt landscape and freshness of local. With a remarkable variety of eateries and stunning locations throughout the area, you can choose to dine overlooking crystal clear waters, sit down for a meal in a fruitful vineyard or lunch amongst lush rolling hills. Whet your appetite (literally!) and experience some wonderful South Coast culinary gems.
The vast array of amazing local produce has recently attracted world class chefs to the Shoalhaven and created a food scene that is modern, adventurous and absolutely delicious. You can experience the best of contemporary cuisine in the many local restaurants serving innovative and exciting gourmet food. Head to Rick Stein at Bannisters in Mollymook, Bangalay Dining at Shoalhaven Heads or South on Albany in Berry for fine dining. For those who are looking for a more relaxed dining vibe, there are plenty of other quality restaurant options all along the South Coast. Head to LEAF in Nowra, or Wild Ginger or Kanpai at Jervis Bay for some Asian-inspired fare. Or maybe a pub-style meal is more what you're after? In that case Harvest Bar, Hedy's Bistro or The Friendly Inn is what you're looking for. Popular cafes serving up great nosh include The Treehouse Cafe Ulladulla, The Little Snapper at Culburra and Greendale's Cafe and the Mill at Pyree.
Known for its seafood, the Shoalhaven offers an abundance of the ocean’s bounty – oysters from Greenwell Point and fresh fish from Ulladulla are both must tries while you're down on the South Coast. Our local favourites are Pelican Rocks Cafe and The Fish Shop at Burrill Lake, who cook and serve up the freshest catches of the day. A stop at Jim Wild's Oysters on the foreshore of the Crookhaven River also allows you to enjoy some of the most delicious oysters you'll find across the country. You can also savour the best of what our oceans have to offer at many local restaurants in the region, who source their seafood from nearby producers just a stone's throw away.
These days, breakfast and brunch are serious meals and heading to a café of a morning is a common holiday activity. For a hearty meal filled with yummy local ingredients, make your way to Milkhaus or Tallwood. Both of their breakfast menus include the staple of bacon and eggs but other options for the more adventurous are a kimchi scramble at Milkhaus or the miso baked pumpkin at Tallwood. If you are wondering where to get your next caffeine fix, either Ritual Habitual or Hyper Hyper are local institutions that are quickly gaining great reputations around the country.
Sample a Drop (or Two!)
They say that a great way to get a real feel for a region is to taste the wines it produces. And we definitely have an excellent variety on offer! The Shoalhaven wine-growing region stretches south, all the way to Bawley Point, with twenty vineyards and about a dozen cellar doors to choose from. With its high summer rainfall, humidity and sea breezes, our favourite grape is the chambourcin, with other popular varieties such as chardonnay, verdelho, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz.
A serious exploration into Shoalhaven viticulture started back in the 1800s when Coolangatta Estate and Silos Estate planted the regions very first grapevines. Shortly afterwards, in the 1990s, Jasper Valley Wines and Cambewarra Estate followed suit. Now the Shoalhaven coast is beaming with a multitude of exquisite wineries - the perfect place to spend an afternoon with a beverage or two! Newer cellar doors include Two Figs, Yarrawa Estate, Mountain Ridge Wines, Cupitts and Bawley Vale Estate. A trip to the Shoalhaven wouldn't be complete without a visit to at least one of our magnificent cellar doors to sample some of the award-winning drops and it's even better if you book a tour and let someone else do the driving.
Lovers of fresh produce will find themselves in foodie heaven down in the Shoalhaven. Visitors and locals alike are invited to feast and forage around the countryside, which is blessed with lush pastures that offer the best of meat and dairy products. The intrepid foodie can independently explore the region to discover the best of seasonal produce. To really get the inside information, though, book an indulgent Foodscape Tour to uncover all the gourmet secrets of the region.
A trip to Milton Produce Market or Berry Produce Market will allow you to peruse the stalls and sample some of our scrumptious regional goodies. Stock up on olives, chocolate, artisan sourdough bread, locally grown vegetables and stone fruit as delicious souvenirs to take home with you. The Shoalhaven Visitors Centre also stocks a great selection of local produce including amazing gourmet preserves, relishes and chutneys, all made with love in the region.
Pack a Picnic
When the sun is shining and the weather is beautiful, there's no better place to have a meal than in the great outdoors. Enjoying the delights of a picnic is as easy as pie, with so many picture perfect locations in the Shoalhaven. Spread your blanket on the sands of one of our pristine beaches, perch on the grass and overlook the water or set up your meal at a secret bush clearing away from the madding crowd. Fill your luxurious picnic hamper with local delights from South Coast Providores, Nowra Farmer's Market, Milton Wholefoods and Flour Water Salt for a memorable spread!
Feasting on yummy food, wine and coffee is made oh so easy down in the beautiful Shoalhaven. With so many top quality establishments producing some incredible local fare, you'll never be far away from a delicious meal.