Winding roads soothe the soul.
There’s something therapeutic about watching the city disappear in your rear-view mirror, as you surround yourself with the lush pleasures the Adelaide Hills have to offer (with your favourite playlist bellowing through your speakers, of course).
There’s no shortage of destinations for a great cup of coffee or a hearty bite to eat, regardless of where in the Hills you find yourself.
After years of exploration and a lot of trial and error, I’ve found a few favourites which I wanted to share with you.
1. Caffiend Coffee Company – Hahndorf
Caffiend boasts some of the best coffee in the Adelaide Hills, all roasted in-house. Couple your coffee with something sensational from their all-day breakfast or lunch menu (I recommend the mac and cheese toastie).
2. The Organic Market and Café – Stirling
A ‘Green Table Award’ winner for efforts to reduce their environmental impact, The Organic Market and Café features an in-house market with a wide variety of locally sourced fresh produce. Sit down for an organic beer or wine, or try one of their home-style meals. Vegan and vegetarian options are available.
3. Red Cacao Chocolatier – Stirling
I stumbled across Red Cacao Chocolatier purely by accident. Tucked away just off the bustling main street of Stirling, Red Cacao features a quaint atmosphere, and personalised service. If you have a chocolate craving that needs to be satisfied, your personal waiter will provide recommendations for coffee pairing based on your choice.
4. b3 Coffee – Blackwood
It’s not too difficult to find a half-decent cup of coffee around Adelaide, particularly in the Hills. But for those with higher expectations and a want for something more than a caffeine injection, b3 have you covered. A small batch roaster with an aim to spoil Adelaide with specialty, quality blends, b3 have the knowledge and experience to serve you a cup of coffee that will exceed your expectations.
5. FRED Eatery – Aldgate
FRED Eatery is more for you food lovers than caffeine nuts. FRED is home to a contemporary dining experience. There’s vegetarian options aplenty, with an extensive breakfast menu and smoothies for those on the go. FRED Eatery is hard to go past if you’re near Aldgate and your stomach is rumbling.
6. Lobethal Bierhaus – Lobethal
On the main street of Lobethal, the Bierhaus distinguishes itself with its small, all-grain microbrewery. Coupled with their award-winning hand-crafted beers, the Bierhaus offers a food pairing menu from locally sourced ingredients. If beer isn’t for you, a selection of Adelaide Hills wine and cider is also available.
7. Lost In A Forest – Uraidla
Hidden away in stunning Uraidla, Lost In a Forest is a self-described ‘Wood Oven Wine Lounge’. Lost In A Forest has an extensive local wine list which pair incredibly with their uniquely styled wood oven pizzas. If you’re out and about in Uraidla early, their breakfast pizzas and smoothies are hard to beat.
8. Brother Bear Wholefood Cafe – Mount Barker
Located on the bustling Gawler Street, Brother Bear offer an array of healthy, creative and downright delicious meals. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free diets are a priority here with endless options available. They offer a weekly Wednesday special promoting Keep Cups by giving you a $2 coffee when using one.
9. Harvest Mylor Cafe – Mylor
Hidden in Mylor, the scenic drive through Bridgewater leads you to a small and quaint Hills town. The Harvest Mylor Cafe is always busy and it’s probably because of their great coffee and cute outdoor seating. Their meals incorporate local ingredients including the well-known Mylor Bakery bread and Hahndorf derived feta.
10. Patch Kitchen and Garden – Stirling
Just out of the main street of Stirling, Patch Kitchen and Garden offer a quiet space to sit with numerous child-friendly spaces. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights). Handmade lamington donuts filled with raspberry chia jam (vegan too) are always in their cake cabinet. Their ever-changing menu and delicious food can be enjoyed sitting outside with a view of their lovely free range chickens.
11. Jimmies – Crafers
Hidden away in Crafers, the well-known Adelaide Hills pizza bar has a lot more to offer than just that. Jimmies emits a cosy feel all year round and have open fires in winter. You’ll struggle to pick just one pizza out of their mouth-watering menu.
12. Miss Perez Kitchen & Bar – Stirling
Fancy a burger? Some of the best burgers in the Adelaide Hills is home to Miss Perez Kitchen & Bar. They offer Taco Tuesdays which is fast becoming a popular event and Sunday Feasts with a la carte main meals. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and delicious cocktails.
13. Joan’s Pantry – Hawthorndene
Nestled away in Hawthorndene, the 15 minute drive from the CBD brings you to the iconic Joan’s Pantry. It was first established in 1920 when Joan made tea for the cricket players across the road from the cafe. Nowadays, you can still enjoy a Devonshire tea, with the addition of breakfast, lunch and dinner on Friday nights.
14. Locavore – Stirling
Stirling is home to many great eateries, Locavore being one. Open for lunch and dinner, the wine bar incorporates the ‘100 mile diet’ meaning, all products and ingredients are utilised from as close as possible in the Hills. Offering an almost birds-eye view of picturesque Stirling, the Locavore is a romantic and cosy place to grab a bite.
15. Yuki In The Hills – Aldgate
Newly opened only this year, Yuki In The Hills is the only place in the Adelaide Hills you can get authentic Japanese cuisine. They make mouthwatering sashimi, sushi, Japanese beer and a la carte dishes. So no need to head to the city next time you’re craving Japanese with this addition to the hills.
16. Pallet Home + Table – Nairne
Pallet Home + Table is a cafe upstairs a homewares and boutique clothing shop downstairs. This quiet hills town is home local and fresh ingredients and adds excitement to Nairne. They use Mylor sourdough bread, Balhannah meat and free range eggs. Majority of the menu can be altered for vegans, vegetarians and gluten free. Once you’ve enjoyed your brekkie upstairs, head downstairs for the locally made clothes.
17. Sazon Espresso – Mt Barker
Famous in the hills for their artisan coffee and Mexican inspired brunch dishes, Sazon is a busy cafe on Gawler Street. They run Friday night dinners during the warmer nights serving Mexican meals and frozen margaritas. Open for breakfast and lunch you can get yourself a delicious raw vegan slice, a freshly made juice, coffee, quesadillas and other Mexican inspired brekkies.
18. Stirling Cellars & Patisserie – Stirling
Freshly baked pastries, great coffee, and a Scandinavian vibe for dining in. Not only a patisserie but a cellar offering Adelaide Hills produce while you relax and sip your coffee. They’re known for their giant meringues and array of petit fours.
19. Kitchen 2c – Hahndorf
Decked out with cosy hand-knitted blankets and wooden interior, Kitchen 2c incorporate Thai themed dishes into their menu. They offer burgers, curries, soups, sweet treats and fresh juices and are open for dinner Thursday and Friday nights.
The Adelaide Hills are constantly changing and expanding. My picks bring together an amalgamation of local ingredients, internationally awarded coffee and unrivalled atmosphere. If I’ve missed your favourite, I’d love to know about it!