Ahh, Western Australia – the dream destination; far enough from home to be considered a proper holiday, without having to dust off the passport. It’s time to discover all that’s happened in the last couple years. While the east slept, over in the west the food and drink scene has been humming along nicely, with new players ready to be discovered (and old favourites rediscovered). Consider this your hit list after flying in.
FIRST STOP: PERTH
With its reputation for great weather, wine and beaches, Perth has come into its own – home to some of the best dining options in the country. From the modern inner city out to the magical coastal fringe, there’s more than enough to fill an itinerary.
1. Lulu La Delizia Italian
It took out the top gong as GT’s 2023 WA Restaurant of the Year with a dining experience that just hits different. Located in lively Subiaco, the neighbourhood restaurant that is Lulu La Delizia Italian is brimming with confidence and class; from the personable front-of-house staff who’ll ensure good choices are made, to the chefs ensuring the northern Italian flavours shine. Then there’s the plates – supple potato gnocchi lathered in a spicy oxtail and red pepper ragù, with tiramisù and a glass of grappa ending things on a classic high. Not to be missed.
Pull up a chair at this rooftop fine-diner crowning Perth’s majestic Como The Treasury hotel that is, Wildflower. Enjoy being looked after by one of Perth’s premier floor teams while admiring a city nestled in nature, with sweeping views across the Swan River and CBD. A rotating seasonal menu inspired by the Noongar six-seasons celebrates native ingredients, from the whipped wattleseed butter served with the bread, to the jewels of finger lime adding a pop to cured snapper. Reliable in spades.
Seafood and a swim? Head over to Madalena’s in Fremantle, where the fish are fresh (and sustainably caught) and sandy feet are welcome. With an ever-changing menu aligning with the catch of the day and best of the season, vegetarians and pescatarians will feel spoilt for choice here. A focus on new-wave wines adds to the casual dining appeal. Walk-ins welcome.
NEXT STOP: MARGARET RIVER
Slow down and journey through Western Australia’s regions that are bound to leave you starstruck. Just a three-hour drive south of Perth, Margaret River pairs fine wine with an enchanting coastline.
4. Vasse Felix
Since opening in the late ’80s, this luxe-casual restaurant has been offering an experience that is polished to perfection. And, like its gold standard wine, Vasse Felix just keeps getting better with age. From Brendan Pratt’s tight edit of plates – a winning blend of adventurous, progressive, and technical – to the knowledgeable and charming floor team who are present every step of the way – a good time is guaranteed to be had. The pioneer and epitome of Margaret River dining; if you eat anywhere in the region, make it here.
5. Voyager Estate
More is more when it comes the showpiece Voyager Estate. Head past the meticulously manicured lawn to find a Cape Dutch-inspired cellar door and world-class winemaking program. When it comes to eats, it’s a choose-your-own-adventure; a four-course menu spotlighting the technical prowess of Head Chef Santiago Fernandez and team, or surrender to the immersive seven-course degustation – sommelier-matched wines optional for both. But as they say, when in wine country.
6. Chow’s Table
Since opening in 2018, chef Malcolm Chow (ex-Tetsuya’s, Vue de Monde and, locally, Studio Bistro) has brought the spice to this casual dining room, nestled between the vines of the House of Cards Winery. The menu is a love letter to Chow’s Chinese-Malay heritage; the lamb rump a masterclass in juiciness, while the glazed roast duck will transport you straight to Shanghai. A range of Asian beers on offer adds to the relaxed Chow’s Table vibe.
7. Miki’s Open Kitchen
Dinner and a show? Book ahead at this modern Japanese eatery to score one of the counter seats ringing Mikihito Nagai’s kitchen and be rewarded with close-up views of chefs giving a masterclass in Western Australian seafood. Pick and choose from the Miki’s Open Kitchen menu or put your trust in Miki to deliver the goods, with the classic degustation spotlighting his style over seven courses, or level up and experience it all with an eight-course degustation changing daily. A curated selection of sake rounds out the adventure just nicely.
Brought to you by Flight Centre. Step into a dream with Western Australia holidays on sale at Flight Centre. Experience another world as you journey to Margaret River, from $937 for two. Including 3-nights of accommodation at the 4.5-star Eight Willows Retreat, a Vasse Felix Winery Tour with private wine tasting, flexible changes^ and much more. Don’t sleep on it – book now!