Can you enjoy fine dining when travelling with a dog? The Enzotraveldog team investigate dog friendly wineries and restaurants in the Margaret River area.
Silverback log, November 2019.
Travelling with a dog has many rewards but is sometimes restrictive. Going to national parks usually requires alternative dog sitting arrangements but what about fine dining? In the Margaret River area, we were surprised how easy it was to find dog friendly, quality restaurants that were happy to allow dogs on lead in their outdoor dining areas. Here are the ones we visited in our week of wine grazing. I’m sure there are more. One thing we learnt was, ringing the restaurant direct was a better guide than trying to answer the question from the internet. Our advice would be to make a short list of the places you really want to go, then ring and ask.
The setting of this winery is a delight, even the car park looks good! The cellar door premium wine tasting of gold medal wines was $10 per head, deducted from cellar purchases. We bought one bottle of wine for the campervan and proceeded to the restaurant knowing just which wines to have with lunch. Pilchards for the Sparrow, barramundi and potato croquettes for the Silverback plus a salad and chunky potatoes to share. French chef, a glass of the Estate Chardonnay each, sparkling mineral water…what a treat! We ate on the restaurant verandah which overlooks a beautifully landscaped ornamental lake. Enzo was allowed to walk through the restaurant to the deck. Bowl of water provided without asking. The owners have a black Labrador which took itself swimming in the lake at one point. The whole experience was fabulous.
This winery taught us the importance of ringing. From the internet it appeared not to be dog-friendly, but it was a favourite winery and the restaurant won a chef’s hat in 2019. A quick call revealed that dogs were very welcome outdoors. The cellar door premium tasting was $30 a head but mostly involved wines over $80 a bottle that were not available by the glass for lunch. We opted for the standard tasting. The restaurant overlooks a classical courtyard garden, French waiter, Australian chef. Slow cooked lamb done to medium rare perfection, pickled fig and parsnip puree, shaved zucchini mint and fennel salad. Red wines from the tasting list. Sparkling water, coffee.. another great meal. Again, dog water bowl provided without asking. Enzo even got a kiss and a photo-stop from a passing Japanese tourist!
This could best be described as Gourmet Farmer meets quality winery! The winery is just south of Margaret River, It also has sheep, pigs and a large veggie garden. A lot of the food served in the restaurant is sourced from the property. The usual cellar door tasting preceded lunch. The traditional sourdough made on site was the best bread we had in WA to date,but sadly not available for purchase as a take-away. Farm free-range pork for the Silverback with the Amphora Shiraz. Local octopus, tomato relish and leaves with a glass of Fume Blanc for the Sparrow. We had the farm quinoa and root vegetable salad to share. Again, a fabulous meal. The restaurant is dog friendly in the outdoor areas. It was a bit too windy for outdoor eating when we were there, so they arranged a window table for us with Enzo just outside the full length window with his water bowl. He seemed happy catching flies! Dogs are easily pleased sometimes. Had he smelt the pork he may have realised what he was missing out on!
We reviewed this fabulous restaurant just north of Margaret River a couple of posts back. You can read about it here.
This is the smaller of two pubs in the main street of Margaret River. The pub has a large selection of beer and ales and has won the 2019 award for the best steak sandwich in country WA. We stopped there for lunch after a frustrating walk of the main street looking for a dog friendly venue. It has a large shady verandah that welcomes dogs with water provided in a veritable bucket of a dog bowl. Clearly, no dog or human ever died of thirst at this pub! Not fine dining in the manner of the restaurants above, but a great range of pub food on offer. Fish tacos and a pint of Kilkenny for the Silverback. Beef rendang and an Elsie Summer Ale for the Sparrow. A side of wedges… Enzo always likes it when we’re sitting in a beer garden of a pub and the wedges arrive!