Stanthorpe, in the heart of Queensland’s Granite Belt, is well known for its wineries, especially those showcasing the less-common Strangebirds varieties. We’ve spent plenty of time sipping and tasting wine out here.
Read our comprehensive article on some of the best wineries on the Granite Belt.
But did you know that it also has more than its fair share of excellent cafes, restaurants, delis and foodie experiences too? Combine a stay in the Granite Belt with good food and wine and you’ll be booking your return visit before you even leave.
These are some of our best places to eat in Stanthorpe.
The Little Larder in the centre of Stanthorpe is owned and operated by Cam Giddings, a former international airline crew member and Stanthorpe local. Having been grounded due to covid, the Little Larder was a project to throw his energy into and it’s come up trumps.
With a New York inspired, modern Australian menu, the Little Larder is open six days a week for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. SIt inside or out on the wide verandah. It’s also dog-friendly.
Inside, you’ll find lots of tasty, locally made items and if you are looking for something to do on Friday afternoon, there are happy hour cocktails.
For accurate opening hours visit the Little Larder website.
Tucked away in a residential street in Stanthorpe, award-winning Essen is where you’ll find great food cooked by a local family. There is a strong European influence with pork schnitzel and apple strudel that sits alongside dumplings and wagyu. On a cool night, sit inside the timber cottage or when the weather turns warm, enjoy dinner and a glass of wine in the back yard. Either way, you’ll be eating some of the Granite Belt’s produce. It doesn’t get any more local than that.
For accurate opening times refer to the Essen website.
Owner and Swiss-trained pastry maker Stephen Lambert left his childhood town with his family to hit the road and travel around Australia. He got as far as Stanthorpe, setting up Zest Bakery in the main street of town. It might be a fair way from France, but here, in this brightly painted retail shop, you will find a wonderful variety of French-inspired patisserie items. Stephen toils away out the back, making everything you find in this store from scratch, and using fresh local ingredients where he can.
Looking for a quick takeaway coffee? Hole-in-the-wall Bean Better has got you covered.
Weeroona Park 48-50 Marsh St Stanthorpe
Granite Belt Brewery
Every town has a craft beer brewery these days and Stanthorpe ticks this off its list as well with the Granite Belt Brewery.
This place goes off on a weekend, especially when there is live music on offer. Kick back with a glass of beer from their excellent range, or if you can’t choose, we can suggest the tasting paddle. There are easy-drinking pale ales, big meaty wheat beers, cider and alcoholic ginger beers. There’s plenty of pub grub to keep the munchies away.
Owner Geoff Davenport will gladly chew your ear off if you show some interest in his brewery, or you can watch them make beer through the glass window.
If you are in the Ballandean region, plan on a visit to St Jude’s. As well as being a really nice location to stop and have a bite to eat or a drink, chef and owner Robert Davidson has some of the best cafe food in town. Robert is also a vineyard owner so you’ll find his local blend, 4382 Terroir on hand.
St Judes serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner on a variety of days and bookings are essential. For accurate opening hours visit St Jude’s website.
Tip – keep an eye out for the daily specials board
Varias is the restaurant at the Queensland College of Wine Tourism, a joint venture between the University of Southern Qld and the Queensland Government. The college is a training ground for those continuing their education in such things as tourism, hospitality, business and of course, viticulture. The restaurant is staffed with students who are studying and learning on the job.
Varias is modern a la carte dining using local ingredients where possible.
Opening times may vary. See the QCWT website for more information.
Balancing Heart Vineyard
The Balancing Heart Vineyard, so named because of the large heart-shaped rock sitting aloft another even larger rock, is a relatively new entrant on the wine scene in Stanthorpe, but it is fast making a name for itself.
Specialising in small-batch varietals, and with award-winning winemaker Mike Hayes at the helm, the cellar door has become one of the best places to visit in Stanthorpe.
It’s also a great place to enjoy a charcuterie board with a wine tasting, or if you are planning on hanging around for a while, a bottle or two. Relax outside on the deck of the cellar door building, or head down to the dam and take up a pew under the umbrellas, or spread your picnic blanket out on the grass.
Sunset wine and wood-fired pizzas are the go if you are in Stanthorpe on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Bookings are essential.
For more information visit the Balancing Heart Vineyard website.
Tip: If you are in Brisbane, you can also visit the Balancing Heart satellite cellar: Balance and Blend Cafe is located at 186 Cavendish Rd, Coorparoo.
Ashbern Strawberry Farm
Once you’ve finished hanging out in the strawberry fields and you’ve picked enough to fill a punnet to take home, head into the cafe at Ashbern Farm for some of their fabulous strawberry icecream. There are also many other goodies you can purchase – strawberry themed of course.
Granite Belt Christmas Tree Farm and Cafe
Visitors come to The Christmas Tree Farm in Stanthorpe as a destination for buying a special tree for their family to take home.
But, it’s also where you can buy hot chocolate, made fresh every day on the real stuff. That’s right, the hot chocolate here is made by melting chocolate. It’s rich, thick and truly delicious on a cold day in the Granite Belt. Owner Katrina is also a very good chocolate maker so you’ll find plenty of tasty treats to pick up here before you leave.
Heritage Estate Winery
There’s a touch of olde-worlde about this long-standing winery in Stanthorpe. If you have a special event happening, see if you can book the beautiful Rosewood table where parliament was formed in Qld in the 1850s. There’s plenty of dark timber and memorabilia. If you are lucky, you might hear owner Therese Fenwick play the pianola.
Lunch and dinner are available on the weekends but you should also check their website for special food-related events that occur throughout the year including degustations and cheese making classes.
The Barrel Room – Ballandean Estate
Ballandean Estate is perhaps one of the most well-known wineries in Stanthorpe but it also has a great restaurant.
The Barrel Room earns its name from the huge wine barrels that sit alongside the diners. Adjacent to the main dining area is a private dining room.
Keeping a close eye on everything in the restaurant are owners and chefs Matt and Bobbi Wells. Opened in 2010, they worked here before taking a break (working on North Stradbroke Island) before returning to the Barrel Room a few years later.
At the Barrel Room, you’ll find a modern Australian menu, with Italian influences inspired by the Puglisi family who owns Ballandean Estate.
Wallangarra Railway Cafe
If you like a slice of history with your slice of cake, then be sure to have morning or afternoon tea on the platform of the Wallangarra Railway Station. Built right on the border of Queensland and New South Wales, you can also have a bit of fun on the way to y our cup of tea by standing with one foot on each side of the border. It might not be the same as standing on the line at Greenwich in London or standing with one foot in each of two countries, but it’s fun nonetheless.
Grab a hot drink and some homemade cake or a tasty pie and sit inside amongst the retro items on sale, or grab some fresh air out on the platform.
If you catch the once a month steam train from Warwick there is also an option to enjoy your lunch here.
If you are driving from Brisbane to Stanthorpe, time your arrival for morning tea at Suttons. Here you can arm yourself with the largest slice of apple pie you’ll ever see, accompanied by homemade ice cream and cream. If you want, you can also buy a whole apple pie to take home.
There are other goodies available to buy from the cake cabinet, but honestly, do yourself a favour and order the apple pie. You won’t be disappointed.
Jersey Girls Cafe
Visiting the Jersey Girls Cafe is a good way of multi-tasking. Here you can enjoy a range of homemade cakes and pastries along with locally made pies and sausage rolls. The cafe itself is nothing fancy but the food is good. If you love cheese then you can pop next door to Stanthorpe Cheese and do a tasting. Love the cheese you tried? Cross back over into the Jersey Girls Cafe once more and treat yourself to a Ploughman’s Platter, with larger servings of your favourite Stanthorpe cheese. There’s a fridge in the cafe that stocks all of the Stanthorpe cheese for you to buy and take home.
The main street of Stanthorpe is home to a number of foodie delights, with the Brinx Deli joining in on the fun. Eat in for breakfast lunch or morning tea and afterwards peruse the substantial range of gourmet goodies from the tightly packed shelves.
Hidden Creek Winery and Cafe
On my first visit to the Hidden Creek Winery and Cafe, I was met by the resident dog. Everything was onwards and upwards from there. Pet friendly, casual, a cafe with a dam view (always best when it’s full) and the opportunity to combine a coffee with a wine tasting. What more could you want?
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