There are certain experiences you absolutely, categorically, must enjoy in this life – and dining at one of our world-standard regional restaurants is one of them. We asked Australian food writer Sally Hammond to share her favourites – and she scoured the countryside to serve up the 10 best dining experiences out there. Bon appétit…

1. Palate, Saffire Freycinet

Chef Hugh Whitehouse’s background sparkles with awards and is based on a lifetime’s solid principles. His skills are the ideal mix for this resort in one of the loveliest corners of this already stunning island-state, and Palate is the perfect showcase for the squeaky-fresh local seafood.
The 40-seat restaurant (available only for in-house guests) is intimate yet feels expansive because of its two tiers enabling magnificent sweeping views over Great Oyster Bay and featuring glimpses of whales and dolphins – if you are lucky enough to catch one.
The expanse of mountains and pristine water could just tempt your attention away. But they won’t, because the east-coast oysters – some of the best in the world ­– and the local pasture-fed lamb, dealt with by the exceptional kitchen team – are just too amazing.
Details:
Palate, Saffire Freycinet, 2352 Coles Bay Rd, Coles Bay.
Open breakfast, lunch and dinner daily for in-house guests only.
Ph: 03 6256 7888; saffire-freycinet.com.au

2. The Stackings, Peppermint Bay
A beautiful view, lawns, tranquillity – what more could anyone want as a backdrop to a fine meal? Idyllic is an overworked word, but in this context it almost falls short.
In a state which prides itself on the bounty surrounding it in chilly yet crystal clear waters, fishermen chef David Moyle is the perfect choice. His background enables him and his team to coax every last flavour and texture of each ingredient and deliver it to your plate.
With views and food like this as a lure, it’s little wonder that diners think nothing of making the short and scenic trip south from Hobart.
Details:
The Stackings, Peppermint Bay, 3435 Channel Hwy, Woodbridge.
Open lunch Thursday-Monday (summer), weekends (winter).
Ph: 03 6267 4088; peppermintbay.com.au
3. Appellation at The Louise
In a valley bursting with stars, their names reading like an upmarket wine list, Appellation, on its hilltop, has a name that says it all. Since its beginning, the drive and exuberance of its chefs and owners has spurred this on to the top.
The view of the sweeping valleys and the aromas of your meal being readied in the kitchen is an ideal aperitif. Most of what you eat will be local. If not grown in the kitchen garden, or hand-selected according to the rhythms of the seasons at markets, it will come from bespoke producers.
Every whim is dealt with. Luxury suites mean you can prolong the dinner experience and stay over for breakfast.
Can’t wait to arrive? A helicopter transfer can be arranged from Adelaide. Easy.
Details:
Appellation at The Louise, Seppeltsfield and Stonewall Rds, Marananga, Barossa Valley.
Open for dinner daily.
Ph: 08 8562 2722; thelouise.com.au/dine
4. Petaluma’s Bridgewater Mill
Seated in the galleried dining area, you could forget that this is also a winery of great gravitas and distinction. The awards back this up, and the cellar door below is where it all began in 1976.
The ideal distance from Adelaide, Petaluma is an easy place to reach, while still seeming a destination in itself. Most diners make sure they see the 1860s still-working ex-flour mill waterwheel as they relax in the cooler air on the deck outside.
Offering the best in Australian dining with a European edge, here you are at the source of fine wines, with sleek service, and a kitchen under chef Zac Ronayne’s direction that gets it superbly right.
Details:
Petaluma’s Bridgewater Mill, Mt Barker Rd, Bridgewater.
Open for lunch daily.
Ph: 08 8339 9200; petaluma.com.au5. Rick Stein at Bannisters
If a simple dish of local oysters could influence celebrity chef Rick Stein’s direction, causing him, decades later, to put his name to a restaurant in this part of the New South Wales South Coast, then just think what
a meal here could do for your life!
With an absolute (and absolutely stunning) waterfront view, you will be torn between that and executive chef Julian Lloyd’s dishes. Former head chef for Stein in Padstow, his sensational seafood cuisine sits perfectly with the name and location.
Part of Bannisters Lodge, there’s that glorious feel of luxury that doesn’t have to try too hard, just because it’s so effortlessly good.