From scene-stealing country steakhouses to third-wave coffee shops, these are the Mount Gambier restaurants and cafes worth visiting.
Located halfway between Adelaide and Melbourne, this Limestone Coast city has plenty of awe-inspiring geological draws to its name, not to mention world-renowned wine regions right on its doorstep.
The coast’s once volcanic landscape is blessed with incredibly fertile soils too, and as a result, it’s home to a bounty of fresh produce. Whether you’re in town for an extended sojourn, or you’re just stopping through on a road trip, these are the best restaurants and cafes in Mount Gambier.
1. The Barn Steakhouse
This local heavyweight is the reigning champion when it comes to perfectly cooked steak. And its owners, the Cleves family, go one step further than most steakhouses, breeding their very own Hereford cattle on properties in the region, and ageing all the cuts in-house for a minimum of eight days too.
Beyond its steak credentials, The Barn also takes a holistic view of the veggies and herbs that accompany its dishes, which are house-grown, preservative- and pesticide-free in the rich volcanic soils that surround the restaurant, and plucked fresh daily.
Why not kick off the evening’s proceedings with a glass of something sparkling from The Barn’s award-winning 750-wine-label-strong cellar, with the vast majority of the restaurant’s drops sourced from the surrounding Limestone Coast wineries.
Then tuck into some house-made pâté, served with hot toast and quince glaze, and perhaps some seared scallops with prosciutto before moving onto the main event – a rump, porterhouse, or eye fillet, served alongside a continental salad and a sour cream and spring onion topped baked potato.
The Barn Steakhouse is located amid lush farmland, just a 10-minute drive south of the city.
Address: 747 Glenelg River Rd, Mount Gambier, SA, 5290
The Barn puts on quite a show, with an atmosphere to match its phenomenal food. (Image: The Barn Steakhouse)
2. Cafe Melzar
Routinely ranked as the best brunch spot in town, Cafe Melzar is the place to beat. There’s even a dedicated menu for vegans, and another for kids, not to mention a rather solid standard menu for brekkie and lunch, which also features plenty of vegetarians, gluten- and dairy-free options. And whether you’re in camp sweet or camp savoury, there are enough options to please both sides of the divide.
Expect all the breakfast classics: pulled pork Benny, smashed avo on sourdough, corn fritters, a big breakfast, and pancakes, alongside freshly squeezed juices. Come lunchtime you’ll find burgers, salads and toasted sandwiches on offer too.
Address: Engelbrecht Lane, Mount Gambier, SA 5290
The ultimate brekky spot! (Image: Cafe Melzar)
3. Blue Bay Espresso Bar
Salads, soups, sangas and plenty of baked goods (think caramel slices, cupcakes and cinnamon scrolls) await at this small and industrially styled cafe. But it’s Blue Bay Espresso Bar’s coffee that really takes centre-stage. The fairtrade, ethically sourced beans are supplied by Cairns’ specialty coffee roaster White Whale, and Blue Bay’s experienced baristas know exactly how to make the perfect espresso (or cold brew), time and time again.
Address: 45 Bay Rd, Mount Gambier, SA, 5290
Grab a cold brew from Blue Bay Espresso Bar’s experienced baristas.
4. Wild Ginger Thai
When Wild Ginger first opened its doors, it was the new kid on the block. Since then, head chef and owner Bee Ketphong and her team have established a reputation for fine Thai cuisine that has made Wild Ginger one of Mount Gambier’s most popular eating destinations for both lunch and dinner.
From the flavour-packed fish cakes to the range of stir-fries, curries and noodle dishes infused with all those powerful Thai flavours of chilli, lemongrass, basil or satay, Wild Ginger is all about Thai cooking.
Bee is focused on using fresh, local produce to create fine Thai dishes, ranging from mild dishes to those that are packed with spicy flavours. And all of Wild Ginger’s menu items are available take away as well.
Address: 17 Commercial St West, Mount Gambier, SA, 5290
Wild Ginger Thai’s dishes pack a punch of flavour.
5. Natural Born Grillers
When only a burger will do, make a beeline for Mount Gambier’s Natural Born Grillers. Whether you’re after fried chicken, pulled pork, beef patties, or even something veggie-friendly (there’s a dedicated meat-free menu) NBG delivers.
There’s a multitude of indulgent, deep-fried sides on offer too: potato gems, loaded fries, onion rings, popcorn chicken, and mozzarella sticks. While this burger joint has Mount Gambier’s fast-food market cornered, Natural Born Grillers’ rather spartan interior means it’s not exactly the place to go if you’re after an evening of ambience.
Address: Shop c Number 3 Compton Street, Mount Gambier, SA, 5290
Natural Born Grillers has an entire meat-free menu for the vegos and vegans among us.
6. Fish And Chip Takeaway (FACT)
The Limestone Coast is known for its rich seafood bounty, so it would be remiss to visit these parts and not try for at least one fish supper. There are a couple of strong contenders in town, but the rather ambiguously named Fish And Chip Takeaway, or ‘FACT’, just about edges ahead of the competition, known for its impossibly light and crisp batter, with a gluten-free option available too; take your pick from flake, butterfish, barramundi or garfish. And unlike your average fish and chip shop, you can also dine in here too.
Address: 125 Commercial St W, Mount Gambier, SA, 5290
Dine in at FACT for some next-level fish and chips. (Image: The Fresh Fish Place)
7. Bahn Kubo
The decor at this pan-Asian eatery is nothing to write home about (hello bright white lights, plastic-backed chairs, loud lime and orange colour scheme, and wipe-clean plastic tables). But thanks to its friendly and fast service, super reasonable prices and moreish dishes, Bahn Kubo does something of a roaring trade. The barbecue pork (char siu) and Thai roast duck receive rave reviews.
Address: 139 Commercial St W, Mount Gambier, SA, 5290
Bahn Kubo’s char siu is a fan favourite!
8. Southern Thai Cafe
Adding to Mount Gambier’s amazing Thai offering, Southern Thai Café brings a fresh look to the cuisine with a focus on the authentic tastes of Southern Thai food and an emphasis on value and service.
Southern Thai Café is the dream of Wilawan Churueangsuk (Jieb) who came to Mount Gambier from Southern Thailand 17 years ago. Now an Australian Citizen living here with her husband David and their children Jaime and Emily, Jieb’s Southern Thai Café is also about family.
Address: 53 Gray Street, Mount Gambier, SA, 5290