The northern section of the Grampians region has plenty to lure visitors, quite apart from its outstanding natural charms and historic shiraz vines. Here, you’ll find the Great Western subregion, bordered by the goldmining towns of Halls Gap, Stawell and Ararat, and home to Best’s Wines. Travellers come to explore the wonders of Grampians National Park, to taste superb reds and enjoy warm hospitality. The Best’s team likes to get out and about for a meal, a drink or a coffee with the best of them, so here’s our insider guide to the places we love.
This long-time local favourite offers a huge menu of Indian classics in a warm, welcoming environment and great views from its beer garden to the Grampians. At Spirit of Punjab, they’re uncompromising about cooking with quality ingredients and freshly roasted and ground spices, so everything is packed with authentic flavour. You can choose your level of chilli-heat too! There’s a short wine list featuring a couple of local drops, including our Rosé, Riesling, LSV Shiraz and descriptively named Gentle Blend Riesling. There is also beer on tap, including Indian favourite Kingfisher Premium and a local brew from nearby Pomonal Estate.
Open 7 days for dinner 5pm-9:30pm; Friday-Sunday for lunch 12pm-2.30pm; 03 5356 4234; Bookings recommended.
This friendly brewery-restaurant-live music venue has become a social hub for locals since it opened last year. Paper Scissors Rock’s well-priced seasonally changing menu covers all the bases, from a smoked cheddar and taleggio slider through slow-cooked lamb shoulder to mascarpone cheesecake. The beer menu is outstanding, too, with a regular selection on tap including the ‘Normal’ beer and ‘Dark Vader’, a stout, as well as IPAs, XPAs, the occasional one-off keg and seasonal releases.
Open Thurs-Mon 12-8pm. Closed Tues & Wed. 03 5311 3709; Bookings essential.
Image Source: Paper Scissors Rock Brew Co.
An American-style smokehouse, restaurant and bar, Flame Brothers has a ringside position for great views of the Grampians. The menu features a range of down-home classics, like buttermilk fried chicken with ranch dipping sauce, a bunch of burgers and a selection of meats served fresh from the smoker. There’s even key lime pie for dessert, and a good selection of wines, beers and cocktails to match with your meal, including Best’s Sparkling Shiraz. Flame Brothers is also open for Breakfast!
Open daily for breakfast 7:30am-11.45am; lunch and dinner 12pm-10pm. (03) 5356 4279. Bookings essential.
Image Source: Flame Brothers
Kid-friendly Halls Gap Hotel is a short walk from the centre of town, with a wraparound verandah to take in the views in warm weather, and a roaring log fire to stave off the winter chill. Halls Gap Hotel’s bistro-style menu is a crowd-pleaser, with plenty of variety, from ‘Korean Fried Chicken’ to pizzas, steaks and more sophisticated fare, like twice-cooked Chinese braised pork. There’s an extensive beer, cider and wine list featuring a number of local drops, including Best’s Great Western Riesling, Chardonnay, Bin 1 Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Open 7 days for lunch and dinner 11:30am to 9pm. Online bookings essential.
Image Source: Halls Gap Hotel
This family-run restaurant has been on the Ararat food scene for more than 30 years. The lunch and dinner menus at Sicilians are huge, and feature a variety of Italian pizza and pasta, salads and more, including some authentic Lebanese classics. The Bourizk family takes a lot of pride in serving freshly prepared food at a reasonable price. The drinks list includes local labels, a few Best’s bottles – and a spot outside under the grapevines is just the place to sample them.
Open Monday-Saturday for lunch 11am-2pm; dinner 5-8pm. (03) 5352 2627. Bookings recommended.
This historic hotel in the heart of Ararat isn’t just a good spot for tourists to stay overnight, it’s a social hub for locals, too. The Courthouse menu is all about pub classics, from chicken parma or parmi (depending on where you hail from) and bangers and mash, to steaks, burgers, stir-fries, pastas and more. Their bad boy chips are hands down the best in the region! Kids are also well catered for. The Courthouse bar offers a good selection of local craft beer and cider on tap and regional wines to add to the experience.
Open Thursday - Sunday 11am-9pm. (03) 5352 7371. Bookings recommended.
With a history dating back to 1868, this restaurant-motor inn’s name comes from the building’s remarkable diamond-design brickwork. And with offerings like ‘bush dust kangaroo’ on the menu, you might think Diamond House is pure Australiana. But long-serving chef Dave Wainwright has plenty of modern-Australian (read multicultural) tricks up his sleeve, so you could choose from coriander prawns with a chilli, lime and ginger ice cream, pappardelle with mushroom ragout or red curry duck, as well as the best steak around. The wine list carries our popular White Gravels Hill Shiraz and the super-premium Best’s Bin No. 0 for you to enjoy with those serious steaks. Plus, each month, Diamond House hosts a popular blues night.
Open daily for dinner from 6pm. (03) 5358 3366. Bookings recommended.
Just a 10-minute drive from Halls Gap, this classic family restaurant is a real crowd-pleaser located inside a fully restored old wool shed with fun, upcycled décor from material found all around Victoria! An added bonus is Barney’s offer $16 specials on Wednesday and Thursday nights. The drinks list features a good selection of local wines, including our Bin 1 and Cabernet Sauvignon, along with beers and spirits. Barney’s is very popular with locals and visitors alike, so it’s definitely best to book ahead.
Open Wednesday-Sunday for drinks and dinner 3-10pm; Saturday and Sunday lunch, drinks and dinner 11:30am-10pm.
(03) 5356 6337. Bookings recommended.
For the best coffee in the region, head straight to Moyston General Store, where you’ll also be able to tuck into all-day breakfast, and a lunch menu with some Persian influences, such as a spiced slow-cooked chicken and Persian lamb burger on a charcoal bun. And if you’re around on a Saturday night, make sure to book a spot for a special Persian dinner. The café is licensed, with a good list of local drops, as well as Australian and international beers.
Open Monday-Friday 8am-4pm; Saturday 9am-4pm; dinner bookings 6pm-7:30pm; Sunday 9am-4pm; public holidays 10am-3pm.