Restaurant Awards

Gourmet Traveller’s Best Destination Dining: Glenarty Road

Karridale, Western Australia.
Gourmet Traveller Best Destination Dining restaurant Glenarty Road, Karridale in Western Australia

Glenarty Road, Best Destination Dining.

Alex Butler and Jono Outred

When Sasha and Ben McDonald opened the Glenarty Road cellar door in 2017, they marked the occasion by putting a buzzer on the property’s gate. That way they’d know when somebody had dropped by for a tasting and they could come in from the vineyard, pour some vino, and maybe sell a few bottles. After all, the then-little-known Glenarty Road was half an hour south of Margaret River in the pastoral hamlet of Karridale: who’d want to visit them? As it turns out, a lot of people. And what began as an earnest husband-and-wife show supplemented by wraps, slow-cooked meats and other home-style dishes has evolved into something far more polished.

These days, your car will be one of many parked up at the McDonalds’s 240-acre farm and you’ll be looked after by a dedicated, switched-on front-of-house team, whether you’re camped at the tasting bar or snag a booking in the charming 50-seat dining room: a warm, woodsy fantasy of agrarian living set in a converted timber shed. But while the restaurant is where the action is, what’s on the plate and in your glass is a direct reflection of what’s happening on the property.

Mulberry parfait at Glenarty Road

(Photo: Jono Outred)

Of the care taken with raising Tamworth pigs and SheepMaster sheep that anchor the set-course lunch menus and the bar’s charcuterie offering. Of the fruit and veg regeneratively farmed on-site and bought from like-minded producers. Of the estate grapes that get guided into bottles by friends at McHenry Hohnen or made into tiny-batch wines in the micro-winery: think single-clone pinot noirs and outré red blends. These are just some of the good things that can happen when committed partners join forces: doubly so when one is a winemaker (hi Sasha) and the other is a fifth-generation farmer with big can-do energy (hi Ben).

The other protagonist in the Glenarty Road story is chef Jess Widmer, a kitchen talent with the smarts to really do justice to the McDonalds’ efforts. Rectangles of luscious chicken-liver parfait armoured in grape jelly, and smashed midnight pearl potato fortified with XO sauce speak to assured technique fine-tuned while working at Margaret River powerhouse, Vasse Felix. Widmer’s time at Sydney’s legendary Argentine fire pit restaurant Porteño, meanwhile, is all too evident in impeccably handled lamb: tender, full-flavoured and brought to life by the open-fire hearth. Welcome to farmhouse dining, Glenarty Road-style. Best of all, this is an operation and team that feels like they’re just getting started. We can’t wait to see where this road leads to.

Vineyard at Glenarty Road

(Photo: Denni Van Huis)

Glenarty Road


70 Glenarty Rd, Karridale

0475 085 305

Chef Jess Widmer

Price guide $

Bookings Essential

Wheelchair access Yes

Open Lunch Wed-Mon

Find all finalists for the Gourmet Traveller Best Destination Dining Award here. To see the full list of winners in this year’s Gourmet Traveller Annual Restaurant Awards, head over here.

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