When in the Margaret River region, don’t miss the chance to dine within sight of the ocean – you’ll create memories that’ll last forever, says Mia Lacy.
“Let’s go somewhere with a view of the ocean and drink lunch!’ Jane Fonda gets to say this in the movie Monster-in-Law and it’s one of a handful of my wistful ‘oh, I wish I’d written that!’ line moments.
Dining with ocean views evokes a mood many of us have been lucky to experience and most of us want to capture again. Happily, the Margaret River region is blessed with an abundance of gorgeous coastline and dining locations that inspire.
Reading a menu with your sunglasses on (because of that glare from the breakers, y’know) is just so indulgent somehow. Here’s a go-to guide for the current faves around the coast – but do recommend any of your own you think of via our social media.
It would be quite the challenge to get closer to the Indian Ocean breakers than this beachfront favourite. And when the menu and service match the views like they do here, it’s very hard to go past Bunkers Beach Café. Many people don’t, and reservations are highly recommended if you want to experience what many locals consider the top spot for a date, a family lunch, a wedding, a party or anything.
A wheelchair glides into the adjacent table, reminding me this front row view is available to everyone. You’ll be asked if you would like to be seated indoors or outdoors (both have beach views). This location is absolute beachfront and faces north. There’s a great boardwalk that runs beside the café across the sand to the beach.
This is a multi-award winning venue, and the wine list and menu reflect the collective care and evident experience of those in charge.
Chef Jason Davenport is loving the menu options the amazing fresh produce of Margaret River offers. “We’re about combining flavours, contemporary methods, but the key is regional local produce. It’s the free range pork for our pork belly and our breakfast bacon, and just grown heirloom and baby carrots. You can turn a humble cauliflower into the king of vegetables!”
After trying the spiced roasted cauliflower with a crisp and citrusy Millbrook vermentino 2014, I totally agree. Jason’s British heritage appears briefly when I ask him about the Bunker Beach Café service philosophy. “Treat every guest as though they are someone you love – or the Queen!’ he grins.
Top tip: boat moorings are available by request – please call ahead.
If you like your ocean views with a touch of the dramatic, this will match your expectations. This ocean view restaurant is located at Pullman Bunker Bay Resort. It’s named after one of the famous surf breaks nearby, and the design of the resort and the restaurant is very much in harmony with the natural surroundings. The restaurant’s alfresco terrace is its hero and its heart. Come at the right time – September or October – and the whales will too.
There’s a stylish, Mediterranean vibe about the place. From our seat, we look out over young olive trees to the Bunker Bay ocean vista beyond. The menu is a gourmet ode to sustainable local produce from Australia’s south west. Depending on the season, highlights include marron and line-caught fish, locally sourced beef and pork, olive oil, cheeses, and Manjimup truffles. The Pullman also has thoughtfully presented an alternative small plates menu, Tapestry by Pullman, which is available at the adjacent ocean view bar. No doubt Jane Fonda would start lunch here with a cocktail.
If there’s a mantra for this establishment, it’s simple things done well. Many locals firmly believe this is the best place to watch the sunset, accompanied by a pizza and a beverage in true Margs style! The fence made of old surf boards sets up the vibe for this chilled beachy café.
Lounging on the covered verandah looking over to the glittering sea is inspiring and their friendly service and reasonably priced menu and wine list win many friends. The café opens promptly at 7am so if you’re a beach lover or a surfer, head here for your first caffeine fix.
When we moved to WA, a couple of new friends recommended stopping at Wise Vineyard, saying it makes a great first impression of the surrounding region. Now, when we have visitors, we often stop for lunch there. It has the perfect balance of elegance and modern – indoor and outdoor tables, wisteria entwined vines, surrounding bushland and a glittering sea.
The menu is thoughtfully designed, with little bites to accompany a journey through Wise’s delightful wines or more comprehensive fare for a lingering lunch of Harvey beef, lamb ragu or Wise’s popular American BBQ of hot wang rub chicken, charred corn, chipotle butter and Alabama white sauce. Best of all, there’s no need to wait till lunchtime to visit – the restaurant is open daily for breakfast too, and on Friday and Saturday nights they extend to dinner service.
Overlooking Busselton Jetty, the absolute beachfront Goose is a Busselton classic and has been a fixture for ocean dining for more than 16 years. This place is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner and, with an extensive list of local wines by the glass and a large selection of craft beers and ciders, Jane Fonda and her entourage would absolutely love the Goose experience. Pop in for coffee and cake, or extend to a leisurely lunch, or bring the gang to sundowners and roll into dinner.
Best social food recommendation: the charcuterie platter with chicken liver parfait, cheese, prosciutto and cornichons served with a toasted bun, crackers and little bread rounds.
The Deck is an airy, glass-fronted space overlooking the waters of the Port Geographe marina offering shared plates, seafood and good honest pub grub. Open from 9.30am for coffee, lunch and dinner, The Deck starts early for breakky on Sundays which is also when they have live music from 1pm. An excellent choice for a sundowner would have to be a bucket of crispy fried chicken wings with Tex Mex ring burner sauce washed down with a local cider. If you’re a parmy fan, then head there on a Wednesday for Parmageddon (chicken schnitzel with a choice of five toppings).
As you’d expect from a lighthouse venue, this one does indeed have a spectacular ocean aspect. The views from the big picture windows here are majestic, and after working up an appetite by taking the 176 steps to the top to admire the views from the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia, chillaxing in the café is highly recommended. Open for breakfast and lunch, the café serves excellent coffee and the Devonshire teas are not to be missed.
This quiet, cosy café overlooks the water and is away from the bustle of Busselton at Freycinet Drive, Geographe, beside the canals. Open daily for breakfast and lunch, it specialises in homemade cakes and slices and fabulous coffee. We tucked into the café’s gourmet burgers for lunch with a crisp, local SSB (BYO licence here). The service is consistently good and the café offers a seniors menu, which is much appreciated – and patronised – by their local supporters.
World Class Dining
The restaurant and café scene in Your Margaret River Region is unsurpassable. The region has attracted and created world-class chefs that draw their inspiration from the abundant fresh local produce, stunning landscapes and the pristine environment in which they work.