Lunch Tony Howell Seafood Ellensbrook

With the lives of the Augusta folk inextricably tied to fishing, it’s really the way of the locals to relax with a rod and a reel and bring home something fresh for supper.

Augusta’s abalone industry is also a world-first in commercial greenlip sustainable farming so with both the fishing and abalone industries thriving, it’s no wonder menus throughout Augusta reflect the maritime location with blue swimmer crabs, dhufish, marron, abalone, and whiting featuring seasonally. Augusta’s seafood scene is a result of the town’s incredible geography– positioned between the Southern and Indian Oceans and with access to the banks of the Hardy Inlet and Blackwood River system.

The devotion to quality seafood is evident in most dining options around the town and we’ve highlighted our favourites.

Colourpatch Augusta Seafood
Mouth watering seafood on the menu at The Colourpatch.

The Colourpatch Cafe & Bar

Best for – Luxury dining with someone special

This bar-restaurant offers delights of local fish and shellfish in an authentic location right on the waterfront. Clamber up a stool and perch yourself at the bar – which is essentially an old wooden yacht that was craned in at the time of construction and sits casually as the restaurant’s centrepiece. Or dine in beside the window and look out at the inlet’s birdlife or dolphins playing in the river.

Celebrate your quality meal with someone special and a glass of champagne.

Glenarty Road

Best for – Seafood and wine pairing

With a focus on sustainability, Glenarty Road offers locally grown, caught and cooked seafood, with menu items changing daily. Entrees deliver complex flavours in bite sized servings, and mains are wholesome and satisfying. Owners Sasha and Ben McDonald get their abalone from Magic Abalone – who produce a dried abalone product that is similar to katsobushi or bonito flakes – that very fine, flaky fish that you often see atop Japanese dishes. It’s presented on dishes like their Augusta whiting – which is slightly cured then cooked skin-side down on fire for around half a minute. The delicacy of the fish is complimented by the richness of the Abalone flakes and really is a must-try for seafood lovers.

And which wine to select with your order? Sasha recommends pairing seafood with the new Field Blend, a blend of Vermentino and Fiano that has an incredible floral, fragrant nose with green pear, stonefruit and Moorish acidity – plus a hint of saltiness.

Glenarty Road blends the location with the food presentation perfectly. Sit outside looking over the vineyards among the chickens, lambs and vegetable gardens. Or seat yourself in the cosy interior with long table dining or comfortable leather sofa seating.

Augusta Hotel Seafood
The Augusta Hotel delivers bang for buck with generous seafood dishes.

Blue Ocean Fish and Chips

Best for: Simple yet satisfying seafood experience.

You might feel as if you have entered the set of an iconic Australian soap opera (namely Home and Away) when you step inside the Blue Ocean Fish and Chip shop in Augusta. This is the anti-establishment fast-food of a small fishing town and comes with a long list of accolades. Owners Dave and Linda have won Trip Advisor Excellence Awards four years in a row, and it’s the light and crispy batter they say that puts their fish ahead of the rest. Try the local dhu fish, whiting or salt-water barramundi. Tip: Grab take-away and head to Flinders Bay overlooking migrating whales and pristine waters for full attention to flavour.

The Augusta Hotel Motel

Best for – Enjoying a quality view

With its positioning above the Hardy Inlet being the most famous attribute, this modest hotel with quality food and breathtaking views is one of Western Australia’s best kept secrets. High on the banks of the Blackwood River with views across to the Southern Ocean, a pleasant afternoon on the grass is a simple yet very special dining experience. A wide array of seafood is on offer year-round, and you can expect the classic fish and chips, king prawns, fish burgers, and chilli mussels offered seasonally. Wash it down with a pint and take in the view.

Karridale Tavern Seafood
Pair a pint off the wood with a generous seafood meal at the Karridale Tavern.

Deckchair Café

Best for: Living like a local

An unassuming café that also boasts a terrific seafood menu is Deckchair Café. Position yourself on one of the outside tables and watch as the Augusta locals come and go, saying hello to each other and discussing the weather, whale season, or celebrating their latest trophy fish. Choose from fish tacos or salt and pepper squid and feel like a true local.

Gusty’s Pizza

Best for: Night-time dining

An alternative option for dining is Gusty’s Pizza. Housed in an old school bus, this pizza restaurant is very Augusta in it’s dedication to a vintage renovation. Grab a prawn and chorizo pizza for your seafood pizza fix. Hand rolled dough and woodfired, these are premium pizzas.

Karridale Tavern

Best for: Good pub fare

The Karridale Tav is en-route to Augusta and a great spot for one of those big country pub lunches. You’ll feel comfortable in the unpretentious tavern where the meals are generous and the staff friendly. Spend the morning at Hamelin Bay, then book lunch at the Karridale. You can expect traditional pub servings of salt and pepper squid and grilled or battered shark with mash. The Karridale has been labelled by some travellers as the best pub in the south west and it really comes down to both the atmosphere of the place, chatty bar staff and of course – excellent food.

Blackwood River Houseboats Augusta
Blackwood River Houseboats let you catch supper right from the lower deck. Image: Scott Slawinski

Notable: Ocean Grown Abalone

You’ll find Ocean Grown Abalone on menus across Western Australia, but the farming all happens in Augusta. The abalone reefs along Flinders Bay provide protection from large swells, perfect water temperatures and a pristine ocean environment for the marine life to thrive. Greenlip abalone is a local delicacy that can be cooked and eaten a number of ways. Like an oyster, they need to be shucked and the meat removed from the shell. You can either cook them or make fresh sashimi by thinly slicing them immediately after catching.

Catch one yourself!

Sometimes it is the romance of catching your own fresh fish and cooking it up yourself that really makes for a satisfying seafood meal. The fertile seas and rivers in Augusta mean that dangling in a line or casting a net will often reap rewards. Book a Blackwood River Houseboat or jump on Augusta River Tours and try your luck for silver bream or blue swimmer crabs. The river has a number of boat ramps for those equipped with their own runabout and bait and tackle shops have all the gear in the town centre.

For beach fishing, rent a cabin at Hamelin Bay Holiday Park and cast a line out for local whiting, herring, skippy or the highly prized dhufish.

If it’s a guaranteed catch you’re after and a few insider tips too, book a tour with Legend Charters. Not only will you learn how to catch, clean and cook your own dinner, but you might also spot a humpback whale or two! Tours in Augusta run May to August and are in the northern part of the region from September – November.

At the end of the day, a sublime seafood meal cooked on the barbie and washed down with a good glass of Hamelin Bay wine is barefoot luxury at its finest.