Discover dining delights around Stanthorpe and beyond. From quaint cafes to classic pubs, these are the best restaurants on the Granite Belt.

Where is the Granite Belt?

Nestled in picturesque southeast Queensland, Australia, the Granite Belt is renowned for its stunning landscapes and national parks. Situated along the Great Dividing Range, the region boasts a unique microclimate, characterized by crisp winters and mild summers, making it an ideal environment for grape cultivation and wine production.  The Granite Belt’s rich volcanic soils nurture a diverse array of produce, including apples, stone fruits, and artisanal cheeses, contributing to its reputation as a gastronomic haven. With its rolling hills, granite outcrops, and lush vineyards, the Granite Belt offers visitors a scenic escape infused with rural charm and culinary delights, inviting exploration and discovery.

I visit the Granite Belt every year to see what’s new and return to my favourite haunts. There’s always something to discover and the food is always delicious.  Follow in my footsteps with these tips and you’ll have a wonderful time. 

Find the Best Restaurants on the Granite Belt

You will be surprised by the variety of dining experiences available in this region. From small family-run cafes to hospitality training restaurants, there is a destination for every occasion.  Roam the streets of Stanthorpe, check out the little cafes, and range further to find the regional heroes.

For more Granite Belt goodness, hop into the car and follow this Granite Belt Food lover’s trail or take a look at a Dog’s Day out on the Granite Belt.

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Granite Belt strawberries

Where are the Best Restaurants on the Granite Belt?

It’s not all white tablecloths and pony-tailed wait staff on the Granite Belt.  Dining in this regional area is relaxed and country-style, but there’s nothing relaxed about the quality of the produce.  Freshly picked and premium produce is what drives the flavours throughout the region.  So it doesn’t have to be fancy to be full of flavour and qualify as a best restaurant on the Granite Belt in my opinion!

It’s best to check the opening hours when you are planning to dine.  Some venues are only open Friday to Monday and for others bookings are essential.

Best restaurants on the Granite Belt Heritage Estate

Heritage Estate Restaurant

Experience Heritage Estate’s “Vine+Dine Journey” firsthand at Cottonvale on the northern end of the Granite Belt. It begins with a serene Vineyard Walk & Talk, followed by a Sommelier Wine Discussion in the winery. Guests can learn about pruning, terroir, and high-altitude advantages in the vineyard and then about the produce from the chef while enjoying a glass of sparkling wine in the vineyard.

Engage with the viticulturist to understand grape cultivation in the High Country. Inside, guests can explore the cellar door and learn about winery antiques. The sommelier will explain the wine-making process. The chef prepares fresh seafood, game meats, and local produce, enhancing guests’ understanding of food and wine pairing through aromas and flavors. The 5-dish/wine pairing experience is available from Friday to Monday.

Best restaurants on the Granite Belt Dining at Heritage Estate

Mrs Claus’ Kitchen at Granite Belt Christmas Farm

You might head to the Granite Belt Christmas Farm to pick out your Christmas tree, but you’ll return to see the farm animals and have another hot chocolate in Mrs Claus’ Kitchen.  Their Belgian Hot Chocolate is so smooth and creamy, that you’ll be dreaming of the taste for days.  They serve regular food too and you can have a hearty breakfast or lunch if you prefer.  It’s Christmas all year round here with over 20,000 decorations to browse and, surprisingly, that’s something I enjoyed.  

TIP: Their fudge is amazing!

Thulimbah

Vincenzos – The Big Apple

Vincenzo’s Cafe, Deli, and Wine Bar, right at the Big Apple, a Granite Belt gem that stands out like, well, a giant fruit in the countryside! This place is a culinary adventure and your one-stop shop for all things Granite Belt. From deli delights to local produce and a splendid array of Granite Belt wines, they’ve got it all. Prepare to have your shopping bag overfloweth with goodies ranging from mouthwatering salamis and organic meats to jams, confectionery, and even imported pasta and sauces. And let’s not forget the Italian flair in their breakfast and lunch offerings, alongside some Aussie classics. When you’re ready to indulge, dine in and treat yourself to wine flights featuring top-notch local winemakers’ creations, perfectly paired with tantalizing antipastos. Make sure you’ve stocked up on local wines and beers and perused their boutique gifts before departing because leaving without a little something would be a grape mistake!  TIP:  Don’t bring food with you to the Granite Belt. This is a great place to stock up with super snacks and easy dinners during your holiday.  MUST DO: Take a selfie ‘holding’ the big apple.

Apple pie at Suttons Granite Belt

I never miss a stop at Suttons – one of the best restaurants on the Granite Belt.

Suttons Juice Factory and Cidery

I find it hard to resist a stop at Sutton’s Apple Farm and Cidery for a slice of their famous apple pie. The pies are very large so you might want to share a slice. Better still, buy a pie to take home with you. Sutton’s also has a dine-in menu that features local produce and their buttermilk scones are pretty special too. At Sutton’s, even the pups get the VIP treatment! They’ve got a designated “dog parking area” right at the entrance, complete with shade and a water bowl because every good boy and girl deserves a spot to chill. So while you’re indulging in apple delights inside, your furry companion can lounge in style or join you at the table just a wag away. It’s a win-win for both you and your four-legged bestie!

TIP: Browse the selection of take-home preserves.

Best restaurants on the Granite Belt Suttons apple pie
Essen Granite Belt restaurant

Best Restaurants on the Granite Belt – Essen

Stanthorpe

Stanthorpe, nestled in Queensland’s Granite Belt region, boasts a rich history dating back to the late 1800s. Originally founded as a mining town during the Queensland gold rush, Stanthorpe is now known for its proximity to boutique wineries and agricultural excellence. Located approximately 220 kilometres southwest of Brisbane, Stanthorpe is a picturesque escape from city life with scenic landscapes, and  a temperate climate. It’s a great place to gather around a fireplace and drink red wine!

Look out for these best restaurants on the Granite Belt in the Stanthorpe area.

Essen

The family team of Clarissa, Stu, and Claudia are heading up the kitchen and it’s called Essen, an Austrian/German noun meaning meal or dinner.  This reflects the family’s heritage and their passion for cooking.  They love sharing good honest food with friends and their menu is filled with family favourites adapted to use premium local Granite Belt produce. Out the back is the sort of veggie garden that makes me very envious and some of their produce comes from there too.  You can take a wander through the garden between courses. I enjoyed eating at Essen and a bonus was that my accommodation, Apple Blossom Cottage, was within walking distance.  This allowed us all to try some great Granite Belt wine matches.  This restaurant accommodates dietaries but not vegan and keto. It’s also BYO which is a great opportunity to try some of the Granite Belt wine you have bought from local wineries.

TIP: Book ahead for Essen via website.

Best Restaurants on the Granite Belt – Essen

Schnitzel at Essen Restaurant Stanthorpe

Jersey Girls Cafe

Just a 10-minute drive out of Stanthorpe, Jersey Girls Cafe and Stanthorpe Cheese offer a real paddock-to-plate experience.  Their artisan cheese is made from a single herd of purebred Jersey cows that you can see grazing in the paddocks.Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because it’s Queensland, it’s hot here.  In the border highlands, the 925 metre above sea level altitude means temperatures can hit -15C. That’s pretty darn cold! Summers are warmer, but the living is still easy. Depending on the weather, the milk and cheeses vary slightly reflecting seasonal differences which make for interesting eating and true farmhouse cheeses.

This is a great lunch cafe especially if you enjoy a hearty Ploughman’s lunch.  Select three cheeses and your favourite accompaniments and settle into cheese heaven. The cheesecakes are pretty awesome too.I like to purchase a selection of my favourites and take them home in a cooler bag, so don’t forget to pop yours in the car.

Find Jersey Girls and Stanthorpe Cheese at 4 Duncan Lane, Thulimbah.

The Singing Lake Cafe

Tucked inside Robert Channon Wines just outside Stanthorpe, The Singing Lake Cafe has a perfect view over the winery’s lake.  If you are lucky, the miniature horses might be grazing nearby and come up for a pat.  The menu is inspired by Middle Eastern flavours and includes delicious tapas, toasties, pies and cake options for lunch.  The cafe is open from Friday to Monday. TIP:  I never leave here without a bottle of Robert Channon chardonnay or verdelho.

Zest Pastries

You’ll find ZEST Pastries in the main street and it’s worth a look here to see what Steve has been baking. Steve learned the art of pastry from a Swiss chef, and together with his partner Emma Lambert, founded ZEST Pastries in 2013.

Treat yourself to some of his daily delights including freshly baked bread, pies, sourdough, tarts, croissants, and Danish, all served alongside delicious coffee. ZEST is celebrated for its irresistible pies and the almond croissants adored by customers. Curious about Steve’s baking secrets? Don’t hesitate to ask about their pastry and bread-making workshops for a fun, hands-on experience!

TIP: I love his lemon curd tarts. 

Varias Restaurant at The Queensland College of Wine Tourism

For something a little different, try Varias Restaurant at the Queensland College of Wine Tourism.  You’ll enjoy a selection of local produce prepared and served by hospitality students along with a stunning vineyard view and an open fire.

Granite Belt Brewery

Granite Belt Brewery

You might head to Granite Belt Brewery to see how they make their locally inspired brews in their 1000 litre microbrewery but you’ll also enjoy their beer-hall-inspired menu.  It’s not too fancy but goes well with their full-flavoured beers. You can settle in with a tasting paddle and enjoy an afternoon here with a group of friends.  If too much beer is consumed,  the are 20 cedar cabins with log fires just outside the door. People are talking about their new pumpkin beer too!

Granite Belt Brewery tasting paddle
Granite Belt Brewery beer hall
Freshly picked strawberries
Best restaurants on the Granite Belt Barrelroom Wine Lounge platter

Best Restaurants on the Granite Belt – Barrelroom Wine Lounge

Ballandean

Ballandean shares a rich history intertwined with the region’s agricultural heritage. Founded in the late 1800s, Ballandean initially thrived as a farming community, with settlers drawn to its fertile soils and favorable climate. Today, it is renowned for its vineyards, which produce premium wines that have garnered national and international acclaim. Located just a short drive from Stanthorpe, approximately 15 kilometres to the southwest, Ballandean is a mix of charming vineyards, historic homesteads, and with plenty of warm hospitality for travellers.

Seek out these best restaurants on the Granite Belt in the Ballandean region. 

Barrelroom Wine Lounge

Unwind in style at this Granite Belt wine lounge, The Barrelroom, open daily from 11 am to 4 pm. The Puglisi have been making wine here since 1932 and the estate is home to some of Australia’s oldest shiraz vines. Guests can indulge in lavish grazing platters, cheese boards, and premium wines. The Barrelroom is also dog-friendly with a table near the back door where you can park your pooch.

TIP: Try the Tim Tam Slam! Find out more about Barrelroom Wine Lounge.

Best restaurants on the Granite Belt Barrelroom Wine Lounge
Best restaurants on the Granite Belt Barrelroom Tim Tam Slam

Jamworks Cafe and Larder

Another place for scones is Jamworks Cafe and Larder where you can match your scones to some of their amazing jam varieties. Jamworks is essentially a jam enthusiast’s dream—think of it as a cellar door, but for those who prefer spreads over sips! Located in the heart of Granite Belt, they whip up over 80 delectable products using locally sourced ingredients. And here’s the cherry on top (or should I say, the dollop of jam?): you can sample their creations right there at the jam-tasting bar before stocking up. Plus, they’ve got a dog-friendly dining area on the verandah complete with a ceiling fan and water bowl, so even your furry pals can join in on the jammin’ fun!

TIP: I love their Strawberry, Ginger and Rose Jam.

St Jude's Bistro

St Jude’s Cellar Door & Bistro

Open Wednesday to Monday, St Judes serves coffee from popular Brisbane roaster Fonzie Abbot. The restaurant serves slow-cooked, Italian-style rustic dinners. Find St Jude’s Cellar Door & Bistro at 28200 New England Hwy, Ballandean.

TIP: Bookings are essential.

Best restaurants on the Granite Belt Balancing Heart Vineyard

Balancing Heart Vineyard

Whether you’re craving a midday munch or gearing up for a sunset pizza party on weekends, Balancing Heart Vineyard has got you covered.  They also roll out the red carpet for your furry friends, making it a pawsome spot for some alfresco dining with a view of the vineyard and dam with two large, friendly resident dogs to keep the atmosphere lively. Go early and enjoy a wander through the vineyard.  The love heart is right up the back of the vineyard and you can see the balancing heart rock from their too.  Head back down to the cellar door for a sunset drink overlooking the lake.  
Best restaurants on the Granite Belt Balancing Heart Vineyard

Ballandean Pub

The newest opening on the Granite Belt is the Ballandean Pub at Ballandean, which has reopened after extensive work with a menu that ranges from pub classics and burgers to chef’s specials, with several items showcasing local producers. There’s a beer garden at the from and a playground for children. 

TIP: Book your table ahead here!

Heavenly Chocolate at Wisteria Cottages

This little coffee and chocolate shop is the perfect stop after a morning exploring Girraween National Park.  It’s impossible to resist their chocolate display and I always leave with a few take home treats.  Enjoy your coffee in the garden setting while watching the chooks. Heavenly Chocolate is open Friday to Monday.

What to bring home from the Granite Belt

A trip to the Granite Belt is not complete without leaving with a car stuffed full of local produce and wine.  You’ll find some roadside stalls, depending on the season but Sam’s Farm Fresh Fruit and Veg at Cottonvale is a one-stop-shop for all things locally grown.

Pick up your Mt Stirling Olives, local free-range eggs, jams, apple juice, and honey, and taste the region back in your own kitchen. You’ll find it just off the highway at Thulimbah.

During the strawberry season, you can pick your own at Ashburn Farms. You’ll also find it hard to resist their strawberry sundaes.  Try the one that has a sauce of caramelised strawberry balsamic vinegar.  It is absolutely the best strawberry sundae I have eaten.

My last two stops on a Granite Belt trip are Vincenzo’s and Sam’s to make sure I leave stuffed full of take-home goodies.