Southern Highlands Guide: Where to eat

Now that we know where to sleep and where to go shopping when visiting the beautiful Southern Highlands, I thought we best cover off where to eat and drink…some of my very favourite things to do! We have an amazing array of fresh, local produce down here and we certainly know how to spend a long afternoon or evening eating and drinking. While I do spend a lot of time entertaining at home for friends and family, it’s nice to get out and about and have someone do the hard work for you. You’ll see from my list that we don’t get to restaurants much…cafes are more my speciality.

Southern Highlands Guide: Where to stay
Southern Highlands Guide: Where to shop

The Hospital Shop (4 Mona Rd Bowral)

This is the cutest little cafe in Bowral filled with character and lovely people. The food is always delicious…plenty of breakfast and lunch options and very good coffee. Across the road from the hospital it has also saved me on more than one occasion when staying overnight with Harps.  Sit outside in the sunshine, eat a little cake and drink some coffee and you will be guaranteed to have a great day.

You can find their Facebook page here.


2 Park Rd: The Corner Store (2 Park Rd Bowral)

This little gem has some wonderful home made treats and the BEST ham off the bone going around which you can buy to take home. Grab a sandwich or a pre-made treat to eat in or takeaway. It’s simple and delicious no fuss food.

You can check them out on Facebook here.


Grand Bistro (295-297 Bong Bong Street Bowral)

This has only been open since June 2016 but already is getting a reputation for being a great place to eat for breakfast, lunch and hopefully soon dinner. The fit out is a great as is the changing menu – it’s not a quick cheap and cheerful kind of place – think higher end with prices to match. You can check them out on their Facebook page here and their website here.


Briars Historic Country Inn (653 Moss Vale Rd Bowral)

If you are after comfort and cosy and on a cold Highlands day there’s no better place to eat with a cold ale and a good pub meal by the fire. Or sit outside and enjoy the sunshine on a summers day. Pretty simple pub fare but good with kids. You can check them out on their website here and on Facebook here.


Red Tree Cafe (52 Station Street Bowral)

I can’t believe that I only really discovered this place last year. Since then, I have been back many a time and it’s one of my must see places for friends when visiting. They have such a great menu of food – delicious breakfast and beautiful lunches, a lovely sunny setting where you can sit and soak up the winter sunshine through all of the windows. Great service and a really good kids menu which is always a bonus I reckon.

You can check out their website here and their Facebook page here.

Red tree

Raw & Wild Food Market & Cafe (250 Bong Bong Street Bowral)

There is a fabulous organic food market at the front of this shop but don’t go past what is out the back…a fabulous cafe with a lovely open deck and outdoor seating. Not only is the food organic, fresh and delicious, the service is good, constantly changing seasonal menu and a really good kids menu with all the things that SHOULD be at every cafe: fruits and yoghurts, cheese and crackers, sambos that kids will eat and colouring in to keep them busy while you sip on your green smoothie…or organic wine! I believe they are also open from 6pm on Friday & Saturday nights now too.

You can find them on their Facebook page here.


Biota Dining (18 Kangaloon Rd Bowral)

This award winning ( 2 Hats and Regional Restaurant of the Year 2014 Regional Wine List of the Year 2014 Sustainability Award 2013) restaurant is a bit hit and miss in my opinion. Some times it absolutely blows you away with great food, cleverly put together that tastes amazing, other times it has been eye rollingly annoying (think deconstructed crumbles and overly worked food). For me, your best bet is the Tapas bar out the back with some good glasses of wines from a strong list. In the sunshine on a winters day by the outside courtyard fire – there is no better place to be. The service can let them down a little but if the stars align you can get the very best of what the Southern Highlands has to offer: fresh, seasonal food, treated well and let to speak for itself.

You can find them on their website here and their Facebook page here.


Elephant Boy Cafe (329-331 Bong Bong Street Bowral)

Not the best place to take prams and kids but if you are child free and looking for somewhere interesting for lunch then this is it! Perfectly styled to create a warm and cosy atmosphere you will want to come in here and sit for a few hours. There have been many a time when I have escaped the family and come in here by myself with a book, a big coffee and a very good croque monsieur to go with it!

You can find their website here.


Dirty Janes Market Tea Rooms (Out the back 391 Bong Bong Street Bowral)

Everyone knows my love and passion for the antique markets out the back of Dirty Janes and a gorgeous new tea room has recently opened up out the back as well. Offering traditional and speciality teas, coffees, high tea, scones, soups and sandwiches it’s a perfect pit stop in between shopping.

You can find out about it on the Dirty Janes blog here.


Flour Water Salt (374 Bong Bong Street Bowral)

This bakery/cafe/market of pre packaged delights is worth a visit each and every time you are in Bowral. You have NEVER tasted sauso rolls like the ones on offer here – cakes and slices, sandwiches, fabulous coffee and friendly staff – it has never let me down. Not ever.

You can find their website here and their Facebook page here.


Robertson Inn  (87 Hoddle Street Robertson)

This place is always pumping and there’s good reason. They are always open, they have great food, amazing specials and happily cater for kids. Any night of the week there are daily specials with a jumping castle and entertainment for kids out the back – everyone is happy. Cannot go wrong with this place with friendly service and great value. You can check out their website here and on Facebook here.


Pizzas in the Mist (42 Hoddle Street Roberston)

You just CANNOT go wrong with this place. Consistently delicious pizzas that we always get takeaway but if you are eating in you can enjoy a range of other dishes. Belinda and Tommy who run the place are so friendly and each and every person that works there will make you feel special. This was out first ever meal we had in the Highlands (that we ate when we were looking to move down here) so it holds a special place in our hearts.

You can find their website here and their Facebook page here.


Mountain Spice Bistro (part of the Bowlo 1 Yarranga Street Robertson)

You won’t be blown away by the decor here as it’s part of the Bowlo but I love this place for it’s old school charm and AMAZINGLY good and cheap Thai food. Grab one of their specials and enjoy a cheap glass of something to wash it down with. You can check them out on Facebook here.


{Moss Vale}
Highlands Merchant (405 Argyle Street Moss Vale)

I wrote about this place in this blog post but it’s really not to be missed. Highlighting local produce on a great hanging menu if you can grab a table it’s worth the wait! You can check out their Facebook page here and their website here.

Highlands Merchant Cafe

Bernie’s Diner (402-404 Argyle Street Moss Vale)

I wasn’t long back from my trip from New York when I got wind of the fact that an American diner was opening up in Moss Vale of all places! This place ROCKS. Honestly. Some of the very best diner food you could bite into….burgers that will bring a tear to your eye, Hot dogs, pastrami sambos, buffalo wings, onion rings, proper THICKSHAKES with malt! It’s always packed. Always pumping and it just feels good to be in there. The original cafe was opened in 1927 by Greek immigrant Emmanuel (Bernie) and all these years later his Grandson has bought it back to life. He would be very proud indeed.

You can find their website here and their Facebook page here.


Made by Others (Shop 2, 366 Argyle Street Moss Vale)

Whilst you stop in here for a shop you can also grab a very good coffee and a sweet treat to eat. I’m always popping in here for a takeaway coffee and what do you know….I usually grab a little something fabulous as well!

You can find their website here and their Facebook page here.


Fraccaro’s Italian Restaurant (2/249 Argyle Street Moss Vale)

If you are after some seriously tasty and authentic Italian pizza and pasta this is the place to be! Perfect place for eating with kids it’s a little loud, you can get messy and you will not be disappointed with the really great pizza. Love this place! You can check them out on Facebook here.


The Vale Cafe (256 Argyle Street Moss Vale)

With a focus on sustainable and clean food this new cafe has been doing well and winning lots of fans. You can check them out on Facebook here.


Mount Ashby Winery (128 Nowra Rd Moss Vale)

I’ve only eaten here once on a glorious winters day sitting outside but it was all you would hope for in a winery. A great glass (or two) of local wine, a charcuterie plate filled with delicious french treats, good crusty bread and the great outdoors overlooking cows, paddocks and vines. Inside you can sit by the fire and tuck into some great French food.

You can find their website here.


Burrawang General Store Cafe (11 Hoddle Street Burrawang)

This historic cafe oozes atmosphere and charm and is a great place for a long breakfast or lunch. It’s open all week (7 days) for breakfast, lunch form 8am-5pm as well as pick up some fresh organic produce, eggs or bread. Gorgeous setting.

You can find their website here.


Burrawang Village Hotel (14-16 Hoddle Street Burrawang)

This has been awarded best beer garden in Australia and there is no wonder why when you are sitting out in the sunshine with no other place to be. Kids can run free while adults sit and chat or you can sit inside by the fire with a glass of red on a cold winters day. Be warned that it gets busy and that means that service can be slow, so get in early. Book for dinner on a Friday or Saturday night for one of the best pork roasts you can get…old school style.

You can find their website here or their Facebook page here.


Bendooley Bar & Grill (3020 Old Hume Highway Berrima)

This place never disappoints! Gorgeous setting in the Bendooley winery estate vines with a wonderful Book store in amongst the restaurant…it’s got everything you would ever want all in the one spot (well for me anyway…books, food, wine and vista). If you can grab a spot near the fire things are looking even better. Delicious food, generous serves and good service it’s worth visit each and every time you pass by the highway (just 2 mins in from the Hume highway).

You can find their website here and their Facebook page here.


Eschalot Restaurant (24 Old Hume Highway Berrima)

I am yet to eat here but have heard great things about it. Located in a beautiful old historic cottage in this gorgeous village you can sit inside by the fire in winter or out in the courtyard in the summer months. I believe it also had a great kitchen garden filled with local seasonal produce.

You can find their website here.


The Loch Guesthouse (581 Greenhills Rd Berrima)

While this is a great place to stay they also have some amazing produce and take home meals available. You can check them out on Facebook here as well as their website here.


Josh’s Cafe (9 Old Hume Highway Berrima)

Again, I haven’t been to this one as yet but it’s well worth a visit I have heard from many a person. I’ve heard of great food, service and of course a gorgeous setting.

You can find out more on Trip Advisor here.


Exeter General Store Cafe (1 Exeter Rd Exeter)

This cafe is part of the General Store which is the hub of this gorgeous little village. It’s where the locals come to pick up their mail, grab some supplies but you can stop in and grab a bite to eat or some coffee and cake. Kid friendly it’s always buzzing and fun to be in.

It looks like they have a website coming soon.


I just KNOW I have missed more than a few other great ones…so tell me what’s missing!
Where have you been that you love down here?


  1. Makes me want to come to the Southern Highlands….I think I have only ever been through there once. Looks gorgeous Beth, especially the Burrawang Hotel, I think I would like that. Gee first to comment, I feel like such a stalker!

  2. Love the Raw and Wild! Caught the train down from Campbelltown on Easter Saturday had lunch at Raw and Wild and a browse thru the shOps, the train back. Lovely day! If it is busy at Raw and Wild (and it usually is) be prepared to wait at least an hour for your food….but worth the wait…delicious!! Thanks for the other recommendations….I feel a few day trips coming up!!

  3. Beth great timing! I’m off for a girls weekend this Friday staying in The Southern Highlands and us ladies love a long lunch (well, good food in a great spot!) can’t wait to check these places out. Thank you!

  4. Dannielle says

    We love Josh’s Cafe. They are cheeky, friendly and offer kids pencils to draw on the tables (paper).

    There is a little cafe in the Moss Vale Mall (opposite Lemon Zebra Kids called Il Pranzo that makes awesome coffee and food.

  5. Great list! Another one to look for is rush Roasting at the back of the Grand Arcade in Bowral. Sal and Lisa are sisters who not only serve an awesome coffee but roast the beans too. They also have yummy treats and T2 tea.

    • Good one Justine – have heard great things about them – will check them out!

      • Hi Beth – let me know when you come to check us out. We have just introduced Nitro Coffee to our range at the cafe and would love to hear what you think.

  6. Magpie Cafe in Berrima has to have a mention. Our favourite place for the delicious array of sweets. Baked on site and AMAZING! Off to morning tea there today! xx

  7. I can second Josh’s Cafe, WildFood and Eschalot, I have been for dinner at all of these places and they have gorgeous food and atmosphere. I’m going to a wedding at the Burrawang Hotel next month so I’m looking forward to that!
    Another one worth a mention, not strictly Southern Highlands, but Southern Pies in Kangaroo Valley is owned by my very talented sister in law and brother in law- you must stop in for a pie and a coffee on your next drive down there, they have a Caraway Spiced Cauliflower with Gorgonzola Pie that is truly amazing!!

  8. Gibbergunyah says

    Some great recommendations Beth – agree with so many. I had one of the BEST meals of my life from The Hospital Shop – post birth BLT and chocolate brownie! I find Raw and Wild has consistently the best coffee in Bowral, and the fruit plate, frog sandwiches, colouring in and barrels of monkeys keep the kids busy while you drink it. For evening dining for grown ups I would add Eccetera in Boolwey St Bowral (near Target) for authentic Italian food which is just exquisite; and Onesta Cucina (directly opposite).

    • How’s the hunger after delivering a baby? That would have been PERFECT! I got some shitty cold toast but the best cup of tea I have ever had!!

  9. The new Stones Patisserie in Berrima (just down from the wonderful Josh’s) is fabulous for breakfast and lunch.

  10. Looks so cute and delicious. Such a pretty place.

  11. Lisa Mckenzie says

    Great list thank you Beth ,my daughter and her partner had lunch at Bernie’s Diner a few weeks ago when they went to visit his gran she, lives at Moss Vale and they raved over the burgers they had and the milk shakes and coffee!

  12. Jing jo, the Thai place on the Moss Vale side of the bridge in Kangaroo Valley is TO DIE FOR. Is Kangaroo Valley still considered the highlands?

    The highlands is my happy place. I would move there in a heartbeat.

  13. Love these travel tips, thank you, your local pub looks fabulous. FYI, your links are mixed up in your links to your shopping and staying pages.

  14. Oh wow- now I’m homesick! I’m from Bowral (Hobart now), and lived just down the road from the hospital shop – when it was actually just a shop! And the guys at eschalot did our wedding! Highly recommend. Have loved reading your blog for years; always reminds me of home 🙂 will defintely be checking some of these new places out when we are back for christmas.

    • I’m happy to be a connection to home Anita – enjoy when you get back – I might even have some more to add in there by then too 🙂

  15. Oh, Beth…….I’m salivating! What a fabulous post of places to visit in the Southern Highlands. Hubby and I are planning a weekend down that way soon, I’ll now have to see if we can extend that to a week….so much loveliness to visit, thanks xx

  16. I can’t wait to be back in Burradoo this July for two months and eating again at all these fab places. I’m also hankering for a milkshake from The Bowral Cafe and a proper Aussie pie and doughnut from Polly’s at Moss Vale oh and a family dinner at The Briars! Hurry up and get here July!

  17. Hi Beth, I’m also a Southern Highlands local, and a place that I really like is the Studio Restaurant in Exeter. The Studio Restaurant is in an unlikely location… on the dirt section of Elsmore Road round the back of Exeter, but the food, service and setting are beautiful. I also like Cafe Rosso in Bowral, likewise not in the most promising location. It’s in the shopping complex where Harris Farm is located, but the food is authentic and fresh Italian. cheers Janine

  18. What a great little guide Beth. We’re driving through the Southern Highlands tomorrow and looking for someone to stop for lunch. Now I can do my research on the way!

  19. Cerdo Food + Wine in Mittagong is absolutely fantastic, a perfect hidden gem in the highlands, family friendly too!

  20. Hi Beth, great recommendations, I have a ‘thing’ for zen oasis ( Berrima )
    It’s vegetarian, only open weekends though and you have to book ahead. You can’t turn up and be seated. Great for big groups of people..
    Also Cerdo food & wine in Mittagong is delicious..

  21. Makes me homesick….i’ll be back in October and I can’t wait to try The Highlands Merchant (I’m following them on Insta), their food looks amazing.
    Bernie’s has ALWAYS had the best burgers, 20 cents worth of chips, yes please, oh the memories……if it’s not on the menu, just ask for a bacon, egg, cheese and onion burger, you won’t be sorry, it’s to die for.


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