Our Pick of Australia's Best Chicken Schnitzels

Tom McHugo's chicken schnitzel

Chicken schnitzel is a staple on any good pub menu – but the perfect schnitty is a little harder to find. From a classic crust to a panko crumb or parmigiana twist, we’ve found the best, right around the country.

NSW

Lawson Park Hotel, Mudgee

Lawson Park Hotel

Chef Stefano Burlando made his way to Mudgee from Sydney’s Bondi after doing time in the kitchen at Icebergs and has since made his mark on the Red Heifer bistro. His award-winning menu is often lauded for its excellent steaks but there’s a classic chicken-breast schnitzel in the line-up that’s also a knockout: generous, crunchy and comforting, just as it should be. There’s a pimped-up version, too: chicken Neptune, where the panko-crumbed schnitzel comes topped with prawns and béarnaise sauce. Tuck in while sitting in the beer garden.  –Jo McKay

The Bayview, Woy Woy 

Following a $5 million facelift in 2016, this stylish industrial-chic pub has become one of the Central Coast’s go-to spots. The menu, overseen by chef Angela Campbell, features four excellent panko-crumbed schnitzel variations: the ever-popular Plain, served simply with a zesty lemon wedge and your choice of sauce (including peppercorn, mushroom, Diane and gravy); the Parmi, topped with Napoletana sauce, bacon and a melty three-cheese mix; the Mexican, which comes piled with chilli con carne, guacamole, sour cream and corn chips; and the indulgent house special, The Bayview, served with brie, smoked salmon and garlic-cream sauce.  –Jo McKay

South Australia

The Crafers Hotel, Adelaide Hills

This Adelaide Hills favourite, which was last year named the best hotel in South Australia, has an elegant light-filled dining room and a buzzing front bar. The fare has a distinctly French slant (think: escargots, entrecôte de boeuf and confit de canard) but part of the menu is also dedicated to Aussie pub classics – and the schnitzel is a clear standout. It comes out panko-crumbed and golden, accompanied by a small heirloom tomato salad dressed with housemade vinaigrette, and chunky fries. The parmigiana variation features locally made artisan ham. –Jo McKay

The Greenock, Barossa

The Greenock Hotel

When a top-end chef recommends a pub, you know it’ll be good. Lachlan Colwill, from the Barossa’s Hentley Farm Restaurant, namechecks The Greenock as one of his favourites in the region, singling out the schnitzels as a must-order. There are five on offer: chicken and beef in two sizes (150 and 300 grams) and a whopper called Steiny, a half-kilo of succulent porterhouse steak, crumbed and deep-fried. What makes the schnitzels so good is the double-crumb effect; they’re coated once during prep and then a second time just before frying, giving these beauties a delicious and satisfying crunch. Sauces at this family-owned and -run tavern are also all housemade. The mushroom is the common choice but it’s also worth trying the GCT Special with bacon, onion, mushrooms, barbecue sauce and oozy melted cheese. –Jo McKay

Sevenhill Hotel, Sevenhill

This 156-year-old pub in the Clare Valley is regularly lauded for its exemplary pub fare and, according to co-owner Paul Longbottom, it’s rare that a table doesn’t have a schnitzel in the mix of orders. There are three to choose from (chicken, beef or pork) and all are completely prepared on site – cut, bashed, marinated and crumbed by hand. Each comes with a side of housemade slaw and rosemary-and-garlic fries, plus there are several sauces and toppings for accompaniment. Longbottom says the chicken schnitzel is the most popular, usually with mushroom sauce or parmigiana on top, but it’s worth trying his personal favourite: pork with pepper sauce. –Jo McKay

WA

Denmark Hotel, Denmark

Come hungry. Parmigiana is a big deal in the west and nowhere more so than at the  Denmark Hotel, where they serve a counter meal that’s not to be trifled with. As big in flavour as it is in girth, this (aptly heart-shaped) crumbed chicken ticks all the boxes: crisp and juicy in all the right places, with an excellent tomato-sugo-to-browned-cheese ratio. Plus, you get both golden chips and salad – the best of both worlds. –Max Veenhuyzen

Settlers Tavern, Margaret River

Settlers Tavern

The parmigiana is the single most popular menu item at this local powerhouse and understandably so. This pub classic is afforded the same care as anything leaving the Settlers kitchen so expect free-range chook breast, local eggs in the crumb and a mix of grated mozzarella, cheddar and Grana Padano in the all-important cheese topcoat. Garnish with one of Australia’s most awarded cellars and you’re talking comfort dining to be reckoned with. –Max Veenhuyzen   

Tasmania

Tom McHugo’s, Hobart

Tom McHugos's

This Georgian pub opposite the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery is where Hobart’s chefs eat – always a promising sign. You can order the chicken parmy as is or request it as a plain schnitzel. Either way, you’ll get a succulent meat from thinly sliced free-range chicken breast cooked quickly and plated up with a wedge of lemon and fries. Sides are extra, with vegies that are sourced from small producers, such as Fat Carrot Farm and Rocky Top, and change according to season (finely sliced turnip with lovage and kefir cream, say, or cucumber, red onion and mustard salad). –Jo Cook
87 Macquarie Street, Hobart; (03) 6231 4916

ACT

Edgar’s Inn, Ainslie

This spacious pub in Canberra’s trendy Inner North buzzes with locals from first drinks to last as patrons take their place at the bar or in the bistro or outdoor area, which sprawls over the neighbourhood sidewalk. Timber seating and rough brick walls form a genial backdrop to pub menu classics, with Edgar’s chicken schnitzel the star act. The delicious batter is a given but the choice of sauce is yours: Diane, mushroom or pepper. Insider tip? Go on “Schnitty Wednesday”, when you’ll pay just $18 compared with the usual $24. –Diana Streak

Victoria

The Corner Hotel, Alexandra

The goldrush town of Alexandra is in the heart of prime cattle country but its historic Corner Hotel has taken a different tack. It’s earned a region-wide reputation for its nine-strong chicken parma menu, including one topped with pesto, camembert, bacon and cheese and the daunting-sounding Double Banger (two chook breasts sandwiched with cheese, mash and a topping of your choice). Nobody, however, puts the schnitzel in the corner. A free-range chicken breast, coated in panko crumbs, comes with gravy on the side to avoid sogginess, while the chips are classic beer-battered fat beauties. –Larissa Dubecki

The Victoria Hotel, Port Fairy

It’s safe to assume The Victoria Hotel, at the end of the Great Ocean Road in the pretty seaside town of Port Fairy, was not serving chicken schnitzels when it opened in the late 1800s. These days, it’s a very different story. Head to the modern dining room at this grand corner pub for a chicken schnitty par excellence. Locally sourced chicken breast is covered in breadcrumbs flavoured with secret herbs and spices (we asked but they ain’t saying) then oven-baked until just right. On the side: classic Aussie pub chips and a garden salad. Get in early to snare a table in the leafy courtyard garden. –Larissa Dubecki
42 Bank Street, Port Fairy; (03) 5568 2891

Northern Territory

Berry Springs Tavern, Berry Springs

Berry Springs

You’ll know you’ve reached the NT’s schnitzel paradise, about 40 minutes’ drive through tropical woodland outside Darwin, when you see the crocodile (not real) on the roof and the emus (real) in the paddock out back. Chicken parmigiana is the go here – the rich, thick sauce tastes like it was made by someone’s loving nonna – but the specials board also often lists a schnitzel option. Either way, upgrade your side to sweet-potato chips. Schnitty worshippers should attend on Wednesday nights, when schnitzels are a paltry $17.90. –Sam McCue

QLD

The Court House Hotel, Port Douglas

This iconic pub is known for its crumbed bird, shifting a whopping 13,000 schnitzels and parmigianas last year alone. Atherton Tablelands-sourced chicken is served either as a schnitzel (with a choice of mushroom, pepper, red wine jus,creamy garlic sauce or garlic butter) or a parmigiana with leg ham and melted cheese. Both come with a choice of salad and beer-battered chips or mash potato and seasonal greens. While Monday offers the best deal on schnitties, consider tying in lunch at the “Courty” with the local Sunday market – a rite of passage for any visit to Tropical North Queensland. 

Bull & Barley Inn, Cambooya

Sundays are legendary at this 117-year-old country bolthole, 25 minutes’ drive south of Toowoomba, with farmers and out-of-towners piling in for chicken schnitzel crumbed in-house and plated up with chunky chips and a garden salad. Many choose to elevate it, ordering the dish with Moreton Bay bug meat, prawns, scallops and a béarnaise sauce, while others order the parmigiana with shredded ham, tasty cheese and a rotating selection of toppings. Where to eat? On the verandah, of course, watching a brilliant Southern Downs sunset over the nearby grain silos. –Matt Shea

Sandstone Point Hotel, Sandstone Point

A handsome modern boozer and live-entertainment venue, Sandstone Point Hotel, about an hour north-east of Brisbane, also boasts a bistro that peddles terrific pub grub. Here, the schnitzel – made from locally sourced chook and crumbed with a mixture of panko and white breadcrumbs – comes either as a Mexican-style burger, the chicken marinated in cumin, coriander and paprika; or as a parmigiana with double-smoked ham, sugo, mozzarella and a mesclun salad. Book a table outside, overlooking the enormous lawn and Bribie Island beyond– particularly if you have some little ones you need to wear out. –Matt Shea

SEE ALSO: Get Your Hooks Into the Best Fish and Chips in Australia

Book flights

Start planning now

Share this article

You Might Also Like