Rich and lush with home-grown produce, Arimia, in the Margaret River, is one of the best regional restaurants in WA. It’s surrounded by the wild Indian Ocean, some of the country’s most breathtaking national parks and of course some of its best known winemakers. But, as Arimia chef Evan Hayter reveals, the Marg is also home to some quirky, low-key and off-kilter eats. Here are his picks.

When it comes to sustainability, there are restaurants that source a bit of free-range chicken or grow a few veggies in a kitchen garden… and then there’s Margaret River’s Arimia in Wilyabrup. Chef Evan Hayter and his team serve real ingredients, taken straight from the earth and sea, with a care that goes far beyond a hobby or a box tick. It’s a fully-fledged belief system that incorporates everything from raising their own pork and trout to the daily coaxing of sourdough. That dedication shows on the plate and it’s what makes this small winery restaurant a destination. While you can stay onsite – there’s a fourbedroom guesthouse on the property – Arimia is only open for lunch. Here’s where Hayter suggests you eat during the rest of your time in the region.

Chef Evan Hayter

La Scarpetta Trattoria

For the ravioli

a Scarpetta Trattoria is a traditional Italian restaurant in an old timber building just as you come into Margaret River town. It’s all about the ambience and has a really special feel. It’s one of those places that when you’ve been once, you’ll go every few weeks. The filled pastas – like the spinach and ricotta ravioli or mushroom tortelli – are my picks. They’re all handmade.”


For the barbecue and beer

“Nathan and Eileen Booth from Burnt Ends Smoking Co in Metricup look after the kitchen at Beerfarm and they’re master barbecuers. They do a daily menu plus Smokin’ Saturdays barbecue platters – barbecue is the foundation of their food and this showcases what they do. I also love Beerfarm’s milk stout. I think it’s the best beer in the region.”

SEE ALSO: Your Guide to Exploring the Best Wineries in Orange

Normal Van, WA

Normal Van

For the fried chicken

Normal Van is a food truck that pops up around the region – from the Rotary Park to the District Club car park. It’s run by this Canadian dude who moved here and worked at some of the best restaurants around, including Vasse Felix and Aravina Estate. He does buttermilk fried chicken and burgers until they run out and it’s just good fun.”

The Common

For the tacos

“In the past couple of years this bistro at Gnarabup was taken over by a Californian guy and his Cali/ Mexican-style tacos are amazing. I love the ones with cheese at the bottom and grilled beef on top. The fish tacos are also great.”

Goanna Bush Café

For the breakfast fried rice

“I don’t usually go out for breakfast because I feel like it’s not that hard to cook a couple of eggs and a bit of bacon at home but this quaint little café does breakfast a bit differently, like a really great Indonesian-style nasi goreng breakfast with coconut rice. It’s not somewhere you’d find easily; it’s a little house in a bush setting between Dunsborough and Yallingup so you have to know it’s there.”

Miki’s Open Kitchen, WA

Miki’s Open Kitchen

For the tempura

Image credit: Aaron Green, Russell Ord

“Miki’s is a cosy, corner-shopstyle tempura restaurant. It’s really small so bookings are essential – ask for a seat at the counter so you can watch the chefs cook in front of you. There are three different dégustations and if you choose ‘Miki’s Trust’ you are in the chef’s hands. The restaurant uses vegetables from Jema McCabe, one of the farmers I do a lot of work with. Anything that showcases her produce is exceptional, even something as simple as a dashi-cooked onion.”

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