This little restaurant with a huge outdoor seating area sits right in the heart of the Renmark CBD. It has an urbane feel with sturdy and colourful tables under sails and tall palm trees. There's laneway street art to admire and a view to the riverside park and iconic Renmark Hotel across the road.
ABS Smokehouse Cafe Restaurant is a family-run hot spot for locals and visitors alike. The delicious pizzas are locally famous along with regular seafood specials. Fresh seafood platters in Renmark? Yes, please!
The cafe is popular for breakfast from 8.30 am and you can get everything from an egg and bacon roll to omelettes to housemade granola with your morning juice, tea, or coffee. The lunch and dinner menu offers a range of other delicious dishes like burgers and yiros, pasta, and a changing specials board with steaks, schnitzels, and seafood delights.
Honestly, we weren't expecting seafood to be a thing in the Riverland. Not only did we love the way the seafood platter was presented, especially the salt and pepper squid, but we enjoyed the cool freshness of the prawns and oysters. A tartare sauce and fresh little side salad balance the platter out nicely.
We couldn't decide on a pizza, so we ordered a pizza with the lot. Our pizza certainly had a 'bit of this and bit of that'. It's a generous helping of fresh toppings on a 13-inch crispy base. We never usually finish a whole pizza like this but we did this time!
They plan to offer a wider range of desserts soon but for now, they offer a dessert pizza or maybe you should just order a cocktail to finish off the meal?
On the Saturday night we visited, a large (socially distanced) crowd began arriving after 6.30pm for the atmospheric live music outside on a balmy and still summers night. To me, it appeared as if ABS Smokehouse Cafe was at the centre of a buzzing town centre that is just as cosmopolitan as the city but with a more laidback feel.
There's plenty of shade outside, it's air-conditioned inside (if you can fit), but the owners and staff will go out of their way to welcome you and make you comfortable. ABS stands for Anna, Blue, and Steve. I don't know what happened to Steve - but Anna and Blue are on top of their game with this little gem of a family restaurant. It's likely the beating heart of Renmark.