You can't miss the Oakbank Hotel. It's on the main street of Oakbank (Onkaparinga Valley Road), which is always busy with weekenders on driving tours. The steakhouse signs are enormous and so is the big black cow on the roof. All of this suggests that the Oakbank Hotel is an excellent steakhouse - and it is an excellent steakhouse.
We stopped in on another of our Sunday drives in the Adelaide Hills for lunch and were directed through to the bistro out the back. It's a spacious and modern room with a large deck overlooking perfect lawns and shaded tables. It is definitely one of the nicest beer gardens in the region with a bowls lawn for young and old alike to have a quick game or two.
There's plenty of space in the cosy and well-decorated bistro, while other rooms contain extra dining areas, a front bar, a small bottle shop and of course the pokies. Wall-sized historic photos and even stained glass windows depict the long history of the Oakbank Easter Races that have been a South Australian tradition for nearly 150 years. It's worth a wander around to see them at some point in your visit.
The menu covers all the pub favourites with Asian-style dishes for variety. The focus at the Oakbank Hotel is on the beef. The prices are a bit steep but to be fair, the steak (and the rest of the food) are all faultless and the servings are huge.
On our visit, we tried the 300gm Kerwee Wagyu porterhouse steak with surf and turf dressing and a "Bang Bang Chicken Burger" while the kidlet had calamari and chips. The steak is among the best I've tasted - it's firm and flavoursome. The chips are okay, nothing special there, and the side salad is better than most. The creamy surf dressing is delicious and was also welcomed as a dip for everyone's chips. The chicken burger is another of those towering creations that needs a pin through it to stand up. It's packed with a piece of crispy but impossibly tender chicken, cheese, and a crunchy Asian salad with sriracha dressing. Don't worry about the name, it's not that spicy.
The other dishes on the menu look delicious. Maybe next time we'll try the buffalo wings or their schnitzels. Maybe we'll even have room for one of the desserts like the chocolate and raspberry brownie or Belgian waffles!
You are sitting in the middle of one of the worlds premier wine regions and the wine list is tightly focused on truly local gems. All your other pub favourites and regulars are available along with tea, coffee and extra special milkshakes for the kids and sweet-tooths.
They're open seven days and the best part is they do all-day dining – all weekend, every weekend. The Oakbank Hotel is an old establishment that's been transformed into a modern Australian classic and is driven by that community spirit you often only find in the country. If you're keen for more information or to check out the specials then head to their website here.