Roadtrip-Worthy Restaurants And Bars On Sydney’s Northern Beaches
Sydney’s Northern Beaches are officially all of the beaches that stretch north from Manly. However, among its many suburbs, those along the peninsula from Mona Vale to Palm Beach are some of the most special.
Surrounded by the rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean on one side and the calm waters of Pittwater on the other, this area has traditionally been a classic Aussie beach destination, sporting spectacular beach houses at its northern tip.
These days, there’s also an increasingly drool-worthy array of restaurants, cafés and bars.
The Park House
A playground for grown-ups, The Park House has all the old-fashioned pub virtues (dozens of beers on tap, wall-to-wall sports on the tele, even a pool table) repackaged with a bright, breezy, beachy vibe.
There’s an airy restaurant next to the pub and lots of outdoor seating to boot. The food offers an eclectic mix of Mexican, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes yet somehow remains true to its pub roots. And there’s live music on Friday nights, dancing to a DJ on Saturdays.
Justin Hemmes’ Merivale Group has transformed one of the Northern Beaches’ most popular waterfront beer gardens into a charming alfresco marketplace that offers a little bit of magic for a whole lot of people. With dappled views over Pittwater, the dog-friendly Newport offers a huge communal deck framed with gardens and potted plants.
Choose from bakery delights at the Kiosk Café, roast chicken from the French rotisserie, burgers, fish and chips from the Shack, Neapolitan wood-fired pizzas from Vinnie’s Pizza and freshly shucked oysters, buckets of prawns, and Asian-style noodle dishes from the Seafood Market. Of course, there’s great beer, wine and cocktails, too. The covered games area offers giant-sized Jenga, ping pong, a bowling alley and more for kids and kids at heart.
Bert’s Bar and Brasserie
Bert’s is the ultimate relaxed but oh-so-beautiful Northern Beaches-style Brasserie directly above The Newport. The finest (read expensive) ingredients…oysters, mud crab, lobster, caviar, line-caught wild fish and rib-eye…are beautifully prepared, often with the help of wood-fired ovens and ratcheted grills. An expansive champagne list and glam cocktails add to the allure.
Robertson Street is a quirky little Newport side street with terrific food and drink offerings.
Rukus Café serves its own excellent Kingdom Coffee and wittily described organic fare like Lump of Coal Roll with bacon, egg, avocado, spinach and more on a black brioche bun. Oven Loven Pizzeria delivers the best thin-crust New York-style pizza on the Northern Beaches.
Le Petit Marche, offers delicious French cheeses, charcuterie, wines and sandwiches to go, and Mrs Robertson’s bijou Wine and Cocktail Bar is an under-the-radar gem.
Zubi at Billy’s is the quintessential laidback beachfront café with a shaded terrace overlooking Bilgola Beach. Opening early, the all-day menu leans toward acai bowls, smashed avo on toast, burgers and excellent coffee.
The Clareville Kiosk is tucked into an airy blue cottage behind Clareville Beach and features a thoughtful menu of contemporary Australian fare, perfect for a little celebration.
With its delicious, healthy flavourful food which includes smoothie bowls, crepes and terrific kids’ dishes, Girdlers’ Clareville outpost sports a shady deck to while the day away.
Ouzo is a tiny little family-run Greek restaurant with a few outdoor tables at the Clareville shops. Effie and Jim Pitsikoulis offer classics such as moussaka, Greek salad, lamb skewers and baklava.
Who’d have thought that a French bistro…and an excellent one at that…with wicker chairs, classic posters, and chalkboard menus could possibly thrive in beachy-chic Avalon.
Yet Bistro Boulevard has for decades, albeit with a new generation at the helm. Natalie and French chef husband Patrice deliver excellent renditions of the classics, like goat’s cheese soufflé, moules marinieres, steak frites and crepes suzettes, alongside a great selection of French and Aussie wines.
Set inside a clean-lined heritage building with a shady deck, Alma is a classy Mexican restaurant and bar offering everything from breakfast burritos to soft-shell crab tostadas, terrific ceviche and agave short ribs, which you can wash down with an excellent margarita or Mexican beer.
Graze N Cakes
Graze n Cakes is a popular Vietnamese bakery and café offering something for everyone, including great coffee, scrumptious roast pork belly baguettes, Banh mi and rice paper rolls, watermelon and lychee trifle, bespoke cakes and, the kids’ all-time favourite, rainbow-coloured ‘unicorn poo’.
Tucked down a side street off Barrenjoey Road, Café Relish mixes an inner-city vibe with its beachy locale. Terrific coffee, great smoothies and an eclectic menu that includes haloumi verde with poached egg and Thai-inspired noodle dishes.
Whale Beach Deli
Behind the surf-lifesaving club above Whale Beach, the Boathouse Group’s Whale Beach Deli offers an all-day menu that spans avocado toast, mushroom burgers and grilled squid salad. Excellent coffee and cold-pressed juices, too.
Sporting panoramic views overlooking Whale Beach, Jonah’s has been a special occasion spot since it opened in 1929. Take a float plane up from Rose Bay, savour its updated classic menu in the chef’s-hatted dining room with matching wines from an encyclopaedic list, or enjoy a grazing menu on the terrace. If you can’t tear yourself away from the view, spend the night in one of their luxurious Ocean Retreat rooms.
With its bright and breezy décor, bowls of lemons and bunches of flowers, its zingy summertime cocktails and its mix-and-match Mod Oz food, The Boathouse Group re-imagined the heritage-listed Barrenjoey House restaurant and boutique hotel across from the Palm Beach pier at Pittwater. It’s now the spot to see and be seen on the peninsula.
The Boathouse at Palm Beach
The first café of the Boathouse Group, The Boathouse at Palm Beach is tucked beside the Palm Beach Golf Course with a sunny deck overlooking Pittwater. Classic breakfast plates and smoothies, beer-battered fish and chips, and buckets of prawns headline the all-day menu.
(Lead image: Jonah’s / supplied)
Published 13 February, 2020