In Food + Drink

Sydney’s Most Romantic Riverside Restaurants

Waterside restaurants aren’t just confined to Sydney Harbour. Sydney riverside restaurants are equally stunning, if not more, and offer a prime showcase of the slow-paced life adopted by their nearby riverfront residences.

Here you can watch kayaks, paddleboards and boats pass by as you feast on gourmet fare. Not sure where to find these gorgeous havens? We’ve rounded up some of the best Sydney riverside restaurants.

Peats Bite

sydney riverside restaurants

Peats Bite often attracts A-listers, but is far from pretentious. Image: Peats Bite / Facebook

The address says it all, ‘Sunny Corner, Hawkesbury River’. A favourite with boaties since the 1980s, getting to water-access-only Peats Bite is an adventure in itself. If you don’t own a boat, get here by seaplane, houseboat or water taxi from Brooklyn.

The Miljoen family creates a dining experience that befits the effort to get here. The seven-course set lunch menu highlights fresh local produce and is designed to be savoured over a long afternoon with friends and family. And with its convivial atmosphere, you’ll more than likely end up with new friends as you dine.

Though the restaurant attracts occasional A-listers, it’s far from pretentious. Feel free to kick off your shoes for a walk on the grass or go for a swim in the waterfront pool.

When the live music begins there’s impromptu dancing in the courtyard that goes long into the afternoon, so consider staying overnight in one of their six villas.

Sunny Corner, Hawkesbury River; Fri-Sun lunch

Berowra Waters Inn

Arrive at fine dining Berowra Waters Inn by seaplane or historic Halvorsen. Alternatively, drive to Berowra for the short boat transfer to this stately sandstone and glass establishment designed by renowned Australian architect Glenn Murcutt.

Perched unobtrusively on the riverbank of Berowra Creek the dining room was recently redone to be made lighter and brighter. The focus still remains on the bush-fringed river though with uninterrupted views through louvered windows that let in a welcome breeze.

Owner Brian Geraghty is third on Gault&Millau’s Australian Top 100 Restaurants, and won their Chef of the Year in 2018. He presents a modern Australian degustation menu focussing on produce from the Hawkesbury, complemented by a fully Australian wine list.

Choose three, six or nine courses from the likes of crab with zucchini and basil to an entire dish based around peach with fennel and lavender.

Make a weekend of it and book a cottage nearby.

Public Wharves, Bay Road, Berowra Waters; Fri-Sun lunch (Thursday in summer), Saturday and Sunday dinner

Cottage Point Inn

Take a seaplane, super yacht or limousine to Cottage Point Inn. The timber boathouse turned fine dining venue is located in a pocket-sized enclave in the heart of Cowan Creek in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

Tucked snugly beneath arching trees, the dining room and deck overlook the sparkling river to eucalypt-cloaked hills beyond, interrupted only by the passing parade of watercraft.

In 2017, owners Shane and Ally Olesen secured Kevin Solomon as head chef, whose experience includes Tetsuya’s, Est, Pied de Terre and Guillaume. His modern Australian menu allows for three or four courses a la carte or a seven-course degustation with matching wines, extending from cured yellow fin tuna with umeboshi to liquorice cake with fennel seed ice cream.

Want to linger longer? Stay and watch the sun set over the water from one of the venue’s two apartments on the hill above the restaurant.

2 Anderson Place, Cottage Point; Daily lunch, Friday and Saturday dinner

Cottage Point Kiosk

Literally up the creek, on Coal and Candle Creek, bustling Cottage Point Kiosk sits above a working boatshed. Guests can arrive by kayak and bicycle, speedboat and sports car.

Owners Angela and Trent Wilson, who worked on superyachts in Europe, have imbued a Mediterranean waterfront vibe with colourful timber tables, flower-filled planter boxes and their favourite French wine.

Built around 1918, the time-polished timber interior isn’t just an eatery – it also houses groceries, newspapers, and fishing tackle, making it a hub for locals and the boating community.

Belying the term ‘kiosk’, the food here spans from home-baked cakes to restaurant-quality house-smoked salmon and wild-caught barramundi coconut curry.

Sit on the veranda for a birds-eye view of the neighbouring yacht club or on the water-level terrace to be among the riverside action.

After breakfast or lunch, hire one of their kayaks or runabouts to explore the waterways of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park or sample what it’s like to live here at Coal & Candle Cottage overlooking the Kiosk.

1 Notting Lane, Cottage Point; Daily 8am – 4pm

Dangar Island Depot

Unless you’ve got your own boat or kayak, you’ll arrive to Dangar Island Depot by vintage ferry from Brooklyn.

You’ll find this waterfront café-cum-island store, post office and art gallery right on the riverfront adjacent to the public wharf. Take a table under the gum tree with your BYO wine and watch locals trundle their shopping home in wheelbarrows on this car-free island.

The menu by new owners Ben and Natasha Chinnock focusses on sustainably and ethically-sourced produce. Fresh bread baked on the island and honey from local hives features. As do locally-made granola, relishes and dukkah.

The all-day menu ranges from waffles and muffins to milk bun burgers and a ploughman’s platter.

Support the island ambulance and fire brigade with a purchase from the gallery then take a walk around the island to scout out the holiday houses you’ll no doubt want to buy.

2 Neotsfield Avenue, Dangar Island; Daily 8am – 4pm

(Lead image: Cottage Point Inn / supplied)

Published 15 April, 2019