We’ve combed the nooks, crannies and kitchens of the Blue Mountains, from Katoomba to Blackheath and Leura to Blaxland, to find the best “Mountain Cuisine” restaurants and cafes.
There are many good reasons to spend a few days in the Blue Mountains. Fresh air, the spectacular scenery, the walks… all of which are cunningly designed to sharpen the appetite and a work up a giant thirst.
Fortunately there’s a solution. For the Mountains have inspired a raft of top-notch restaurants and cafes to make your visit more memorable than just taking selfies with the Three Sisters, or flirting with the Devil’s Railway (as we used to call it).
Today’s ‘Mountain Cuisine’ reflects the new excellence of modern Australian culinary standards using sustainably sourced ingredients matched with nearby wine-producing areas in the Central West of NSW. It’s an unbeatable combination reminiscent of provincial European dining experiences. To help with your quest for great regional food and wine, we’ve put together a few suggestions for some outstanding eateries between Blaxland and Blackheath (NB: in alphabetical order). Enjoy.
Our list of the best restaurants and cafes in the Blue Mountains
1. Ashcrofts Bistro, Blackheath
Ashcrofts is a stylish, uncluttered space but there’s nothing simple about the food created by owner/chef Adrian Hunt. It’s big on flavour and presentation, with emphasis on sustainable ingredients with signature dishes like twice-baked Gruyère soufflé with pickled pear, and whole roasted and de-boned Holmbrae chicken. The coup de grâce is a French vanilla bean crème brûlée, which you may be tempted to share. Don’t.
2. Como, Blaxland
Rachel and Grant’s love of food preparation shines through their superbly crafted cuisine, influenced by Grant’s experience of cooking in the Greek Islands and Lake Como, Italy. There’s a ‘chef’s table’ full degustation menu at Restaurant Como as well as a lighter version which may be augmented with matching wines. Don’t think of leaving in a hurry.
3. Darleys, Katoomba
For many, Darleys is the undisputed queen of the mountains. Highly awarded for its impeccable cuisine and its beautiful garden setting in a heritage-listed house, part of Lilianfels, its fine dining menu includes seared duck breast with sliced abalone and a toothfish bouillabaisse. Sample the poached prunes with dark chocolate fudge. Not for the faint hearted.
4. Leura Garage
As the name implies, this is a different kettle of soup altogether. Informal, fun and a bit irreverent, Leura Garage draws on the experience of executive chef Regan Porteous whose time with Gordon Ramsay, Zuma Hong Kong and Zuma Dubai brings international style to the mountains. The menu is designed to encourage sharing but in many cases, you won’t want to!
5. Nineteen23, Wentworth Falls
Located in historic Silvermere Guest House (1923) there’s a rich tradition of wholesome fine dining using locally-sourced produce and regional wines. Nineteen23‘s Vegetarian specialities include charred eggplant with warrigal greens, kipfler potatoes, almonds and garlic sauce and there’s also a mouth-watering degustation menu (with vegie option). Overnight accommodation at Silvermere is recommended as you may wish to linger longer here.
6. Palette Dining, Katoomba
The theme at Palette is ‘slow food’ and once again that word ‘sustainability’ crops up, along with kitchen gardens providing fresh herbs. The quail ragout with potato gnocchi, and a grilled pumpkin and black bean curry will get your taste buds working overtime.
7. Silk’s Brasserie, Leura
The menu here is described as ‘modern Australian with a French influence’ and over the years has won many accolades for its stylish presentation of such favourites as fillet of Tasmanian smoked salmon, Trunkey Creek pork tenderloin and, to top it off, a pear and rhubarb almond crumble. Silk’s will have you salivating.
8. Solitary, Leura
Family-run restaurant and cafe, Solitary, is a labour of love for the Molloys, who purchased this heritage-listed property in 2011. The restaurant is uniquely located on the cliff drive between Leura and Katoomba, with an air of romance as guests admire the Jamison Valley while enjoying an extensive menu. Cured duck breast with celeriac, caramelised witlof, Jannei goat curd and beetroot is just one selection from chef Sebastian’s inventive creations.
9. Vesta, Blackheath
Vesta has a unique feature in the form of a 120-year-old Scotch oven which, according to part-owner David Harris, “allows us to slow roast dishes in a deep radiant heat”. The results are outstanding, especially with signature menu items like slow-roasted lamb, stuffed spatchcock, and trout with fennel and couscous. Finish with a modern take on bread and butter pudding… if you can. Hint: good for sharing.
10. Wintergarden At The Hydro Majestic, Medlow Bath
The spectacular views over the Megalong Valley from the reborn Hydro are the setting for excellent cuisine at the Wintergarden Restaurant. Chef Mate Herceg has composed a creative dinner menu featuring entrées such as Yuzu-marinated wild Canadian scallops and mains like a delicious herb crusted monkfish with spanner crab and mussel ravioli. Not to be missed is the famous afternoon High Tea, after which you may not need dinner!
* What’s your favourite Blue Mountains café or restaurant? Further recommendations to our editor are welcome. Menus and chefs change occasionally, so check the websites before making a booking.