Map your culinary journey around the Central Coast with these epic restaurants and cafes.
The region may not immediately come to mind for excellent culinary offerings, but even the most discerning of tastebuds will be pleasantly surprised at the diverse dining scene on the Central Coast. Coffee snobs can get a very good cup of morning zing at its many cool and casual cafes, fine dining is easy to come by with many restaurants serving up award-winning menus, a good pub feed is found in almost every town, while bar-hopping is made easy with ample watering holes and breweries. Here, the most epic restaurants on the Central Coast.
Terrigal and Avoca
Beachside dining never looked so good, with everything from seafood-focused fine dining to casual brunch and coffee spots overlooking the ocean. Here are the top restaurants in Terrigal and Avoca.
Dine by the ocean in Terrigal. (Image: Destination NSW)
1. The Cowrie, Terrigal
Best for: views, fine dining
For decades The Cowrie has been a fine dining institution on the Coast, perched high on the hills of Terrigal with panoramic views of the ocean and town below. Awarded a chef’s hat by the 2022 Australian Good Food Guide, chef and owner Dimitris Aronis (ex Bathers Pavilion) heads up a team that includes alumni from the likes of Quay and Aria. There is a strong focus on local and sustainable produce, as well as an entirely plant-based menu matched with Australian Ikou teas or organic wines.
Address: 109 Scenic Hwy, Terrigal
2. Yellowtail, Terrigal
Best for: seafood, fine dining
The hatted Yellowtail restaurant is renowned for its seafood and fine dining experience. (Image: Leigh Griffiths)
There’s a lot of chatter about Yellowtail and for good reason. This hatted restaurant may be small but it packs a punch with a refined and relaxed dining experience inspired by the flavours of the Middle East, Asia and the Mediterranean.
Yellowtail delivers a relaxed dining experience inspired by the flavours of the Middle East, Asia and the Mediterranean. (Image: Supplied)
Offering a la carte and a five-course degustation, the seafood is a stand-out, such as the saki-cured Kingfish sashimi and Hervey Bay king prawns with yuzu butter.
The Hervey Bay king prawns with yuzu butter are a menu standout at Yellowtail. (Image: Leigh Griffiths)
Address: Shop 3/1 Campbell Crescent, Terrigal
3. L’isle de France, Terrigal
Best for: French, fine dining
As a nod to owner Bernard Mallet’s Mauritius heritage, it’s all about the reinvention of classical French dishes with the flavours of Asia and Africa at L’isle de France. Head chef Jeremy Pace (ex Bistro Guillaume) and sommelier Fabrice le Boulanger (who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe) both hail from France bringing authenticity to the menu. The elegant beachside restaurant has a cosy fireplace for winter and an alfresco courtyard adorned with festoon lighting for summer.
A French plate to satisfy your palate.
Address: 1 Ena Street, Terrigal
4. Bellyfish, Terrigal
Best for: brunch, coffee
Bellyfish is in the heart of Terrigal on the Esplanade. (Image: Isaac Teng)
When it comes to epic brunches, Bellyfish is hard to beat. This father-and-son café is one of the busiest spots in town – not only do they do really great coffee and a hearty menu featuring lots of local ingredients, it also has funky interiors and is a hop, skip and jump to Terrigal Beach – one of the best beaches to visit on the Central Coast.
If brunch is high on your dining agenda, Bellyfish is the spot for you. (Image: Isaac Teng)
Address: 112 Terrigal Drive, Terrigal
5. Arc. Est, Terrigal
Best for: casual dining, long lunches
Arc. Est in Terrigal is the perfect spot for casual dining and long lunches. (Image: Asmara Malloy)
Run by the same people who own cult burger shop Chop n Grind just around the corner, Arc. Est has fast become a favourite among locals, especially for a long lunch of seasonal comfort food (from steak sandwiches to slow-cooked lamb shoulder). Unmissable for its charming wooden entry doors and warm, rustic interiors, it has a vibe that could very easily slot right into the heart of Byron Bay or Bali.
The charming wooden entry doors at Arc. Est is a standout feature. (Image: Supplied)
The dining space boasts warm, rustic interiors at Arc. Est. (Image: JXSN Films)
Address: Shop 7–8/18 Church Street, Terrigal
6. Avoca Beach House, Avoca Beach
Best for: views, groups
Enjoy ocean views from the deck at Avoca Beach House. (Image: Supplied)
Avoca Beach House screams summer, with a white, bright and airy interior and panoramic views of the beach so you can watch local surfers catch waves as you enjoy high-quality seafood and share-style platters.
The menu at Avoca Beach House ranges from seafood platters to pasta dishes. (Image: Supplied)
Add a mouth-watering cocktail to complete the scene. Definitely, one to add to your summer itinerary.
Address: 85 Avoca Drive, Avoca Beach
The interior of Avoca Beach House is light and airy. (Image: Supplied)
Just down the road from Terrigal, the beachside suburb of Wamberal is hiding a couple of standout restaurants to put on your radar.
7. Lagune Artisan Pizza Co., Wamberal
Best for: woodfired pizza, casual
When you want to cook authentic woodfired pizza, where better to learn than in Napoli itself? That’s what Lagune owner and chef Alex Benedictas did. And the result? Arguably the best pizza on the Central Coast. Made with fresh handmade dough and premium Italian ingredients, it’s no wonder this cosy restaurant is ever-so-popular.
A classic margherita pizza goes well with a cold beer.
Address: Shop 2/80 Ocean View Drive, Wamberal
8. Suq, Wamberal
Best for: fusion cuisine, romantic
Right next door to Lagune, Suq is an intimate family-owned restaurant with a menu bursting with global flavours from France, Italy, North Africa, Japan and the Med. You’ll find everything from Japanese tempura soft-shell crab to a 12-hour slow cooked lamb souvlaki, all designed to share. Though we think this restaurant is pretty perfect for a romantic meal, too.
Special occasions are best enjoyed with fine dining meals.
Address: 80 Ocean View Drive, Wamberal
Woy Woy, Ettalong and Pearl Beach
The coastal villages of Woy Woy, Ettalong and Pearl Beach have been quietly expanding their restaurant offering over the last 10 years with everything from casual eats and tiki bars to fine dining that champions French, Italian, and Turkish cuisines and more.
Ettalong Beach is home to Osteria Il Coccia. (Image: Supplied)
9. Tropicana Social Club, Woy Woy
Best for: pizza, groups
Inspired by a 1950s Polynesian tiki bar, Tropicana Social Club serves pizzas, boutique wines, craft beer and tropical drinks.
Wings and craft beer are on the menu at the Tropicana Social Club. (Image: Supplied)
The aesthetic is so well done, adorned with wood-panelled walls, cane furniture and tropical plants it has a self-described vibe that is Blue Hawaii meets Twin Peaks meets Cocktail.
Tropicana Social Club is a nod to the 1950s Polynesian tiki bars. (Image: Supplied)
Address: 61 Trafalgar Ave, Woy Woy
10. Osteria Il Coccia, Ettalong
Best for: Italian and French, fine dining
The food is infused with distinctive flavours from the red gum, yellow bark, and hay-fuelled flames. (Image: Supplied)
Like no other dining experience on the Coast, two-hatted Osteria Il Coccia offers a six-course degustation that oozes distinctive flavours from the red gum, yellow bark, and hay-fuelled flames that it has been cooked over.
The food at two-hatted Osteria Il Coccia is a blend of Italian and French cuisine. (Image: David Li)
Try the six-course degustation at Osteria Il Coccia. (Image: David Li)
Run by Nicola and Alexandra Coccia, who are from Italy and France respectively, the menu fuses the best of both worlds, while the beautifully designed dining space is a little more coastal with a relaxing palette of creams and terracotta with timber and wicker furniture.
The dining space at Osteria Il Coccia is a soothing palette of creams and terracotta with timber and wicker furniture. (Image: Supplied)
Address: 49 The Esplanade, Ettalong Beach
11. The Box on the Water, Ettalong
Best for: views, casual dining
Its name is a bit of a hint: The Box on the Water at Ettalong sits pretty on the waterfront of Broken Bay, affording spectacular views through the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows. The modern Australian menu features hearty options to share (roasted lamb shoulder and a seafood platter) as well as smaller dishes including fish and chips and paella.
Address: Ettalong Beach Waterfront Reserve, Ettalong
Enjoy lunch and panoramic ocean views at The Box on the Water. (Image: Supplied)
12. Safran, Ettalong
Best for: Turkish, fine dining
The hatted Safran delivers Turkish cuisine in a fine dining environment. (Image: Bec Bond Photography)
Located within The Galleria at Ettalong, the ever-changing menu at hatted restaurant Safran is centred around authentic Turkish recipes and techniques. But Chef Suleyman Kirbancioglu – who grew up in Mengen, Turkey – shakes things up with the flavours of the Middle East, Central Asia, Europe and the Balkans.
The laneway entrance at Safran in Ettalong. (Image: Isaac Tseng)
The slow-cooked meats, such as the mulberry glazed 30-beef rib or lamb neck are a highlight.
The slow-cooked meats are a highlight on the menu at Safran. (Image: Bec Bond Photography)
Kadayif pastry for dessert at Safran. (Image: Bec Bond Photogpraphy)
Address: 81/189 Ocean View Road, Ettalong Beach
13. Pearls, Pearl Beach
Best for: fine dining, views
For almost two decades Pearls on the Beach has been one of the Coast’s best dining experiences, regularly receiving accolades for its outstanding cuisine. It has recently come under new management, with former sous chef Byron Namenyi now heading the kitchen and Dan McKinnon, from Cottage Point Inn, managing the floor. The restaurant has undergone a fresh new look but is still serving up exquisite modern Australian cuisine.
Address: 1 Tourmaline Ave, Pearl Beach
Gosford and Point Frederick
From stunning revamps of heritage-listed hotels to casual dining and South American eats, Gosford and Point Frederick are delivering standout results when it comes to restaurants in this corner of the Central Coast.
14. Hotel Gosford, Gosford
Best for: pub food, groups
The heritage-listed Hotel Gosford underwent a stunning revamp in 2021; its brooding Art Deco design paying homage to its 1920s roots.
The stunning results of the recent revamp have breathed new life into the heritage-listed Hotel Gosford. (Image: Kitti Gould)
Earl’s Kitchen is a relaxed dining space with pub classics such as chicken schnitzel and Caesar salad, as well as share plates and an impressive range of vegetarian and gluten-free options, much of it made up of local ingredients.
Expect to find hearty pub classics on the menu at Hotel Gosford. (Image: Kitti Gould)
Earl’s Kitchen is a relaxed dining space inside Hotel Gosford. (Image: Kitti Gould)
The tipple list is also extensive with 32 tap beers and creative cocktails, such as the Smoked Negroni created with locally made Moore’s Dry Gin and smoked with hickory wood.
Address: Corner of Mann and Erina streets, Gosford
15. South End Social, Gosford
Best for: breakfast, casual dining
The stylish interior of South End Social is a refreshing palette of blues and greens. (Image: Grace Picot)
The swanky café and bar is light and airy with large windows, fresh white walls, timber and Terrazzo flooring, and a refreshing palette of blues and greens. The seasonal menu is fresh, modern Australian using local ingredients where possible, with a great cocktail and wine list to enjoy over a long lunch.
Choose from a seasonal selection of fresh, modern Australian fare at South End Social. (Image: Supplied)
Address: Shop 1/32 Mann Street, Gosford
It would be easy to blink and miss these top restaurants in Erina. But it would be a shame to miss out on dining in a 1970s mud-brick hut set in a garden by a distillery. Then there is a delicious pasta bar, and high tea inside an art gallery. Best you seek these restaurants out for yourself.
16. Bar Botanica, Erina
Best for: gelato, coffee
Bar Botanica is housed within a charming 1970s mud-brick hut. (image: Jacs Powell)
Housed in a charming 1970s mud-brick hut and surrounded by the lush gardens of Distillery Botanica, Bar Botanica is a Euro-style café and bar.
The sunny courtyard at Bar Botanica. (Image: Jacs Powell)
The brainchild of husband-and-wife team, Dan and Julia Hughes – who also own Mr Goaty Gelato – it’s an idyllic place to enjoy locally roasted coffee, award-winning gin and, of course, incredible gelato.
Pile high the scoops of gelato at Bar Botanica. (Image: Jacs Powell)
The Ploughman’s Board at Bar Botanica. (Image: Jacs Powell)
Address: 25 Portsmouth Road, Erina
17. Kew Dining, Erina Heights
Best for: casual dining, high tea
Kew Dining features natural timber, wicker furniture and a sage green and blush colour palette. (Image: @bbcollective)
Adjoining the renowned Ken Duncan Gallery, Kew Dining is a relaxed space that complements the surrounding bush landscape: natural timber and wicker furniture and a sage green and blush colour palette. The café serves breakfast and lunch, but its high tea is a local favourite. Served from 10am on Tuesdays and Saturdays, diners can enjoy sweets such as freshly baked scones and savoury bites such as housemade arancini balls and finger sandwiches, with tea or bubbles.
The food at Kew Dining is an edible work of art. (Image: @bbcollective)
Address: 414 The Entrance Road, Erina Heights
18. Remy & Co Pasta Bar, Erina
Best for: pasta, casual dining
Combining local and Italian ingredients, Remy & Co creates a seasonal menu featuring ever-so-fresh handmade pasta, such as gnocchi gorgonzola and smoked three meat ragu, as well as pizza and antipasti.
Address: 2 Ilya Avenue, Erina
Killcare and Hardys Bay
The bayside villages of Killcare and Hardys Bay are quiet achievers. Not only is it home to renowned Bells at Killcare but it also has a generous handful of top restaurants to call its own.
19. Wild Flower Bar + Dining, Killcare
Best for: fine dining, seafood
Make your way to Wild Flower Bar + Dining for fine dining and seafood. (Image: Dom Cherry)
Under the guide of culinary director Sean Connolly, the Wild Flower Bar + Dining menu is ‘inspired by food of the sun’, boasting flavours from the Mediterranean to Morocco.
Culinary director Sean Connolly is the mastermind behind the menu at Wild Flower Bar + Dining, Killcare. (Image: Kate Quinn)
Part of the ultra-luxe Bells at Killcare, the menu at this hatted restaurant is designed around ingredients from the impressive 500 square-metre kitchen garden, and locally sourced produce, especially the seafood from nearby Macmasters Beach, Hardys Bay and Brisbane Water.
A mouth-watering spread at Wild Flower Bar + Dining. (Image: Dom Cherry)
The cocktails are fresh and pack a punch at Wild Flower Bar + Dining. (Image: Nikki To)
Address: 107 The Scenic Road, Killcare
20. Lucky Bee, Hardys Bay
Best for: Asian, casual dining
The Lucky Bee is a funky mod Asian restaurant in Hardys Bay. (Image: Lisa Haymes)
Pink walls and disco balls are not what you would expect from the languid seaside suburb of Hardys Bay: insert The Lucky Bee, a funky mod Asian restaurant from clever restauranteurs Rupert Noffs and Matty Bee.
Expect share-style Asian fusion cuisine at Lucky Bee. (Image: Lisa Haymes)
Enjoy share-style dishes that burst with Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese flavours, a yum cha menu on weekends and seriously delish cocktails.
Address: 60 Araluen Drive, Hardys Bay
View out over the bay at Lucky Bees. (Image: Lisa Haymes)
Long Jetty and The Entrance
There are a few gems tucked away in Long Jetty and The Entrance that you really don’t want to miss, including a former 1950s theatre transformed into a multi-purpose bar and restaurant.
21. The Entrance Social Club, The Entrance
Best for: pub food, groups
The former Entrance Hotel is almost unrecognisable with its latest multi-million-dollar rebrand as The Entrance Social Club. Sports fans will love Taffy’s, which has booths with personal TVs to watch all the big games, from NRL to NBA to UFC. While across the corridor, Mrs May Bistro & Bar is a very different, more feminine vibe: all soft tones, curves and gold accents, a round pavilion with fireplace and cane swinging chairs to relax. Dine on pub classics and fresh seafood or enjoy a drink in the alfresco beer garden, which will be buzzing in summer.
Address: 87 The Entrance Road, The Entrance
Dine on pub classics and fresh seafood at The Entrance Social Club. (Image: Supplied)
22. Cue and Crew, The Entrance
Best for: slow cooked meat, takeaway
Meat lovers: contain your tastebuds. Café by day, American barbecue by night, Cue and Crew offers up takeaway boxes of your choice of fresh smoked American barbecue meat. Choose from beef brisket, pulled pork, pork belly, pork ribs, pulled lamb and wings, all served with house pickles, slaw and potato crisps. (From 6pm, Friday and Saturday nights until sold out.)
Indulge in a mouthwatering breakfast brisket meal at Cue & Crew.
Address: 20 Hargraves Street, The Entrance
23. The Savoy, Long Jetty
Best for: casual dining, groups
Long Jetty’s 1950s theatre The Savoy was given a new lease on life a couple of years back when it was turned into a multi-purpose bar and restaurant. Fill up on casual bites such as pizza or share plates, browse the long list of beverages, and enjoy a film screening (every Thursday night) or groove along to the live DJs on the weekend.
Address: 2/391 The Entrance Road, Long Jetty
Long Jetty’s former 1950s theatre The Savoy is now a bar and restaurant. (Image: Supplied)
Wyong, Toukley and Norah Head
Seek out a stylish speakeasy bar and restaurant in Wyong, lakeside pub food in Toukley, and tapas in Norah Head to dine at the best restaurants at this end of the Central Coast.
24. Motel Mezza, Wyong
Best for: Middle eastern, groups
Wyong’s Motel Mezza is housed in a former 1930s bank. (Image: Supplied)
Housed in a former 1930s bank, Motel Mezza is a speakeasy-style bar with a Middle Eastern menu that’s designed to share with friends (falafel, kebeh, sambousek) along with a tipple from the extensive beverage list.
Motel Mezza serves up a share-style, Middle Eastern menu. (Image: Supplied)
Signature cocktails such as a mango and chilli heat and pineapple and saffron martini will leave a lasting impression.
The signature cocktails at Motel Mezza are a hit with patrons. (Image: Supplied)
Address: 98 Pacific Hwy, Wyong
25. The Beachcomber, Toukley
Best for: groups, pub food
The Beachcomber is set right on the shores of Budgewoi Lake. (Image: Supplied)
Set right on the shores of Budgewoi Lake, The Beachcomber is a hip and happening place with a chic Hamptons look and beach club vibe for locals and visitors to eat, drink, stay and play.
The Beachie features a chic Hamptons look and beach club vibe. (Image: Supplied)
Pub food is available at The Beachie, a casual dining space, while the soon-to-be-opening Pelican’s promises semi-fine dining.
Address: 200 Main Road, Toukley
The Beachcomber Hotel serves up pub food at its finest. (Image: Supplied)
26. Johnny Tapas, Norah Head
Best for: tapas, groups
Johnny Tapas is located in the heart of the beachside suburb of Norah Head. (Image: Supplied)
Good food and good times are on the agenda at Johnny Tapas, a buzzy restaurant in the heart of the beachside suburb of Norah Head.
The tapas-style menu at Johnny Tapas also features woodfired pizza and tacos. (Image: Supplied)
The menu, unsurprisingly, features tapas as well as woodfired pizza, tacos and some epic cocktails, beer and wine. There’s also live music and other events such as comedy shows.
The Lady Norah is Johnny Tapas signature cocktail, made with locally sourced gin from Distillery Botanica at Erina. (Image: Supplied)
Address: 7 Mitchell Street, Norah Head
Make the trip to Mt White to sit on a saddle at a bar, dine on the deck or by the fireplace in winter at this standout restaurant.
27. Saddles, Mt White
Best for: lunch, casual dining
Saddles Mt White is set on 11 hectares of quintessential Australian bushland. (Image: Supplied)
The stylish interior of Saddle Mt White features a fireplace and saddle bar stools. (Image: Supplied)
Inspired by a traditional bakehouse and set on 11 hectares of quintessential Australian bushland, the rustic but luxe Saddles Mt White serves a heart-warming menu of modern Australian cuisine.
Hearty pies feature on the modern Australian menu at Saddles Mt White. (Image: Supplied)
Freshly-baked treats are on offer at Saddles Mt White.
Whether you order a pork and fennel sausage roll followed by a lamington with chocolate ganache, or a six-week dry-aged T-bone steak, all dishes are elegantly plated.
Address: 20 Ashbrookes Road, Mt White