Gorge on the freshest locally caught fish, the best daily baked bread and stellar sunsets on this island paradise
This tropical, UNESCO World Heritage-listed idyll is known for its greenery-drenched mountainous landscapes and the marine park that encircles it, home to hundreds of fish species and a multitude of underwater coral jungles. But Lord Howe’s shores play host to a number of great cafes and restaurants too, with seafood the overarching specialty. Given the limited options, it pays to book in advance at your choice of these six dining spots on the island.
While this restaurant’s interior is a touch casual, the food is anything but. After all, executive chef David Chlumsky has worked at some of Sydney’s finest dining institutions, such as Otto, Quay and Longrain.
Expect modern Australian cuisine, complemented by plenty of locally caught fish and locally grown fruits and vegetables, plus artisan sourdough, turkish bread, pies, cakes and pastries, all baked on site daily. Open from your morning flat white and avocado on toast through to your post-dinner lemon cheesecake and digestif, this ‘in-town’ outpost, located just a few steps from the golden shores of Lagoon Beach, hits the mark for every meal, seven days a week. A perennially popular option on the island, it’s best to book ahead at Anchorage for dinner.
Coral Cafe at the Museum
You need to time it right at Coral Cafe: a restaurant housed within the Lord Howe Island Museum that’s only open for dinner a few nights a week. This small and reasonably priced cafe has simple yet hearty breakfast and lunch options (think egg and bacon rolls, milkshakes, hamburgers, sandwiches, wraps and cakes).
Come dusk a more sophisticated offering takes hold: dine on prawn and chilli linguine, grilled local kingfish, as well as the occasional Malaysian special (the owner and chef both hail from the Asian nation), but be warned that the latter often sells out well before closing.
Thompson’s General Store
The island’s best burgers? Quite possibly. Going strong since 1925, this general store purveys all the everyday essentials you might need, as well as a few extras, from souvenirs and fishing supplies to fresh bread and fruit. But it’s the lunchtime takeaway service that has visitors rapt. There are options for veggies as well as prawn burgers, chicken burgers, and the classic beef, beetroot and egg. Add on a cold beer and hot chips and eat your lunch under the shade of the palm trees outside, watching the world go by. If burgers aren’t your thing then opt for the fish and chips, sandwiches or ready-to-go salads instead.
If fine dining is your vice then snapping up a reservation at Arajilla Restaurant is a must. With a seasonal menu that changes daily, the quality of output doesn’t falter, regardless of whether you are dining in for a three-course dinner or visiting for a princely breakfast. This four-star hotel boasts its own kitchen garden, which supplies the restaurant with organic veggies and herbs. Line-caught fish are brought in fresh from the island’s waters.
Artisan cheeses and pasture-fed meats are sourced from the mainland. And the experienced in-house chefs bake their own bread. As a result, the artfully plated dishes sing with freshness and vibrancy. Dinner might include lamb breast terrine with feta ravioli, crispy fried capers and romesco sauce for starters, sesame-crusted kingfish with a baby corn and miso broth for main, and a tonka bean bavarois for dessert. But even breakfast is a cut above (think miso-cured trout corn fritters with Japanese mustard greens, yuzu dressing and a poached egg). Moreover, the kitchen can accommodate all kinds of diners with dietaries, from vegans to celiacs. To get more Vegan foodie ideas, check this vegan recipes review.
The Golfy Sunset Bar & Grill
Sip on a house cocktail, and drink in the panoramic views across to Mount Gower and the ocean as the sun sets over this scenic golf course, and everyone whips out their phone for photos. If you’re looking for moreish, slightly upscale fare, then you’ve come to the right place.
While seafood is typically the order of the day here – the fish specials are chalked up on the blackboard each day, and dishes such as garlic prawns, coconut-crusted squid and grilled kingfish are mainstays on the menu – there are other options at this casual dining clubhouse: grain-fed scotch fillet served your way, chicken schnitzel and ricotta gnocchi, for example.
Lord Howe Island Bowling Club
There’s a limited menu at this Lord Howe institution, popular with locals and families, so choose your night wisely. Some nights pizzas are on special; some nights the chef spotlights the humble pie; and others still have a wider ranging traditional Aussie pub menu, plus a few more island-specific nods, such as grilled blue-eye trevalla, or kingfish sashimi. Similar to any kind of bowls club or RSL back on the mainland, this isn’t the place to go for glamour and haute cuisine: instead, come for a glass of wine, a good time, and a hearty feed.
Find more great travel tips in our Lord Howe Island holiday guide.