February 27, 2023
10 mins Read
Locals have pretty strong opinions about which are the best restaurants in Cronulla. We’re not here to play favourites, but we have rounded up some of the waterfront suburb’s best places to eat. Following are the places that provide a compelling snapshot of where the dining scene in the southern Sydney suburb is at. Here are the Cronulla restaurants, from family-friendly places for pizza to a swanky new supper club, that should be on your radar. And if it’s great cafes you’re after, we’ve got those for you, too.
This elegant beachside pavilion is a place for special occasions. Nab a seat in the dining room near the large cut-out windows that frame a swirling scape of sea and sky to enjoy signature dishes such as the crispy pork jowl or signature bouillabaisse for two.
The menu at The Pines is designed by Michelin-trained chef James Metcalfe, while the global wines list is selected by sommelier Chris Hoy (ex-Merivale) and the restaurant has captured a loyal following.
Best for: Sea breezes over plates of crispy pork jowl and cured flank steak.
Address: Unit 1/8-18 Kingsway, Cronulla
This family-run restaurant has been growing strong for about a decade. Yalla Sawa means to ‘come together’ in Lebanese and the family-run restaurant is a fine example of the kind of quality restaurants locals flock to for Sunday lunch or dinner.
This is home cooking done right with parsley-rich tabbouli and herb-flecked falafel staying true to family recipes. The quality and freshness of the ingredients is remarkable. Feast on flavoursome hummus and Lebanese flatbread and lamb shank tagine in this beautiful space which is distinguished by its colourful design.
Best for: Chicken shwarma, falafel and chermoula eggplant.
Address: 2/59-65 Gerrale St, Cronulla
CC Babcoq has taken the notion of the humble roast chook shop up a notch and in doing so created one of the most jumping joints in Cronulla. The name is a tongue-in-cheek nod to the character in The Nanny, C.C. Babcoq and was initially conceptualised by Harry and Mario Kapoulas (who have the ever-popular HAM cafe and Rushi, near Chain Reaction).
Go for the rotisserie chook with crinkle-cut chips and baby cos salad and stay for the cocktails. Mussels in a tomato-rich broth are also a must-order when they’re in season. Portions are generous at the colourful eatery, which has both indoor and al fresco seating arrangements.
Best for: Crumbed chicken with baby cos.
Address: Shop 4/5/66-70 Cronulla St, Cronulla
Ideally located on Cronulla’s high street, this low-key eatery is a top spot to come for lunch after a swim or a surf at South Cronulla. Eat Lebanese does what it says on the tin. It serves sensational share plates of Lebanese food in a light, comfortable dining area a pebble’s throw from the beach.
Once seated in this intimate venue, diners are encouraged to pick out their own mix of mezze dishes. A starter that should not be missed is the fattoush, a home-style salad made from rocket, fresh thyme, purslane, tomatoes and toasted flatbread. Round out your feast with falafels and a mixed grill plate.
Best for: The kafta fold-up, which is a seven-serviette affair.
Address: 98 Cronulla St, Cronulla
In spite of the fact Cronulla has no shortage of pizzerias, this dark and atmospheric family-run joint has long been considered one of the area’s best. Jorga Carroll has earned her place as a pizzaiola in just a few short years for her mastery of the traditional Neopolitan-style pizza, which is typically eaten folded over for easy consumption.
There’s also an impressive selection of starters at Queen Margherita of Savoy such as nduja arancini and lamb polpette as well as pasta options and sensational salads. Ask Taro the bartender to whip up one of his signature cocktails.
Best for: Pizza capriccioso and pasta gamberi.
Address: 2 Surf Road, Cronulla
El Rey means ‘the king’ and this new addition to the neighbourhood is a great place to gather for a few tacos, chilli margies and a chat. You can see the waves rolling in from this sun-drenched terrace where you will be waited on by staff wearing light-washed denim and haircuts that nod to the 90s.
Mexican-born chef Luis Zalette spins local ingredients around a menu of mod Mexi favourites such as corn-battered fish tacos and quesadillas. Delicioso.
Best for: Nachos and tacos de Pescado.
Address: 1 Kingsway, Cronulla
Locals have long liked to linger at Alphabet St and Giro Osteria. But the Natale Group have stepped it up another notch with Johnny Hu, a restaurant/bar by day and night that transitions into a supper club.
From kung pao chicken and Peking duck pancakes and dumplings made in-house daily to Japanese whisky sours. Go to the supper club on a lazy Sunday and order the set menu in this up-and-coming corner of Cronulla.
Best for: Pork, prawn, garlic and chive dumplings.
Address: 134 Cronulla St, Cronulla
Giro Osteria is a discreet eatery is tucked away on the second level of the rather dated Cote d’Azur building in Cronulla, which belies its charming interior. This upscale space was gifted to the community by restaurateurs Joe Natale and Oriana de Luca, who have been spreading the gospel about the Shire for about a decade.
Take a seat on the aubergine banquette and watch the chefs plating up at the pass. Everyone from tradies with their missos to local politicians doing business and groups of girlfriends going out to lunch are drawn to the intimate osteria. Undoubtedly, for dishes such as linguine with lobster and cacio e pepe.
Best for: Pork belly arancini and linguine with lobster. There’s bolognese for bambinis.
Address: 3/1 McDonald St, Cronulla
You can choose your own pan-Asian adventure at Alphabet St with its menu divided into bites, snacks, starters, salads and rice courses. As well as being the first Natale Group restaurant to open in the Sutherland Shire, Alphabet St embodied a shift in the local dining scene that was a long time coming.
Alphabet St is the culinary complement to the coastal lifestyle on offer here. The menu blurs borders and is a mix of bold flavours and culinary refinement. Order the papaya salad, the Hiramasa kingfish sashimi, the big boyz chicken wings and the Massaman lamb curry with a coupla appletinis on the side.
Best for: Appletinis and steamed whole fish with lime and chilli broth
Address: 5/8 Kingsway, Cronulla
There are dozens of places to dine and drink in Cronulla. But not all are created equal. Salt Meats Cheese is housed in the iconic heritage-listed former Commonwealth Bank in a hip pocket of the pedestrianised plaza. While the Sammut Group helped transform the mixed-use building into a local landmark, Guru Projects worked on SMC’s interiors.
Twirl your fork around a tangle of crab tagliolini. Stab a little square of spinach and ricotta ravioli fragrant with ricotta and pecorino. The dining room is a shiny Art Deco fantasy of what a neighbourhood Italian bistro should look like. It has a light, playful spirit anchored to some great talent in the kitchen.
Best for: Smashing a super truffle bros pizza after a surf.
Address: Shop 1/66-70 Cronulla St, Cronulla
Opening originally as a library, this ivy-clad space boasts views of the streetscape thanks to its large floor-to-ceiling windows. As well as being a fine dining landmark, 1908 Cronulla offers the perfect setting for a proposal and an atmosphere that seems to be imbued with the familiarity of old friends.
The seafood-centric menu is a celebration of coastal dining and attracts the kind of Cronullaphiles who love to dress up to the nines and make lunch or dinner a snazzy affair.
Best for: Grilled snapper with seasonal greens.
Address: 1/15 Surf Rd, Cronulla
Prince Harry made a cameo at Summer Salt when he was still a working member of the Royal Family. While the news made headlines around the world, locals already had this place well and truly on their radar.
Summer Salt is one of Carl Jensen’s venues, he also has Papa Js in Cronulla. Basically, it’s one of the best bars in Cronulla. Also, Summer Salt has got sweeping views of breaking waves and Cronulla’s beach scene and is a great place to stop off after an amble along the Esplanade.
Best for: The cold seafood plate and salmon sashimi.
Address: 66 Mitchell Rd, Cronulla
Google ‘best seafood platter in Cronulla’ and Sealevel pops up at the top. It’s the local’s go-to for giant, tiered platters of fruits de mer. Besides Sydney rock oysters, blue swimmer crab, Moreton bay bugs, smoked salmon, fresh and barbecued prawns there’s barbecued octopus and beer-battered fish.
The beachfront restaurant becomes more like an aquarium when there’s a swell running, with waves rushing over the footpath out front. This is not the kind of place where you dust the sand off your feet and wander in off the beach. Channel your nanna from Nantucket and dress to impress.
Best for: The seafood plate for two.
Address: No.2 The Kingsway, Cronulla
From vintage sleepers to steam locomotives, see more of Australia by train with these epic rail adventures. Forget packed flights where you don't see...
Steve Madgwick has made the outback road trip blunders so you don't have to... It’s lucky no one can hear you swear halfway along the Oodnadatta Tr...
Not only will these incredible events connect you to Country; they'll become experiences you'll never forget. The outback’s dynamic communities and...
Dreaming of exploring Australia's outback but unsure where to start? The outback is defined by its majesty and magnificence. Just as there is great d...
Travel on a train that does triple duty as a classroom, a fine-dining restaurant and a window into Australia’s soul on an epic journey between the e...
Crack out the sunglasses (and the tinnies) when you pay a visit to Australia’s top beachside pubs and bars. Did you know: more than 85 per cent of ...
For the best travel inspiration delivered straight to your door.