Where you need to dine out on the Central Coast
Rising from its 'above-ground cemetery' origins, as Spike Milligan once famously said, the Central Coast's dining landscape has blossomed into a vibrant culinary haven.
Garnering a prestigious Sydney Morning Herald ‘Good Food Guide’ Chef Hat, the region now boasts an array of extraordinary dining experiences, complemented by diverse cuisines and picturesque seaside vistas.
With its stunning location, just over an hour from Sydney, making it an ideal stop for a foodie getaway, Central Coast is firmly on the map for those seeking an escape packed with delights. Explore our handpicked list of top coastal restaurants.
Chica Chica Ettalong Beach Restaurant & Bar’s menu draws inspiration from the flavours of South America. Each dish is prepared over their Argentinean grill, plus they’re conveniently located opposite the Mantra.
Where: 2/19-21 Broken Bay Rd, Ettalong Beach
Don’t be fooled by the exterior. If you're on the lookout for a fresh Greek dining experience, drop by Ela Mesa in Woy Woy. An unpretentious Mediterranean cafe-restaurant infusing modern twists to classic Greek dishes. As a family-owned establishment, they take pride in providing friendly service, and good food.
Where: 18-22 The Boulevarde, Woy Woy
Gosford Sailing Club
Established in 1932 and nestled in picturesque Point Frederick, overlooking the breathtaking Brisbane Water, their fully licensed restaurant boasts a diverse menu catering to a wide range of tastes. With its inviting, casual dining ambiance and friendly service, The Bistro has earned its reputation as the preferred destination for couples, families, and friends seeking a memorable dining experience.
Where: 28 Masons Pde, Gosford
While Bar Toto is primarily known as a bar rather than a traditional restaurant, they offer a selection of Antipasti and Cicchetti that pairs perfectly with their cocktails. It's the ideal spot for a pre or post-movie drink and snack experience at The Galleria in Ettalong. They also feature comedy nights and live music in the back lounge.
Where: 83/189 Ocean View Rd, Ettalong Beach
Hotel Gosford is the Coast's premier foodie pub, offering fireside dining, live music, sports on mega screens, and newly renovated accommodation. Anticipate a departure from the ordinary - it’s not your typical local!
Where: 179 Mann St, Gosford
Kims isn't just a luxe adults-only resort; it's a cherished piece of Coastal history, featuring a restaurant with roots dating back to 1886. In keeping with tradition, sip on your Lychee Pimm’s Martini, in the Hollywood Regency-inspired cocktail bar, with a touch of "A Single Man" interior decor. Eagerly await the ringing of the bell, signaling the commencement of dinner.
Where: 16 Charlton St, Toowoon Bay
A fun, hip, and friendly local Mexican spot in The Galleria, Ettalong serving all your favourites. Keep your eyes out for the return of the Mariachi band fiesta nights as we head into summer.
Where: Shop 33/34 189 Ocean View Rd, Ettalong Beach
L’isle de France
L'isle de France Terrigal is dedicated to creating a chic ambiance and offering exquisite French cuisine against the backdrop of one of Terrigal's finest beachfront settings.
Where: 1 Ena St, Terrigal
Little Miss Mezza's popular menu is a fusion of traditional Middle Eastern cuisine, infused with a modern Australian twist, from the ever-expanding Meraki Group. Look out for their popular wine dinners.
Where: Shop 3/4 299 Brisbane Water Dr, West Gosford
Chef Freddie, hailing from Italy, has a family background in owning wine bars in Rome. He grew up immersed in the social and creative essence of food sharing as an experience. At Marble Bar, every steak is expertly prepared, making it one of the finest steak houses on the Coast.
Where: 2/8 Karalta Rd, Erina
Nero’s Woodfired Pizza
Nero's Chef and Owner, Mitch Green, takes pride in crafting his Italian offerings with a commitment to top-notch ingredients, such as Australian organic stone-milled heritage flour and 22-month-aged Prosciutto Di Parma, sourced through their trusted Italian supplier. Their pizzas are definitely worth the buzz.
Where: 35-39 Blackwall Rd, Woy Woy
Osteria a' Mano
Chef Paolo meticulously collected generations of beloved family recipes. His commitment to exquisite flavours begins with the selection of sustainable, locally sourced fresh ingredients, and extends to the art of hand-rolling their pasta.
Where: 66 Pacific Hwy, Wyong
Osteria il Coccia, the Coast’s only Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Chef Hat restaurant by husband and wife team, Nico & Alexandra Coccia, has recently introduced a Friday bar snacks menu. Every Friday from 12-2pm, indulge in all your Osteria il Coccia favourites from their a la carte bar menu.
Where: 49 The Esplanade, Ettalong Beach
Delicious wood-fired pizza, pasta, and fun cocktails are served at Rhonda's. On weekends, enjoy the coastal sunshine in their open-roof seating area, creating a relaxed atmosphere that lingers into the evening. A popular spot for large groups.
Where: 3/5 Kurrawyba Ave, Terrigal
Nestled within 28 acres of expansive bushland in the heart of Mount White, John Singleton’s Saddles stands as a perfect lunch stop-over, just an hour's drive north of Sydney. Their seasonal menu is simple and thoughtfully curated to showcase the rich tapestry of Australian flavours in a stunning location.
Where: 20 Ashbrookes Rd, Mount White
Located on the Peninsula’s thriving entertainment hub, The Galleria Ettalong, Safran offers an upscale Turkish fine dining experience. Additionally, they've recently unveiled a new kebab shop, distinct from the restaurant.
Where: 81/189 Ocean View Rd, Ettalong Beach
Nestled in Empire Bay, Sorrento is a local hidden gem embraced by the community. Run by the beloved local legend Elia, it brings a taste of the Amalfi Coast to the area - offering authentic wood-fired pizza and delightful gelato. Elia's warm hospitality ensures you depart feeling like a member of the famiglia. Make sure you order the show-stopping Mushroom and Truffle pizza!
Where: 1 Sorrento Rd, Empire Bay
Suq's menu is designed for sharing and draws inspiration from a blend of culinary traditions, including France, Italy, the Mediterranean, North Africa, Japan, and various parts of Asia. Their flavours represent an eclectic fusion, promising a truly unique and unforgettable dining experience.
Where: 80 Ocean View Dr, Wamberal
Nestled within a charming seaside enclave with views of Patonga Beach, it’s part of the ever-expanding Boathouse Group and offers a restaurant, kiosk, and accommodation. You’ll find classics like burgers and pizzas, complemented by an extensive cocktail bar. The Palm Beach ferry stops just outside.
Where: 6-8 Patonga Dr, Patonga
The Box on the Water
Set on the waterfront of Ettalong Beach with views of Palm Beach, The Box is a local favourite. To complete this year’s Mediterranean wine dinner series, they have a Moroccan-themed wine dinner on November, Tuesday 28th. Their kiosk dishes out takeaway 7-4pm, daily.
Where: The Esp, Ettalong Beach
The Cowrie Restaurant
An enduring Terrigal fine dining establishment, perched above the beach, offers a refreshing ambiance and upscale Modern Australian cuisine, including tasting menus and private dining.
Where: 109 Scenic Hwy, Terrigal
Established in 2015 in New York City, then transplanted on the Coast this popular Southeast Asian restaurant and cocktail bar is one of only three restaurants listed in the 2023 Good Food Guide. Located at The Galleria in Ettalong, and serves seasonal signature dishes like bao buns, house-made curries, and whole-fried Szechuan salt & pepper Snapper. It also offers a full list of dumplings and lunch specials.
Where: 40/189 Ocean View Rd, Ettalong Beach
Wildflower Bar & Dining
Nestled in Killcare Heights at Bells Hotel, Wildflower offers a Mediterranean dining experience within a manor house, surrounded by stunning landscaped gardens. Perfect for a long lunch or romantic dinner. Don’t forget to explore their bodega for fresh coffee and baked treats, thoughtfully curated by Michaela Clayton.
Where: 107 The Scenic Rd, Killcare Heights
On the water's edge, opposite Woy Woy’s train station, this seafood co-op, takeaway, and restaurant is a coastal landmark. Their seafood is brought in daily from Sydney Fish Markets. With a history of being family-run, it has firmly cemented itself as one of the best.
Where: The Boulevarde, Woy Woy
Yellowtail prioritises local sustainable seafood, including Appellation oysters and seasonal market fish. A quality fine-dining option in Terrigal.
Where: 3/1 Campbell Cres, Terrigal
Yusu serves all your favourite Japanese dishes from Sushi and Sashimi to comforting Ramen and Udon wheat noodles, along with crispy Tempura featuring both seafood and vegetables. This small, family-run restaurant takes pride in sourcing their veggies directly from their farm.
Where: 189 Ocean View Rd, Ettalong Beach
In the interest of transparency, the writer of this article, Rupert Noffs, is the owner of The Lucky Bee in Ettalong Beach.