Discover for yourself the best regional restaurants which are right on your doorstep
For those of you who consider yourself to be a serious foodie and dining out to be your hobby or sport of choice, you will be aware that this year’s Good Food Guide Awards were altered slightly. Rather than listing scores and hats the 2022 GFG Awards this year featured 350 of the best restaurants, bars, and cafes in Victoria and NSW.
Amongst this list is an ever-growing number of venues located right on our doorstep, so if you don’t mind traveling a little for a one-of-a-kind dining experience check this list of Hunter Valley, Maitland, Newcastle, Central Coast, and Port Macquarie restaurants worthy of a day trip, or perhaps a weekend away.
Owned and operated by Robert & Sally Molines, Bistro Molines first opened in 2008 and has since become a Hunter Valley dining institution. That iconic Hunter Valley views together with the warm welcomes which make you feel special on every visit, and of course, the award-winning French-influenced menu has continued to steal lovers of fine food and kept guests returning. Whether you're looking to dine in the hunter valley for lunch or dinner, Bistro Molines is a must-visit.
Where: 749 Mount View Rd, Mount View NSW 2325
Located at the entrance to the Hunter Valley within the iconic Hungerford Hill Winery, Muse Restaurant has consistently showcased the best of the Hunter Valley. Taking a contemporary approach to the menu, which is frequently altered to reflect the seasonality changes. Head Chef and owner Troy Rhoades-Brown is dedicated to running a restaurant that offers the complete dining experience, which is reflected in Muse Restaurants' status of 2 Chef Hats in the Sydney Morning Herald ‘Good Food Guide’, from 2015 to the present.
Where: 2450 Broke Rd, Pokolbin
Expect a modern contemporary Italian menu when dining at éRemo Restaurant, crafted by hatted Executive Chef Cameron Matthews whose experience in the Italian kitchen is reflected in the flavours and local produce. The menu is complemented by a well-traveled wine list, including some of the Hunter Valley’s best vintages and a selection of those from further afield.
Where: 57 Ekerts Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
Expect a down-to-earth and intimate space, exceptional service and clever menu that owner Frank Fawkner describes as being 'delicious, entertaining and interactive'. Food is at the heart of EXP. with Frank and his team creating dishes that are their EXP.pression of Australian cuisine with the aim being to shine a light on premium produce and wines from the Hunter region and around Australia.
Where: 2188 Broke Rd, Pokolbin
Located within the Cockfighters Ghost Vineyard in the heart of Pokolbin, Hunters Quarters has it all. Head chef Brian Duncan whose extensive kitchen experience has taken him around the globe has curated an innovative menu that will have you tasting seasonal offers and only the best local produce combined with a stunning vineyard vista, it's a dining experience you're sure to not forget.
Where: 576 De Beyers Rd, Pokolbin
The family-owned and operated restaurant and working kitchen garden can be found in a quiet corner of the Hunter Valley Broke region. The Margan story starts back in 1996 when Lisa and Andrew Margan first established their wine brand Margan Wines. In 2007 they planted their kitchen garden which has now expanded into more than a hectare of fresh food, with their menus a reflection of what is able to be harvested, ensuring a truly local and seasonal focus.
Where: 1238 Milbrodale Rd, Broke
An award-winning European-inspired casual dining experience in the Hunter Valley is what you'll discover on a visit to Muse Kitchen in Pokolbin. Located within the gorgeous courtyard grounds of Keith Tulloch Wines the European style menu draws on inspiration from the produce and talent that can be found around the Hunter Valley.
Where: Keith Tulloch Winery Cnr. Hermitage &, Deasys Rd, Pokolbin
Muse Kitchen Lorn
The charming village of Lorn in Maitland won the gastronomy lotto in 2020 when restaurateur/owner Megan Rhoades-Brown, who celebrates more than 10 years of serving up delicious fare to diners at Muse Kitchen in the Hunter Valley, opened the gorgeous white French doors to a second Muse Kitchen in Lorn. Taking a slightly more casual approach the dining places a strong emphasis on the classics with that homely and have a French-inspired feel.
Where: 1/27 Belmore Rd, Lorn
Newcastle-born and bred owner of Restaurant Mason Chris Thornton began his career as an apprentice chef at Newcastle’s Restaurant II. The former Bolton St venue was where Chris developed an appreciation for fine dining and a refined palate. From Bolton St, Chris headed to the UK to team up with fellow Novocastrian Brett Graham at his Notting Hill restaurant The Ledbury with Chris’ Michelin Star rated time here was invaluable, taking his skills to another level and a desire to create his own restaurant space.
Where: 3/35 Hunter St, Newcastle
Scotties Seafood Restaurant
A long-time favourite for fresh and sustainable seafood Scotties is an icon of the Newcastle dining scene. Most Novocastrian's memories of Scotties are most likely of a fish n' chip shop, however, it's matured into much more than that. With a history that dates back to the 1950s Scotties has been a corner shop, the local general store, a fish n' chip takeaway, and now the Scotties that we know today - a cozy seafood trattoria run by a team of dedicated full-time foodies whose focus is on featuring the freshest, local ocean produce that is line caught whenever possible.
Where: 36 Scott St, Newcastle East
Casual yet refined is what to expect of The Flotilla experience. The intimate restaurant and bar is located in the backstreets of Wickham, with the surprising location adding only to the restaurant's charm and street-smart savviness. Led by Chef Shayne Mansfield and Restaurant Operator Eduardo Molina whose passion for the industry is reflected in the experience each guest receives the two or three-course menu options provides diners with the chance to experience the expertise and flair of the kitchen.
Where: 9 Albert St, Wickham
Hot Tip: If there are only two of you, ask to be seated at the bar so you can catch all the kitchen action.
Osteria Il Coccia
Pulling up stumps in Bowral having owned and cheffed the Bistro Officina, a family trip to Ettalong on the Central Coast saw Nicola and Alexandra Coccia relocate and lay down new roots in the main street of Ettalong on the Central Coast. Opening in July 2019, Osteria il Coccia is the epitome of head chef Nicola’s love of flame-cooked Italian food brought to life, and With restaurants like Quay, Ormeggio, QT, Otto Ristorante, Biota Dining and New Zealand’s first hatted restaurant, Toto' Ristorante, on Nicola's resume – you know the food is going to be a master class in Italian flavour.
Where: 40/189 Ocean View Rd, Ettalong Beach
The Lucky Bee
The Lucky Bee has been a breath of fresh air and was a whirlwind to the local restaurant and bar scene. Founded in New York City’s lower east side in 2015, The Lucky Bee arrived on the Central Coast in 2019. Owners Matty Bennett and Rupert Noffs pride themselves on being authentic South East Asian cuisine, so be prepared for some genuine spice! Chef Matty’s signature curry has 38 ingredients made from scratch with quality produce; the Whole Fried Szechuan Salt and Pepper Snapper is a customer requested favourite and what keeps it on the menu.
Where: 60 Araluen Dr, Hardys Bay
Woy Woy Fishermen's Wharf
If you're looking for award-winning, market-fresh seafood, then Woy Woy Fisherman's Wharf on the Central Coast's is your spot. Located on a jetty on Brisbane Water, the iconic waterfront seafood restaurant which has been operating for more than 40 years, offers a laid back dining experience together with some of the freshest and most delicious seafood you'll ever eat!
Where: The Boulevarde, Woy Woy
Rick Stein at Bannisters
In 2019 Rick and Sarah Stein launched their first Australian restaurant in the seaside town of Mollymook on the NSW South Coast. The property soon attracted guests eager to indulge in some fine seafood flavours and soak up the slowed-down pace of coastal life. In 2018 the bare-foot luxurious accommodation experience opened in Port Stephens bringing with it the fine seafood flavours of Rick Stein. The expansive space that perfectly merges contemporary industrial design and luxe lounge vibes offers as you would expect a predominately high-quality seafood-focused menu which has been created in collaboration with Head Chef Mitchell Turner.
Where: 147 Soldiers Point Rd, Soldiers Point
The Stunned Mullet
Whilst the white table cloths, beautiful glassware and crisp interiors lend to a formal setting The Stunned Mullet is better described as having a relaxed coastal vibe with a serious foodie offering. Located directly opposite the lovely Town Beach and on the edge of Port Macquarie CBD you can expect a Modern Australian cuisine with a focus on seasonal, local and speciality ingredients. For those who take their wine seriously, you will be more than impressed with the extensive wine menu. Craft beer drinks are also in luck as are the cocktail lovers.
Where: 24 William St, Port Macquarie
To view the full list of restaurants from the 2022 Good Food Guide click here.