Eat & Drink

A round-up of our most read, shared, and loved articles for 2023

To close out the year, we’d like to thank everyone who has visited HUNTERhunter to read and share our articles. A huge thanks also goes out to those who have helped and supported us throughout the year. Without you, HUNTERhunter wouldn’t be possible.

There's been a lot of news to bring you throughout the year. Sadly, there's been many closures with cost of living, staff shortages, and the lingering effects of Covid continuing to impact hospitality. Despite all of these challenges, the industry has powered on with some long-time favourites renovated and reimagined, and some outstanding new venues opening their doors. 

Finally, we’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year, leaving you with our final article for 2023: a wrap of the top 10 most read, loved, and shared articles of the year. Catch you in 2024!

10. Salt, Chilli and Lime

An ode to the greasy goodness found in Aussie fish and chip shops, Salt, Chilli and Lime is the work of Tory and husband Brent Cleary who initially set out to create a takeaway joint, but then morphed their idea into a restaurant and bar. Salt, Chilli and Lime brings classic takeaway items to the menu alongside fresh options, and Maitland locals and visitors can't get enough of its nostalgic food and quality cocktails.

Salt Chilli and Lime

9. Best Dinner Restaurants in Newcastle

Newcastle’s dining scene has well and truly recovered with some spectacular new openings and awards being received throughout the year. Humbug and Flotilla are the city’s only two hatted restaurants, and to complement the stars is a long list of quality dining experiences that together are elevating the city’s reputation as a serious foodie destination.

Humbug Restaurant

8. Sculptures at Scratchley

One of the event highlights of 2023, Sculptures at Scratchley was brought to you by Lake Macquarie-based artists Grahame Wilson and Rebecca Murray. Opening over the Mother’s Day weekend and running until 28 May, Sculptures at Scratchley saw a curated lineup of over 60 installations from 33 artists displayed at the iconic Fort Scratchley. The good news is Sculptures at Scratchley is returning in 2024!

Scupltures at Scratchley

7. 48 Watt St

It was an up-and-down year for the iconic 48 Watt St, with the news of its sudden closure in July of this year leaving a gaping hole in the city’s events and wedding landscape. The venue's appeal ensured it didn’t sit still for too long, with an A team of hospo experts that includes Newcastle locals Sam Hearn, Bonnie Marshall, Jerome O'Connor, Angus Harper, Jess Farchione, Anthony Ford, and Evan Renfrew forming the new ownership to re-energise 48 Watt St.

48 Watt Street Newcastle

6. Martha

In November we saw the completion of a massive $20-million transformation of the Belmont 16s Sailing Club, which included the launch of 120-seat restaurant Martha. The lakeside venue takes full advantage of its spectacular location with the large terrace area allowing you to soak up the views on balmy summer evenings over dinner and drinks.

Martha Belmont 16s

5. Grainfed Brewing Company

Lambton was a lucky suburb this year, scoring itself a brewery with local brewer Lachlan MacBean and his business, Grainfed Brewing Company, officially opening its doors on Friday 23 June. Starting as a passion project almost ten years ago, the locally-born business has come into its own, morphing into a top-tier offering for the Newcastle craft beer scene.

Grainfed Brewing

4. Elementa

Maryville’s intimate harbourside dining venue, Elementa, is brought to you by Newcastle-based couple and long-time foodies, Rina and Joel. Opening in February 2023, Elementa quickly cemented its position in the Newcastle dining scene with its relaxed atmosphere, unique flavours, delicately plated dishes and stunning location.

Elementa Restaurant

3. Newcastle’s Best Bars

Newcastle’s obsession with bars continued throughout 2023, with our guide to the city's best bars consistently ranking high up in the charts. The list of bars continued to grow as did the mix, from underground nooks and secret entrances to gin, wine and karaoke bars – we can’t wait to see what 2024 brings for the Newcastle bar scene.

Basement on Market

2. Las Salsa Picante

A surprise addition for an old favourite was in store as an exciting little Mexican joint called Las Salsa Picante – which means hot sauce in Spanish – launched in the Lass O’Gowrie Hotel. Mexican-inspired bar snacks with a modern Australian twist is the best way to describe the menu, and together with its kitschy interiors, it became a must-visit in 2023.

Las Salsa Picante

and coming in at #1...

1. Alfie's

The team behind Carrington favourite The Criterion – Raf, Ronnie, Mitch, Luciano, and Greg – opened their newest family member Alfie's in New Lambton this year. The experienced hospitality crew worked their magic on the former Article 24 space on Regent Street, injecting a fresh personality alongside traditional Italian-style share dishes which are on a seasonal rotation.

Alfies Restaurant