So many restaurants, cafes & bars to pick from!
BY RENEE WALKER
Ettalong and Umina have a fair few things in common – they’re both on the beach looking out over Lion Island, they are both great areas to hang out for families with super safe beaches and finally, they both are busting at the seams with awesome options for food and drinks! Why not do a tour of Ettalong starting at the Ettalong markets and walk the coast all the way to Umina. On a sunny day, you can see all the way to Palm Beach and Newport. Here’s a list of great hospitality options to explore on your way!
Whenever we’ve got friends visiting from out of town, we always take them to BOX on The Water. Aside from one of the best views on the coast, with the water almost lapping the edge of the restaurant, this place has an impressive menu and drinks list. The BOX is a little more sophisticated in terms of its menu compared to its local hospo neighbours, so think kangaroo carpaccio and mixed baby beets with walnuts and ricotta and you’ve got an idea of calibre. The seafood here is the hero and we highly recommend the whole fried snapper to share or the Atlantic salmon. The lounge bar deserves a good shout out to the craft beers on tap, these guys often rotate the likes of Young Henrys and Stone & Wood and the wine list is impressive too. Breakfast is available on the weekends and the restaurant also makes for a great location for sun downers on the water with bar snacks. If you’re after quick eats, check out The BOX kiosk that does takeaway coffee and snacks from 7am-4pm daily.
Lords of Pour are all about the “Killer brews and awesome chews”. The small cafe has a very casual feel and we’re pretty sure many of the customers here would be on a first-name basis, it really feels like home. The guys here are focused on simple house-made, quality food and drink. The house blend is by Sydney’s Single O and a roster of guest roasters make up this café’s single origin and filter offerings. These guys really know their grind, so if you’re into your beans, this is a must visit on the Central Coast. The menu is seasonal, constantly changing and showcases food that pairs best with a coffee or beer (which you’re able to BYO). The team are super friendly, so drop in to talk food or coffee and share a brew or two!
Coast 175 at Ettalong is fast growing to be one of the most popular cafes on the Peninsula, if not the whole coast, thanks to their award winning Campos Superior Blend coffee and the big all-day menu. The food is super fresh as many of the ingredients are handpicked and prepared in house. The café opens for coffees around 5.30am, perfect if you have small children and the kitchen opens from 7.30am seven days a week. The menu features loads of vego, vegan and GF options and their Super Bowl is the most hit dish on the menu. The outdoor courtyard is also dog friendly, for friendly dogs.
We can’t talk about food on the Peninsula and not talk about Safran. This place has been winning the hearts of local for years and it truly has tongues wagging and salivating. Safran is a contemporary Turkish meze restaurant located in the curious Ettalong Markets (trust us, you’ll understand it when you get there). Safran is all about sharing the love, specifically by sharing small dishes of delicious Turkish cuisine. If you’re running a crew of 15 plus, try the Meze Banquet to share and the team are happy to customise the menu to your numbers and needs. There’s a good number of vegetarian numbers here, along with seafood and meats. Try Safran’s Manti – handmade dumplings filled with confit lamb neck, yoghurt, garlic, dried mint and paprika butter sauce. Take my money now. Safran is open for dinner from Wednesday to Sunday and they do lunch once a week on Saturday’s from 12pm. BYO wines – tick.
Set in the beautiful Cinema Paradiso complex at Ettalong Markets, Bar Toto is the brain child of Australia’s top 100 cocktail craftsman, Peter Clarke and international pizza competition medallist, Jerry Altavilla, Bar Toto is an Italian trattoria serving charcuterie, formaggio and cichetti plates and was opened in 2013 with a mission to bring back the charm of fine Italian wining and dining to the Peninsula. If you’re after legit Italian meats and cheeses paired with delicious wines, you’ve found the place. It’s also a great little wine bar to visit for a pre-dinner or movie drink. To start, try the Prosciutto Crudo Di Parma, aged for almost two years and imported direct from Parma, Italy. We can’t go past the Arancini or Nonnas famous meatballs with smoked mozzarella, sugo and sourdough.
Tico Taco is all about authentic Mexican street food. Located at Ettalong next to the ferry wharf, these guys do a dialled down, easy to approach menu featuring all your favourites. The restaurant is open on nights from Tuesday to Sunday and lunch on Saturday and Sunday. Pick your favourite style from Tacos, Nachos, Quesadillas or Burritos (corn or flour tortillas) and then select your meat/fish or veggie and you’re a jalapeno away from mucho Mexican flavour! Check out the comfortable courtyard for cool and casual hangs with mates and it’s free BYO, so hit up the bottlo on your way!
Margarita Daze is a restaurant and bar located right on the picturesque Umina Beach, which is located around the bend of the beach from Ettalong (it makes for a lovely walk from one end to the other!). These guys specialise in cocktail and casual eats, with the menu featuring plenty of steak, burgers and lots of seafood. You’ll find live music at this beachside hangout on Saturday nights until late. If you’ve got a decent sized crew, this is a great place to come as there’s plenty of room to spread out and a variety of different indoor and outdoor areas. The cocktail list is creative and we loved the Coconut Mojito and the Sun Daze (watermelon liqueur, peach and butterscotch schnapps… yum). They also do a mean Espresso Martini, which just gets us every time. While they don’t feature too prominently on the menu, the pizzas here are really tasty and fully loaded. The Prawn and tomato is a winner and check out the Seafood Platter for Two if you’re up for a treat.
Sounds on West is of the Six-String Brewing family, combining their love of craft beer, smoking meat, BBQ… and really just all things that are good in the world. When we say BBQ, we’re not talking snags on the grill, we’re talking about the B.B.Q of the U.S of A, man. This is all about slow cooking meat in a wood fire, giving the meat a smokey flavour with a “fall apart” consistency. Think good ole’ southern style beef brisket, beef short ribs, sausages, pulled pork and pork spare ribs. These guys are passionate about sourcing ingredients from local producers, so everything is super fresh and flavoursome. They’re also big supporters of local musicians and live acts, so you can often catch some great tunes here. The restaurant has a great ambience with exposed ceilings, brick and timber panel walls, steel and glass, refurbished bench tops from old doors for a “garage meets butchery” feel. There’s also a large and sunny courtyard out the back if you’ve got the kids in tow. Being of the Six String ilk, you’re going to find yourself a great bubbling brew here too. Highly recommended!
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