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  • Sydney
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  • Best Restaurants: Central Coast’s Must-visit Foodie Destinations

Best Restaurants: Central Coast’s Must-visit Foodie Destinations

Spend days getting lost in these delicious foodie hotspots on the Central Coast.

The Cowrie (Photo credit: Tom Antcliff)
The Cowrie (Photo credit: Tom Antcliff)

The Central Coast is on every foodie’s radar, and for a good reason. There is stirring energy that’s being spurred by a new wave of culinary chefs and bakers who are making the sea change to the Central Coast’s seaside villages. Beachside cafes are in abundance, fine-dining restaurants shine a spotlight on ocean-fresh seafood and eateries and bakeries are putting their own spin on classic Australian faves, while more and more global eats are becoming a staple. From garden settings to waterfront locations, the Central Coast delivers in a big way. 

Here is our edit of the best restaurants on the Central Coast.  

The Lucky Bee, Hardys Bay

This mod-Asian waterfront gem is serving up some rich, delicious flavour-packed dishes. Their weekend yum cha provides you the perfect opportunity to try their wide ranging menu. The Lucky Bee has recently introduced a casual takeaway dining menu which will help you have the ideal waterfront picnic on the Bay. Lobster rolls sitting on the sand? Yes, please!

60 Araluen Drive, Hardys Bay

LA Taco, Ettalong Beach

If you can’t get to Mexico this summer, LA Taco is a worthy contender for a local getaway. At Ettalong Beach, LA Taco serves up authentic Mexican flavours with a Cali-cool twist. Developed by Cameron Cansdell and Hayley Hardcastle of the gorgeous Saddles at Mt White, this is one of the most exciting new openings on the Central Coast. Think fresh ceviche tostadas, grilled corn on the cob with queso, paprika, chilli salsa and lime, enchiladas and, of course, tacos packed with everything from Angus beef short rib, grilled fish of the day and roast pumpkin. The cocktails which are produced in collaboration with Bar Toto features five varieties of margaritas and a whole slew of tequila mixes.

Shop 33-34, 189 Ocean View Road, Ettalong Beach

The Cowrie, Terrigal

An icon of the coast, The Cowrie boasts one of the most memorable dining experiences. And with new owners, it has been refreshed and revitalised. Perched high on the hills of Terrigal you can expect your refined meal to be paired with incredible views. 

109 Scenic Highway, Terrigal 

Frederico’s Bar & Eatery, Point Frederick

On the Gosford waterfront, Frederico’s is the cheeky younger brother of Ettalong’s much-loved The Box on the Water. Pick from Frederico’s Latin American inspired main, plant-based or vegetarian menus, or opt for one of their regular specials, be it 2 for 1 margaritas each Wednesday or happy hour, 4:30pm-5:30pm, Wednesday to Sunday.

61 Masons Parade, Point Frederick 

The Bon Pavilion, Gosford

This stunning Central Coast dining destination hits the mark. Boasting a downtown New York feel with leather furnishings and moody interiors, The Bonfire has the grill working overtime. The Bon Bar is a glamorous all-day dining venue, and  morphs into a cocktail bar with a tapas-style snack menu after 5 pm. 

159 Mann Street, Gosford

Yellowtail, Terrigal

A cosy space that packs a punch with its fine-dining menu, Yellowtail is tucked away in Terrigal village. This 35-seater restaurant with an ever-changing menu of modern Australian cuisine is influenced by flavours from the Middle East, Mediterranean and Asia. The degustation menu is made up of instant classic dishes, and the paired wine offering is a must! This winning combo has made this a firm favourite for the best restaurants on the Central Coast. 

Shop 3, 1 Campbell Crescent, Terrigal

The Boathouse Hotel, Patonga

After a five-million-dollar renovation and upgrade by The Boathouse Group, The Boathouse Hotel on Patonga’s waterfront has fast become a popular weekend dining spot. The beautifully renovated hotel offers an extensive food and drink menu (open for breakfast, lunch and dinner) while the Fish n’ Chip shop serves Aussie breakfast faves (porridge, avo on toast and sausage sandwiches), but the real deal is over lunch with their classic take on the old fashioned fish n’ chips. 

6-8 Patonga Drive, Patonga

Osteria il Coccia, Ettalong Beach

Executive Chef, Nicola Coccia, who relocated from the Southern Highlands where he owned and ran the hatted Bistro Officina, is now serving up wood-fired Italian dining in Ettalong Beach. Bringing the best of Italy and France, reserve a seat at the Chefs Table for the full experience of cooking by fire flame. 

40/189 Ocean View Road, Ettalong Beach

The Wild Flower Bar & Dining

The multi-award-winning Bells at Killcare looks like something straight from a postcard. Made up of a series of luxury accommodation, Bells at Killcare is just as much a destination for their restaurant, Wild Flower Bar & Dining. Inspired by flavours from Morocco to the Mediterranean, Culinary Director, Sean Connolly makes the most of homegrown and seasonal produce harvested from their kitchen garden and sourced from local farmers, fishers, growers and winemakers. 

107 The Scenic Road, Killcare Heights

South End Social, Gosford

This breakfast and lunchtime venue is well worth a visit, as much for the Mediterranean shared plates as for its Xanthe Highfield designed interiors (stylist of many Sydney and Central Coast venues). Located at the south end of Mann Street in Gosford, this café and wine bar is all about brunch, long lunches and handcrafted cocktails, all of which can be enjoyed in the sun of the terrace or a cosy booth. 

Shop 1, 32 Mann Street, Gosford

Bar Toto, Ettalong

Ettalong’s foodie scene has been making waves, and this southern Italian restaurant is at the forefront of the movement. One of the best restaurants on the Central Coast, Bar Toto is an Italian trattoria that’s all about antipasti, and their spirit inspired drink menu has a killer cocktail list. Whether you sit bar-side or enjoy cocktails in the back lounge, you will feel world’s away from the beachy vibes of this seaside setting. 

83/189 Ocean View Road, Ettalong Beach

Arc. Est, Terrigal

Tucked away off the main strip in Terrigal, Arc. Est is a coastal chic bar and dining destination for lunch and dinner. Their love for ocean-fresh seafood shines bright in a menu that is overflowing with modern Australian dishes. Over lunch, start with a plate of freshly shucked oysters before moving onto a main. At night, Arc. Est has a fine-dining flair with their two-, and three-course dinners. 

Shop 7, 18 Church Street, Terrigal

Culinary chefs and bakers have turned Central Coast into a must-visit foodie destination. If you loved our round-up of the best restaurants on the Central Coast, be sure to check out the best accommodation and the best beaches on the Central Coast.