When brunching, lunching or sipping Coffee near the water, we inevitably want to be as close to the water as possible. Sydney’s Northern Beaches have an abundance of eateries within a stone’s throw of the deep blue sea. Most boast spectacular views, but not all have spectacular nosh or sparkling service. Here’s our guide to the region’s best coffee, food and ambiance with breathtaking views to boot.
There is no shortage of choice when it comes Manly eats. Here are our top tips for eateries boasting the trifecta: delicious chow, full-bodied coffee and smart waterside décor.
By this criteria, you can’t beat The Pantry Manly, in the iconic Ocean Promenade ‘beach house’ on North Steyne. It’s an unrivalled location that seemingly floats above the sand. The panoramic views are the perfect complement to the deli-style décor and menu big on cheese, bread and charcuterie. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available, but visit in the daylight for maximum wow.
Manly Wine on South Steyne took a ‘less is more’ approach to a 2014 refurbishment. It’s transformed from a so-hip-it-hurt quirky bar to a chic seaside canteen with fresh, healthy eats, great coffee and solid takeaway options. Come right from the beach and you’ll be warmly welcomed.
The dazzling charm of the secluded Freshwater Beach is clinched by the presence of the magnificent Pilu at Freshwater. Chef Gionvanni Pilu’s exceptional Sardinian and regional Italian menu will make your eyes water, as will Pilu’s heritage-listed beach house. If you’re looking for something really special, this is worth every cent. Check out the more casual Pilu Kiosk for delectable toasties, salads and coffee.
South Curl Curl Beach
Curly Beach is known for its unpretentious vibe and great waves. At the south end, you’ll find an ocean pool, a cliff-top boardwalk and Gusto on the Beach cafe in the Surf Lifesaving Club. The beachside kiosk feel is perfect for a lazy weekend and the bold coffee is matched by the eye-popping ocean view. Belaroma Coffee took over this venue in 2014 and the standard dramatically improved.
Dee Why Beach
You could be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed with the variety of cafes, restaurants and kiosks on The Strand at Dee Why. Here’s what consistently takes our fancy.
The Beach Shed, almost on the waves at Dee Why south, was a welcome 2014 addition. Great coffee, fresh juices and smoothies, baked goods and hearty brunch and lunch fare are made all the better by the delightful staff and prime position. Go to Girdlers Grind for some of The Strand’s best coffee. While you’re there, grab a sweet or savoury crepe constructed to French precision. Coffee fanatics will also forgo the view for Bacino Bar, off The Strand on Howard Avenue. The brews are strong and the homemade Italian food enticing. It’s hard to pass up the Italian eggs.
When the Pelican Pavilion opened at the Collaroy Hotel, it was a very welcome (read: stylish) addition to the suburb’s eateries and the pub itself. Its bright, breezy deck sits quite literally on the sand. Grab a brekkie trifle or pulled pork eggs benedict before your beach time, or after.
The Newport Arms Hotel’s beer garden with sweeping views of Pittwater is reportedly the biggest of its kind in Australia. But right now, it’s a case of ‘watch this space’. Hotelier Justin Hemmes bought the pub early in 2015 and all but the public bar and bottle shop is currently closed for a multi-year renovation. The first stage is set to open early in 2016 and I dare say it will be worth a visit.
For a ‘one hat’ dining experience with an unsurpassable view, it’s Jonah’s Whale Beach. A restaurant, terrace or bar offer breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks options. Any which way, the ocean view will knock your socks off. Take it up a notch by springing for a room and a food/wine or ‘pampering’ package. Jonah’s will set you back, so choose your moment. When you do, your special someone will be thrilled.
No Northern Beaches pilgrimage is complete without hopping up to Palm Beach. There’s the obligatory look at ‘Summer Bay’ (television’s Home and Away is shot here) and two other musts: a walk to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse and a bite at The Boathouse Palm Beach. Balmoral and Shelly beaches also have Boathouse venues and you’ll leave each one with a spring in your step.
At Palm Beach, it’s like stepping into an impossibly cool beach house you wish you’d rented. Eat, drink and chill inside, on the deck or on the grass nearby. Genuinely memorable fish and chips are a highlight. This place is a fabulous combination of sumptuous, snazzy food and a ‘don’t worry, don’t hurry’ attitude. Omnipresent fresh flowers and tubs of produce (for sale) only add to the delight. Don’t miss it.
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