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.
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 Taco Tuesdays or Nachos Thursday. Every Sunday, kids eat for $5, but all week, their cocktail menu will get you into the Latin spirit. Alongside The Box on the Water, this is one of the best restaurants on the Central Coast.
61 Masons Parade, Point Frederick
Renowned chef, Sean Connolly’s dining destination hits the mark, no matter what time of day it is. Kick-start your morning at the Bon Bakery, where you can pair your brew with a pastry or freshly baked sourdough. Boasting a downtown New York feel with leather furnishings and moody interiors, The Bonfire has the grill working overtime. The Bon Bon is a glamorous all-day dining venue with a Lisa King mural as its backdrop, and the Public Bar morphs into a cocktail bar with a tapas-style menu after 5 pm.
159 Mann Street, Gosford
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 menu is made up of smaller items and larger plates with a small cheese and dessert offering. This winning combo has made this a firm favourite for the best restaurants on the Central Coast.
Shop 3, 1 Campbell Crescent, Terrigal
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
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. For casual dining, head next door to the Hot Chook Shop, which has quite the reputation for their American-inspired fried chicken. Combined, these two dining experiences by Nicola, are some of the best restaurants on the Central Coast.
40/189 Ocean View Road, Ettalong Beach
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
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
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
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