Where to find good waterside dining in the Barrington Coast for any time of the day.
There’s always something special about dining with a water view, whether it’s by the river, lake or sea. Here are our top picks for watching sunrises or sunsets over the waters of the Barrington Coast.
Of course we’re famous for our local seafood but there’s always something tasty for every fussy tastebud. Some of these are open early, some are open until late. Make a list and tick them all off, one by delicious one.
Isola Riva, Forster
A deliciously curated menu of Mediterranean share plates.
Overlooking Wallis Lake, this place is at the top of the Hot List for many tasty reasons. Is it the menu designed for sharing so you get to try more than one dish at a time? Maybe it’s the delicious seafood that’s a standout feature? Or is it just the sunset views over Wallis Lake that make the cocktails taste like holidays? With my sunset views tonight, I choose the Capri seafood platter with the herb polenta chips and will save room for the house-made tiramisu for dessert. This is better than the Venice lagoon.
Spice Monkey, Forster
Asian fusion restaurant overlooking Wallis Lake.
You know a place is in a good location when they have a great bar menu for 3.30pm-5pm sunset watchers. If you’re still hungry after the gyoza, spring rolls or octopus dumplings, stay for dinner. The Asian-inspired dishes are designed to be shared and there’s sure to be several that you can’t do without, so go crazy: bao, duck wanton stack, tempura prawns, sashimi, nori, nigiri, Korean bokkeeumbap, Cambodian pepper beef. To complete your fusion journey: trifle with sake soaked sponge, mandarin and cardamom.
Kings Valley Egyptian Cuisine, Forster
Come for the food and coffee but stay for the belly dancing.
Climb the steps for the intriguing décor and Wallis Lake views but the real attraction here is the delicious Egyptian cuisine and authentic Middle Eastern coffee. This is family recipe food made with love and there’s even live music and belly dancing on special nights! The shish tawook (yogurt-marinated chicken skewers) and Egyptian falafels will take your tastebuds to Alexandria (in Egypt, not Sydney!) And if you can almost stand your teaspoon upright in your coffee, you’ll know you’ve got the real stuff.
Si Senorita Cantina, Forster
Modern Mexican with Wallis Lake views.
Tacos, tequila and sunsets… yes please! Everyone loves Mexican and here you can up your game with crispy fried flautas, prawn tostadas, ceviche, lobster tacos or chipotle chicken burrito bowls… just to name a few. Overlooking Wallis Lake, Si Señorita boasts stunning views, great cocktails and a bar vibe for dinner or casual drinks. If you’re after memorable cocktails then the margarita options will have your head spinning: try the smoked pineapple, the caliente (yes, using jalapeno chilli and watermelon) or the honey and thyme.
The Sicilian, Forster
Fresh and hearty southern Italian.
Watch the sun sparkle across the Pacific Ocean, this beachfront location at Main Beach is a timeless drawcard for diners. Here you can enjoy an exquisite selection of fine southern Italian cuisine for gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu is inspired by the traditional cuisine and family recipes of Sicily, in turn influenced by Greek, French, Persian and Spanish cuisines. You can taste this in their super delicious Mediterranean plate for breakfast and their salmon carpaccio for lunch. At dinner the seafood options include Sicilian mussels or try the seafood cacciucco, which sounds (and tastes) better than simply ‘fish soup’. Oh, and they know what a caffé piccolo is. Perfetto!
Wingman Espresso, Forster
Sunrise cafe with your locally roasted coffee.
Enjoy ocean views with your breakfast or lunch after a swim in the ocean baths at Main Beach and you'll see why this is a favourite coffee stop for locals and visitors alike. All your café favourites are here, fresh and tasty to match the morning. And maybe that Reuben on toasted rye plus a passionfruit-iced doughnut will become your new brekky favourites.
Beach Bums Café, Forster
Take your sandy toes to breakfast.
Start the day the Forster way with a saltwater swim, coffee and a sunrise, overlooking Main Beach. Shoes are optional at this popular cafe where you can enjoy the seasonal menu including breakfast, lunch and sweet treats, great coffee, ocean views and a friendly atmosphere. The veggie brekky bowl with haloumi will easily cover me until lunch then it’s time for something more traditional: I’ll have the seafood basket with Asian-style salad.
Paradise Marina, Forster
Have breakfast and hire a boat.
Situated over the water with stunning views of Wallis Lake, this cafe has developed a great reputation for using premium fresh local produce. Popular lunch items include the seafood combo, the Japanese-style prawns, and the prawn and corn cakes. For breakfast? Make mine the maple syrup pancake stack with a side of bacon and beans… I have a hire boat waiting for its well-fed captain.
Lakes & Ocean Hotel, Forster
Good vibes and great sunsets since 1872.
Sure the lake is there just across the road but sometimes what you really need is a super chilled brew with your favourite pub meal. The hungry and thirsty love it here: beer battered flathead fillets (with chips of course), crispy skin salmon, twice-cooked pork belly, southern fried chicken burger or that sirloin smothered in house-made sauce (with those hard-to-choose options of mushroom, peppercorn, Diane or creamy garlic). The Lakes & Ocean Hotel is more than a watering hole with good pub food, it actually has deluxe accommodation… just like the olden days. So eat plenty and drink up, your comfy room is waiting for you upstairs.
Hamiltons Oyster Bar, Tuncurry
Absolute waterfront: pull up in your boat!
This iconic restaurant is a relaxed all-day dining experience, right on the waterfront for those long lazy lunches or dinner. Serving much more than just the best oysters in the state, the sensational seafood is the big drawcard here. Try the oyster tasting plate so you can savour all six of the day’s flavours or indulge in the cold fresh seafood plate as you watch for pods of dolphins in the lake right next to you.
The Deck, Tuncurry
Arguably the best views of Wallis Lake.
Nestled next to the channel, The Deck offers expansive vistas of the bridge, the lake and all the holiday activity on it. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this is truly the place for all day waterside dining. The menu has some awesomely tasty options: for breakfast try the Moroccan savoury mince with hummus and tortilla chips; for lunch choose one of the super bowls and add your own extras (Medi Bowl plus grilled calamari and chorizo for me); and if you’re still here for dinner you’ll find it just as hard to choose… but make mine the Nepalese vegetable curry with room for the Affogato del Corso for dessert.
Pacific Palms Recreation Club, Elizabeth Beach
Stunning lakefront views with stylish bistro favourites.
Fondly known as The Recky, this much-loved club has an unbeatable location on the southernmost shores of Wallis Lake. It's one of only two clubs on Wallis Lake where you can arrive by boat. The bistro offers stylish choices that will have you coming back for more: the Recky Grazer plate that includes local buffalo mozzarella, New Orleans seafood gumbo, Thai grilled pork with scallops plus steaks, deluxe pasta, burgers and more. And of course those sunset views across to Wallingat National Park are sensational.
Mumms On The Myall, Tea Gardens
Riverfront serenity at Tea Gardens.
This restaurant offers all day dining alongside the beautiful Myall River with delicious options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All your favourites are on the breakfast menu including the locally-famous Mumm’s Big Brekky and Mumm’s Brekky Board. Seafood of course is a star performer here, featuring on the lunch and dinner menus. You’ll need to come back a few times to ensure you’ve tried all the irresistible offerings. Today: creamy seafood mornay. And tomorrow: prawn and cardamom curry.
Tea Gardens Boatshed, Tea Gardens
Over the waters of the Myall River.
Pull up in your boat or hire one here but either way you’ll find all-day dining of the very best kind. The interesting menu items will keep you coming back for more, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just for starters, try the crispy calamari tacos or the soft shell crab burger with pineapple chilli jam and chipotle mayo.
The Sailo's Restaurant, Taree
Manning River views with bistro delights.
The Sailo’s Restaurant at Taree Aquatic Club is well known for its terrific food, reasonable prices and stunning views across the majestic Manning River. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner but bookings are recommended as it's a popular dining spot on weekends. All your tasty bistro favourites are here: steaks, pasta, chicken schnitzel plus theme nights for roasts, steaks, ribs and more. But tonight with my river views I’ll have the Cuban fried chicken and the scallop and prawn risotto.