Bistro Livi, Murwillumbah
Arts Precinct building in Murwillumbah. You can find Spanish-style share plates such as chorizo, chistorra, and paprika sausages or a buttered pork cut with shitake mushroom and radish. The season will determine whether you’ll find this or something totally different. You can ask the staff for suggestions on wines to complement your meal or try it yourself.
While there: For weekend lunch, reserve a seat at Ben Devlin’s Pipit restaurant, Pottsville. This is the winner of the Good Food Guide for 2023 Region Restaurant of the Year. The elegant bar Heather in Byron offers a vintage atmosphere and an innovative menu.
Muse Kitchen, Pokolbin
Why should you go? Pretty Pokolbin is the perfect setting for the romantic Muse Kitchen located in the beautiful courtyard of Keith Tulloch Wines. The Modern Australian menu is as beautiful as the surroundings and perfect for a leisurely lunch. It uses local, sustainable ingredients. Menus change with the seasons, and elaborate dishes showcase a variety of elements and culinary influences. The wine list in the Hunter is as you’d expect, with a large selection of shiraz and other red varieties.
While there: The Hunter Valley is not complete without a cellar door tour. Harkham Wines offers a tasting of Aziza brand shiraz or chardonnay and chocolate wine liqueur. In Bucolic Broke, you’ll find more beauty in the art gallery, sculpture trail, and intimate accommodations of Winmark wines.
Why you should go: The modern Mediterranean menu is designed around the 150-year-old ironbark-fueled oven and the Blue Mountains’ quality produce. You can also enjoy top-notch whiskeys and wines in the beautiful Blackheath of the Blue Mountains. The wood-roasted pork neck and house-made Ricotta, with broad beans, preserved lemon, and preserved citrus, are two of the menu’s highlights. You can also order the set menu and let the chef’s virtuosity do the work.
While there, you should stay at the Kyah Hotel in Blackheath and enjoy breakfast at Blaq (or even lunch or dinner). You can also find a variety of food in Katoomba. Start with coffee, pastries, and cheeseburgers at Black Cockatoo Bakery. Then, visit Mountain Culture Beer Co.’s Brewpub to enjoy a boutique beer.
Franco Pizza Bar, Thirroul
Why should you go? The pizza bar that has a Good Food Guide for 2023 cap and two Wine List of the Year Awards is one to take seriously. Well, not too seriously; what makes diner-wine-bar-hybrid Franco’s in Thirroul so special is how fun it is. Two ex-Wine Library owners offer a choice between an Italian set menu and a variety of pizzas, including the Franco. This pizza is topped with tomato sauce, pork fennel, ‘nduja (an Italian sausage), fior di latte, mushrooms, and olives. Franco’s is a must-visit for its top-notch service, 72-hour rested dough, and creative dessert menu.
While there, Use the elegant and intimate Cupitt’s Estate Luxury pods located in Ulladulla as the base of your South Coast adventure. It sounds like the King Bath Pod has a bathtub that is freestanding on the deck. Cupitt’s boasts a restaurant, winery, and brewery on site. The neighborhood restaurant Small Town in Milton is located about 15 minutes away from Ulladulla. Get the set menu for sharing. You’re sure to be in good hands when you dine with Alex Delly.
Why should you go? The romantic Valentina by the Merimbula inlet is an ideal place for a long lunch. Valentina is renowned for its seafood and Italian flair. You’ll want to stay for dinner. This waterfront masterclass is bright and airy, with large windows, billowing curtains, cream linen, and a hat that comes from the Good Food Guide 2023. The menu rotates and features locally prepared seafood, such as truffle and squid-ink salami, scallops in beurre blanc with black pepper, and chargrilled shrimp with caviar.
While You’re There: Couples and dogs are welcome to enjoy a casual meal at Dulcie’s Cottage. The 1950s caravan serves incredible burgers and craft beer in the long bar of the 1920s weatherboard house. In Merimbula, you can enjoy cocktails and live music under the maple trees at Kitty’s Club Sapphire. Don’t forget Broadwater Oysters, which is located on the shore of Pambula Lake.
Three Blue Ducks, Nimbo Fork Lodge
Why should you go? Three Blue Ducks in Nimbo Fork Lodge was born out of a desire to produce mindful, ethical, sustainably-minded, and deliciously simple cuisine. Three Blue Ducks is a farm-to-table restaurant located in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains. Butterflied Nimbo Trout, freshly caught from the sparkling Snowy Valleys rivers, is a must-try.
While there: Continue the high country hi-jinx in Tumut River Brewing Co., with a tour and tasting of their ever-changing craft beers (don’t forget the Bad Mofo West Coast IPA), as well as a delicious burger or pizza. After lunch, you can pick up homemade jams and free-range eggs as well as cherries, apples, and other seasonal fruits at Mouat’s Farm, located near Batlow. Adventuresome spirits can also take part in a tour, tasting, and workshop at Ladbroken Distillery near the stream at Tumbarumba. They can also sample a cold climate tipple at Courabyra wines and enjoy a Ploughman’s Platter.
Why should you go? For true food lovers, the set tasting and matched wine menu at Charred, located in Orange, offers one of the best dining and wine experiences in regional NSW. The fine dining restaurant, which the Good Food Guide has awarded a Good Food Guide for 2023, offers six delicate and innovative courses paired with four wines from both European and local producers. The 2017 Gran Moraine Chardonnay is paired, for example, with spanner crabs, toum-smoked butter, and kombu emulsion.
While there, The Basalt offers three luxury studios with a view of a cherry tree orchard. Orange Wine Tours provides a full-day Lucknow Loop Tour for couples. The tour includes visits to the cellar doors of Highland Heritage, Patina, and ChaLou Vineyards. It also has a stop for lunch and homeware shopping at Larder and Home overlooking Summer Hill Creek. Try the gin at Parrot Distilling Co. if you like juniper.
The Roundhouse in Newcastle
Why you should visit: The Roundhouse restaurant and bar is perched on the top of the Crystalbrook Kingsley in King Street, Newcastle. It offers fine dining with a spectacular view of the harbor, coast, and Hunter Valley. Roundhouse chefs work with Novocastrian farmers, artisans, and fishermen to create top-end modern Australian cuisine. You can expect to find line-caught kingfish from the local area, Yamba prawns from Yamba, Borrowdale hams, Adina Vineyard Olives, and Pukara Estate oil. A wine list that is as long as the vine.
While You’re There: Newcastle offers an exciting food scene with a variety of tempting options. Uprising offers a coffee and pastry to start the day. You can choose between Scotties, a mid-range seafood restaurant, or Habesha, a casual Ethiopian restaurant, for lunch. For dinner, you can enjoy the set menu at Flotilla. You could spend your entire day in the three restaurants of the QT, Newcastle. Vera Wine is a great place to spend some time, and Earp Distillery Co. will keep you in good spirits.