Taste the Extraordinary

Taste the Extraordinary

26 February 2024

Where once parmigiana at the corner pub was the height of culinary sophistication, Newcastle’s food scene has undergone a metamorphosis.

Talented chefs and restaurateurs – many having shifted from the big smoke – are driving Newcastle’s foodie evolution.

From fish and chips beneath marquee lights to an 11-course Yakitori degustation, come experience the culinary revolution for yourself.

Family Favourites

Have you even been to Newcastle if you haven’t shared a chip or two with hungry seagulls? Spread out a picnic blanket on the communal lawn at Scotties for fish and chips (or perhaps a lobster club sandwich) beneath the marquee lights. Another popular post-beach option is The Kiosk at Newcastle Beach. Tuck into a family-sized fish and chip pack (ideal for hungry hoards) with a backdrop of rolling waves.

Families love Napoli Centrale’s authentic pizzas fired with locally sourced, slowburning ironbark. Sit indoors and watch the pizzamakers at work or nab an alfresco table and people watch like a true Italian. For dessert, wander over to Popolo Artisan Gelateria for authentic handmade gelato (both classics and contemporary flavours star) made fresh daily.

Other options for the whole brood include Lowlands Bowling Club, The Hood, Beach Burrito and Smokin Hot N Saucy.

Relaxed Bites

Looking for casual dining or a quick bite before a gig? These laidback eateries will have you sorted. Savour Humbug owner-chef Michael Portley’s playful take on Italian fare accompanied by sustainable vinos and new age Hunter Valley wines. Opt for Portley’s ‘Feed Me’ menu accompanied by a mostly natural and organic wine list at this smart yet approachable Italian bistro.

On Watt Street, Lock’s Paddock pays tribute to a historic stonemason’s yard once home to National Trust treasure Miss Porter’s House. The seasonal share menu includes the theatrical signature dish cacio e pepe served in a hollowed-out parmesan wheel.

Housed in a former dry-cleaning business in the post-industrial architecture of Newcastle’s West End, The Edwards’ ever-changing seasonal menu morphs easily from brunch to dinner accompanied by a varied wine list and stellar cocktails.

Originating in Byron Bay, Light Years Asian Bar & Diner is not only delivers punchy flavours, it serves up party vibes that promise to kick-start your evening. Keeping with the Asian theme, check out Oh My Papa for much-loved Asian classics with a modern twist, the food speaks for itself and the vibes are good.

Antojitos, Parry Street Garage, Earp Distilling Co, Ginger Megs, and The Falcon are other notable options.

Elevated Dining

Meet Newcastle's newest restaurant, Blanca. This family-run restaurant will transport you to the Mediterranean with alfresco dining and dishes that channel the likes of Greece and Sicily, but are all made with fresh local produce.

Âpé Yakitori Bar (sister restaurant to enduring favourite Nagisa next door) showcases the Hunter Valley’s best produce cooked over charcoal. Dine harbourside or take a seat at the yakitori grill for Âpé’s epic degustation menu paired with wine, Japanese whisky or sakes.

Inner-city Wickham is home to Flotilla - another venue spearheading Newcastle’s foodie revolution with its “refined yet casual” approach to dining. Lazy Sunday lunch here is a must.

At Signal Box almost everything on the modern Australian bistro menu is made from scratch. Dine inside a minimalist steel and concrete dining pavilion that pays homage to its industrial past. Other culinary heroes star too.

Intimate fine dining (as are the city’s most arresting vistas) at the Roundhouse at Crystalbrook Kingsley or tuck into authentic Spanish tapas at Barcados in a candlelit dining room.

Not to mention the Mediterranean flavours and North African spices that come together at Rustica, whilst overlooking the rolling waves of Newcastle Beach. 

Modern Italian fare and sweeping ocean vistas meanwhile can be found at Surfhouse Italian within the Merewether Surfhouse.

Epic Breakfasts

Find creative dishes at Cooks Hill cafe the Autumn Rooms. Dine inside, in the leafy courtyard or upstairs overlooking the bustling streetscape.

Housed in a historic bank building, the light-filled Momo Wholefoods on Hunter Street is like a nice warm hug. Expect a wholefood menu weighted with vegan and vegetarian options along with banging coffee by local Unison Coffee Roasters.

For freshly baked bread, pastries, tarts and brioche, take a pit stop to Baked Uprising in Wickham. With its industrial-style interior, the cafe has a laid-back atmosphere and an urban garden area to relish your handmade breakfast.

Other local brekkie faves include Estabar, New Slang, Big Brother and Elma’s.


Sample some of Newcastle’s best cuts washed down with a glass or two of Hunter Valley red at The Burwood Inn in Merewether.

Carnivores are equally well catered for at Brazilian barbecuestyle eatery MEET housed in a glamorous industrial warehouse space on Darby Street. The signature churrasco sees the dishes just keep on coming.

Modern Australian bar and grill Jana at QT Newcastle meanwhile showcases a local produce driven menu (almost everything is sourced in NSW) and dry aged meat cabinet. Slip into a leather banquette and watch the chefs in action in the open kitchen where steak is king.