Newcastle is no longer known only as a post-industrial town with surprisingly pretty beaches. Accessible from Sydney with its own unique character and the space to try something new, Newcastle is a place where artists and small businesses thrive, and it includes a bustling local food scene. So here’s where to eat in Newcastle now for quick eats, party time, with the family, or for a culinary getaway.
Quick eats in Newcastle
Founded by brothers-in-law Dave and Nathan, Bao Brothers is a super tasty fast food option. After getting their start at the Newcastle Farmers Market, they now have two brick-and-mortar stores in town. Gabbing a Bao Trio is the way to go, mix and matching chicken, pork, mushroom or prawn to create your favourite set. Check out the innovative soda options with strawberry and szechuan or lychee and lemongrass… sure beats a Sprite!
Tip: Checkout their loyalty program. Nathan says, “we hold double point days to reward our returning customers.”
Good Food Guide Readers Choice Winner in 2019, 2020, 2022 and 2023. Burgerfiend sure is pleasing its American-style burger lovers. Stacks of patties oozing with cheese mean it’s satisfyingly impossible to get your mouth around these burgers. Located in the Hunter Valley, it’s a welcome break from the wine and fancy dining options.
If you’re looking for a night out
Great for big groups and festive occasions, The Landing offers Mexican-style fare on the harbour. Classics like margaritas and sangria are spotted at every other table alongside quesadillas, tacos and mountains of guac. Get involved and come along to drag trivia night, listen to live music, and party with the other punters on public holidays.
Popular in Byron Bay and Noosa, Light Years opened most recently in Newcastle, bringing diverse culinary traditions of Southeast Asia to the Steel City. With an atmosphere that’s lively and upbeat, colourful cocktails, and delicious, sharable dishes – Lightyears is a great place to celebrate.
Tip: Lightyears have a variety of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu.
Family-friendly restaurants in Newcastle
Bocados Spanish Kitchen
Bocados is known for its extensive selection of traditional tapas, allowing guests to sample a wide range of flavours and textures from Spain. From patatas bravas and croquetas to paella and charcuterie boards, the Spanish Kitchen welcomes children too. With kids in tow, it’s always best to check the menu and even call ahead to ensure your needs are catered for.
Tip: Don’t miss the opportunity to try the most authentic churros in town.
Lexies On The Beach
On the waterfront at Stockton Beach, Lexie’s is a casual dining experience with a stunning view. Can’t tell if the best time of day to go is mornings when the sun’s shining for a stack of french toast for the kids (ahem!), or arvos for the fish and chips and beers! Affordable and easy, there’s no reason to visit only once.
Wildflame Barbeque And Bar
Open every day of the week, Wildflame Barbeque And Bar is what you call dangerously accessible barbecue. Beautifully executed low-n-slow cooking, try Southern USA classics like brisket and short rib as well as Aussie lamb and even salmon. Carefully aged steaks are wet or dry-aged and vary from $35-$60 and sides like mac and cheese are crowd-pleasers.
For culinary lovers
Sunday sessions in Lovedale keep it casual but vibey, with live music to complement your scallops and Chardonnay. Jimmy Joans have an extensive and inclusive menu sporting everything from burgers to quail, and an expansive outdoor dining setting that make it fun for a daytime date, group hang, or family adventure.
Tip: Make a weekend of it and choose to stay at the Airbnb on-site!
Overlooking the picturesque vines of the Hermitage Lodge, Pescara is equally as inspired by the culinary culture of its namesake town in Italy, as it is by ingredients local to the Hunter. Enjoy seasonal delights and good wines atop white linen tables and marble surfaces – it’s those luxe touches that make the food taste even better.
Tip: Opened at the end of last year, owners Nicole & Kelv are wonderfully hospitable if a neighbourhood feel is your style.
An hour’s drive from Newcastle, EXP makes for a perfect culinary adventure. Highlighting produce from local Hunter Valley farms and other growing regions, EXP’s ingredients are prepared to stand alone. Try duck salami, Yarra Valley salmon caviar, and Wattleseed ice cream. Bask in the warm golden light of the deliciously moody interior.
Tip: Check suggested transportation options on EXP’s website so you can opt into the full wine pairing.