Just a 2.5-hour drive from Sydney, Port Stephens is a national icon for gorgeous bays, beaches and authentic Australian food sourced locally from the sea. Additionally, being situated just East of the Hunter Valley region there are plenty of vineyards and excellent wine options at your table. Let’s show you a few gems to get you started on your Port Stephens culinary tour that are all within easy reach of The Retreat
Wine & Beer
Murray’s Craft Brewery
Murray and his team have been brewing one-of-a-kind, naturally created beers since 2006, winning a slew of medals and honours along the way, including Australia’s Brewer of the Year. Notably, they also offer Brewery tours from $5 available to the public starting at 2:15 PM onwards, which is a great opportunity to learn about craft beers.
Then there are the pizzas drawing crowds, too. The seafood pizza, topped with perfectly soft sea morsels and the perfect amount of cheese, is, in our view, the greatest around. There is also a lovely beer garden with live acoustic music.
Specializing in Thai cuisine since 2007, Mod Thai is in Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay. They are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and customers are welcome to bring their own wine. On request, low-fat, dairy-free, high-fibre, vegetarian, and gluten-free meals are available. With a 4-starred rating on Trip Advisor, past visitors have recommended Southern Red Curry with Kaffir Lime Leaves or Pad Thai as the main dishes.
If you enjoy a cold beverage in a beer garden with classic Mediterranean food, Cheeky Dog is for you! Only 50m from bar to bay, Cheeky Dog has a fresh menu with a lot of the ingredients being sourced from the Bay itself.
Top recommended by TripAdvisor, The Poyer’s is a stunning water restaurant located in Lemon Tree Passage. The family-owned business is a hidden gem and perfect for any occasion with breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner being available.
From oysters and abalone from in their backyard to escargots, their menu has something for everyone. The pasta and gnocchi for the main courses are created in-house, displaying some of Australia’s finest seafood and poultry. They are also a fully licensed winery that sources their wine from small vineyards in the Hunter Valley and throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Little Beach Boathouse
A straightforward restaurant adored by locals, Little Beach Boathouse is a beachside restaurant with fresh locally sourced produce specializing in Australian cuisine that focuses on fresh local seafood, but meat-eaters and vegans are also catered to, and children are always welcome. When you mix gorgeous cuisine, wonderful wine, and craft beer with their fantastic team’s dedication to excellent, friendly service, you have the winning combination that is Little Beach Boathouse.
Bub’s Fish & Chips
Bub’s Fish & Chips is Nelson Bay’s favourite fish and chip shop, with multiple awards and loved by locals. They are a one-stop-shop for all-things-seafood. You will be able to choose from a variety of high-quality fresh fish from our restaurant, and staff will clean, weigh, and fillet it for you. It’s a great spot.
Pasta Di Porto
Opened by husband-and-wife team Peter and Domenca in 2009, Pasta Di Porto is an authentic café that serves Southern Italian cuisine. The café has won over 56 awards, which include 3 from Sydney Royal Fine Food Show, and the award-winning dishes are available to be purchased in-store. They also have 5 stars Trip Advisor out of an overwhelmingly positive 150 reviews. Well worth a visit.
Evvia’s Café & Bar
Formerly known as ‘Watercress Restaurant’–Evvia’s is a hybrid of a café and bar serving Spanish cuisine and referred to as a hidden gem by locals. Breakfast, brunch, and lunch are served throughout the day for great relaxed dining and a friendly atmosphere. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 5 PM until late the bar opens, and the Tapas menu is served.
Former customers rate Evvia’s Café and Bar a 4.5 on Trip Advisor out of 118 reviews, with many of the customers praising their gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options available.
The Little Nel Café
The Little Nel Café has a whopping 1,000 reviews on TripAdvisor with an average of 4.5-starred rating. Reviewers go on to say they serve the best breakfast in town and that the staff are hard-working but friendly.
Dinner is $55 – $65 for a two or three-course set meal and the menu consists of fresh seafood with some fan favourites being the squid ink spaghetti or glazed salmon.
Cookabarra: Barramundi Farm
A short drive from Nelson Bay lies Cookabarra, a barramundi farm. Cookabarra Farm is home to a hydroponic vegetable farm run by NSW’s largest barramundi producer that also offers a guided tour of the gardens, where you will learn about sustainability and can feed and play with the fish.
Following that, you’ll want to head to the restaurant to experience the broad range of delectable fresh meals on offer. The entire experience at Cookabarra Farm is thoroughly pleasant, with a wonderful ambience and wheelchair access for full convenience.
Holbert’s Oyster Farm
Holbert’s Oyster Supplies is Port Stephens’ main oyster growing and processing business. The Holbert family has been farming and supplying award-winning oysters to local restaurants and seafood retailers in the Port Stephens region for over five generations.
Holbert’s Oysters has grown significantly in recent years to become one of, if not the largest, oyster processors in NSW. Their Trip Advisor rating is a sold 4-stars with 159 reviews. Past visitors recommend ordering a dozen oysters for $19.99 with a beer or the king prawns.
Choose the Retreat at Port Stephen’s For Your Holiday
The Retreat Port Stephens is just minutes away from stunning coffees shops, restaurants, and events! If you are planning a thrill-seeking adventure, or a foodie discovery in Port Stephens and need help with accommodation, questions or planning local activities, be sure to contact us on (02) 4982 1244 or fill in our contact form so one of our welcoming team members can help you out.