It’s a surprisingly relaxed, easy-going cafe culture on the North Shore. With excellent cafes offering delicious food, great coffee and unique dining experience, you are bound to find a favourite with the perfect location, atmosphere and service. Even the best Sydney north shore cafes don’t attract the PR of cafes in the Eastern Suburbs or CBD, but the locals like it that way. Christine Buhay gives you some of the best Sydney North Shore cafes …
Double Cross Espresso Bar
118 Willoughby Rd, Crows Nest Ph: (02) 9438 1058
Their new menu is a delight – tonkatsu chicken brioche is a winner but the star that steals the show is the soufflé omelette. The osso bucco melts in your mouth and the duck is beautifully cooked – presentation also beautiful. Great blends of Asian and European food.
The Owls Cafe
2/282 Sailors Bay Rd, Northbridge Ph: 0402 941 531
Coffee loving owls built a nest in the Northbridge neighbourhood. A nice and cosy hidden local cafe where you can enjoy boutique coffee and gourmet food. The coffee beans “Waves Kissing the Shore” roasted by The Little Marionette make a nice cuppa which will help your day run smooth. From simple toasts and pastries to full breakfasts & lunches, you’ll be surprised how many choices you can have from such a small cafe. This cute cafe is run by Korean and Colombian business partners – definitely a unique multicultural combination. You can enjoy food from both regions such as Spanish Chorizo Omelette or burrito as well as a marinated beef Bulgogi burger or salad. Or you can try this delicious fusion, marinated Beef Bulgogi Burrito, if you’re looking for something never created before on planet earth. Other delightful thing about these cafe people? They’re super-friendly.
Public Dining Room Balmoral
2A The Esplenade, 2088 Mosman Ph: 02 9968 4880
Situated in the charming banks of Mosman, Public Dining Room delivers stunning sights and an air of sophistication, the perfect backdrop for a leisurely lunch or a memorable dinner. Their modern look and kid friendly atmosphere adds to the relaxed tones of the restaurant. They have an excellent range of menu options and wonderful wine selections.
Sails on Lavender Bay
2 Henry Lawson Ave, Mcmahons Point Ph: 02 9955 5998
Enjoy the majestic beauty of Sydney in one of Sydney’s longest running restaurant, Sails on Lavender Bay. They serve classic French cuisine with a twist targeting a refined modern Australian palate highlighting seafood and fresh local produce for lunch, dinner and drinks. Their award wine list consists of local Australian and international wines.
A rustic Japanese restaurant for the lover of authentic Japanese food, Toriciya is the place to go for a taste of excellent traditional Japanese dishes. It is the first authentic Yakitori bar in Sydney. Try their sushi, it’s the best this side of North Shore or their tuna sashimi which stays true to the flavours of Japan. Top your night off with some fabulous sake and shochu to go with your food choices.
197 High St., Willoughby PH 02 9958 1110
Via Alta is an Italian-style trattoria with vegetarian options that offers classic Italian flavours and serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and coffee. The menu changes seasonally but remain true to the essence of northern Italy. BYO wine is allowed although they do have a wide range of Italian wines to compliment your choices.
The Alchemist Espresso
8 Carter St, Cammeray Ph: 0418 977 082
The Alchemist Espresso was created as an inviting, local hangout for coffee-centric families, couples and coffee-lovers that oozes of a trendy relaxing vibe in the heart of Cammeray. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and is known for their fantastic coffee and home-style food which are locally sourced and produced, served in a warm, comfortable atmosphere. Folks will be enjoying their fantastic dishes again as they reopen their doors following a season break on the 20th of January.
The Moody Chef
1/30 Atchison St, St Leonards NSW 2065, Ph: 02 9438 4681
The Moody Chef is an open and inviting café with a fun and social vibe. They offer an extensive seasonal breakfast and lunch menu that are scrumptious and in generous servings. This café also serves some of the best coffee in the local area.
3/20 The Strand, Dee Why NSW 2109, Ph: 02 9971 9692
SeaChange Cafe is very popular for its breakfast menu which is available until 6pm. The food is really good here – fresh and tasty. The portions are extremely generous too. This café is very busy and if you can’t get a table right away, I suggest you wait.
Anvil Cafe & Grocer
54 Alexander St Crows Nest, P: 02 9901 4182
Taste their delicious breakfast & lunch menu, Sample Coffee brew, Teacraft Tea & in-house baked goods. Anvil also sell small goods so you can take a little piece of Anvil home and recreate the pleasure.
The Butchers Cafe
152 Sydney Road Fairlight NSW 2094, Ph: 02 9949 2566
Stop in at this cosy laid-back café on Sydney Street for comfort foods such as mouth-watering burgers, sandwiches and pork and lamb wraps plus great tasting coffee. The food is fresh, delicious and creative. It’s a lovely local café.
Shop 1, 17 Grosvenor Street, Neutral Bay, Ph: 02 9908 7868
Wild basket serves and sells loads of Australian products from olive oil to indigenous herb pastes and some of the country’s best cheeses and cold meats. They also have a unique selection of artisan wines and sweet treats. Wild Basket has great food and offers a simple modern menu. Their specials are always delicious and you can have one of the best decafs in Neutral Bay at this cafe.
83 Spofforth St Cremorne, NSW, Ph: 02 9908 2649
Radio Cairo is a hip and very relaxed place with great, flavoursome food. They offer an African fare with a Caribbean twist. Their food is consistently brilliant with many different flavour combinations and perfect portion sizes. They have several vegetarian options as well.
Bazaar Beer Cafe
1 Albany St St Leonards, NSW 2065, Ph: 02 9438 1999
Nice decor with a peaceful environment and friendly service. They have a wide menu range on the offer and loads of delicious food and exotic beers. They also have a nice range of Czech beers and tasty interpretations of traditional European dishes. This café is a great place to go when you’re with a bunch of people looking to have a great time.
The Boathouse Balmoral
2 The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach NSW 2088, Ph: 02 9974 5440
The Boathouse is situated over Middle Harbour and is framed by the spectacular views and water. The cafe offers fresh modern Australian cuisine in a stunning beachside setting. They offer delicious deli style food, great coffee, bread and even fresh market flowers making it a local favourite.
Epoque Belgian Beer Cafe
429 Miller St Cammeray NSW 2062, Ph: 02 9954 3811
Epoque Belgian Beer Cafe embraces the Belgian bistro tradition. The atmosphere in this café is generally quite chilled out. When dining here, don’t forget to try their Siam mussels and chicken schnitzel and they also serve superb oysters, pork belly and steaks. Discover great wholesome food and the best beer when you drop by Epoque Belgian Beer Café.
4 The Esplanade Balmoral, NSW, Ph: 02 9969 5050
The Bather’s Pavilion is a seaside restaurant and cafe situated on Balmoral Beach so expect an amazing ocean views taking in the intricacy of Sydney harbour. Their service is professional yet friendly and the food is appetizingly good with an amazing fresh selection of seafood, poultry and game. Their desserts and coffee are also noteworthy.
New Orleans Cafe
6 Willoughby Rd Crows Nest, NSW, Ph: 02 9436 2596
A live jazz to accompany a lovely meal is more than enough reason to visit New Orleans Cafe. When dropping by don’t forget to try Cajun and Creole style burgers, beef ribs and apple pie for desert.
Shop 1, 164 Military Rd Neutral Bay, NSW 2089, Ph: 02 9908 4030
Maisy’s is a friendly cafe offering a wide range of food. The menu is classic and there’s something for everyone. This café is open 24/7 and they make delicious eggs benedict which is available anytime. They also serve a really rich and luscious mud cake anyone will love.
Thelma & Louise
1 Hayes St Neutral Bay, NSW 2089, Ph: 02 9953 7754
Thelma & Louise is a tiny little cafe next to the wharf at Neutral Bay so you’ll have a great view of the water from the little balcony. The service is friendly and the food is tasty with generous portions. This café also uses organic and locally grown produce grown in its own garden. It’s the perfect place to take family and friends staying for the weekend.
The Mews Fine Food
Shop 4, 3-5 Myahgah Mews, Mosman, Ph: 02 9969 8973
There’s a lot to like about The Mews. This cafe is like walking into Europe with a space that delivers the best of London with a hint of Paris. It has an intimate vibe with friendly and efficient staff. They serve mouth-watering breakfast and lunch using local and seasonal produce – tasty and fresh. And the coffee is constantly amazing!
Kenzi Sake Bar & Restaurant
The Concourse – Chatswood Avenue, Chatswood, Willoughby NSW 2067, Ph: 02 9411 8692
Kenzi Sake Bar is a stylish Japanese resto with a warm and friendly staff. They serve unexpectedly tasty, beautifully presented food and excellent sake to pair them with. The restaurant looks and feels authentic and boasts a Japanese tapas style dining experience.
1109 Middle Head Rd, Mosman, Ph: 02 9969 1120
Burnt Orange is a stylish cafe and retail boutique in the old Mosman clubhouse. The café features an all-day dining (breakfast, lunch, high tea and afternoon tea) on a wraparound veranda looking over the gardens and the stunning harbour views. The menu has a number of fresh options and the Green Goddess chicken salad is one of the more popular dishes to try.
Avenue Road Cafe
185 Avenue Rd Mosman, NSW, Ph: 02 9969 8999
Avenue Road is a bustling café loved by locals. They serve breakfast delights and fabulous coffee at reasonable prices. It’s the perfect spot for a Sunday lunch with the family or meeting point with friends.
Swerve & Co. Café
876 Military Rd, Mosman NSW, Ph: 02 9960 1285
Swerve has a bright stylish atmosphere. They serve sumptuous food and unique seasonal specials for breakfast and lunch, and have gluten free options as well. Their house blend coffee is some of the best you’ll have in Mosman. This café is charming, modish and family friendly.
Pablo & Rusty’s Espresso Bar
1 St Johns Ave Gordon NSW 2072, Ph: 02 9499 8442
Pablo & Rusty’s Espresso Bar is a small and very busy café. It’s in an excellent location with good coffee and they have the best mocha there. They also have a light meal menu which includes pies, sandwiches and toasties.