GOOD TASTE: Beach eats a treat

ARGUABLY Newcastle’s most famous beach and surfing break, Merewether has plenty to offer diners – whether you’re in the mood for a quick coffee, a cooling ale or something more substantial.

Merewether Surfhouse is perched overlooking the beach. It opened in November 2011 and has quickly become an icon on the Newcastle coastline – and the dining scene.

You can choose between casual eats at the cafe or takeaways from the kiosk. 

The Pizza And Gelato Bar, set to open this week, is another dining option. With sweeping views up to Merewether, Dixon Park and Bar Beach, the Merewether Surfhouse bar is a perfect spot to pause for a drink and a bite from the menu, which includes pizza, share plates and mains. Also on the top level of Surfhouse, Merewether Surfhouse Bar & Grill offers more luxurious dining.

Just back from the sand but still with impressive views of the coast is The Beach Hotel. This is a perennially popular spot for a drink or two, and a bite at the  Beach Cafe.

The newcomer to Merewether’s dining options is Juicy Beans on the Beach, which replaced the Swell cafe at the same site at Merewether Surf Life Saving Club.

The best time to visit Bar Beach is when Swell is cooking its famous, delicious double-cooked and hand-cut chips.

The cafe also has a range of fresh seafoods, salads, grilled options and wraps available all day, as well as breakfast options, coffee and other drinks.

The Bathers Cafe at Newcastle Baths has expanded its operation to Newcastle Beach after Hudson Caterers was awarded the tender for both kiosks earlier this year.

The two cafes offer a range of food, including burgers, pluto pups, wedges and fish and chips. The cafe offers a range of early-morning options, such as pancakes, croissants and cooked breakfasts.

Stepping just a street or so back from Newcastle Beach unveils a range of dining and drinking options: Estabar for espresso, gelati and more; Liquid Gold Beach Cafe for tasty eats and coffee; SandBar Cafe for breakfast, lunch and dinner overlooking the beach; and Jonah’s On The Beach. 

There is also Elements Cafe Deli for breakfast, lunch and dinners to go; Bar Petite for a drink and food prepared by chef Tony Harrison (formerly of Nor’East); Rustica with Mark Hosie’s delicious menu; and Bistro Dalby under Novotel Newcastle Beach.

Just a little further north along the coast, Nobbys Beach is now home to a second Swell cafe, after the Bell family (who ran the Nobbys kiosk for three generations) moved on in recent months.

Further north, Lexie’s On The Beach sits on Stockton’s famous beach, next to the Surf Life Saving Club. Busy on weekends and weekdays alike, Lexie’s deck is a great spot to relax with a cuppa and take in the coastal view.

Heading south from Newcastle, Redhead Beach Cafe is popular. Head to the cafe on Friday and Saturday nights for fresh seafood, or any morning  for coffee along with a muffin, cake, fruit salad and yoghurt – or chef Kelly Pollard’s ‘‘ice-cream sandwich’’.

Further down the coast, Caves Beachside Hotel has sweeping views of the coastline and Moon Island. If you want to grab a drink or a bite, there is Caves Bistro, with a deck perfect for summer daytime drinks, and Caves Cafe, also with views of the coast. There is also the C Tapas Lounge, which replaces the C Restaurant and offers share plates, cocktails and a banquet menu.

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