The old steel town of Newcastle is enjoying a serious cultural revival, and a new wave of cutting-edge restaurants are at the forefront of the resurgence. Contemporary Australian, Spanish tapas, romantic Italian, Brazilian steak, seaside fish and chips, authentic Indian… wherever your stomach leads you, here’s our pick of the top 10 restaurants in Newcastle, Australia.
Subo’s Hunter St shopfront might be restrained but the gobsmacking flavours on the plate certainly aren’t. The work of husband-and-wife owners Suzie (front of house) and Beau Vincent (head chef) who cut their teeth in some of Sydney and Melbourne’s finest eateries, this intimate venue is without doubt one of Newcastle’s premier fine dining restaurants plating up high-quality, contemporary bistro dishes.
Looking for a romantic date spot in Newcastle? Look no further than Una Volta. Down a set of stairs off King St, this moody eatery prepares a scrumptious set menu of Italian fare just like Nonna used to make. Reservations essential for this small, authentic trattoria.
The food you’ll find upstairs at the Crown & Anchor Hotel is far from your regular pub grub. Sprout Dining’s Jacqueline and Tom Brown took over the pub in 2015 and injected their modern, seasonal cuisine into the kitchen, serving Italian/French-style bistro food in an industrial-chic dining room full of exposed brick, polished concrete and an epic wine wall.
Scotties has been frying Newcastle’s favourite fish and chips since 1950, served with a side dish of ocean views and fresh sea breezes. Decades after it opened, Scotties offers thoroughly modern, locally sourced seafood with a Mediterranean streak in its elegant alfresco dining area shaded by palm trees.
Husband and wife team Chris and Ami Thornton opened Restaurant Mason in November 2011, and it’s quickly become one of the Hunter’s must-visit food destinations. The chef hat-awarded eatery serves upscale modern Australian fare with a French, British and Asian touch — all paired with the perfect bottle of wine, of course — in a refined Hunter St location.
In Newcastle’s historic East End sits a very contemporary Spanish restaurant, serving tantalising tapas like marinated squid, orange-glazed duck, fried chicken wings, crispy pork belly, chilli-and-garlic prawns and traditional patatas bravas. Wash it all down with imported beers, wines, spirits and house-made sangria in Bocados’ quirky, urban dining room.
This institution on Glebe Rd in The Junction is the ultimate all-rounder, offering all-day breakfast, coffee and cake for morning tea, a carefully designed lunch and dinner menu, all served in a trendy eatery with indoor and outdoor spaces. Talulah prides itself on its generous share plates, with the super-friendly staff keen to offer drink recommendations to go with your feast.
Perched right on the Honeysuckle harbour front, this joint does one thing expertly: meat, and plenty of it. Inspired by Brazilian churrascarias and boasting a natural wood BBQ and Texan-style smoker, MEET carves as much beef, lamb, pork, poultry and sausages as your plate can handle, accompanied by an array of house-made sides plus vegetables, bread and salads.
Overlooking the harbourside Foreshore Park next to a historic convict site, this heritage-listed cafe restaurant is one of Newcastle’s most charming dining experiences. Paymasters serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with a view, including the legendary pancakes for brekkie and garlic prawns later in the day.
If you’re craving a curry then make a beeline for Sapphire, Newcastle’s top Indian restaurant. This sophisticated Merewether eatery dishes up delectable versions of all your Indian favourites such as Daal Makhni, Chicken Tikka Masala and Lamb Madras.