Top Restaurants In Wollongong, Australia

HHJJJ2 North Wollongong Beach.
HHJJJ2 North Wollongong Beach.
Haley Henschel

The city of Wollongong, Australia is often overshadowed by Sydney, its northern neighbor. But thanks to a healthy helping of small-town charm and a dedicated, multicultural community, ‘the Gong’s’ dining scene has made a name for the seaside city. Enjoy our top 10 list of the best restaurants in Wollongong.

Balinese Spice Magic

The pristine beaches, lush jungles and serene spirituality of Bali make the Indonesian island a popular destination for Australian travelers. For a sample of the spirit of this paradise-like destination, there’s no need to buy a plane ticket; a meal at Balinese Spice Magic will transport you there within seconds of your first bite. Incorporating fresh spices that are ground with a mortar and pestle to release their flavors and essential oils (the ‘spice magic’) the exotic dishes at Spice Magic will both tantalize and energize your taste buds. For a real adventure, try the mie goreng, or noodles cooked with meat, spices, mixed vegetables, coconut sugar and soy sauce, served with chicken satay and a sliced omelet. If you’d like to take the flavors of Bali to your own kitchen, Spice Magic also offers cooking classes.

Diggies

Why settle for a view of the beach when you can dine on the beach? Perched on the edge of the ocean, Diggies serves up some of the best ‘brekkie’ and lunch in the ‘Gong. Pair a frothy cappuccino with entrees such as ricotta hotcakes with fresh strawberries and maple syrup (a side of bacon is semi-optional) or wash down coconut cake and mascarpone with freshly squeezed juice. If you’re in the mood for more substantial fare, order grilled ocean trout or classic fish and chips, you’re right next to the ocean, after all, so savor the freshest fish while you have the chance. If a trip to the seaside is a bit out of the way for you in the morning, bike over to Diggies’ Cycle Café for equally fresh coffee and simple, healthy menu options like muesli, paleo banana bread, or a pickle and pancetta melt on rye.

Harbourfront Restaurant

It’s hard to find seafood tastier and views more picturesque than those at the luxurious Harbourfront Restaurant, located on the rim of the Belmore Basin. For over 30 years, this restaurant has been a place to enjoy fresh cuisine; you might be able to see your soon-to-be-meal swim in the harbor as you order your first glass of wine. It is the place to soak in the splendor of the mountains and waterways that make up the Wollongong landscape. Among its European-style dishes, you’ll find a seasonal à la carte menu that features the best ingredients from local fishermen and farmers. A reservation is a must if you want to savor entrées such as fresh king prawns with orange, mint, tomato and avocado salad, or crispy skin barramundi with potato purée, pancetta, peas, and shiitake and enoki mushrooms.

His Boy Elroy

© Courtesy of My Pantry
Look hard for His Boy Elroy, the entrance to this hipster hideaway is a single, glossy, wooden sliding door hidden along one of Wollongong CBD’s streets. With everything from hotcakes to burgers to burritos to cocktails, the only thing more vibrant than His Boy’s menu is its décor. Its retro vibe with a hint of New York City street style is reinforced by a massive black and white mural featuring the cartoon character ‘Popeye the Sailor Man,’ created by local designer Jeremy Ham. The mismatched dinnerware and the uniform of the baristas evokes the spirit of the 1950s. The scene is simultaneously ‘Grandma’s house’ and ‘Brooklyn thrift store chic.’

Mylan Restaurant

Many locals will tell you there’s no better Vietnamese food in the city than that served by Mylan Restaurant and they’re right on the mark; the restaurant serves up everything from king prawns in red curry with creamed coconut and garden vegetables, to traditional spring rolls or roast duck in orange sauce with dry mushrooms and carrots. When dining here, however, you really only need to know two words, satay and chicken. Smothered in creamed coconut, peanuts, spices, carrots, capsicums and onions, just one bite and you’ll realize why locals pack Mylan Restaurant every day at lunchtime for an order of it.

Samaras

There’s no question you’ll need a reservation to dine at Samaras; this award-winning family-owned restaurant has made a huge name for itself in recent years. Samaras’ carnivore-friendly, Lebanese-Mediterranean fusion cuisine is some of the best Middle Eastern food in New South Wales; traditional dishes such as lamb shawarma and Beirut chicken are paired with sweeping views of the city, both inside the dining room and outdoors on the vast patio. The restaurant is so popular that another location just opened in Woonona to serve the ravenous crowds.

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