Best Places to Eat in Wonderful Wollongong
Finding the 5 Top Restaurants in any city is hard when there are many to choose from. There are hundreds of great places to eat in Wollongong but with some help we have narrowed it down to the best.
We Love the Gong, Not Just for it’s Beaches
Wollongong is best known for its pristine beaches, national parklands and domineering mountains but there is more to the beautiful city of Wollongong. Yes, that’s right, in recent years since the upgrading of the main shopping centre in the CBD the gourmet food movement has been on the rise. Now, restaurants around the area are popping up everywhere, boasting fresh and locally sourced produce with dishes created by skilled chefs.
Here we will look at 5 Top Restaurants in Wollongong that you must check out in this ever-expanding location. With so many options on the menu, we give you some inside tips on what dishes you must try.
1. Wollongong’s Best Burger Joint
First stop on our food tour of Wollongong is the widely locally-known burger joint, Jimmy’s Burger Bar. If you are looking for a delicious burger, because lets’ face it, we all crave one once in a while, then there is no other place to be than Jimmy’s. Found on Market Street towards South Beach, Jimmy’s offers a wide range of burgers that are sure to satisfy everyone’s taste. They can also be customised with extra ingredients, such as haloumi, avocado or even some more pickles!
Not only do they offer great chicken and beef burgers, but Jimmy’s also has a range of vegetarian options and, with a little tweaking, they can even satisfy anyone needing vegan or gluten free options. If you don’t really feel like a burger, but are still craving Jimmy’s, then they offer wraps and subs, not to mention their amazing sweet potato fries. For a small additional cost, you can upgrade your burger to a meal, with chips and a drink. There is something on offer for the whole family at Jimmy’s Burger Bar.
2. Best Asian Restaurant in Wollongong
We progress to Balinese Spice Magic, which not only serves amazing and authentic Indonesian cuisine, but also provides cooking classes. The combination of traditional Indonesian spices will have your mouth watering as soon as you walk in the door. Their classes, which can be booked via their website, show you how to create dishes from their menu at home. You will learn how to create three delicious courses – entree, main and dessert. You will be hosting authenic Balinese dinner parties for your friends and family in no time with their attentive, in-class training and cooking tips.
There are of course both vegetarian and vegan options available at Balinese Spice Magic. They cater to most dietary requirements as well. Some noteworthy dishes are the Sate Ayam (chicken satay with peanut sauce) and the Nasi Vegan Magic for the vegetarians and vegans out there. Of course, you cannot leave without trying the Babi Guling, which is pieces of roasted pork with a blend of Balinese Spice magic’s guling spices. Indonesian cuisine is certainly on the rise here in Australia and Balinese Spice Magic has brought it to Wollongong with their amazing palate and enchanting flavours which will have you coming back time and time again.
3. Wollongong Best Fine Dining
Caveau is fine dining at its best in the Wollongong area. It has been awarded 14 hats and has been featured in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide since 2005 and continued all the way until 2018. It draws upon local and organically sourced produce to create the most amazing picture perfect dishes. They even cater to vegetarian and vegan diners and all allergies and dietary requirements can be met as long as they are notified in advance.
Not only do they present beautiful dishes, such as smoked black lip abalone and eggplant roasted in black garlic for the non-meat eaters, but they have a large selection of Australian and international wines which they can pair with the dishes for you in the recommended 7 course tasting menu. Their tasting menu selection can be found online but the menu does change with the seasons to make for an unforgettable dining experience each time. Reservations are essential at Caveau as it is rare to find an empty table available here!
4. Wollongong Harbourfront Restaurant
Wollongong, being a coastal city, is well known for its fresh seafood caught daily around the area and is delivered directly to the local restaurants. From Balmain Bus to Barramundi, the best place by far to partake in delectable seafood is the Harbourfront Restaurant. Here it is essential that you book in advance as this location is popular with tourists and locals alike. You will rarely get seated immediately unless you have prebooked and secured a booking in advance.
With oysters three ways and various sashimi, the Harbourfront is the premier venue for seafood in the area. It is a little pricey in comparison to many other restaurants it the surrounds, but it is certainly justified by the calibre of food you will receive. One of the best dishes you can get is the local live lobster, which is served either mornay, flame grilled with parmesan cheese, or with garlic and chilli butter, a great gluten free option.
They cater for most functions and their speciality is local and destination weddings. What a magical place to dine with friends and family after the most memorable day of your life. What better way to begin, continue or end your journey of Wollongong than with the best seafood on offer.
5. Best Brewery in Wollongong
The Illawarra Brewery, or The Brewery, is the best place to settle down and indulge in a cold craft beer. They have a huge selection of locally crafted beers, wines and spirits. The perfect place to relax further after a long day at the beach which is just down the road. Whatever you desire, The Brewery has you covered. Their food resembles high end pub meals, with classic burgers, salads and steaks with a unique twist. They cater for most dietary requirements including gluten free and vegetarian.
The biggest seller for The Brewery is of course its range of quality Australian craft beers. This is probably evident from the name, but no other bar or pub in the Illawarra can match the range offered at this venue. Nor can they claim to have anything better. Ciders, ales and commercial beers are also available and for the wine lovers there is the 1796 wine bar inside.
There are function rooms for hire, which would make your work Christmas party or birthday one to remember, overlooking South Beach. It is also a great place to dine before or after an event at the WIN Entertainment Centre just behind, where you can often find concerts or sporting games to attend.
Wollongong Restaurant Guide
Roppongi Japanese Restaurant Wollongong
There are several other restaurants in the area which are certainly worth mentioning if you are looking for a different type of cuisine. In this day and age, Japanese food has become increasingly popular. Roppongi, named after a district of Japan, has been operating for many years and offers authentic Japanese cuisine for a reasonable price.
Here, you can find anything from sushi and sashimi to yakitori and teriyaki. Having visited Japan myself, I can honestly say that it is the closest thing to traditional Japanese food that you will find in Wollongong and the surrounding areas. Bookings are recommended especially on the weekends as Roppongi is often booked out.
Diggies for Breakfast or Lunch
For breakfast or lunch overlooking Wollongong’s stunning North Beach, you cannot go past Diggies. Found nearby North Beach Pavilion, their breakfast menu cannot be surpassed. It is priced quite reasonably for the quality of food you will receive and is extremely popular with the locals. Unless you get in early, on weekends you can be looking at up to a 45-minute wait for a table, but this just leaves you extensive time for a morning walk on the beach below.
Schnitz Wollongong Central Plaza
If you are hankering for a schnitzel, then you cannot go past Schnitz in Wollongong central plaza. With each dish you can choose from chicken, pork, beef and even vegan schnitzel, which is made with 100% plant-based ingredients. To customise your order even more, you can choose the type of crumb used in your meal, from no crumb to spicy crumb, Schnitz has you covered at every avenue. They even supply a corn crumb for those who eat gluten free.
This is just the beginning! You can put your schnitzel in a wrap or roll with a side salad and chips. Diggies delicious kettle cooked gravy is a must try accompaniment or choose from five different sauces on offer. Or you can combine it all together and get your schnitzel in a meal. They also offer catering and take away if you want to enjoy your meal at home.
Beach Dining with a View
For dinner on the beach, Northbeach Pavilion houses a widely acclaimed Italian restaurant with all the traditional menu favourites. You will be seated at one of their many tables inside the rustic restaurant within the heritage listed North Beach Bathers Pavilion, where you can choose from a variety of delectable Italian dishes. The cost is a little more than most Italian restaurants in the area, but for good reason. The servings are generous, and filling and their pizzas are ideal for feeding a bigger group.
Wollongong’s Best Café and Coffee
My two favourite Wollongong cafes are ‘Lee and Me’ and ‘Bull and Bear’ which are also packed out most days. Be prepared to wait for a table, especially on a Sunday, but be assured that the wait will be worth it. Lee and Me operates from an old heritage terrace house that dates back to the early 1890s. Husband and wife duo, Lee and Shay together with Benny and Naomi, have created a community meeting place with loads of charm.
Bull and Bear, a contemporary Australian café specialising in traditional Spanish fare with a twist, within three tastefully renovated shops on Victoria street, Wollongong. Both breakfast and lunch menus offer exquisite dishes like ‘la Spañola’ and ‘el gordo’ at breakfast and ‘Choripan’ and Navarra salad at lunch.
A menu more focussed on sensational seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes appear on the dinner menu such as Paella, and Zarzuela De Mariscos. Spanish doughnuts served with decadent chocolate dipping sauces are a big hit to cap off the dining experience at Bull and Bear. The signature sangria or the selection of Spanish and Australian wines are the perfect accompaniments.
Wollongong’s Best Coffee
The locals also flock here daily for quality coffees crafted by well-trained and highly skilled baristas. Start your day at any of the exceptional cafés in Wollongong and it’s guaranteed to keep you in good spirits to explore more of the best of Wollongong.
With so many options you may feel a little overwhelmed when looking for somewhere to dine during your stay in Wollongong, but hopefully this list has narrowed down your choices considerably. Bon appetite.
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