It’s no surprise that seafood is the star in Port Macquarie, but the city is also brimming with other culinary surprises, from street-style bar food, to paddock to hearty delicacies, and winemaking. It doesn’t stop at the food, with a plethora of great bars – from cozy wine gardens to gorgeous waterside cottages. This is just a sample of the places to eat and drink in Port Macquarie.
Bell’s Fish House and Bar
Sustainable, local seafood is at the heart of this diner on Clarence Street, downtown. The spirit of the sea is brought to a plate by Chef Pete Cutcliffe with an ever-changing menu based on what the fishing boats bring each day. Start with grilled oysters or prawns, before moving on to thicker slices of barramundi, poached butter, grilled Murray cod, or slow-cooked grilled breast tenderloin. The wine is also earning high praise, with the restaurant recently announced as a finalist at the 2022 NSW Sommelier Wine Awards.
A newer addition to Port Macquarie’s dining scene, this cozy izakaya-style Japanese restaurant near Fisherman’s Wharf. Start with fresh sashimi and work your way through joint dishes of seaweed, fennel salad, wagyu tataki beef, and veggie temari (decorated sushi balls), while main dishes feature the likes of tonkatsu (pork cutlet), grilled salmon with soy butter, and udon noodles. With its extensive Sake menu and Japanese-inspired cocktails including whiskey lowball with Suntory Toki, Samurai rock (sake and lemon), and signature Ichi sangria, with red wine, fruits and spices.
botanical wine garden
A casual eatery in the front yard of the Glasshouse Theatre, Botanic Wine Garden is inspired by classic and modern European dishes, with pork terrine, tart tatin, Moroccan eggplant and braised lamb shoulder among the highlights. As the name suggests, wine is taken very seriously here, with an entire Australian menu focused on boutique winemakers. When the sun goes down, grab a spot by the fireplace on the candlelit patio, or line up for your visit with Vino & Vibes on Wednesday night, which sees local musicians take to the outdoor stage.
Located on the banks of the Hastings River since 1971, Whalebone Wharf was flooded in March 2021, but managed to bounce back in a matter of weeks thanks to the rebuilding efforts of local residents. Enjoy a long lunch here by the panoramic windows overlooking the river, featuring classic and upscale seafood, with an emphasis on fresh catches sourced from local suppliers. To start, immaculately served rock oysters, marinated calamari and the locally famous seafood stew are all notes, with main dishes including Queensland barramundi and local market fish and selections from the grill, such as river scotch fillet.
Set in reimagined boat mechanics right by the water at Port Macquarie Marina, stop here for street food and cocktails before a night out. Start with slow-cooked pork or falafel with Turkish sauce and yogurt tahini from the tapas menu, before moving on to a little boy (Louisiana-style submarine sandwich) with shrimp, chicken, philly cheese or falafel. The drinks menu is designed to reflect the coastal vibe, with Cointreau-based Margs, rum Mojitos, and refreshing spritzes. In the winter you can warm up by the fire pits, and in the summer you can enjoy the sun at an outdoor table on the river.
This small restaurant is located in Town Green and overlooks the river, which is exactly what the name suggests. Head there in the morning for coffee and brikki, with simple fare like toast, brikki burger and signature sausage bun. From Thursday evenings to Sundays, Little Shack transforms into a beachfront bar. Enjoy frozen cocktails and a seafood-inspired menu. Or on Thursdays head to Los Cabo, a Mexican night featuring $12 Margs and tacos, or Sunday afternoons for live DJs and an extended happy hour from 4pm to 6pm.
This article was produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Port Macquarie.