NSW’s South Coast, which stretches from south of Sydney to the border of Victoria, encompassing towns like Berry, Nowra and Batemans Bay, is becoming increasingly known for its food.
Restaurants Bangalay Dining in Shoalhaven Heads, Valentina in Merimbula and Rick Stein at Mollymook have all been nominated for this year’s Australian Good Food Guide Awards. And foodie events, like The South Coast Food and Wine Festival, Shoalhaven Autumn Celebration of Food and Huskisson Beer and BBQ Festival, take place all year-round.
This said, new gastronomic experiences are constantly being added to the mix (you can keep up-to-date with them on Shoalhaven’s Food page), which can make the choice of where to eat when there overwhelming. So, to help out, we’ve rounded up some of the best restaurants, cafes and bars in the area right now, in our humble opinion.
The Berry Tea Shop
The Berry Tea Shop, the “petite café”, as the brand calls it, is right at home, in buzzy village Berry, two hours south of Sydney and so often stopped at by Sydneysiders on the way down. From 10am to 3pm, for a 45-minute seating time, sip on hand-blended, loose leaf teas and taste freshly-baked scones or a slice of cake in its cosy room.
Walking into Bud’s Tavern on main drag Owen Street in Huskisson, you’d be right for thinking the pub had been there since the ‘80s and not, in fact, since June 2023. Owned by a group of family and friends, the venue is in an ode to the great pubs of that decade and a dedication to their late grandfather Bud. Think family photos on a wall collage, an esky holding open the front door and Jatz crackers and cheese on sticks on the menu.
A few doors down from Bud’s Tavern on Owen Street is Pasta Buoy, a small, Mediterranean-feel courtyard and takeaway shop with seating out front. Here, pasta and sauces by Chef Gabriele Olivieri, formerly of Pentolina in Melbourne, are made daily. Think vodka rigatoni, pesto fusilli and pork ragu.
Serotonin on Currambene
Catering to dietary needs, from gluten-free, to vegetarian and vegan, and all the allergies in between, is what Serotonin on Currambene prides itself on. In fact, the menus here, all-day brunch and dinner, is entirely vegetarian. Highlights include seaweed-infused muesli, popcorn cauliflower and baked ‘meatballs’ in marinara-style sauce.
Harvest Milton is a family-run restaurant in NSW South Coast village Milton, open Thursdays from 4pm and on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm. Like its name suggests, produce for the restaurant is harvested from its 1.2-hectare, on-site farm. Enjoy it with a glass of wine, craft beer or cocktail, and, if you’re lucky, live music. Before heading off, be sure to wander the gardens.
Flamin Galah in Huskisson is a restaurant, live music venue and brewery, serving the likes of German Kolsch, Vanilla Pudding Stout and XPA and Hazy Pales. Drink them inside an industrial-feel, two-storey venue, next to the brewery where they’re brewed, paired with a meal from food van outside, The Nest. Food van hours vary, so check online before you head.
5 Little Pigs
Arrive at 5 Little Pigs in Huskisson on a Saturday or Sunday morning in summer, and you’ll likely find yourself lining up for a table – the café is one of the most popular on Owen Street. Open since 2013, it’s family-run venue serving breakfast, lunch and drinks in a casual indoor-outdoor setting. Highlights include warm black sticky rice budding, buckwheat waffles with bayleaf cream and pork scotch with braised red cabbage.