Just a few short hours drive from Brisbane lies a beach side destination that’s overflowing with delicious gourmet treats.
If the first thing that pops into your head when you think of Coffs Coast is The Big Banana, then I’m about to blow your mind.
This coastal wonderland is home to some breathtaking beaches, international sporting events and the aforementioned famous banana, but what you may not know is that it’s also sprinkled with a slew of restaurants, cafes and hidden dinner delights that are sure to tantalise any foodie worth their salt.
I recently ventured down to this sea-side mecca of deliciousness and both my stomach and I got way more than we bargained for. Here’s a complete gastronomical guide to some of the Coffs Coast’s best kept foodie secrets.
Finz on the Beach, BreakFree Aanuka Beach Resort
During my Coffs Coast stay I was lucky enough to call BreakFree Aanuka Beach Resort home (and boy, was it a great home. I’m still dreaming about my suite’s enormous spa with overhead skylight) so I was able to frequent their Finz on the Beach restaurant on more than one occasion. Dinner was a special treat with a Warm Duck Salad that featured crispy duck slices working in harmony with fresh greens.For dessert I was served up Double C
hocolate Tart which was some sort of heavenly concoction of frozen hazelnut mousse, candied Coffs Coast bananas and minted maple syrup. Finz overlooks the resort’s sweeping neighboring beachso you can listen to the waves while you enjoy dinner and a glass of wine.
Finz on the Beach, 11 Firman Dr, Coffs Harbour.
Sawtell is a small coastal town located just a stone’s throw from Coffs Harbour. It’s also the home of Fig Restaurant, an elegant and understated eatery that serves up a menu so unique and refined that it’s a magnet for local foodies in the know. If you’re looking to really sample the talents of owner and chef Phil Woolaston, then Friday nights are a good time to pay a visit. Known as Degustation Fridays, you have the option of either a five or six course degustaion menu and the dishes are so diverse you’ll be having a palate party in your mouth before the night is over. The current degustaion menu offers seared local yellowfin tuna with fennel, radish and whipped eggplant confit and local mahi mahi, with cauliflower, kale, preserved lemon and parsley. For dessert you’ll be dished up a caramelised beetroot and chocolate bavarois with quinoa cocoa crumble and vanilla ice cream.
Fig Restuarnt, 5/2 First Ave, Sawtel.
Latitude 30 is where you’ll find fine dinning, stunning views over the ocean and marina and an immense selection of international wines including French Champagne and Spanish riojaas.
When you get there you must try the traditional Spanish seafood paella. It’s a heavenly mish-mash of mussels, saffron, scallops, prawns, chicken, chorizo, rice and local fish. It’s everything a real paella should be but there is one catch, it’s super filling so if you’re planning on indulging in dessert you’ll need to give yourself a little breathing time to just sit and enjoy the view. Trust me, you’ll definitely want to order dessert once you hear what happened next.
The platter that was set down before me was so decadent that I had to take a moment to process what was going on. A mini Creme Brulee, chocolate covered strawberries, a cake-pop, custards, ice-cream and a brownie all adorned the platter and at first I deemed it too pretty to eat. But in the end I took one for the team and it tasted just as scrumptious as it looked. Latitude 30 has recently revealed a new dessert called Latitude Chocolate Assiette and consists of a chocolate pot, chocolate nut cluster, chocolate delice, chocolate brownie and chocolate ganache. I’m thinking a road trip is in order.
Latitude 30, 1 Marina Dr, Coffs Harbour.
Mangrove Jacks Cafe and Canoe Hire
At Mangrove Jacks I was able to laze on a verandah overlooking Coffs Creek while enjoying a cold Corona and nibbling on fresh oysters. A friendly neighborhood pelican kept my fellow diners and I entertained with it’s water show antics and if you’re there for lunch you can’t go past the Cajun Spiced Calamari, Barramundi Fillets or Seafood pasta. The majority of the produce is locally sourced and if you’re feeling particularly energetic you can rent a canoe or kayak from the venue and spend the afternoon paddling down Coffs Creek.
Mangrove Jacks, 321 Harbour Dr, Coffs Harbour.
After spending the morning surfing and swimming in the glistening waves at Woolgoolga beach I had that certain hunger that only fish and chips could satisfy. Woolgoolga locals pointed me to the area’s most popular fish and chip cafe, White Salt, promising crunchy fresh chips and a range of tasty sea food options. “Even if there’s a line, it’s worth the wait,” they promised. “The service is so fast you’ll be in and out before you know it anyway.” The legends turned out to be true and after the shortest of waits I was sampling the crispiest chips and calamari of my life, perfectly seasoned and fresh. Offering a range of sea food, sandwichs and burger options, White Salt is the perfect place to dine in after a swim or grab a take-out to savor on the beach.
White Salt 70 Beach Street, Woolgoolga.