Summer Feasts: 35 Summer Havens You Need Right Now

As the weather warms, the days grow longer and our routines slowly adjust, so do our eating patterns. As Summer arrives we tend to crave lighter and smaller portions for our meals, seeking out those eateries offering scrumptious seafood, breezy alfresco courtyards, or picturesque waterfront locations. We have done the hard work for you and rounded up our top picks to keep you making cooler choices this Summer. 

The Meat & Wine Co | Circular Quay NSW | Southbank VIC | Hawthorn VIC 

Sparing no expense in providing a sensational steakhouse experience, The Meat & Wine Co have hand selected each of their unique locations to offer a truly authentic dining experience. Although the theming says steakhouse, with its rustic hardwood timbers, round leather booths and ambient candle lighting; surf is a highlight just as equally as the turf on their menu. Enjoy the house specialty of the Crustacean Platter to share with lobster, Moreton Bay bugs, King crab legs, oysters and prawns, perfectly paired with a bottle of icy Moet et Chandon Imperial on a warm Summer’s night.

La Capannina | NSW

Screaming long Summer evenings is La Capannina in Milsons Point, displaying absolute waterfront views of Sydney Harbour Bridge. A contemporary interior has been created with polished wooden fittings, wide spanning glass windows and a classic colour scheme of cream and black, giving an air of elegance for diners to experience a modern Italian inspired menu. Hand-picked from the daily markets, the seafood at La Capannina is a popular choice from the menu with dishes of paccheri served with crab meat, chilli and cherry tomato sauce and the Grigliata di Pesce – grilled prawns, Balmain bugs and calamari.

The Vale Café | NSW

While in Willow Vale, escape the heat this Summer when the nearby beach is a little too far for a dip, and head to The Vale Café residing on Argyle Street. Take a seat on one of the brightly coloured outdoor settings and enjoy a healthy and freshly squeezed juice or fruit smoothie with a light and luscious breakfast of soft goats curd on sourdough with smashed avocado, strawberry, dukkah and honey.

Yum Yum Angourie Café and General Store | NSW

After a morning spent at picturesque Spooky Beach in Angourie, dust the sand from your feet and follow the locals to Yum Yum Angourie Café and General Store. Take a seat in the quaint alfresco dining area, fit out with long timber communal tables, an eclectic mix of chairs, vases with freshly picked flowers and upbeat tunes filling the air. Sourcing ingredients from within 150km, a menu of only the freshest dishes has been created. Tuck into a flavoursome Hungry Carnivore breakfast with free range local eggs, herb greens, grilled tomato, mushroom, premium bacon, organic local beef sausages and hash brown.

Howard’s Cantina | NSW (pictured above)

Nestled on the top floor of art deco hotel, The Rose of Australia, is the restaurant putting a gastronomy stamp on pub dining, Howard’s Cantina. The ideal place to meet friends over Summer for casual drinks and tapas, choose dishes like the black garlic cured cobia with beetroot, celery and potato or perhaps the baked Sydney rock oysters with pork skin and fermented pumpkin. 

Me Pho Vietnamese Kogarah | NSW

Vietnam is a country that braves the humidity year-round, which has seen the rise of hawker style eateries and street carts being a popular choice for snacks on the go which are light and easy to eat. Bringing the flavours from their motherland to Kogarah, is Me Pho Vietnamese, serving tasty and healthy dishes like the beef and spring roll vermicelli and the green pawpaw chicken salad with shredded pawpaw, carrot, mint leaves and special dressing, ideally washed down with their refreshing blood orange and ginger syrup iced drink or iced lychee green tea.

Jonah’s On the Beach | NSW

For breathtaking waterfront dining in Newcastle, look no further than Jonah's On the Beach. Located within the Noah's On the Beach Quality Hotel, this award-winning restaurant gives diners picturesque views over Newcastle Beach and Pacific Ocean in a classy, yet relaxed setting. Making the ideal location for a birthday celebration or intimate sunset dinner as the days grow longer, Jonah’s On the Beach have a menu to suit any taste, creating impressive dishes like the saffron linguine with prawns, clams, cherry tomato, fennel, rocket and chilli or the seafood tower for two made with a selection of locally sourced and sustainable seafood.

Italian Guild | NSW

When seeing the sights in quaint, rural Milton, pop by Italian Guild on the Princes Highway to sample an authentic slice of Milano. Relax in the alfresco area and enjoy the fresh air whilst browsing a menu filled with scrumptious seafood options like wood fired scallops marinated with shallot, garlic soy sauce and chilli and decadent desserts of housemade panna cotta served with fresh seasonal fruit.

Red Ginger Byron Bay | NSW

Offering Byron Bay locals a beloved dumpling house to frequent, Red Ginger Byron Bay grew out of a love and desire for Asian food and culture in the area. Like stepping into the lanes of old Shanghai, the sights, sounds, aromas and tastes of Red Ginger lures in guests to linger awhile with a tea in hand and tuck into dumpling delights such as the golden mushroom dumpling or Japanese pork gyoza.

Folonomo | NSW (pictured above)

To enjoy food for a good cause these holidays, make the trip to Folonomo in Surry Hills, a profit for purpose restaurant, giving 100% of their profits made in the café back to charities chosen by venue staff and diners. Fresh produce is sourced sustainably for a menu structured around Ayurvedic eating practices that will nourish the body and please palates, with dishes like the sunflower seed risotto with pumpkin seed, salsa verde and red sorrel.

Targa | NSW 

Byron Bay is the quintessential coastal destination for many Australians, with thousands of tourist and locals alike flooding the sleepy, soul lifting town every week. Enjoy balmy weather dining alfresco with the smell of salt from Byron’s iconic beach just two streets away or step inside Targa’s contemporary space to eavesdrop on the two old locals chattering in a piece of wall-sized realism art, whilst you sample plates with the likes of fresh locally caught fish on berlotti bean confit leek and salsa verde.

The Olde Bakehouse | NSW

Take the scenic drive from Lake Macquarie to The Olde Bakehouse and enjoy warm country-style hospitality with a touch of Italian delight. The refurbished bakehouse provides a cosy space to enjoy the relaxed country ambiance with a backdrop of painted brick walls, warm honey-toned wood panels and polished floors, creating the ideal scene to tuck into plates of authentic Italian dishes like housemade ravioli.

Le Bouchon | NSW

Whilst in Crows Nest, step into French inspired Le Bouchon, and feel immersed in another world, enveloped in the warm smells of freshly baked baguettes and delightful French cuisine, while function guests sneak away to a private events area with a suave fit out, ideal for Summer soirees. Savour tastes of provincial cooking seen in the likes of pan roasted duck breasts and confit duck leg with baby peas and lentil jus, finished with a refreshing mix of smooth gelatos and sorbet.

Gatehouse High Tea Rooms | NSW

What better way to spend a warm Summer’s day than outdoors amongst manicured lawns in the charming Parramatta Park, on the Parramatta River. Gatehouse High Tea Rooms offers guests just this, beginning with a pleasant tour of the surrounding greenery, before sitting down to an irresistible high tea featuring the likes of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with jam and cream, housemade petite fours, sweet bites and coffee or a selection of classic teas and champagne.

Vintage Vines Café | NSW

Spend your Summer days perusing Mudgee Wines Estate on Henry Lawson Drive, and when hunger calls make for the resident Vintage Vines Café, to discover a rustic café with a warm, cosy vibe where friends gather to share a meal together and sample wines made from the nearby vines dating back more than 150 years. Pizza lovers can pick up a slice of barbeque chicken with mushrooms and red onion, while couples may share in an antipasto platter of salami, ham, chorizo, chicken, brie, sundried tomatoes and olives, served with bread sticks and crackers.

Sandbar| NSW

For those after a casual, yet stylish eatery when heading off the beach of Dee Why, be sure to visit Sandbar on The Strand to enjoy a laidback beachside ambiance. Kick start your morning with the healthy homemade bircher muesli or linger for tasty lunch options like the Sandbar poke bowl with grilled Tasmanian salmon, soybeans, vermicelli noodles, wakame salad, avocado and mint yoghurt dressing.

Nautanki Restaurant | NSW

Named after a popular form of folk theatre, Nautanki Restaurant is the new kid on the Indian block, housed in a Federation-style building along Station Street in Harris Park. Offering a sunny alfresco deck for diners and a spacious interior with whitewashed French doors, allowing in natural light, spicy colours create a warm, rich ambiance, inviting diners to stay awhile enjoying dishes of punchy chicken kormas, lamb vindaloos and Goan fish curry.

Steamers Bar and Grill | NSW

Be treated to succulent seafood and sparkling sea views at Steamers Bar and Grill on Marine Drive in Wollongong. Sip on a glass of New Zealand Beelgara Brut Cuvee as you catch the sunset from the balcony with friends, sharing in plates of sashimi with wasabi yuzu dressing, noodle and wakame salad or perhaps a plate of lemon and cracked pepper angel hair pasta tossed with Blue Swimmer crab, wood fired scampi, chilli, garlic and extra virgin olive oil.

Zest Café | VIC

When hunger calls and the thought of being in a kitchen isn’t appealing during the warmer days, head to Zest Café in Emerald tucked along Belgrave-Gembroook Road. Delve into fried calamari, served with a fennel, orange, pine nut, lemon, dill and caper aioli with chips or a toasted pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and beetroot relish.

Greasy Zoes | VIC (pictured above)

Take to Greasy Zoes along Heidelberg-Kinglake Road in Hurstbridge for a slice of good honest home cooking. A homely, eclectic décor, reminiscent of grandma’s kitchen awaits, creating a relaxed interior for diners to enjoy for hours whilst the aromas of freshly baked sourdough waft from the open kitchen. For a tasty seafood treat, opt for the sea bream with carrots and pardon peppers, finishing with a burnt fig and beer doughnut.

Pratty’s Patch | VIC

Enter the historic town of Bendigo to discover Pratty’s Patch sitting pretty, housed in its 150-year-old cottage. Offering a tranquil alfresco garden courtyard, guests are welcomed to stay a while and enjoy the breeze amongst the swaying palms whilst cooling down with a plate of oysters Kilpatrick with housemade Worcestershire sauce and fresh lemon or perhaps a fresh and light, warm Thai beef salad with crispy noodles.

Jerry’s Milk Bar | VIC

Established in a century old building on Barkly Street, Jerry’s Milk Bar has become an icon in Elwood, loved by locals and visited by coastal day-trippers for decades. Take a step back in time as you enter under red and white striped awnings into a retro dining space styled with vinyl chairs matching the floor and an inviting candy bar awaiting your perusal. Sip on a classic milkshake as you devour the scrumptious French toast with caramelised apricot, mascarpone and fresh mint.

Cody’s Café | VIC

After a day beating the heat enjoying air conditioning at Manor Lakes Shopping Centre, put your feet up at Cody’s Café and enjoy a modern yet relaxed alfresco space. Browse a menu filled with Mod Oz favourites like chilli caramel pork with apple slaw and puffed crackle or opt for a gourmet barbeque bacon and brie cheese burger with cheddar, pickles, smoky BBQ sauce, bacon and American mustard.

Three Little Birds | VIC

Located in Traralgon, Three Little Birds is a locally loved deli style cafe serving up a range of breakfasts, brunches and lunches along with specialty Di Bella coffee. With a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and creatively artistic design, this cafe oozes contemporary charm; sit outside and sip your latte or bask in the charming indoor ambiance whilst munching on a jumbo fruit crepe with tart lemon gelato and maple syrup.

The Old Butcher Shop Café | VIC

Be sure to make a stop off at The Old Butcher Shop Café when travelling along the Warburton Highway of Seville. Enter inside to discover a cosy interior styled with modern wood furniture, an exposed brick wall and a classy black chandelier, creating a welcoming space to relax and tuck into quality café fare like the pulled roast burger with a rich gravy, served with cabbage slaw on a brioche bun and a side of beer battered chips.

Thirty Eight Chairs Charlton North | VIC

Soak up the sunshine curb side with a frosty champagne in hand at Thirty Eight Chairs Carlton North. This spacious family friendly restaurant welcomes guests into a light filled dining space with a tiled feature wall and wooden tables and chairs creating a relaxed vibe. Linger with friends for long seafood lunches of A Tunnat e Mar – peppered yellow fin tuna, crispy shallots, caper vinaigrette and micro herbs or perhaps the Purp e Patate – slow cooked cold octopus, potatoes, parsley, garlic and olives. 

Hoosegow Charcoal Restaurant | SA

After a day spent basking in the sun, get a little loco at Hoosegow Charcoal Restaurant in South Australia’s St Morris. Set amongst an ambient vibe, guests dine surrounded by vibrant red, pink and orange hues, dark timbers and colourful artwork, mesmerised by tempting aromas wafting throughout. Embracing fresh, local produce and fiery chillies, Hoosegow offers tantalising Latin American, Eastern and Asian fusion dishes cooked on crackling Mallee Root charcoal, creating plates like the harrah barramundi, tangy coriander and chilli tahini sauce, mixed green vegetables and toasted almonds.

Samson’s Paddock | WA (pictured above)

As the weather warms, enjoy blue skies above the swaying trees from Samson’s Paddock’s cosy courtyard on Glyde Street, Mosman Park. This locally loved watering hole is a tapas haven for friends seeking light bites and ice-cold drinks. Order a pear cider to match plates of panko crumbed whiting and prawns with spinach and daikon salad, the decadent baked camembert goat cheese with honey, walnuts and crispy bread or the grilled Freo octopus with basil pesto, sundried tomatoes and pine nuts. 

Oskars on Burleigh | QLD

For the pinnacle of Summer feasting, stroll along Burleigh Heads beach to find Oskars on Burleigh. This Gold Coast icon has held its own for over 30 years, wooing diners with its absolute beachfront location, offering a coastal inspired interior styled with white tables linens, potted greenery, beige finishings and floor to ceiling glass allowing in the view of the crashing waves beyond. Enjoy a long lunch ocean side and slurp down fresh oysters with cucumber, finger lime and salmon roe before moving onto a main of succulent bugs with preserved lemon and curry leaf butter, squid ink risoni, broccoli and macadamia pesto. P.S. We hear that Oskars will be closing early March – so book while you still can.

Simply Beans | QLD

For a great cup of coffee to get your Summer mornings started on your way to work, pop into Simply Beans at Logan to get your coffee fix from house roasted blends, perfect with a flaky honey, ham and aged cheddar croissant or perhaps a chicken, mango and macadamia filo for a tropical twist.

Clifford’s Grill and Lounge | QLD (pictured above)

For many families, the Summer season wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Gold Coast and when hunger strikes after a day splashing about at Wet n Wild theme park, head to Clifford’s Grill and Lounge in Surfers Paradise to satisfy any hunger. Share a selection of tapas with dishes like the King prawns, chargrilled with garlic and herb sauce or the line caught seared tuna with avocado emulsion, crispy pancetta, diced mango and citrus dressing.

LakeFront Bistro | QLD

For an elegant dining experience, in the heart of chic precinct Emerald Lakes, venture to LakeFront Bistro in Carrara. Meet friends for a long, light lunch, take in sprawling water views and enjoy a menu filled with local seafood, with the likes of golden tempura prawns with a sweet mango salsa or perhaps the chilli salt squid with an Asian herb salad, matched perfectly with a chilled glass of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc.

Kin and Co | QLD

Escape the city hustle at inner-urban cool café Kin and Co on Macquarie Street in Teneriffe. Whether grabbing a brew on the run from an always open coffee window in the outside brick façade, or enjoying a leisurely lunch in the chic, minimalistic interior, guests can relax and catch up over an all-day brunch menu of café classics with a twist seen in dishes like the breakfast burger with maple bacon, sunny side egg, caramelised onion, heirloom tomato, spinach, gruyere and lemon mayo.

For a little at home inspiration, why not hit up your own kitchen and create your own Summer soirée with these drool-worthy warm weather recipes.