We're going to let you in on a secret: some of the Central Coast's best restaurants run 'Locals Nights' where you can enjoy their gourmet fare at a specially reduced price. Here are some of our favourite tables.

The Wild Flower Bar & Dining, Bells at Killcare

The Wild Flower Bar & Dining (the restaurant previously known as Bells at Killcare) took on a new name, new décor and new direction towards the end of 2019. Under the culinary direction of renowned chef Sean Connolly, the restaurant’s Italian roots have now broadened to feature flavours across the Mediterranean and their locals night has been extended to four! From Monday to Thursday locals can take advantage of their new locals’ plat du jour — a daily changing signature dish with house-made baked baguette, a side and matched glass of wine. Expect the likes of snapper en papillote with garden tomatoes, pork chop salsa verde, and mille-feuille with orange custard.
Locals Plate of the Day (plat du jour) Monday–Thursday nights. A signature daily dish, a side and glass of wine $35 pp. Bookings 02 4349 7000.

The BOX on the Water, Ettalong Beach

Nestled on the Ettalong foreshore and with panoramic views across the bobbing boats of Broken Bay, The BOX on the Water is an idyllic spot to while away an evening. The menu is modern Australian and has a leaning to seafood, which is perfect given its vista. Dishes might include steamed mussels with preserved lemon, twice-cooked duck with burnt corn, fennel and orange, and Kingfish with Gem lettuce, crisp Serrano and sour Dijon cream.
Locals Nights — Thursday nights. Chef’s selection of two courses and glass of house wine, sparkling or a tap beer $40 pp. Bookings 02 4339 3369.

Seasalt, Terrigal

With its oversized floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the pines and sand of Terrigal beach, Seasalt has an unbeatable view. And with executive chef Simon Quick at the helm it also has an enviable menu that calls on culinary influences from around the world. The deep-fried tofu brings Korean flavours to the table with its sides of gochujang mayo and kimchi, the Sri Lankan-style market fish curry is fragrant with coconut, lime and chilli, and the confit duck leg comes with German spatzle, speck and apple beetroot kraut.
Locals Nights — Tuesday and Wednesday nights.2 courses $45 pp. Buffet breakfast daily for $25 pp on weekdays and $30 pp on weekends (not available public holidays and special event dates). Bookings 02 4384 9111.

Boathouse Bar & Dining, Koolewong

Jutting over Brisbane Water and surrounded by visiting houseboats is Koolewong Marina, the home of Boathouse Bar & Dining. With its stark white linen and panoramic windows offering views of the gum-lined headlands and twinkling lights of distant residences, it’s an elegant space to dine. Entrée might be twice-cooked pork belly with roasted apple puree or zucchini flowers stuffed with butternut pumpkin mousse, while mains tantalise with the likes of Cone Bay barramundi and roasted celeriac puree or confit duck Maryland with braised fennel.
Locals Night — Thursday nights.Two-course menu with a glass of wine $45.
Bookings 02 4342 9994.

Reef Restaurant, Terrigal

Located on the waters edge of The Haven, The Reef has been a favourite dining destination on the Coast for many years. Head chef Paul Bouwhuis brings myriad flavours to the table. For a starter, choose between the French-inspired pork pistachio terrine with black cherry gel and toasted brioche or the Thai-style soft-shell crab with wombok mango salad and red peanut nam jim. For mains, it could be a whole baby snapper with yellow curry or sous vide beef fillet with potato pave. You’re onto a winner whichever way you lean.
Locals Nights — Wednesday nights.A glass of Reef wine or Asahi beer and two courses $45 or three courses $55. Bookings 02 4385 3222.

The Lake House, The Entrance

Just a skip across the road from the pine trees and fishermen who line Tuggerah Lake, sits a heritage-listed dame: The Lake House. It’s a popular space to dine on smashed avo at breakfast, Sydney Rock oysters at lunch, and to celebrate a special occasion high tea, but it’s on ‘Locals Night’ when The Lake House really comes into its own. This two-day affair extends from Wednesday lunch through to Thursday evening with two or three courses plus matching wines. The menu includes beer-battered flathead and chips, or falafel with cous cous, beetroot hummus, tzatziki & tahini dressing.
Locals Nights — Wednesday lunch through to Thursday dinner. Two courses $39 or three courses $49 plus matching wines from $15. Bookings 02 4332 5253.

Maccoa, Terrigal

Alfresco dining comes to the fore at Maccoa. Tables are set on the grass just metres from the sand, making it an ideal spot to dine with kids — bucket and spade in hand. The menu includes Berkshire pork cutlets, lemon and za’atar marinated chicken and Singapore chilli crab for mains. With crème caramel, coconut pannacotta and almond orange cake on the cards, we encourage you stay for dessert.
Locals Nights — Thursdays. A glass of wine and two courses $40 or three courses $50.
Bookings 02 4385 3855.

The Dart & Feather, Davistown

With a roaring fireplace, and views over Brisbane Water, The Dart & Feather makes an ideal spot to dine on chilly autumn evenings. Pan-roasted salmon is served with heirloom tomatoes, olives and snow pea leaves while the black Angus prime rib comes with broccolini, crushed new potatoes, roasted vine tomatoes and hollandaise. Finish the evening with passionfruit pannacotta or chocolate mousse and you’ll depart feeling very content.
Locals Nights — Friday Nights. Two courses $40 or three courses $49. Bookings 02 43691300.

The Cowrie, Terrigal

Set high over Terrigal and with views stretching across the Pacific Ocean, The Cowrie is a restaurant that delivers time and again. Owner/manager Grant Lawrence has worked in some of Sydney’s iconic restaurants (including Bel Mondo, Metropol and Catalina), and this experience shows: from the attentive service to the delicate platings. You’ll be hard-pressed choosing between dishes such as Cowra lamb shoulder with pea and mint puree, Bangalow pork belly with apple and caramelised onion tarte tatin or grass-fed beef fillet with smoked speck and kipfler potatoes.
Locals Nights — Thursday nights (some dates excluded). A glass of house wine and two-course menu $49 or three-course menu $59. Bookings 02 4384 3016.

Terrace Grill Restaurant & Bar, Terrigal

Located in the old Terrigal post office, and with black and white still photos of yesteryear Terrigal adorning the walls, one can’t help but feel a little nostalgic when dining at the Terrace Grill Restaurant & Bar. The menu here is modern Australian with Italian influence and, whether you choose an entrée of Sydney Rock Oysters or goat’s cheese tortellini with Persian fig, it doesn’t disappoint. Mains include char-grilled roast lamb with red wine jus, or black Angus beef fillet with Dianne sauce and hand-cut chips.
Locals Nights — Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday nights (and all lunches).A glass of wine or beer and two courses $44 or three courses $54. Bookings 02 4385 8800.

ShoreThyme Restaurant, Norah Head

This restaurant-cum-gallery-space features works from local, Newcastle and Sydney artists. The works cover a variety of mediums, from the traditional to the abstract, and change each fortnight. The menu changes regularly too, and might include braised rabbit with chorizo and wild rice one week and lamb shank risotto with garden peas and parmesan the next. The braised beef cheek with polenta, and eucalyptus-smoked duck with red cabbage and speck both come highly recommended.
Locals Night — Thursday nights.Three-course meal $40. Bookings 02 4396 4507.


Words Katie Stokes



The Central Coast is teeming with so many places to see and restaurants to try that the northern end of this beautiful region can tend to be a little overlooked unless you’re a local in-the-know. Luckily, areas like Wyong and Toukley are booming with new, entrepreneurial cafés, restaurants and bakeries just waiting for you to take a bite.

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