From casual to fine dining
The Blue Mountains food scene has veritably blossomed in the last decade, with a slew of emerging chefs starting up unique and exciting new restaurants.
At the same time, some of the most loved restaurants in the Blue Mountains have been around for yonks, and they’re the ones keeping the locals (and their hip pockets) very happy.
I am still making my way around them all but have visited enough to know which ones are well worth a look-see. I plan on eventually giving all of the following restaurants full reviews, but in the meantime you’ll have to be content with this little list:
Fine dining restaurants:
Arrana, Springwood: Awarded two chefs hats in the 2022 Australian Good Food Guide, this tucked-away restaurant headed by executive chef Daniel Cabban (formerly of Como restaurant, Blaxland, and also Hamilton Island luxury resort Qualia) is pure magic. Degustations are either four courses ($100 per person) or seven courses ($140 per person), with gluten free, vegetarian, vegan and pescatarian options available. Located in Springwood it’s a 40-odd-minute drive from Katoomba, or 20 minutes from Penrith, but a sitting here is an occasion well worth journeying for. Book long in advance.
Darley’s, Leura: A continuous award-winner in the Greater Sydney fine-dining scene, nestled in the Lilanfels Resort and Spa in Leura. You’ll pay the big bucks (three courses is $135 per person), but if you can afford to it will be a memorable experience. The emphasis is on regional produce with many ingredients sourced from within a 100-mile radius.
The Hydro Majestic, Medlow Bath: If the High Tea is any indication of the quality of restaurants in this early-1900s building, I’m sold. Ample dining options abound, from the crisp-white-tablecloth kind at The Wintergarden restaurant to more casual setting in the Boiler House. All come with valley views.
Very nice restaurants:
Cinnabar Kitchen, Blackheath: Exotic menu, sophisticated flavours, switched-on chefs, cosy ambience… Turns out this is a winning combination. Its tag line is “travel the world in one night” and, having dined here in mid 2022, I can attest to tripping around the Caribbean, Africa and Europe in one sitting. Don’t miss the sizzling Jamaican spiced prawn pot – a zesty punch of flavour that will have you googling recipes while you eat. This is one of the few restaurants in the Blue Mountains where just about everything is gluten free.
Ates Restaurant, Blackheath: A relatively new mediterranean restaurant and wine bar by the former chef at Mesa Barrio in a location that has a longstanding dining history in the Blue Mountains – and a 150-year-old woodfire oven in the kitchen. The chef’s banquet ($78 per person) makes for easy ordering. Expect lost of seasonal, local produce in sharable dishes that let their heroes sing.
Tempus, Katoomba: New kid on the K-Town block, Tempus offers mod-Oz share-plates with an all-Australian wine list. The owners’ ethos is to bring people together to share local, seasonal food created from the heart; and with that – I’m sold. Degustations are $70-$75 per person. Tempus is also open for breakfast on weekdays from 6am till noon offering interesting things like cauliflower fritters and housemade granola with chai-spiced poached pear.
See full reviews for:
Miss Lilian Tea House, Katoomba (Temporarily closed, 2022)
Casual dining restaurants:
Basil Nut, Katoomba: Fresh, modern, quality Thai food. Tucked away in an arcade, open for lunch and dinner every day except closed Tuesday. Bookings essential.
Bootlegger, Katoomba: A meat-focused menu but yum, cool and casual.
Napoli Corner, Lawson: Authentic Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizza – bellissimo!
See full reviews for:
More reviews coming soon!