Lillianfels: High tea
A luxurious way to top off a trip to the Blue Mountains is high tea at Lillianfels. The historic hotel over looking the valley is a perfect location for fancy tea and scones. The service was attentive and no request was too much. We observed a couple ask for a vegan high tea (ie no eggs, no butter, no honey, no milk) mm tough call but the kitchen staff managed to serve something. Hummus and vegetable sticks kind of defeat the purpose of high tea though - buttery scones for me all the way.
Bookings are essential
Favorite Dish: Scones
- Food and Dining
Paragon: Atmosphere and Food
Like so many of the restaurants in Katoomba's main street, the Paragon has atmosphere, which may explain why 1 in 3 shops in the main street is a restaurant. It's amazing to think that so many can survive but, survive they do.
The dull lighting and classical motifs on the wall, like large cameos make this a place to relax and chill out. I loved it.
In fact Paragon Café's art deco interior is listed on the National Trust.
(Open Tues–Sun 10am to 4pm)
Favorite Dish: Since I only had the big breakfast I really am not in a position to comment but I thoroughly enjoyed the breakfast and the thick slices of bread that came with it.
- Food and Dining
- Family Travel
Blue Tongue Lizard Cafe: Funky Hippie Cafe, Live Local Music
This is the most laid-back cafe you will ever come across! It has a range of board games and card games for you to play, books to read, weird, fantastical and ever changing art on the walls (which you can buy if you really like it), including pictures drawn by the younger clientele (though I'm not sure you can buy these ones!).
Weekend nights you will almost certainly find some local musician or band playing live while the room is lit with candles. The walls are unusually dark colours, making for a strangely relaxing time, great for a hearty chat with friends or family.
The food is pretty good, most of the meals are quite tasty and has a wide range of vegetarian foods as well. Coffee's pretty good too.
- Food and Dining
Cafe Cee: Popular Cafe, Open Atmosphere
The food here is quite good. You're more likely to find frilly greens on your plate here than anywhere else. Basically they put a bit of effort into presentation where some of the other cafes are more down to earth.
Beware though, this cafe is very expensive, I would not recommend it compared to the other ones around. Soft drinks in particular are very expensive and not worth the money. Sundays attract a 10% surcharge. Public holidays attract an outrageous 15% surcharge.
Favorite Dish: The pancakes and banana bread with honey and fresh bananas are good.
Mash: Best Restaurant In Glenbrook
Mash is a cosy, rather dimly lit (not dim, but not bright either) restaurant, my favourite in the Lower Blue Mountains.
It has a wide range of classy, great tasting food, desserts and a strange range of drinks as well as the usual. The coffee is good here too.
Mash operates as a values led café and restaurant that is ethical. We believe that businesses have responsibilities to society and the environment.
Mash use fair trade and organic foods wherever possible and also cater to vegetarians and have gluten free dishes as well.
Favorite Dish: I'm a sucker for the lemon merangue pie - it's huge!
- Food and Dining
Mountain Blue: Great cafe in Glenbrook
This cafe has really good food at good cafe prices. The desserts are pretty good too. I always go to this place with my friends. Plenty of parking nearby and friendly staff.
Favorite Dish: The chicken burger is very good. I've tried a lot of this menu, I would recommend all of it. The cheesy bacon chips (fries) are good but perhaps just a little too greasy!
Elephant Bean Cafe: Nice Coffee, Boring Food
This is an almost hidden cafe, it's down an arcade on the right as you walk down Katoomba Street. It is quite small, but nice and warm inside. Maybe they were rushed that day, but the staff were a little blase and not very attentive.
Favorite Dish: Hmmm, my LEAST favourite dish is the Chicken Burger - what a waste of time! It was HORRIBLE!!!! Where do I begin? It wasn't even a burger for a start, it was just two bits of toast. I asked for no onion but it came with onion anyway, the bread was slimy, the lettuce was those horrible chunks of stem, no nice sauce, just low quality mayonnaise. Yuck.
The coffee on the other hand, is lovely. Try it. Just don't get the chicken burger!
Cafe Zuppa: Nice Cafe at the top of Katoomba
This is a great place for a meal. The ambience is great (although the toilets are outside at the back so in winter they are FREEZING!!) though it can get a little noisy. It's a little darker than some of the other cafes around, but that's nothing because the food is so good. It's lovely and warm in winter, a great place for a quick meal.
Favorite Dish: Both the nachos and the burgers are fantastic. Coffee is also pretty good.
Christine Bundy's Megalong Valley Tearooms: Devonshire tea, lunch and breakfasts
This restaurant is a lovely place to stop for a light lunch or Devonshire Tea while you are in the Blue Mountains. It's in Megalong Valley, a beautiful bushland area that has great views, the Tearooms are a great place to stop, especially if it's a cold winter's day!
Here's a descrition of their food from the website:
HOT COUNTRY BREAKFAST
We cook breakfast to order in our country kitchen using herbs from the garden and fresh farm eggs. Available 9.00 - 11.00 am only
Our scrumptious home-baked scones made to the same family recipe for over 60 years are served with lashings of home-made berry jam and freshly whipped cream.
HOME-MADE APPLE PIES
Our famous apple pies continue to delight visitors. Locally-grown apples are prepared in our kitchen, baked between layers of delicate pastry and served warm with cream or ice-cream.
Choose from a selection of home-made savoury pies, tasty sandwiches, hearty soups and ploughman's lunch
TEA & COFFEE
A wide selection of quality teas including seasonal herbal infusions from the garden are made with spring water. We serve delicious, locally roasted Blue Mountains coffee.
Favorite Dish: The Devonshire Tea really is excellent. The home made jam is really tasty and the lattes are the best thing in winter.
- Food and Dining
- Hiking and Walking
- National/State Park
Numerous: The real places to go to
OK well it is really hard to recommend a particular place to eat in the Blue Mountains but first let me give you some of my opinions. Firstly Penrith is at the foot of the mountains and is a bit off track. There are far better places up in the Upper Mountains towns. The best meat (and vegie) pies are now at the Gardeners Inn Pub, Blackheath, opposite the railway station on the Great Western highway (not really a highway in Blackheath). They do huge pies 10cm high and full plate size (so get the small ones as they are a meal in themselves). Filo pastry and real meat. Everyone in the Blueys goes there for there meat pies.
The Bakehouse on Wentworth are now located in Leura, Blackheath and Katoomba and all do excellent coffee, yummy cakes and pastries and all sorts of real breads: sourdough, walnut, multi grains etc. Avoid any cafes offering Vittoria coffee (yuk!) go for Seafredo, Prima or Lavassa etc. If there choice of coffee is bad the food will be too.
For Indian go to Arjunas on Valley Rd, Katoomba avoid the one on the highway coming into Katoomba.
For really nice meals with atmosphere try the famous Avalon restaurant upstairs in Katoomba St (top end), Solitary restaurant on cliff drive near Leura, The Rooster french restaurant near the RSL club Katoomba, Tris Elies Greek restaurant in Main St, Katoomba and The Swiss Cottage for superb real Swiss Food. The Schwarz German Bakery (I think it is really Austrian) in Wentworth falls village is great for German style patisserie and breads including pretzls etc and the hominy bakery in Katoomba Street lower end for healthy non-yeast breads(huge range). There are 300 restaurants in the Mountains so get out of Sydney and experience a culinary delight at far more affordable prices than the big smoke down the hill.
Favorite Dish: Sticky date pudding and the extra large hot chocolates at Jamiesons Cafe/restaurant in katoomba street and also the Isobar Cafe and Jamiesons for some excellent local musicians while you eat and stare at local artists works that adorn the walls of many of the cafes in the area.
- Food and Dining
New Vegetarian Cafe: A place for Vegetarians
There is a new vegie cafe at the top end of Katoomba which is nothing short of superb! Mind you just about all Katoomba cafes/restaurants offer vegetarian food as there are so many vegies living there. The cafe is between Renees Pizzas and the Thai restaurant. The owner cooks herself fresh each day and makes some really yummy dishes. Try her curry nights on fridays. Prices are very affordable and the ambience is is just right. Her husband/partner is the waiter and he really tries hard to please everybody maybe a little too much but always with a smile. The whole staff have fun so the mood is nice too. They offer all sorts of dishes, tofu, vegie burgers, curries and lots of excellent specials.
Favorite Dish: I loved the vegie burger at lunch time. It absolutely filled the large plate and was surrounded by clean healthy fresh salad items not just a sprig of lettuce but real alternative type salads. The curries (all of them) on Friday nights were simply perfect. Give them a try and you will be back for more! They also do fresh fruit juices and chai tea drinks and dandelion tea and coffee.
The Avalon: The Avalon, Katoomba
The Avalon is a nice restaurant in Katoomba. The building was once a theatre and you can see this as soon as you walk in. It is a lovely upper-class place with great ambience and excellent food, particularly the steaks. They have a nice variety of food and desserts and a wide range of drinks as well.
This is the perfect place to round off your day with a relaxing evening with great food and a nice atmosphere.
Favorite Dish: The steaks are cooked to perfection.
Nepean Square Patisserie: The BEST meat pie in Australia
A 5 minute walk past the huge Westfield Penrith Shopping Mall there is a small mall called Centro Nepean, with nothing special except the patisserie.
This patisserie has the absolute best meat pies you will find in Australia. It is located in the food court area just across from the supermarket. They are quite pricey for meat pies (the plain meat pie costs $3.60) but you will not regret it. It has a nice range of savoury pies and rolls as well as other baked goods. Their sausage rolls are the best in Australia too.
Favorite Dish: The pies are not your typical mush, but contain actual pieces of nice meat. And unlike every other pie or sausage roll I've ever eaten, these are so good that you can eat them without tomato sauce!
- Food and Dining
Ashcrofts: Blackheath delight
The small town of Blackheath, approximately 10kms beyond Katoomba, has built something of a gourmet reputation for itself - first came Cleopatra's (now longer in business), then Vulcan's (open only at weekends) and now Ashcrofts (although chronologically, Ashcrofts came, I believe, before Vulcan's).
This small (40 covers) shop-fronted restaurant is ideally placed close to the Highway on Govett's Leap Rd. As it's also a BYO (although they do have a smallish selection of high quality wines on offer) it's therefore close to the two bottle shops in town ($4 corkage):)
It's also receiving culinary plaudits galore - hence an absolute must to book in advance
(open Wed-Sun evenings from 6pm and Sunday lunch).
Long and narrow, the restaurant is modern without pretensions - white walls with stunning b/w photographic portraits (by Graham McCarter no less) 'involving' you in the space. Good accoustics results in a full restaurant providing a positive atmosphere without a cacophony of sound that puts you off the main purpose of being there - eating the fabulous food prepared individually by Corinne, the Chef.
Mary Jane 'out front' (and co-owner with Corinne), a striking Kiwi is the perfect host, welcoming, knowledgeable AND enthusiastic about the menu. So much so that they 'stagger' the booking times for table reservations - we were given 7pm at time of booking, yet on arrival the restaurant was half-empty. It gradually filled up over the next 2 hours (all reservations) - thus avoiding any rush on the kitchen so that the food was served at its best. Good on them!
Favorite Dish: This was a diffcult choice (although a word of warning - this is not a place for vegetarians - a 'silken tofu' was on the entree list but you felt this was more a result of Corinne wanting to make it rather than the need to cater - certainly borne out by the fact that there was nothing for non-fish eating veggies on the mains).
Cuttlefish, calamari, lambs kidneys, warm strudel of millawa black ash goats cheese on scorched red pepper cream to start (there were others too to select from)?? The softest lambs kidneys (in white port with rosemary, roasted garlic and french fried onions) ever was my choice - and was I happy with that! The other entree was the goats cheese - delicious, huge (be warned!) although for my personal taste a little too creamy (now I wonder why that may be - a goats cheese served with cream....). But absolutely no complaints from the other side of the table! :)
A longish wait (a full restaurant and knowledge that each dish was most definitely being individually prepared without even the sniff of a microwave!) then followed for the mains - crispy duck with citrus and persian spices - a delight that left us trying to identify the various flavours but which the slightly fragrant Middle Eastern goodies were perfectly balanced by the acidiity of the citrus.Fricassee of white rabbit in riesling with smoked bacon, cotechino and arbequina olives - a fabulous soupy concoction was the other.
Normally not a dessert person - a final glass of shiraz and a double espresso suits me fine - but the vanilla bean custard with spun toffee 'cage' is legendary in the Blue Mountains - so it just had to be tried. EXtraordinary (but have to learn how to spin like that!!).
A fantastic experience - and one that lasted more than 3 hours.
Eating Outside with a View: Not all Eating Establishments are Restaurants
This shot is from my favourite place - Govett's Leap, where I ate my first meal in the Blue Mountains. However, I did enjoy lunches other places during my visits to this fabulous area, just don't have pictures scanned yet of them.
The ambiance... well, how do you beat nature's tapestry of light, sound (those chattering birds, the wind blowing around rustling leaves), and the view? Seating can be on a rock (mind you find a comfortable one), or even sitting on the tail of your 'vehicle in a car park, or on the side of the road.
The food - up to your imagination of what you want to carry, and eat. I can tell you, from experience, that there is nothing more delectable than a strawberry fed to you with this view as a backdrop! Although a variety of cold cuts, and cheeses, with a fresh roll (purchased that morning at a bakery on the way up to the park) tastes as marvellous as any 5 star gourmet meal. A thermos of tea is quite nice, especially on an August day.
The only things to be aware of are the other hikers walking by making comments, and those scavenging birds just waiting for something to fall to feed them! However, for this Canadian, who had previously only seen King Parrots in a zoo or a book, it was all pretty wonderful.
The most important part of your meal is that at the end you must pack up all your utensils, and garbage and leave nothing behind (that the birds can't / shouldn't eat). All that should remain when you are gone are your memories!
Favorite Dish: All food seems to taste better when it is eaten outside. After a bit of a walk, that makes it all even more delicious.
- National/State Park
- Hiking and Walking
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons