Sometimes we need a break from the crowded, bustling city of Sydney.

The South Coast is home to some of the state’s most underrated coastal retreats and is by far the best spot for urban-dwellers to catch a break. But before you scamper off down the coast, take a look at our favourite spots to eat and drink all the way from Wollongong to Narooma. We’ve compiled the coast’s top wineries, bars, cafes and restaurants to help make your next weekend getaway one to remember – and one to brag about!

DAY

THE HUNGRY MONKEY, KIAMA

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Some things are better together.

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This funky little cafe gives modern character to the historic township of Kiama, providing its residents with some of the best burgers the South Coast has seen. The Hungry Monkey’s makeshift decor and lengthy menu makes it a perfect spot to drop by for lunch or dinner. Taking inspiration from a variety of cultures, The Hungry Monkey makes the most of tangy flavours and local ingredients to create meals that will fill your stomach and satisfy your tastebuds.

We recommend: the pulled pork burger for lunch or beef brisket tacos matched with a local pale ale for dinner.

Where: 5/32 Collins Street, Kiama
When: Open from 6:30am – 9pm Wednesday to Saturday, 7:30am-4pm Sunday, 6:30am-4pm Monday & Tuesday
More info here

BEAST & BREAD, WOLLONGONG

Beast & Bread has an industrial vibe suited to Wollongong’s relaxed charm (Image: supplied)

This industrial-style cafe on the outskirts of Wollongong Central prides itself on its ever-changing menu consisting of three meats and salads. Their simple yet changeable menu makes Beast & Bread a versatile cafe that attracts morning crowds for a dose of coffee, an even larger crowd at midday for famous sandwiches and at night, the cafe transforms into a bar where craft beer and protein plates attract locals and tourists alike.

We recommend: the classic grilled cheese with gruyere, parmesan, house pickle & bbq sauce or any of the cafe’s fortnightly specials.

Where: 8 Crown Lane, Wollongong
When: Monday-Friday, 8:30am-8:30pm, Saturday-Sunday, 10am-8:30pm
More info here

CUPITT’S WINERY, ULLADULLA

The family behind Cupitt’s Winery (Image: Cupitt’s Winery)

Cupitt’s Winery is a spot cherished by locals and tourists alike. Peering across Stony Creek, Cupitt’s Winery offers panoramic views of their sprawling vineyard, veggie garden, farm and Ulladulla’s picturesque valleys. The winery seems to be constantly expanding, with a brewery, winery, fromagerie and boutique accommodation all on offer. Cupitt’s Kitchen thrives off fresh local produce which is transformed into French and English-inspired dishes.

We recommend: the chargrilled veal cutlet with celery gnocchi, feve beans and basil cream matched with Cupitt’s 2016 Pinot Noir.

Where: 58 Washburton Road, Ulladulla
When: Restaurant open for lunch Wednesday to Sunday, 12pm-2pm, dinner from Friday-Saturday, 6pm-8:30pm
More info here

PILGRIMS, MILTON

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Can't stop thinking about my next bliss burger.

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Pilgrims of Milton has become one of the most insta-worthy, decadent vegetarian cafes, with two sister stores in Cronulla and Huskisson. Their huge range of burgers have either mixed grain patties or marinated tofu to substitute meat, making this roadside lunch one of the healthiest options on the South Coast. Accompanying their iconic burgers is a classic Mexican menu which once again ditches the meat to add fresh and healthy ingredients you’ll have to come back for.

We recommend: any of their vegetarian burgers matched with the Bob’s Reef juice.

Where: Shop 8/9, The Settlement, Princes Highway, Milton
When:
Open 7 days a week, Friday and Saturday nights
More info here

QUARTERDECK, NAROOMA

Quarterdeck Narooma (Image: Quarterdeck)

Quarterdeck is an unforgettable and quaint little nook in the quiet township of Narooma. Perched on the edge of the Wagonga Inlet, Quarterdeck offers spectacular views of bluer than blue water and displays of Narooma’s resident seaplane departing and landing in the Wagonga Inlet. Narooma’s famous little gem houses 60’s style decor and offers an 80’s-style menu which heroes the South Coast’s best seafood.

We recommend: Narooma’s ‘Sydney Rock’ oysters with blue cheese and pecan butter ($16 half dozen, $29.50 dozen) or local mussels with Robyn’s special sauce of tomato, white wine, chilli, onion and Turkish toast ($27.90).

Where: 13 Riverside Drive, Narooma
When: Thursday-Saturday, 11:30am-10pm, Sunday 11:30am-3pm
More info here

NIGHT

KNEADING RUBY, WOLLONGONG

Kneading Ruby is Wollongong’s go-to dinner spot (Image: Quicksand Food)

If you’re spending any time in Wollongong, Kneading Ruby is the spot for a romantic dinner for two. It’s a generous, rustic, Spanish and Italian-influenced space whose chefs manage to make the simplest of dishes with an unconventional twist (their garlic bread and polenta chips are to die for). Their menu offers a modern take on a pizzeria, with small and large share plates and salads to accompany.

We recommend: Rhubarb Negroni ($16) alongside the Fennel Salami pizza ($23)

Where: 5 Crown Lane, Wollongong
When: Open Friday to Sunday 12-3pm, Sunday to Wednesday 5pm-10pm, Thursday to Saturday 5pm-late
More info here

ON THE PIER, BATEMANS BAY

Overlooking the Clyde River and Batemans Bay Bridge, On The Pier has established itself as a iconic feature of this seaside town. On The Pier’s masterful chefs adapt their menus seasonally to make the most of local seafood and meats and they’ve earned themselves the title of the Far South Coast’s Best Seafood Restaurant every year since 2004.

We recommend: Balmain bugs with lime, tomato and mozzarella bruschetta ($18) or the battered Ulladulla swordfish with hand cut chips and walnut and pear slaw ($36)

Where: 2 Old Punt Road, off Kings Highway, Batemans Bay
When: Lunch from 11:30am Friday – Sunday, Dinner from 5:30pm Friday – Saturday
More info here

ST. ISIDORE, MILTON

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Cheers for the image @lindalxu

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St. Isidore is perhaps one of the most well-renowned restaurants of the South Coast, boasting one star from Gourmet Traveller magazine and earning a coveted hat from SMH’s Good Food Guide in 2016 and 2017. Tucked away in the charming town of Milton, St Isidore pays homage to the Spanish patron saint of farmers, peasants and day labourers by making the most of the area’s fertile soil and fantastic produce. The restaurant gather ingredients from their own sprawling garden, guaranteeing freshness and availability.

We recommend: the duck breast with pumpkin, greens, cherry sauce and hazelnuts ($40) or the green lip abalone with white soy, cucumber, sea urchin and kombu butter ($22)

Where: 89 Croobyar Road, Milton
When: Lunch from 12pm, Friday to Sunday, dinner from 6pm, Thursday to Saturday
More info here

THE RIVER, MORUYA

The River overlooks the enchanting Moruya River (Image: Facebook)

The River reflects Moruya’s most prized attraction – the Moruya River and Deua National Park. The River has it’s own garden and sources only organic produce to make uniquely Australian dishes with some of the South Coast’s best seafood.

We recommend: pork belly with braised squid, crushed potato, eggplant puree, coriander with a local Murrumbateman wine.

Where: 16B Church Street, Moruya
When: Lunch from Wednesday to Sunday, 12pm-2pm, dinner from Wednesday to Saturday, 6pm-8pm
More info here

(Featured Image: Quicksand Food)

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