Having spent the June long weekend at Merimbula we taste-tested a few eateries while we were there. Merimbula is an interesting spot; with an almost perfect temperate climate, and with both coastal beaches and inland lakes, it attracts visitors from New South Wales and Victoria as well as the Canberra region. To that end there’s a plethora of restaurants and cafés to choose from, and that doesn’t include the big clubs and pubs. The following places not only have great food, but are also willing to accommodate dietary requests when they can. One thing that did surprise me about the cafés and restaurants is that they all seem to close rather early, often well before 10pm. So check opening hours before you book.
Waterfront Café: This is a bit of an icon in Merimbula and is usually packed to the rafters, so you need to get there early if you can. Serving up great breakfasts, and a range of lunches including salads, fish, burgers, and pasta; with friendly staff who actually know what’s on the menu and what’s in it. There’s also a good wine selection, and our once-upon-a-time barista family member scored the coffee 9/10—believe me, that’s good for her! Waterfront Café is open for breakfast (until 11.15am) and lunch (11.30 – 3pm) seven days a week.
Thai Noodle House: We stumbled across this place by accident. Leaving the Sapphire Club after a late’ish gig we just wanted something close and this was it … plus we love Thai food. First comment, the decision between choosing Tom Yum or Thai fish cakes for entrée—ended up with the fish cakes (the best Thai fish cakes I’ve tasted outside Thailand) and Satay chicken. We then ordered a main each, plus rice, which on reflection was a bit over the top as the meals are very generous—we could have easily got by with two mains and rice for the three of us. Service is good, but they do close at 9.30pm.
Dragon Lake Restaurant (at Crown Apartments): This restaurant is located right in the centre of the town at the Crown Apartments. It serves the usual Chinese food but also does a few that you won’t come across anywhere else—such as Seafood Bird’s Nest, a Chinese banquet dish often served at weddings and celebrations. Chock full of fresh seafood, the nest is usually made of noodles or taro (a modern version is fried potato), and fried until crispy and crunchy. Certainly worth a try! At long weekends and during holiday time the restaurant gets very busy and bookings are recommended. Open for lunch and dinner until 8.30pm.
Hungry’s Café: You might think this is a bit out of whack, but when you’re at the coast you have to have fish and chips! This café is tiny and can get busy (and full) very quickly. I must admit we hesitated a bit as, well, it’s just a fish and chip shop where you can, if you’re lucky, manage to get a table. No fancy add-ons here, no tablecloths, no silverware, no wine glasses—no wine … but the fish and chips are awesome! As well as fish and chips they also serve up wraps, burgers, and often ring the changes with the occasional spicy curry, yummy pies, schnitzels, and heart-warming soups. But again, an early close at 8.30pm.
You can get more info on where to eat, what to do, and where to stay at www.sapphirecoast.com.au