Darwin, known for its tropical beaches, technicolour sunsets, extreme tides, and occasionally, crocodiles. There’s no better place to sit, sip a coffee (or wine) and enjoy a meal with a view, than the beachside.
From the finest of dining at Pee Wee’s at the Point to low key food truck picnics, there is something for everyone and every occasion. Here’s our local’s tips of the best beachside hot-spots in Darwin.
De la Plage
Set under the Darwin Surf Life Saving Club, this hidden gem is worth the find. Grab your mates (and dog too), pull up a beanbag and sit on the grassy lawns directly on Casuarina Beach. De la Plage offers a large variety of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options – along with plenty of meat – and source most of their ingredients from local organic sources.
Their colourful breads are a fun addition to the menu, from Detoxifying Black (Coconut Charcoal), Anti-Inflammatory Yellow (Turmeric) to Antioxidant-rich Purple (Beetroot). Other noteworthy dishes are the Rueben, Halloumi Burger and the Watermelon Salad which includes tangy rocket, mint and feta.
De la Plage also holds special events on different nights, the first Wednesday of each month is a street-food cuisine from a different culture, Fish & Chip Friday’s, and Sunday Sessions featuring live local artists and musicians – what a way to finish off a weekend!
Darwin Ski Club
With its towering palm trees, beachside location, massive in-house pool and super relaxed vibe, you may mistake the Ski Club’s Bali Bar for Bali itself. This Darwin institution offers dinner every night year-round, and lunch during the dry season from The Kitchen which is catered by Little Miss Chef.
Our local’s tip is to head down for one of their Sunday sessions with live music and watch the sun set over Fannie Bay. Check out their Facebook page for upcoming event details.
Darwin Trailer Boat Club
The Trailer Boat Club boasts to be Darwin’s oldest running seaside club. With a pool and shaded playground on site, it’s a venue the whole family can enjoy. Possibly one of the best places to sit and watch an epic sunset over the ocean, there’s arguably a better backdrop. For an open air, relaxed, easy ‘bar and bistro’ style meal, the Trailer Boat Club is our go-to venue.
Cucina Sotto Le Stelle
Cucina Sotto Le Stelle, meaning kitchen under the stars, is exactly what this pizza van offers. Located on Nightcliff Foreshore (at the end of Chapman Rd) you’ll find the large woodfire oven cooking pizzas (sometime’s in the hundreds) every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 5pm. Look out for the fairy lights in the trees and people sprawled across the lawns on picnic rugs.
This is definitely a local’s favourite. The pizzas are small, enough to feed one to two people, but they’re traditionally Italian – simple and tasty. Order a bruschetta to get you going while you wait for your pizza on the lawns.
Needle in a Haystack
There’s nothing basic about this beachside pop-up bistro! Needle in a Haystack get rockstar position every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evening at the iconic Nightcliff Jetty. Their menu isn’t what you’d expect from a pop-up bistro, serving high quality produce, mostly sourced locally, from an award winning caterer. No need to bring your own picnic rug, they have tables set up, ready for you to sit back and enjoy the sunset with a restaurant quality meal. The menu changes weekly, so even more reason to make it a regular seaside dining session.
The Foreshore Restaurant & Cafe
The Foreshore Restaurant & Cafe offers it all – breakfast, lunch and dinner; dine in or takeaway; coffee and alcoholic beverages; and an ocean outlook that’s a sight for sore eyes. Situated next to the Nightcliff Public Swimming Pool and alongside the busy foreshore bike path, you can sit on the lawns above the beach cliffs and watch the world (and people) go by. The menu has something for all tastes (even the kiddies), but our faves are of the liquid type – espressos for the morning, acai frappes for midday and an Aperol Spritzer (or three) come evening.
Located in the prime position, with complete Waterfront views, Wharf One is well known around Darwin as the place to go for date nights, group dinners, drinks with friends or large functions. Their innovative menu offers many special deals including Pasta Sunday’s (every Sunday lunch and dinner); Suckling Pig Feasts (catering for 10 or more people); and Happy Hour daily from 4-6pm including $10 cocktails (hello Aperol Spritz!). Their diverse menu includes premium seafood, high quality meats, plenty of vegetarian options and a drool-worthy dessert offering. You’ll never visit Wharf One just once!
Hot Tamale is a multi-colour Mexican haunt serving up the most delicious tacos, burritos and quesadillas. Order a side of the Elote con Crema, an indulgently-cheesy corn dip – you can thank us later. The view is also notable, with water views of the Darwin Waterfront lagoon pool. But, the best part of this local hang-out is the collection of cocktails and sangria on offer. It’s a hard choice between their signature sangria, available in red, pink, yellow or purple. But our local’s pick is the Picante Margarita, the jalapenos, habaneros, orange and lime is like a spicy, tangy party in your mouth!
Pee Wee’s at the Point
Where to go when you want to impress a date, celebrate an anniversary or simply enjoy the finer things in life? Pee Wee’s at the Point is one of Darwin’s most established fine dining venues, located directly on the water in East Point Reserve. Pee Wee’s is heritage listed site, designed to incorporate the beauty of its natural surrounds and just happens to have some of the best views of Darwin city across the sea – which makes for a pretty fancy sunset.
Their A’la Carte menu is designed to ‘reflect the produce, climate and multiculturalism of the Northern Territory’. Our picks are the eye fillet and barramundi for mains and the Pee Wee’s Taste Plate, because you’ll want it all.
Mindil Beach Resort – Il Piatto
Mindil Beach Resort has a lot to offer – a casino, a seaside infinity pool, a resort-style hotel and an array of restaurants and bars. Our fave of the restaurants is Il Piatto, THE best Italian restaurant in Darwin (yes that’s a big call)! Overlooking the Arafura sea, indulge your taste buds with authentic Italian flavours and a mix of modern favourites. Our pick is to start with the natural oysters and Yellowtail Kingfish carpaccio, save some room for a pasta or woodfire pizza and finish up with an Affogato for a caffeine hit before you hit the tables for a round of blackjack.
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