An insider guide to Newcastle's top restaurants

The food scene in the NSW city is having a real moment. A local foodie reveals the hottest places to eat at right now!

A spread of food at Newcastle restaurant Quill and Compass
  • Michelle Meehan
  • September 2019

With everything from vegan pizza to Chinese dumpling soup to a fresh live music venue, Newcastle’s best new restaurants offer up a feast for the senses.

Quill and Compass

This new centrally-located venue for great food and live music features quirky nautical-themed décor that pays homage to Newcastle’s coastal locale, while freeing its menu from being tied to one cuisine. Choose from all-day breakfasts, tapas plates and heartier mains, along with a selection of Bloody Mary mixes to wash it all down.

Naka Noodle

Lovers of authentic Asian fare should head to this restaurant on Beaumont Street, Hamilton, which combines a distinctive interior (think flamingo design feature wall, moody black ceiling and faux greenery) with traditional cuisine steeped in the heritage of its Chinese-born owners. Naka Noodle’s soups and dumplings attract rave reviews and the deboned fried pork chop is one not to miss.

A bowl of beef noodles at Newcastle eatery Naka Noodle.
Find authentic Chinese food at Naka Noodle.

Bella Italia

Creating a little corner of Italy in the heart of Newcastle, Italian born and raised chefs Andrea Dazzi and Nico Gentile inject a dash of authenticity into their venue on Hunter Street. Pizza lovers will be in heaven with 26 offerings on the menu, while vegans can expect 14 plant-based options including a stuffed fried eggplant main course and a vegan pavlova. Try “gnocchetti” doughnuts topped with Nutella for dessert.

Vault 73

Set within the surrounds of a former bank, arched windows, vintage chandeliers and marble pillars set the scene for Vault 73’s sophisticated Italian-influenced modern Australian menu. Don’t miss the sweet potato gnocchi with speck or the classic potato variety tossed with garlic prawns.

A bowl of food from Italian-inspired restaurant Vault 73
Modern Australian meets sophisticated Italian at Vault 73.

The Great Northern Hotel

Get in touch with Newcastle’s blue-collar roots at the recently reopened Great Northern Hotel. It’s not just the interior that‘s been modernised, the menu’s transformed from tired pub grub to gastronomical delight. From charcuterie to chilli mussels and portobello mushroom burgers, the revitalised landmark now offers pub favourites with a twist.