The Neighborhood: Where to Eat, Drink and Shop in Avalon

We’re all familiar with the bustling Corso of Manly and bustling Dee Why, but venture even further north to the Northern Beaches, and you’ll find suburbs that are well worth the extra time added to your trip. Avalon is one such suburb – located towards the top of the peninsula, it’s a collection of incredible vistas, pretty residential streets, cafes, bars, shops and, of course, a gorgeous beach.

There are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat or a drink, as well as a range of independent local shops. Below is our pick of the best from Avalon; you’ll want to venture out again and again to taste them all.

To help you read up on the area, here’s where to eat, drink, and browse in Avalon.

classic coffee

If you’re this far north, chances are you’re an ocean-loving early riser. In that case, you’ll want your morning coffee with an amazing view. classic coffee got you covered. This converted American mail truck stands on the South Avalon headland at dawn, ready to supply locals with their caffeine fix for the day. And while you wait, you can gaze out over the blue expanse and breathe in the sea air. It’s not uncommon to spot a pod of dolphins while you’re sipping your drink. Is there really a better way to prepare yourself for what lies ahead?

The hungry ghost

A hidden gem in Avalon, this hole in the wall isn’t immediately obvious from the main street, but it’s worth the little digging to find it. It’s a great place to stop for a morning coffee, but the real star of the show is their unparalleled jaffles. Made with slices of locally baked bread, flavors include classic Reuben, bolognese with feta and jalapeno, and truffled mushrooms. A gooey, oozing morning treat to go with your cup of coffee? And maybe even a slice of cake to go with it? Yes. Please.

The Bank

A taste of indulgent French baking culture in the northern beaches, The Bank– French for ‘banc’ – offers freshly baked bread (in fact, they supply the bread to The Hungry Ghost above) and even does catering alongside its selection of delicacies. A glance at their Instagram page reveals image after image of mouth-watering delights and gorgeous golden pastries: pies, quiches and croissants galore. If you want to wow your friends, you can even go all out and invest in one of their high-end cakes, like a truly impressive croquembouche, a tower of profiteroles coated in spun sugar.

Graze N Cakes

Located on a quiet residential street parallel to Barrenjoey Road, Graze N Cakes combines great coffee, amazing cakes, and authentic Vietnamese cuisine to good effect, becoming an Avalon institution. Want a long black and a croissant? They got you. Fancy a pho or banh mi with pork belly? They have that covered too. A quick look at online reviews reveals that Graze N Cakes are just as likely to get props for their sausage rolls as they are for their noodle salads, and they’ve even been known to do wedding cakes – that’s the versatility.

at Sandy’s

Located a few blocks from Avalon Beach, this bustling sandwich bar is a local favorite — and after a visit here, you’ll know why. Located under sister bar Elvina (see below), the laid-back sanga shop sprung up thanks to the lack of fresh lunch options in this part of the beaches, according to the team behind. So, naturally, they opened Sandy’s and found its “Fresh As” slogan. This place does what it says on the box, bringing fresh ingredients and flavor to your next beachside lunch. Fun fact: the rooftop garden above Bar Elvina provides many of the ingredients for Sandy’s and La Banette provides the bread.

Leonardo’s delicatessen

This European-style deli bar is synonymous with relaxation and good vibes. They have an amazing selection of cold meats, cheeses and hot dishes which you can enjoy at their Simmonds Lane location or combine in a bespoke take-out platter to enjoy at home or at an outdoor picnic. Every day comes with a special, whether it’s cheap margaritas on Sundays, free cheese sides on Wednesdays, or two separate happy hours each Saturday. Weekly live music events add to the community vibe, and kids and dogs are always welcome. It’s a slice of continental glamor thousands of miles from Western Europe.

Elvina Bar

Elvina Bar is a cruise wine bar with a seafood-focused menu sure to set your taste buds on edge. Yamba king prawns with wasabi butter, trevally tartar and red tuna crudo with kohlrabi and yuzu mayonnaise are just some of the dishes that come off the menu. On top of that there is an extensive wine list, a selection of inventive cocktails and superb beers, with or without alcohol. The folks at Elvina also threw a range of themed parties, including sunset happy hours, funk and soul DJs, and even a life drawing class.

Trust the Tree Brewery

You know what happens after a good day in the surf? A frozen craftie, of course. Yes, the Village of Avalon has its own microbrewery and the beer is as Avalon as it gets. The tree of trust pale ale and pale lager are natural, fresh, crisp and sustainable too, with Tree Trust founders Brad Jacobsen and Ben Gould wanting to respect and protect the beautiful region where the beer is brewed. The brewery bar and tap room are open Fridays from 4-9pm, and we couldn’t imagine a better place for counterfeit drinks.

Alma

Mexican cuisine in Australia is too often limited to burritos, tacos and a big old plate of sizzling fajitas. Alma will change what you know about Mexican cuisine. Sure, you can get fries and guac (and they’re pretty darn good too), but there’s also agave short ribs, grilled octopus with fermented chili, and fish cooked in a banana leaf with a achiote sauce. That’s before you even get to the drink selection, which includes a bunch of delicious margs alongside a range of cocktails that combine Mexican flavors with native Australian ingredients. Alma must be doing something right; they just opened a sister restaurant, named St. Alma, in the middle of Freshwater.

Dinner at sunset

For a glimpse of downtown Miami in sunny Avalon, you have to head to the Sunset Diner. It’s a burger restaurant with a mellow summer vibe offering Avalon locals and beach dreamers the perfect place to kick back and indulge in American-inspired burgers and shakes at home. “The Burger” – is your surefire choice, loaded with a patty of beef, cheese, onion, lettuce, tomato, pickles and the secret “sunset sauce”. Include a side of truffle parmesan fries and a vanilla malt shake topped with whipped cream for good measure. To finish, be sure to make room for a s’more sundae with chocolate sauce, toasted marshmallow and cookie crumble.

Avalon Organic

Avalon Organic The organic greengrocer and juice bar has been part of Avalon’s furnishings for over a decade now. In addition to meeting your fruit and vegetable needs, the family business also sells natural cosmetics, sustainably caught fish, organic candles, bone broths, and fermented and probiotic foods. If you’re short on time, you can order online and have your weekly department store delivered to your doorstep, but that would be missing the opportunity to visit the cafe which offers seasonal specialties to go with their rolls, freshly baked muffins from the oven and fantastic coffee.

Nash and the Banks

With the slogan “organized goods for a conscious life”, Nash and the Banks is proof that you can shop ethically and sustainably, while staying on the cutting edge of luxury and fashion. Inspired by founder Niccii Kugler’s time working for an NGO in Costa Rica, Nash & Banks carefully selects artisans from around the world who match the brand’s ethos and philosophy. That means a collection of chic clothes, clean beauty products and homewares that allow you to truly treat yourself while feeling confident that you’re doing good for the planet.

Bassike

Bassike (pronounced “basic”) has been bringing, in the words of their founders, “sustainably sourced, high-quality wardrobe essentials” to Avalon since 2006. Beginning life in a Palm Beach cottage where early designs were established, Bassike now has eight stores across the country as well as appearing in over eighty separate retailers, a testament to the enduring popularity of their products. The spirit of the Northern Beaches is still the basis of Bassike’s creations; their designs are designed to complement the lifestyle of the surfing community and, despite their success, the original Avalon store remains their flagship.

Now check out our guide to Brookvale, a Northern Beaches brewpub suburb with quality pizza and a nightclub.

Image credit: Trust Tree Brewery | Sunset Diner, Guy Williment via Classic Coffee Instagram, La Banette, Sandy’s, Leonardo’s Deli, Bar Elvina, Trust Tree Brewery, Alma, Sunset Diner, Nash & Banks, Bassike

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