23 of the Best Cafes by the Water in Sydney

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Who doesn't love looking out at Sydney's glorious waterways with a delicious drink in hand?!

When the sun is bursting, and the beaches are sparkling, take a seat at one of these cafes by the water that have the most stunning views.

23 of the Best Cafes by the Water in Sydney

1. The Fenwick, Balmain

The Fenwick
You can't beat the harbour views at The Fenwick!

Could there be a better body of water than our stunning Sydney Harbour?

The Fenwick cafe and gallery is found in a heritage-listed waterfront building from the 1880s on the harbour foreshore in Balmain East. The Fenwick provides seasonal and contemporary café dining in a historical setting, with views sweeping from Barangaroo to the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Luna Park.

Why is it so cute? Because it was originally used as a tugboat store, that's why! Go for the Sydney rock oysters and stay for the stunning views.

Location: 2-8 Weston St, Balmain East

2. The Boatshed, La Perouse

The Boatshed, La Perouse
You couldn't get closer to the water if you tried!

Not to be confused with the Boathouse chain, The Boatshed La Perouse is smack bang on the beach and offers modern, casual dining in stunning beachside surrounds.

Dine all day long on everything from ricotta pancakes and coffee to oysters and champagne - they boast a huge selection of fresh seafood. The kids can easily play nearby on the sand as you relax.

Location: 1609 Anzac Parade, La Perouse

RELATED: 24 of the Best Kid-friendly Pubs in Sydney

3. Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel Beach Club

Watsons Bay
Watsons Bay is a firm favourite when it comes to cafes by the water in Sydney.

Right on the water's edge in the serene Watsons Bay enclave, The Beach Club at Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel boasts breathtaking views of the city skyline.

Watch the ferries roll into the pier and behold the setting sun while the kids go pelican-spotting on the beach. The relaxed, seaside vibe of this local village favourite extends to the menu with an extensive selection of mouth-watering meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Grab a coffee and pull up a picnic bench by the beach for a dreamy dining experience.

Location: 1 Military Rd, Watsons Bay

4. Redleaf Cafe, Double Bay

Redleaf Cafe
Redleaf Cafe

Did you know that the iconic Murray Rose Pool (Redleaf Pool) also has one of the most iconic cafes by the water? 

Redleaf Cafe is everyone's favourite spot to enjoy incredible views over Double Bay and incredible coffees, smoothies, breakfast, and more. 

Location: 536 New South Head Rd, Double Bay

5. El Camino Cantina, Manly

El Camino Manly
El Camino Cantina at Manly Wharf.

The Tex-Mex kings have set up shop in Manly, and although it's not a cafe, we have to mention El Camino Cantina at Manly Wharf for its unparalleled rooftop views of the water. Oh, and it's $2 Taco Tuesdays, 10c wings on Wednesdays and complimentary unlimited tortilla chips and fresh salsas. AND there's a cactus garden. We cannot love this place enough!

Location: Manly Ferry Wharf, Belgrave Street and West Esplanade, Manly

6. Bathers’ Pavilion, Balmoral

Bathers Pavilion
Bathers is one of the most elegant cafes by the water in Sydney.

Perched right on stunning Balmoral Beach the iconic Bathers’ Pavilion is bursting with beachside elegance and Mediterranean charm.

Overlooking Middle Harbour, the much-loved eatery is housed within a heritage building that retains its art deco soul and serves up modern fare from beach snacks to fine dining - and the ultimate beachside fish and chips.

You can relax in Bathers’ Bistro, where French-inspired classics and everyday favourites are paired with that classic panoramic view.

Location: 4 The Esplanade, Mosman

7. Betel Leaf

Cafes by the water
Betel Leaf, Balmoral

Also within Bathers' Pavilion, Betel Leaf is located on the second floor and commands absolute beachfront views of Balmoral.

The kitchen is run by Ty Bellingham, Head Chef of the much-loved Sailors Thai, so you know the food is great. Grab a table inside or enjoy those stunning water views on the expansive balcony. 

Location: Second floor of Bathers' Pavilion, 4 The Esplanade, Mosman

8. Blackfish, Como

With panoramic views of the Georges River, this relaxed (dog-friendly) cafe is located inside the Pleasure Grounds at Como and offers an extensive breakfast and lunch menu daily.

Blackfish Cafe serves up great coffee and delicious food in a fun, casual atmosphere right on the water with picturesque views of the river. Kids particularly like the breakfast pancakes! 

Location: 2r/50 Cremona Rd, Como

9. Frankie's Food Factory

Cafes by the water in Sydney
Frankie's Food Factory, Glenhaven

A slew of Frankie's Food Factory venues recently opened, and Sydneysiders are flocking for their delicious meals, kids' playgrounds, and even their amazing views!

Not all Frankie's Food Factory venues come complete with amazing views, but their spot in Glenhaven sure does! Located inside Glenhaven's Flower Power and overlooking their famous ornamental lake, Frankie's Food Factory is the perfect spot to enjoy a coffee and a delicious feed with amazing views. They've also got an indoor playground for the kids to go wild, plus, pets are most welcome! 

Location: 609 Old Northern Rd, Glenhaven

10. Bianchini's

Bianchini’s Cronulla
Bianchini's, Cronulla

Oh, Bianchini's in Cronulla is a vibe on its own. Killer ocean views? Tick. Gourmet coffees? Tick. A mouthwatering menu? And another tick!

Step in, and you're hit with this cool, Mediterranean beach-house feel that screams chill. As for the coffee, Bianchini's throws down some serious coffee game alongside Italian-inspired treats and a killer breakfast and lunch lineup. Choose your spot, inside or out (heads up, pooch pals gotta hang outside), and just soak in those incredible ocean views. 

Location: 80 Mitchell Rd, Cronulla

11. Celcius Coffee Co.

Cafes by the water in Sydney
Celcius Coffee Co. in Kirribilli.

Feel like you are literally perched on the edge of the water while you sip a good ol' cup of Joe at Celcius Coffee Co. 

Located atop the ferry terminal at Kirribilli, Celcius Coffee Co. takes rustic waterfront dining to new levels. The atmosphere is quaint and cosy, and so is the food. Aside from the yummy coffees, breakfast heroes on the menu include chilli-buttered eggs, the Celcius waffles, the Saucy Egg and Bacon Bun, and the healthy Super Greens Breakfast. 

Location: Kirribilli Wharf, Holbrook Avenue, Kirribilli

12. Neptunes, Brighton Le Sands

Neptunes Brighton
Popular Neptunes overlooking Brighton Le Sands.

Formerly known as Cafe Neptune (which has been around forever) a million-dollar facelift in 2018 made way for Neptunes and a new area for the long-running, family-friendly establishment.

With a revitalised, robust menu, you can enjoy crowd-pleasing classics like pizza, pasta, and other Mediterranean classics as you look over the sea. Kids will love the buttermilk chicken bites with parmesan aioli! 

Location: 87 The Grand Parade, Brighton Le Sands

13. Pasadena, Church Point

Pasadena Church Point
Enjoy incredible views of Pittwater at Pasadena.

Pasadena in Church Point is a great spot to take the kids on a lazy weekend afternoon.

Having undergone a massive renovation in 2019, Pasadena is now an elegant waterside cafe, wedding space, hotel, and event venue on Sydney's Northern Beaches.

With stunning views across Pittwater, plenty of outdoor seating and a menu for the kids, Pasadena will become your new family-friendly spot in Sydney!

Location: 1858 Pittwater Rd, Church Point

14. Museum of Contemporary Cafe, The Rocks

MCA Cafe
Incredible views from the MCA Cafe.

The coveted view from this rooftop cafe covers the expanse of Sydney harbour, including the bridge, Opera House and city skyline, with nothing but blue sky, lapping water and ferries bobbing up and down as far as the eye can see. The views, particularly on a sunny day, are unsurpassed.

It’s such a treat to find a relaxed kid-friendly cafe by the water in the bustling city centre, but MCA Cafe has somehow managed. The menu changes seasonally to reflect the exhibitions on display, and there is also a Sculpture Terrace to enjoy while you're there.

Location: 4/140 George St, The Rocks

15. Gusto on the Beach, Curl Curl

Curl Curl's favourite cafe by the beach.

Catering the early-bird beach crowd, Gusto at The South Curl Curl Surf Club is right on the sand with a million-dollar view.

A perfect pit-stop for a coffee and a bite to eat after the beach or a swim in the rock pool, Gusto has a delicious menu, including bacon and egg roll on the run and substantial dine-in dishes. The cafe is dog-friendly too!

Location: Carrington Parade, Curl Curl

16. Waterfront Cafe, Pittwater

This spot is also called the Church Point Cafe.

A cute general store that is also a heritage-listed former post office built in 1909, The Waterfront Cafe is an absolute hidden gem in Sydney with gourmet food, signature coffee and a lovely ambience.

You can drive or travel by boat to Church Point, take the ferry or enjoy a scenic walk along Pittwater’s foreshore to get to this kid-friendly cafe with stunning water views. The store and onsite bottle shop sell everything from homewares and fresh flowers to groceries and alcohol.

The menu is organic and locally sourced but still full of favourites the kids will love, like breakfast tacos, pizzas and fish & chips.

Location: 1860 Pittwater Rd, Church Point

17. The Boathouse Shelly Beach, Manly

Boathouse Shelly Beach
Go for a splash at Shelly Beach after your morning coffee!

Just a few steps from the crystal sands of Shelly Beach, The Boathouse is a spacious open cafe that invites you to lounge around all day.

Open for breakfast and lunch daily, the modern Australian menus showcase loads of seafood plus a focus on fresh produce and, of course, the classic fish and chips!

There is a range of fresh juices, smoothies and coconuts, plus Australian classic cakes baked daily at their in-house bakery. If you wander past the kitchen you’ll find a beautiful open-air garden.

Location: 1 Marine Parade, Manly

18. Ripples Little Manly

Ripples Little Manly
Ripples Little Manly

Also in Manly, Ripples Little Manly is nestled on the sands of Little Manly Beach, aka one of the cutest kid-friendly beaches in the whole of Sydney in our book!

Toted as the ultimate Sydney beachside dining spot, Ripples Little Manly is part of that Ripples (Sydney Restaurant Group) and offers dine-in plus kiosk bites and coffees and drinks to families enjoying a day at the beach. 

Location: Stuart St, Manly 

19. Wharf Cafe on Sydney Harbour

Q Station
Q Station in Manly.

Also in Manly, Wharf Cafe at the iconic Q Station offers breathtaking views across Sydney Harbour.

What was once the luggage storage facility of Sydney’s former Quarantine Station is now a museum and gorgeous waterfront cafe. The Wharf Cafe is open five days a week offering delicious coffees, pastries, snacks, light meals, and other beverages. With gorgeous views of Sydney Harbour in front of you and the relaxing waters of Quarantine Beach next to you, a trip to the Wharf Cafe will delight the whole family. 

Location: 1 North Head Scenic Drive, Manly

20. The Newport

The Newport
The outdoor deck at The Newport.

Another gem on the Northern Beaches, The Newport (previously The Newport Arms) is a local icon in this part of Sydney.

The massive venue has not one but five eateries to grab a meal from, including the very elegant Bert's. Whether you're stopping by for a coffee and breaky in the morning or you're keen for a kid-friendly restaurant, The Newport caters with all-day menus, and those stunning views of Pittwater are hard to beat.

Location: 2 Kalinya St, Newport

21. The Pocket Freshwater

Another Northern Beaches institution, The Pocket Freshwater is nestled just metres from the sands of Freshwater Beach at Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club.

Load up on your favourite caffeine hit with the stunning views of one of the most popular beaches in Sydney to accompany it. Their brunch bowls, smoothies, and BLTs are also legendary, plus they stock muffins, locally-made mueslis and other treats.

Location: Kooloora Avenue, Freshwater

22. The Surf Deck

The Surf Deck Collaroy
The Surf Deck Collaroy opened in 2022.

A little slice of summer holidays is on offer at the newly-opened The Surf Deck in Collaroy.

As part of the Merivale group, you can expect nothing but chic interiors, excellent cocktails, and yummy foods at The Surf Deck - and the views certainly don't hurt! With expansive windows on all four sides of this tiki-style cafe, you're granted panoramic views of the iconic Collaroy beach to enhance those summer vibes. 

Location: 1064 Pittwater Rd, Collaroy

23. Barrenjoey Boatshed

The New Barrenjoey Boatshed
The New Barrenjoey Boatshed.

One of the newest cafes by the water in Sydney, the Barrenjoey Boatshed (formerly The Boathouse Palm Beach) opened their doors in February 2024 after a mega renovation.

The new-look Barrenjoey Boatshed has been completely refurbished but has still retained the chic interiors visitors to Palm Beach have come to know and love. We can also expect the same great menu of tasty treats to enjoy while lapping up the incredible views across Pittwater - heavenly!

Location: Governor Phillip Park, Palm Beach

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Gaia Borghetti

Feb 26 2023

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