If you enjoy having fish and chips by the water, then you can't go past the Bay Harbour Cafe in Nelson Bay. It is situated literally metres from the water and opposite where the fishing trawlers come into the bay, to offload their catch to sell at the local seafood outlets. It is so close to the water that you can sit at your table and watch dolphins swimming by, pelicans bobbing along and cormorants standing on the rocks, drying their wings.
Due to its relaxed setting and pristine water views, it is the busiest and best fish and chip shop in Nelson Bay, in my opinion. Since moving to the region we have tried others around the area, however, it is Bay Harbour Cafe which has impressed us the most. The sign on the top of the cafe claims to be the "Best Fish & Chips in NSW" which is a big call - I'm not sure it is the best, but it is certainly up there! One thing is for sure, the view is worth going for and then you will be impressed by the friendly hospitality and then of course, the food...
Follow the locals and tourists to Bay Harbour Café, at the end of Teramby Road (with several free car parking spaces out the front)
The menu at Bay Harbour Cafe is extensive, with a long list of options on two pages starting with seafood entrees and continuing on to the variety of fish and chips options, cooked prawns, calamari, burgers, pizza, chicken schnitzel, kids menu and the all-time favourite - the fishermen's basket for one or two people. A popular feature of this fish and chip cafe is that it is licensed, so many happy diners sit and share a bottle of wine (or buy it by the glass) or enjoy a beer with their meal. The Bay Harbour Café website doesn't have a current menu listed, so see below for the food menu (white) and drinks menu (yellow) to peruse before you visit - click on large image for a closer look.
Bay Harbour Café Menu - prices are from November, 2018
When you have decided what you want, order up at the counter and then take a number to your table. Along the way, don't forget to pick up everything you need from the condiment table near the counter. There are a variety of sauces to squeeze into small containers, cut lemons to put on a plate, cutlery, salt & pepper and serviettes to take your table. As a person who enjoys a lot of lemon and no salt on my fish, it was refreshing to be able to have a choice as to what to put on it, and how much.
After you have what you need, you can choose to sit inside or walk outside and enjoy a table with a view, overlooking the sparkling waters of Nelson Bay.
Sit inside at the spacious dining area if it is a cool day...
On a recent visit to the café it was quite busy, so all the tables were filling up fast. As the tables were reasonably close together, the other diners started to chat to each other about the dogs they had under the table, whether they were local or on holiday and what caravan they were touring in. It seems that the Grey Nomads had all discovered this little gem by the water, and were enjoying the view and their Fishermen's Baskets with a glass of wine. Retirement was looking good for all of them!
We always order the $15 battered fish and chips each, as it is a large size, not greasy, beautifully cooked and with chips that you just can't stop eating. As mentioned, I don't eat salt, so it is such a relief to find a fish and chip shop that doesn't automatically smother everything with salt. If you would like salt, you can add as little or as much as you like from the condiments table. The result is that everyone is happy with their meal, however, they like it.
Battered Fish & Chips with no salad ($15) - it's very filling!
After you have finished your meal, had a cold drink and completely relaxed next to the calmness of the bay, why not walk off some of those chips along the Breakwater out along the marina? It is a scenic place to take a stroll, chat with the people fishing and see what they have been catching on the end of their lines. It is a popular fishing spot in the region, so you are sure to see something reeled in as you walk by.
Bay Harbour Café is the ideal tourist destination in Nelson Bay, for visitors on their way through and for locals who live here. It is the true essence of Nelson Bay - friendly staff, friendly patrons, tasty fish and chips and views that instantly make you feel like you're on holiday. Why would you want to be anywhere else?
Finish your meal with a walk along the scenic Breakwater, starting just outside Bay Harbour Cafe