Latitude 30 has long been renowned for exquisitely presented dishes, top quality seafood, amazing views and overall ambience.
This amazing restaurant and bar is in the heart of Coffs Harbour's famous and beautiful marina. The wild Pacific Ocean swell crashes into the breakwater metres away from the outdoor deck and feature windows on one side of the restaurant. Cars, people, yachts, and fishing boats all huddle for shelter in the peaceful and serene marina on the other side of the imposing rock wall.
This is a fine dining experience and accordingly, you are welcomed warmly at the door and led to your table. The interior of the restaurant has been renovated from the once dark and reserved colour scheme into a lighter and brighter one that I think is more reflective of its environment. There has always been plenty of space in the restaurant and it really doesn't look any more or less crowded now to what it did years ago.
Executive chef and proprietor Marcus Blackwell oversees a menu that changes with the seasons but for me, it is the seafood that I keep on coming back for. I've not seen or tasted fresher or higher quality seafood in a restaurant anywhere in Australia. The menu also features tapas-style dishes and paella is a house specialty.
We began our meal with a seafood mezze share plate and a 'Mixed 16' platter of oysters. Four each of natural, Kilpatrick, Japanese and tabasco oysters are enough to offer everyone a taste of these top-grade morsels.
We got even more oysters on the mezze plate. I was in oyster heaven and you will be too. Everything on the seafood plate is perfectly presented and the salmon pate is quite a few steps up from your everyday. I challenge anyone to pick a favourite from such a delicious selection.
For mains, we opted for the fish and chips and house-made gnocchi. The Coopers beer-battered fish is deliciously filling and not over battered. The smooth tartare ties the fish and chips together nicely. I very nearly didn't get any before the kids demolished it.
The gnocchi is hearty, complex, and rich. Big pillows of potato, parmesan and herbs are tossed with pumpkin, spanish onion, pine nuts, crispy kale and blue cheese. Just make sure the kids don't take a big bite of the blue cheese! This is a sumptuous and filling dish you will love.
There is a selection of delicious side dishes on offer including the fresh grain salad and rich roast portobello mushrooms we chose. Though the mains are really standalone dishes, the grain salad goes well with the fish and chips (the salad with the fish and chips is excellent too btw) and the mushrooms side very well with the gnocchi.
You can order grand seafood platters (some costing over $200) for a grand occasion and we saw a few of these impressive displays heading out to feed other tables (depending on availability).
Do not miss out on desserts at Latitude 30. Art and taste all come together on a plate; whichever one you choose will delight all of your senses. We chose the mango cheesecake. Crack open the delightful orange to find it filled with cheesecake goodness and swirl it around in the deluxe ingredients – this is a cheesecake experience and a half!
But wait, we also chose the dark chocolate brulee with citrus curd and biscotti. For me, this dish flipped the regular crème brulee idea on its head in darkly smooth and sweet way. The citrus curd and biscotti on top gives the dish a bit of sweet and tart bite.
An extensive wine and drinks menu has an emphasis on Australian wines and a few eclectic internationals. As a South Australian, this wine list makes it obvious that SA punches above its weight when it comes to red wines! There's the old favourite cocktails and some interesting ones to try like the Pink Mandarin and the Lychee Lemongrass Martini. There's a range of great tap beers and heaps of bottled craft beers. Of course, you can just pop in for a great roasted coffee by Botero.
Latitude 30 has a unique place on the breakwater. Families stroll along the path to Muttonbird Island, joggers' jog by, surfers try to catch waves along the breakwater and clamber up over the rocks when they're done. It's an excellent spot for people watching and it's impossible to understate the beauty of the ocean outlook.