The Northern Beaches are world-famous for their surf and their beauty, beach after beach of golden and rose gold sand set between soaring headlands.
They are divine, and there are heaps of them which are family-friendly. But when exploring up that way, you also need to know about the best Northen Beaches cafes on the beach too. There are all sorts of lovely cafes right beside the beach and many are kid-friendly.
Here are some favourites picked by myself and Carolyn Darragh of Desire Empire. The list starts at Balmoral, goes round past Manly and then all the way up to Palm Beach.
Come on a beachside cafe journey with us!
PS If you are interested in the best cafes for kids on the more inland sections of the North Shore, click here.
The Boathouse Balmoral
Sophisticated in an ever so casual way, the Balmoral Boathouse always makes for a delightful visit with kids.
Straddling the harbour and with the beach running to the right and left, there is plenty to entertain the kids, whilst you sit on the deck of this fabulous cafe and take in all the colour and movement that is Sydney Harbour.
Address: 2 The Esplanade, Balmoral
Phone: 02 9974 5440
Read our full article about The Boathouse Balmoral and see lots of photos here.
Little Manly Beach Cafe
Address: Stuart Street, manly
Phone and website TBC
A lovely café overlooking the quaint little harbour beach. The kiosk at Little manly has been serving our family chips, ice blocks and drinks for a long time! It is currently being renovated and a Ripples Cafe will open here. Will update and hopefully get some new photos when it is open.
Meanwhile, check out all the info on Little Manly Cove here.
The Boathouse Shelly Beach
Address: 1, Marine Parade, Manly
Phone: 02 9974 5440
This care and restaurant has the most delicious views over gorgeous Shelly beach. I must say that I usually use the kiosk here, buying coffees and oce blocks to eat at the beach. I find the inside section of the cafe very noisy. There is an outside section too, beautifully decorated with glass fishing floats and it is the best spot for sit-down breakfasts and lunches.
This is a popular spots for family celebrations, great for all ages in the family, though there is no direct road access so elderly grannies and grandads may find access difficult.
The Beach Shed at Dee Why Beach
South End of Dee Why Beach
Phone: 9972 1790
Open: 6.30am – 4.30pm daily
This little cafe and takeaway is in the most fab-tastic position on the walkway from Dee Why Beach to the marvellous rock pools. It has been created in the surf club’s old boat storage shed, and has seating inside and outside along the walkway.
The cafe is just below the excellent fully fenced playground at Dee Why, one which is especially good for younger children. The atmosphere is super relaxed and casual, so feel free to turn up with bare feet and sandy legs. So all in all, what a winner and a great one to add to our list of best beachside cafes on the Northern Beaches.
The blackboard menu changes regularly but can be relied upon for the sort of breakfast you need after a swim or a surf….. or chasing the kids around the beach after an eye-wateringly early morning wake-up from the little darlings. The inside of the cafe is small so parents with prams will often be best suited to the outside tables. Or just order at the takeaway counter and sip and munch at the playground.
H2O Cafe Narrabeen
Address: 3/1431 Pittwater Rd, Narrabeen
Phone: 02 9913 1360
Serene and calm, with plenty of shade and with stunning views over the lake, this cafe is open from 7.30am – 5pm and food is served all day. You can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner, with kids’ menus for each sitting, and you can book in for afternoon teas with a view too.
This is a great cafe for families, as the kids can spill out into the adjoining park, whilst the adults can stay seated taking in an extra coffee, as the children play. If you have very young children though, be aware that the outside tables are very close to the lake and there is no fencing. There is also plenty of indoor seating though, with doors open to let in the breezes.
The Boatshed Cafe and Bar, Narrabeen
Address: 11, Narrabeen Street, Narrabeen
Phone: 02 9913 8938
Another absolute beauty overlooking Narrabeen Lagoon.
Serving beautifully fresh, delicious food and giving you the opportunity to hire a kayak from the place next door, to work off lunch. This is a spacious cafe and bar, with interior and exterior seating and it is a popular venue for multi-generational family get-togethers. It is close to the H2O Cafe and shares the same great views.
The Narrabeen walk and cycle track goes right past both these cafes so they make an excellent pitstop as you walk or bike along.
If you have very little children, you might like to pop up to the Tramshed Cafe, also very close to the lake. It has the fantastic Berry Reserve playground alongside it, as well as the tram to play in.
Bronze Kiosk Mona Vale
NB check cafe and SLSC club are open via webpage as renovations are happening in 2021 and 2022.
Address: 1 Surfview Road, Mona Vale
Phone: 02 8411 1224
Bronzed by name and bronzed by nature, Bronze Kiosk has lovely views over Mona Vale Beach. The Basin and the rock pool are just a hop, skip and a jump away. Kids can run around the tables or play in the grassy areas alongside. The cafe is alongside the car park though so you need to watch little kids closely.
The cafe shares a building with Mona Vale Surf Club. You order inside the building and then find a seat outside. There are breakfast and lunch menus, these change with the seasons.
The lovely Apex Park playground is right across the road. Ideal! Make sure you bring the kids bikes to this one, as there is a bike track loop in the park.
Zubi at Billy’s, Bilgola Beach
Address: The Serpentine, Bilgola
Phone: 02 9918 2038
Beautifully located under the shade of the Norfolk Pines on Bilgola Beach, Zubi at Billys is a cool and refreshing place to be, in the height of summer, and a warming place to be in winter. With a lovely rock pool to splash in just along the beach, this is a kid-friendly place to be.
Zubi’s is a kiosk with some covered seating and some tables beneath the trees too. The beach is right there, a delightful spot, and the food is good too.
The Boathouse Palm Beach
NB check the website to see when renovations are complete
Address: By the water airport jetty, Palm Beach
Phone: 02 9974 5440
Check the Boathouse website here.
If you fancy some fabulously fresh, reasonably priced food, whilst dining amongst some of the most magnificent scenery in Australia, then this cafe is for you.
With dining areas back and front, there is plenty of room for the family to spread out here. But beware, this cafe is fabulous and can get a little manic on the weekends.
If you are not in a rush and don’t mind queuing to order your food, then this world-class cafe, is not to be missed.
Dunes Kiosk and Restaurant Palm Beach
Address: 1193 Barrenjoey Road, Palm Beach
Phone: 02 9974 3332
Located adjacent to the magical Governor Phillip Park in Palm Beach, is Dunes. Two dining options make up this establishment, with the very casual Dunes Kiosk on one side of the building and the beautifully relaxed a la carte dining option of Dunes Restaurant on the other. Admittedly this cafe does not have beach views, but it is very close and the playground is lovely, plus it has views over the fictional parklands of Home and Away’s Summer Bay.
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Now we know there are other treasures on the Northern Beaches. Will you tell us your favourites so that we can dash over with cameras and hungry tummies to try them out.
Thanks Carolyn for sharing your fave Northern Beaches cafes with Sydney Kids Food and Travel’s readers.
Happy cafe hunting!