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Leura, since its 19th century beginnings has been a 'watering hole' for locals or visitors. Yes, the number of venues has increased greatly since those early days. Up and down The Mall, along Megalong Street and Railway Parade, gastronomic options are plentiful, but don't overlook eateries at the top of The Mall and along the escarpment.
Address:62 Great Western Highway, Leura
Phone: 02 4782 4422
Hours: Open daily 12 Noon, Music on Sunday 1pm–4pm
'The Alex' [as it is fondly known] is a popular place with both locals and visitors, particularly on weekends, so we strongly recommend booking ahead for weekend dining.
We love the ambience of 'The Alex'. Out on the terrace, families occupy large picnic tables on a sunny school holiday – our weather has been unusual this autumn. The terrace is an incredible setting – you can see the whole of Leura below and the added bonus, you can watch passengers debark on the Blue Mountains trains. Railway travel entrances our little ones.
Recently we ventured away from our usual menu choice and ordered the slow roasted rosemary and mint lamb shanks – so tender, so delicious. The Redfern Bistro is casual yet the lovely bar, the white linens and the fire, when the weather is nippy give that touch of class to Leura dining.
If you want a light homemade lunch 'Alex-style', spring rolls and the soup of the day from the entrée listings are perfect. Or if there is a starving teenager in your family, a huge stacked gourmet burger with all the trimmings and a generous serving of chips is definitely a hit after a day of trekking. Friday and Sunday evenings can get crowded, so call for bookings to avoid a wait.
"A lovely place for lunch.
The food was wonderful. The ambience was beautiful. Very reasonably priced and great service. I really enjoyed my meal and so did my husband. Would recommend to others."
"We decided to eat at the Alexandra Hotel as it was close to where we were staying, we ended up coming back for the three nights as the food was truly beautiful!! Big thumbs up to the chef!!! Also the staff. Mike Jackie and the team were polite, helpful and very accommodating".
Address:48 Merriwa Street, Katoomba
Phone: 02 4782 1206
Hours: Open Fri–Tue - Music 5 nights and Sunday lunch, (open daily School Holidays)
Located midway between Leura and Katoomba, The Rooster, built 125 years ago, sits on the cusp of the escarpment, perhaps cornering the most stunning and unimpeded view of Jamison Valley and the escarpment.
Out front, tables and umbrellas offer a casual lunch setting for trekkers and backpackers – or perhaps that celebratory glass of champagne after a day of rock climbing. Inside, windows open out to the escarpment and the warm ambience of the bar – gorgeous woods and a sophisticated display of flagons and magnums of favourite malts and scotch whiskeys create an impressive reception area.
A La Carte and Fixed-Price Lunch menus are favourites if you are arriving at your mountain destination in the early afternoon – a 'served all day Bar Menu' is popular with trekkers just finishing up a long day walk.
Formality is reserved for evenings where the traditional French menu is superb: slow cooked veal, duck confit leisurely cooked and served with lentils in potato baskets, grain-fed beef with onion compote and, of course, desserts to die for – Chocolate and Almond Opera Cake is our favourite but don't overlook Crêpes Suzette.
Along with wonderful food, musicians softly accompany your dinner, another touch of elegance and style. We love the sounds of many languages as the international staff have distinct accents – French, Italian, German – and they are a lovely bunch, attentive and friendly.
"So rare to find chefs still preparing quality meals, using fresh ingredients & allowing the individual flavours to 'make' the dish."
"Great food and old-fashion restaurant. All things French, just great."
"The Rooster has a vintage feel with a French tinge. We were seated near the window, which had a wonderful view of the mountains."
Address:174 The Mall, Leura
Phone: 02 4784 1973
Hours: Open daily, 9am to 5pm
In 1898, the Leura Mall was wide, dusty and used by horse-drawn wagons and carriages along with residents making their way to the general store. In rainy weather, the dirt road turned to mud, making life difficult for humans and horses!
The future of the Wayzgoose is questionable as we go to print in 2017. Council may decide to demolish the old building. But we hope you will find it still serving basic and reasonably priced meals and sweets with good coffee in its old fashioned ambience. If not, please send along a 'Rest In Peace' (RIP) to this bastion of Leura in one of Leura's Edwardian buildings. In 1910, publisher Peter Giles Hart established the Federal Printing Works. This historic building has an unusual shape – perfect for booths and tables of customers today yet we can imagine the long room filled with presses of the past.
Behind what could have been the printer's customer counter in 1910, homemade brownies, cupcakes, tarts and flowerless orange and almond cakes beckon. Along with the famous 'Flower-Pot Scone', most offerings are made in-house. The espresso machine is constantly in motion as locals stop by in the early morning for a sweet and a shot of caffeine.
Around the lunch hour – 11.30 to 2pm – soups are a specialty along with other seasonal mainstays. Kid's menus are always listed on the blackboard and gluten-free options are available with most of the menu, just ask the staff.
Wayzgoose takes its name from an old printing tradition – an outing and dinner for printing staff before summer ends and the printing must be done by candlelight in the winter months. Wayzgoose continues in Leura's historic tradition of local shopkeepers serving and 'chatting up' visitors.
Address:Corner of Grose & Megalong Streets, Leura
Phone: 02 4784 3117
Hours: Open daily 10am to 5.30pm, Bookings essential for High Tea, Carpark and Lift – wheelchair accessible
If you long for the charm of yesteryear, Bygone Beautys is the perfect destination for you. Edwardian in style and refinement, this lovely historic building is a tearoom serving up elegant teas and sweets and an astonishment of beautiful and occasionally zany teapots – a museum that is the creation of its owner, Maurice Cooper OAM, and home to no less than 5500 teapots!
Lunch, light refreshments or Devonshire Tea are all served with the graciousness of a bygone era. But it is the elegant Traditional High Tea that shines, which the staff serves up with great style and flair down to the last detail. Great for a special treat or a memorable occasion. Read more about Bygone Beautys in the Stay and Play Section.
A teapot begins life with water, clay and an artistic ides. Check out the display of a teapot's inception in the Bygone Beautys Museum.
Address:37 Everglades Avenue
Phone: 02 4784 1938
Hours: Open daily 11am to 2.30pm
In this beautiful and ornate 1933 house overlooking the escarpment, Devonshire tea and freshly baked cake along with coffee or leaf tea, apple juice (ginger beer and spiders for the kids) are served daily. As the Tearoom is staffed by volunteers (thank goodness for volunteers) please call ahead for the full menu availability of lunches or teas. For those special occasions, BYO your champagne – the tea room will provide glasses without a corkage fee and order a delicious cake for your guests prepared by the volunteers.
Address:121 The Mall, Leura
Phone: 02 4784 1345
Hours: Open Tue to Sat, Lunch 12pm–3pm, Dinner 5.30pm–9pm
On December 8, 1941, under the cover of darkness, five street signs on the north side of Leura came down without warning or ceremony: Ito, Kamimura, Iwasaki, Togo and Tokie Streets.
Hana Japanese is that little gem that locals love and visitors wish they had found. Located at the top of The Mall, just off the Great Western Highway roundabout, the quirky building resembles a 1970s ski lodge of the kind my kids once searched under tables for coins dropped by skiers. Today, you will find a crowd here – minus the skis – and empty tables are rare. For dinner, we recommend booking as locals love Hana too.
Always check out the 'specials board' for the daily menu changes – the freshest of seafood dictates the menu for Chef Takeshi Shabata. In the tiny kitchen, he creates some unique and authentic Japanese dishes you won't want to overlook. Our best recommendation is Takeshi-san's consistently serves up excellent cuisine.
Hana maintains quality and modest pricing. Takeaway is also available. Open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Hana is a great option for families and is always crowded during school holidays.
Address:192 The Mall, Leura
Phone: 02 4782 4377
Hours: Open Fri–Tue 11am to late, Sun 9am to 3.30pm
Bon Ton Bistro occupies the entire corner of Megalong Street and The Mall. In summer, beautiful leafy trees shade the garden terrace seating. Christmas celebrations are very popular here. Some 14 years ago on a lovely February day, we shared a family lunch at Bon Ton – our first foray into Leura – and we've been returning annually. The Bistro is modelled on the European-style bistro and bar and is quite chic!
In winter or wet weather, there is no argument about being drawn inside to the Edwardian-style dining room complete with open fire. In the early evening and on into the dining hours, Bon Ton has an upmarket yet casual ambience. A fixed price selection – two or three course – is on the menu offering hearty soups and large salads to full mains and delicate desserts. Petite samplings along with wine or beer make Bon Ton a popular hangout for Leura's literati in the early evening and on Friday, a crowd gathers for the $10 Bar Burger and chips.
This is a family business – father and son love their work and definitely love their food!
Address:1 Sublime Point Road, Leura
Phone: 02 4785 000
The Fairmont with its large staff of chefs prepares a wide range of cuisine and ambience. Great for upmarket dining and for family with varied appetites, we list the many options below:
Jamison's – open daily for breakfast and Saturday dinner buffet (bookings required)
Embers Bar – open daily for dinner, fireside dining and Tapas shared plates
Eucalypt – open Fri–Sat only.
An intimate dinner setting and exquisite dining (bookings required)
Sublime Lounge – open daily for tea, coffee and sweets. Check out the special Fairmont High Tea
Golf Club Bistro – open for lunch and dinner Wed–Sun