Manly is the quintessential Sydney destination. It is flanked by north harbour on one side and the South Pacific Ocean on the other. There is the chance to learn how to surf, paddle board and walk through beautiful bush tracks whilst taking in stunning vistas. Manly is not only a nature lovers paradise, it’s also hip and cool with a smidge of touristy tack as a hangover from when it wasn’t as cool.
Our family loves visiting Manly and we know every little street and pedestrian walkway. We have visited most of the cafes, restaurants and pubs. I’m often notice when I am in a tourist destination that visitors sadly don’t know the hidden gems and often go for the overpriced cafes and restaurants. So I thought it was my Sydney tour guide duty to share with you the places we like to go and where many locals hang out so you can get the real Manly vibe. Here’s our list:
The Shop Next Door: It’s a little confusing to find as the sign on the cafe says Banks. This laid back cafe shares the space with a surf store which sells eclectic surfboards and gear. The coffee is great and the simple healthy food is tasty. One of my favourites is the toast with avocado and feta. The Shop Next Door is a block back from the beach which means its more of a locals haunt.
Rialto Square: Is an area in Manly which is pedestrian friendly and home to a great cafe called Bench which serves meals from breakfast to dinner most days of the week. Its an open air cafe with umbrellas for shade. Dinners in the evening are Mexican in flavour and its a favourite with families with small children as there is room to roam. Another good option for dinner is Yok Thai. My kids are now at the stage where they love to share a plate of chicken satays and a green curry with rice. The flavours are authentically Thai and you can BYO wine.
Market Lane Cafe: You can find this small cafe in Market Lane which runs parallel with The Corso. Its a great spot to grab a take away coffee and a muffin and head down to the beach and enjoy in the sun and the view.
Pubs: Manly used to be pretty rough back in the day but these days the pubs are peaceful and relaxing places to enjoy a drink and a pizza whilst soaking in the view. Try The Ivanhoe for good quality pub food. Hotel Steyne features a dumpling restaurant called Harry Phats and lovely views of the Pacific Ocean.
For more information about Manly you can visit Hello Manly.