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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Six Must-Visit Spots in Avalon for Every Occasion

Venture beyond the beach for a quick feed in a millennial pink paradise or date night in a cosy wine bar.
By Avril Treasure
May 21, 2021
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By Avril Treasure
May 21, 2021
  shares

SIX MUST-VISIT SPOTS IN AVALON FOR EVERY OCCASION

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Venture beyond the beach for a quick feed in a millennial pink paradise or date night in a cosy wine bar.

The northern beaches has long been associated with sand, surf and sun. After all, this stretch of Sydney coastline is home to some of the country's most picturesque beaches. And, in buzzing Avalon, you can also track down fun-loving bars, boutique shops and ideal date-night spots. Yes, the locals may be known to rarely leave, but with so much on offer, it's easy to see why. You could happily spend a few days — or weeks — in Avalon going for leisurely walks, catching up with friends over coffee and forgetting about your worries by diving into the ocean.

With the help of American Express, we've picked some of the top spots to visit around this neck of the woods — from lively Mexican restaurants to go-to florists and small shops stocking unique gifts. Whatever the occasion, Avalon has you sorted.

  • 6

    This airy Avalon go-to is made for sipping tequila cocktails, feasting on fresh seafood and kicking back with mates. Located just metres from the beach, this spot has that casual northern beaches vibe and next-level Mexican fare that is sure to keep you coming back.

    Kick things off with kingfish cured with lime, pickled radish, avocado and pico de gallo; charred sweet corn with parmesan cheese, grasshopper salt and guajillo truffle sauce; and soft shell crab tostadas. Then, order some tacos — choose from marinated chicken, fish, pork belly and agave jackfruit — and some mains like carne asada (grilled steak), octopus with dutch carrots and whole baby snapper. There’s also the $69 ‘Feed Me’ menu, which is perfect for group get-togethers and big, birthday lunches — and you can opt to pair your meal with either tequila ($40) or mezcal ($65).

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  • 5

    Walk into this coastal boutique and you’ll find it packed with one-of-a-kind homewares, all ethically sourced from Africa. This is because Africanologie’s owner Dael Lane was born in Zimbabwe and brought her passion for African arts and crafts — and love for her home — Down Under in 2004. Naturally, the store champions makers and creatives from all over the continent, selling everything from handcrafted artefacts and gifts to artworks, unique furniture, lights and bespoke pieces.

    Africonologie has a buyer based in South Africa to ensure the store is constantly sourcing and commissioning new products, and the team prides itself on working closely with artists and helping to support their local communities. Plus, if you’d like some guidance on styling your brand-new pad, Africanologie offers an interior styling service.

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  • 4

    The floristry team at Avalon Floral Art is a local favourite having provided artistic arrangements for more than 20 years. Here, you’ll find the likes of peach dahlias, pink roses, purple hydrangeas, fragrant gardenias and native blooms picked from the Sydney Flower Markets and other local suppliers. You can also nab a lovely new house plant like a peace lily or bromeliad if you’re more into long-lasting greenery.

    If you’ve got an anniversary, birthday or other special occasion coming up, then order your loved one, mum or mate one of Avalon Floral Art’s stunning bouquets, which the team delivers nationwide. Avalon Floral Art also caters to large corporate events, occasions and weddings. And, be sure to look on its Instagram to get inspiration for what to pick for your loved one.

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  • 3

    A coastal-chic wine bar, Bar Elvina is the place to go for a glass of vino and some freshly shucked oysters after a day at the beach. Opening earlier this year, the bar is the brainchild of two hospo legends, Andy Emerson (Acme) and chef Jesse McTavish (North Bondi Fish). So, if you’re trying to impress on your next date night, this is the spot.

    Here, high heels and chinos are eschewed for Birkenstocks and shorts, but the laidback dress code doesn’t translate to the food and drinks on offer. On the wine list, you’ll only find drops that the owners love and are also inspired by the ocean, either by their terroir, varietal or style. The concise cocktail list is worth a look, too, with a strong focus on native Aussie ingredients.

    Food-wise, think snacks like raw yellowfin tuna tostadas and salt and pepper Hawkesbury River school prawns served with sumac mayo. For larger plates, there’s the seawater-brined broccoli with almond hummus, fermented chilli and almonds; 0ctopus with green tomato and jalapeño; and whole snapper with miso lemon butter sauce and warrigal greens. Still hungry? Make sure you order the roasted apple, liquorice and gingerbread bombe for dessert.

    Image: Steven Woodburn

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  • 2

    We asked Alma‘s owners Tim and Jack to share their pick for the neighbourhood, and they chose Sunset Diner. “The burgers are on point. Every ingredient has been considered,” they told us. “We love strolling up off the beach on a Friday after a surf, grabbing a burger to eat in or take away. Our go-to is the Five AM Catch.”

    This Miami-inspired spot comes by way of Ben Varela, whose culinary credits include The Collaroy and Bistro Moncur. And it’s just a three-minute walk from Avalon Beach, making it perfect for a post-surf burger and beer. You’re here for a quick feed, so pull up a seat at the millennial pink bar, or opt to sit in the dog-friendly courtyard with your pup in tow.

    You’ll want to come hungry, with Sunset Diner’s menu featuring US classics like juicy burgers, griddle dogs, wings, fresh salads, fries and OTT sundaes and shakes. Can’t decide? The Luxe Burger with beef patty, cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and specialty sauce is a winner. Or, if you’re craving a pimped-out hotdog, go for the Pork Dog with frankfurter, pulled pork, mustard, onion and pickle relish.

    Image: Kitti Gould

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  • 1

    Fuel your body with nutritious food and stock up for the week at Avalon Wholefoods Store, located on Old Barrenjoey Road. The family-owned shop stocks sustainably sourced natural and organic foods. You’ll find everything from nuts, seeds, pulses and grains to dried fruit, snacks and up to ten different varieties of homemade muesli.

    If you love a cuppa, it also claims to have one of the widest selections of loose leaf tea in Australia, sourced from sustainable producers. Live on the northern beaches? You can get your shopping delivered to your door for a fiver, but it also ships all around the country via Australia Post. But, if you visit in person, you can make use of the store’s naturopaths, who’ll guide you through natural treatments and products on offer.

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Shop small to support the local stores that make Sydney so great. To learn about American Express and the Shop Small initiative, visit here. Then, head this way to find more must-visit spots.

Top image: Kitti Gould

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