There’s no need to grab your passport. Amidst our vibrant food scene, these diverse culinary delights bring the taste of Europe to the Coffs Coast.
From French finesse to the warmth of Italian hospitality, discover the captivating stories of four visionary chefs and owners, each sharing their love for travel, family and culinary artistry.
Tucked away in a quiet nook of the Coffs CBD, Miquette is a charming French bistro carefully crafted to transport patrons to a place of relaxation. From the fabulous ‘terrasse’, where customers can watch the world go by over a fabulous glass of wine, to the use of forest green, natural timbers and romantic lighting within its cozy yet chic interior, we could easily be in Paris’ trendy Rue de Charonne.
At the helm of Miquette is the husband and wife team of Edouard (Ed) and Jade. A native of France, Ed has worked in the hospitality industry managing venues since he was 18. Before moving to Australia, he met Jade, a Coffs Coast girl, at his uncle’s famous Parisian bistro. They soon connected over a shared love for travel and passion for French cuisine that would eventually lead to the creation of Miquette.
The irresistible menu is designed to be savoured and is much like what a classic French bistro offers. Indulge in a large selection of natural wines paired with cheese and charcuterie boards that feature wafer-thin slices of coppa (pork sausage). Locally sourced accompaniments, such as fig jams, honey, fruit, and vegetables, bring a unique Australian flavour to the famous French fare.
Freshly made baguette sandwiches like ‘le Miquette’ (Bangalow ham, compté cheese, salted butter, cornichons) or ‘le beau gosse’ (crumbed chicken, rocket, grilled eggplant, mozzarella, tomato and tartare sauce), are staples at Miquette.
Classics such as pastries, scrambled eggs and crêpes also showcase a dedication to bringing the authentic taste of France to the Coffs Coast. “Our savoury crêpes have been hugely popular because they’re unique to Miquette. We have the “crêpe complète” (ham, cheese, egg, cherry tomatoes), and at the moment, we have a special with smoked salmon, creamed goat’s cheese, chives, red onion, and mixed leaves. Our savoury crêpe is a great gluten-free option as it comes on a crêpe made from buckwheat flour!” says Ed.
Miquette extends its charm into the late hours, staying open until 8 pm on Thursday and Friday evenings, where you can gather some friends and savour a plate of cheese and charcuterie paired with their exceptional natural wines. “This is one of the things that I love about what we’ve created,” Ed shares, “there’s something for everyone, young and old, locals and tourists, friends and families.” Additionally, Miquette will host live music on the first Friday of every month, promising a vibrant atmosphere for all to enjoy.
Miquette holds a special place in Edouard’s heart, as the name pays homage to his grandmother, Monique. Known affectionately by her nickname, Miquette, her love of good food and coming together have been woven into the fabric of this charming cafe. “Always good service, good food, good wine, good coffee, but not fancy. Keep professional, but also keep smiling and joking with customers.” Miquette is a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts seeking a taste of France in the heart of Coffs Harbour. As Edouard puts it, “It’s all here!” Miquette is open Monday to Wednesday, 6 am-5 pm, Thursday and Friday, 6 am-8 pm, and Saturday mornings, 6 am-12 pm. Reservations can be made by calling 02 5606 1661
99 on Park
For those seeking the perfect blend of French elegance and warm hospitality, “99 on Park” is the go-to destination for discerning palates and those who appreciate exquisite cuisine. Setting a new bar for fine dining on the Coffs Coast, every detail reflects a commitment to flavour and culture but with unique charm.
Restaurant manager Leah and Head Chef Loic are the dynamic husband and wife duo behind 99 on Park. As they recount their story of spending years travelling and working in service worldwide, it becomes clear that this restaurant was a chance to culminate shared passion, creativity, and a commitment to excellence.
With high ceilings, rich coloured timbers, scrumptious table linen and soft candlelight, this intimate space resonates with refined tastes and is the ideal destination for a memorable evening.
The meticulously curated menu is a delightful fusion of classic French dishes and modern innovations, showcasing the best French-inspired cuisine with a contemporary twist. The seasonal menu promises an authentic dining experience, ensuring only ingredients ready for consumption make their way to your plate. “Our commitment to seasonality ensures that our patrons experience the peak of freshness in every bite,” says Chef Loic.
Menu standouts include the Heirloom Tomato Consommé with Australian Goat Cheese, which perfectly exemplifies the marriage of classic French techniques with the richness of local Australian ingredients. Don’t miss the enticing Blue Cheese Éclair with pear, walnut, and honey to the Lobster & Tasmanian Salmon Ballotine served with savoy cabbage and celeriac. There is no doubt that this menu is truly a symphony of flavours and textures.
The Lemon, Verbena & Meringue Tart, served upside-down for a surprising take, adds a touch of innovation to the dessert selection. Plus, the restaurant introduces a novel take on ‘surf and turf’—slow-cooked Pork Belly with Octopus, showcasing a creative blend of flavours and textures. “It’s not modern Australian or your typical MasterChef. It’s France with a twist.”, says Loic.
“As an experienced Chef, I have a lot of respect for the skill that goes into preparing the classic recipes. But I love bringing my personality to the dishes. Celebrating local Aboriginal culture by incorporating traditional ingredients is also very important to me,” shares Loic, expressing his commitment to innovation and tradition.
Focusing on locally sourced ingredients ensures freshness and a connection to the region. Oysters sourced from Nambucca Oyster Co. are a highlight, promising what Loic describes as “a mouthful of seawater” – a testament to their commitment to offering the freshest produce. When deciding on a base to set up their restaurant, it was between Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie, with Coffs taking the cake for where to call home. “You can grow anything here! It’s the best climate in Australia,” says Loic.
At the heart of 99 on Park is family. “Family is at the heart of everything we do at “99 on Park,” says Leah. The restaurant’s logo even features four ‘Ls,’ the first letter of their names, and their children, Luca and Lola. “We’re an eclectic bunch, but we all come together and get along well,” reflects Leah, emphasising the familial atmosphere the whole team enjoy being part of.
So, for those who appreciate the art of gastronomy, the warmth of friendly faces, and the luxury of time well spent, this establishment promises an evening of culinary excellence and refined hospitality.
99 on Park is open from 5-8 pm, Wednesday to Saturday. Reservations can be made by booking online at www.99onpark.com.au or by calling 02 6699 2606. Bon appétit!
Bella’s Pasta Bar & Pizzeria
If you’re looking for a more relaxed dining experience where the richness of Italian-inspired flavours is shared best with family and friends, Bella’s Pasta Bar & Pizzeria takes centre stage.
Part of Coffs Harbour’s colourful Jetty dining strip, this fun and welcoming space is the brainchild of local restauranteur Jess. Having previously owned local Italian favourite ‘Maria’s’, she is proud to have re-created the relaxed environment that larger groups prefer, but in a more contemporary setting. “If you’re after a fun, family-oriented dining experience, then Bella’s is for you,” says Jess.
From kids to adults, the food at Bella’s is a special treat for all. “No one else does comfort food quite like Bella’s. Our menu features all the Italian pizzas, pasta, salads, and risotto you know and love, plus some unexpected and delightful surprises,” adds Jess.
From the timeless Margherita to the daring Spicy Marinara, Bella’s pizzas showcase a skillful and refreshing blend of premium ingredients. “Our swordfish pizza is a favourite,” notes Jess.
The pasta offerings range from the classic Spaghetti Bolognese to the indulgent Prawn and Chorizo Linguine, each providing a perfect fusion of traditional Italian recipes and modern creativity. I was lucky to try The Fantasia Fettuccine, a fusion of Napoli, cream, garlic, onion, chicken, cashews, and avocado. Talk about flavour!
Jess also served a deliciously fresh Caprese salad, which looks and tastes fantastic. With mouth-watering mozzarella plus seasonal ingredients such as local tomato and basil, it did not disappoint. The rocket, pear, and parmesan salad with lemon dressing is also very popular.
Bella’s diverse risottos, such as the creamy Mushroom and Truffle Risotto and the robust Seafood Risotto, promise an exploration of diverse flavours and textures.
Kids can explore a selection of $15 meals made with love and include a popper and scoop of vanilla ice cream. Popular favourites such as cheese pizza, spaghetti bol, nuggets and chips will surely be a hit. “Being a mum, I wanted to create a space you can relax at – somewhere the kids love to eat, where nobody worries about mess.”
The Tiramisu, a classic Italian favourite, and the Sticky-Date Pudding, a comforting delight, offer a sweet finishing touch to your night out. Someone will have to roll me out of here if I keep going!
Fully licensed, Bella’s also offers many options for those who love a drink at dinner. From crisp, refreshing wines to locally brewed beers on tap, the extensive beverage menu enhances the overall dining experience (as did my Frozen Margarita!).
So whether you’re a fan of the classics or crave an adventure, there is something for everyone at the table. And for those who prefer the luxury of having their meals delivered, Bella’s offers a thriving home delivery service through Menu Log and Uber Eats.
Jess expresses, “It’s not just about the food; it’s about the experience. Expect a fun, relaxed, and family-oriented place where you can feel at home.”
Open seven nights a week from 5 pm to 8:30 pm, with a daily Happy Hour from 5 pm to 6 pm, Bella’s eagerly awaits the opportunity for you to create lasting memories over delicious Italian-inspired food. For reservations phone 02 6658 6005.
Bello e Buono
Sample the flavours of authentic Italian cuisine in sunny Sawtell, where dining at Bello e Buono is like a heartwarming embrace.
Both relaxed and homely, this restaurant’s atmosphere reflects the warmth of Italian hospitality and is much like being invited to a friend’s place for a family dinner. Pizza maker, barista and Chef Roberto shared, “It’s just a small, friendly team. My wife and I run the restaurant.” Translating to ‘beautiful and good’, Bello e Buono attracts food enthusiasts seeking a genuine and friendly dining experience.
Reflecting on the journey to establishing Bello e Buono, Roberto recounted, “We had a restaurant in the countryside of the Amalfi Coast, southern Italy. We came to Sawtell in December 2020 and worked in the previous French restaurant before taking over. We transferred everything we did in Italy and applied it here.” Laughing loudly, Roberto jokes that many customers ask why he left the Amalfi Coast. “Amalfi Coast is only good for a holiday, not to live!”
Authenticity defines Bello e Buono, and every dish pays homage to Italian culinary tradition. With a commitment to quality ingredients, Bello e Buono’s menu is also a testament to the versatility of Italian cuisine and features cafe favourites with inventive creations. “We aim to bring the flavours of Italy to every dish,” expresses Roberto.
All-day breakfast enthusiasts will appreciate the bacon and egg roll, a savoury masterpiece featuring bacon, egg, scamorza (smoked mozzarella), lettuce, and homemade aioli or BBQ sauce.
For lunch on the go, try the Focaccia Caprese, which celebrates freshness with freshly baked Italian focaccia, fresh mozzarella, sliced tomato, and basil mayo. Other variations like the Focaccia Prosciutto, Focaccia Mortadella, and Pistacchio showcase the richness of Italian flavours, providing diversity in every bite.
But the star of the menu emerges at 11 am, where authentic Italian pasta is now being served. It features hearty options like the classic ‘Carbonara,’ which is absolutely mouthwatering. Roberto proudly explains, “Everything is homemade from scratch – from the sauce to the pasta, everything.”
When asked about popular dishes, Roberto highlighted a favourite – the Barada pasta. Offering me a sneak peek into the kitchen, Roberto demonstrated how he crafts this dish with care and precision. “The difference is that the outside is super nice and soft, and the inside is creamy like a liquid. You put it on the pasta, open it and all the cream goes all around. This one is popular in Italy.”
The lasagna, a savoury symphony of ragu, smoked speck, béchamel sauce, mozzarella, Parmigiano, and basil, is a must-try and, according to one staff member, “is the best thing I’ve ever tasted!” The sauce has just four simple ingredients and is to die for. “Butter, flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper. It gives a nice consistency between the layers,” says Roberto.
In addition to the delectable menu, Bello e Buono boasts a remarkable selection of Australian coffees from the award-winning brand. “We only use Ona. Using beans from South America and India, they also won the world championship in 2015,” shared Roberto. For the record, the Raspberry Candy coffee is absolutely delicious in a cold brew!
Dining here is an opportunity to celebrate Italian culture, indulge in authentic flavours, and experience the joy of sharing an unforgettable meal with neighbours, family and friends. “Without happiness, there is no future,” says Roberto. Buon appetito! Bello e Buono is open daily, 6 am-2 pm. Reservations can be made by phoning 0493 755 823