Address: 62 Great Western Highway, Leura
Phone: 02 4782 4422
Hours: Open daily from 12noon, 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’ and its newly restored look. Under new management, the old gal has been given an interior facelift – a remodel that provides the Blue Mountains with a classy bistro. A pizza oven for that perfect pub-food option was installed adjacent to a newly furnished and family-oriented game room. A petite library in front of the fireplace for relaxing with friends over a glass of wine is a charming surprise of the new reconfiguration. Finally, the ‘Carriages’ function room, an extension to the historic Redfern Bistro opens out to the Beer Garden (terrace)and is perfect for 40 or more guests. The terrace is an incredible setting; you can see the whole of Leura below with the added bonus of watching passengers debark on the Blue Mountains trains. Trains, coming and going entrance our little ones. This is the new Alex.
As for the menu, we recently ventured away from our usual choice and ordered the slow roasted rosemary and mint lamb shanks – so tender, so delicious. The Redfern Bistro is casual yet lovely with white linens and a fire when the weather is nippy, giving 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 or travel. 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.”
Address: 174 The Mall, Leura Phone: 02 4784 1973
Hours: Open daily 9am–5pm
Wayzgoose, a café with outdoor seating, occupies an historic building where in 1910, publisher Peter Giles Hart established the Federal Printing Works. This heritage 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. ‘Huge Mountain Breakfast’ or waffles or Pesto Mushrooms are on the ‘all day’ menu.
Around the lunch rush – 11.30am to 2pm – soups and burgers are a specialty along with other seasonal mainstays. Kids menus are always listed on the blackboard and gluten-free options are available, just ask the staff. (Great café for families – small toys, books and colouring books are stored in a kids’ corner to keep little ones happy.)
Wayzgoose takes its name from an old printing celebration – an outing and dinner for printing staff before summer ends and the printing must be done by candlelight (in winter months). Wayzgoose continues in Leura’s historic tradition of local shopkeepers serving and ‘chatting up’ visitors.
Address: 37 Everglades Avenue
Phone: 02 4784 1938
Hours: Open daily 11am–2.30pm
In this beautiful and ornate circa 1933 house overlooking the escarpment, Devonshire tea and freshly baked cakes along with coffee or leaf tea, apple juice (ginger beer and spiders for the kids) is served daily. As the Tearoom is staffed by volunteers (thank goodness for our volunteers) please call ahead for the full menu. For those special occasions, BYO champagne – the Tearoom will provide glasses without a corkage fee. Pre-order a delicious cake and make the occasion memorable.
Address: 192 The Mall, Leura
Phone: 02 4782 4377
Hours: Open Fri–Tue 11am ‘til late, Sun 9am–3.30pm
Bon Ton Bistro is modelled on the cheery and modern European-style bistro, occupying the entire corner of Megalong Street and The Mall. In summer, leafy trees shade the garden terrace seating – alfresco dining is very special! Some 14 years ago on a lovely summer day, we shared a family lunch at Bon Ton – our first foray into Leura – and we’ve been returning annually for a Christmas celebration in the garden.
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 menu selection – two or three courses – offers a range of choices, from 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.
Address: 206 The Mall, Leura
Phone: 02 4784 3588
Hours: Open daily 7am–5pm
Wonderful fresh breads are baked early each morning, and sourdough is this baker’s specialty. Of course, the locals make this their stop for the specialty savoury pies, cooked on the premises along with many delicate pastries. For all you early risers, Bakehouse opens at 7am or stop by mid-morning for gourmet coffee. Sandwiches are made daily if you want to picnic along the escarpment while trekking. The café is convenient for families – long tables for seating groups.
Address: 90 Cliff Drive, Leura Falls
Phone: 02 4782 1164
Hours: Open Wed–Sun lunch 11am–4pm, Sat dinner from 6.30 pm
Solitary owns the most stunning views in all of Leura – we see the weather changing minute by minute in this prime location. In this heritage cottage and garden overlooking Mt Solitary and Jamison Valley, refreshments have been served from the early days of the twentieth century. Since 1913, trekkers have been delighted to come upon the kiosk after a day of walking along the escarpment. Check out the garden menu. Delicious options are available from 11:30am – 3:30pm. French toast served with bacon, maple syrup, ricotta and caramelised pecans is the trekkers’ favourite.
The upmarket restaurant changes the menu with each season and has several seafood options. Reservations are recommended.
Address: 48 Merriwa Street, Katoomba
Phone: 02 4782 1206
Hours: Open Fri–Tue Breakfast weekends 8am–10am, Lunch 12noon–2.30pm, Dinner 6pm ‘til late
Located midway between Leura and Katoomba, The Rooster, built 125 years ago, perhaps offers 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, which features gorgeous woods and a sophisticated display of flagons and magnums of favourite malts and scotch whiskeys, creating an impressive reception area.
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.