We recently partook of a short staycation in Geraldton – apart from the drive up, with Brand Highway seemingly under roadworks from a tad north of Gingin right into Cathedral Avenue in the city – and which therefore wasn’t the most thrilling journey, we had an enjoyable time and came across a few places that deserve a mention – and if you get up that way, definitely worth a visit.
The first is the outstanding wine bar/restaurant The Provincial. This started its life as a pizza and burger bar before getting a liquor licence and expanding the food choice which now include a range of fish dishes, as well as some spicier offerings – for example, curries and koftas – but still retaining a great range of burgers and pizzas – takeaway is still a big part from the numbers we saw on our two visits. The wine list is very well put together and on our two visits we tried excellent wine; and the beers are also on point.
The food – we were taken with the fish tacos – grilled fish, plenty of chilli – the lamb koftas, superb; grilled dhufish – freshly caught, succulent and tender.
And my favourite, a brilliant Sri Lankan fish curry. All those flavours of coconut, lime, chilli, perfect.
This is a very popular spot, with crowds lining up to score a table as people leave; booking is very wise. The staff, too, are excellent and we give a shout out to Hayden who served us over both visits and is a credit to them.
One of the most notable changes from the last time we went north – and it was quite a while ago it seems – was the diversion of the rail line which used to run along the waterfront blocking Geraldton’s best asset – the ocean – from visitors. Now the place has opened up with the addition of walkways and marinas and sitting above one such marina is an excellent seafood restaurant, Skeetas. We went along for lunch and experienced some top-class seafood dishes.
The seafood crepe was excellent, full of succulent seafood in a creamy sauce; juicy, sweet fleshed Abrolhos scallops in panko crumbs with mildly spiced aioli; and chilli cheese with cornchips – melted cheese infused with chilli, how can that be bad? – delightful.
Other places worth checking out – the rooftop bar The Old Man and the Sea, a couple of laneway coffee shops/breakfast spots that impressed Piper Lane Café and Fleur Tearooms, the Freemasons Hotel (called the Freo), and the little corner bar at the hotel we stayed in, the Ocean Centre Hotel. And just to prove we don’t just eat and drink, the Museum with its fabulous Batavia display, is certainly a must!