Ten of the best pubs in NSW

1. Best overall pub

Imperial Hotel, Paddington

This is what a pub should be. And it's not just the food. There's a real bid to engage the community here. Ultra-friendly, professional, with a smart fitout.

2. Best country pub

Patonga Beach Hotel, Patonga

Eating seafood on the patio, with a view of boats in Brisk Bay, is a totally memorable dining experience.

3. Best pub chef

Mitchell Davis, Landmark Hotel, Eastwood

As head chef at the Duck Inn Pub and Kitchen, he put it on the foodie map - and looks like doing it again at the Landmark.

4. Best service (team)

The Clarendon Hotel, Newcastle

The staff are professional, warm and friendly - they go out of their way to make you feel welcome, are fantastic with kids and it appears they have excellent training.

5. Best view

The Lennox Hotel, Lennox Head


This is a corker - a spacious balcony overlooking Seven Mile Beach. Pine trees, waves, sand and horizon as far as the eye can see.

6. Best dessert

The Australian Heritage Hotel, The Rocks

The most amazing dish is the pavlova stack, a tottering, creamy confection topped off with a cherry, standing tall above a passionfruit coulis and flanked by a couple of slabs of rocky road.

7. Best use of local produce

Eltham Hotel, Eltham

Chef Graeme Stockdale uses stacks of local produce, and he's got a veggie patch, too … and kitchen scraps go to the publican's chickens.

8. Best value for money

Forest Lodge Hotel, Glebe

Most things on the menu are about $10-$15. You don't see that anywhere that knocks out this kind of quality food.

9. Best burger in a pub

Australian Youth Hotel, Glebe

Soft buns, beautifully seasoned meat, melted cheese, lettuce, beetroot and mustard mayo - this pub delivers burgers with the lot.

10. Best pizza

Centennial Hotel, Woollahra

There's a wood-fired oven, thin crusts and imaginative toppings deliciously rendered. What more is there to say?

THE RESULTS: the Good Pub Food Guide 2013 Schooner awards

The Sydney Morning Herald Pub Food Guide 2013 will be available for purchase this Saturday with the paper for $5. It is also available for pre-purchase via The Sydney Morning Herald bookshop.