There's no shortage of pearls when you crack open the restaurant scene in Nelson Bay. Perched over the gorgeous waters of the bay, this oceanside locale cooks up fresh surf with equally tasteful vistas. Here are the must-eats for foodies in Nelson Bay.

Ritual Restaurant

Have your senses tantalised when you sit down at Ritual Restaurant. Chef Carl Kenzler, praised for his creativity and charisma, allows guests to choose their meals based on sampling flavours instead of reading from a menu. Once the meal comes out, the plate presentation, which is designed by what Carl calls the 'kitchen think tank', is nothing short of impeccable. You can find small seafood dishes served with glamour here. This temple of gastronomy is a great place to dine for special occasions, as its worth a pretty penny.

Wharf Restaurant Cocktail Lounge & Bar

Boasting what visitors call 'the best seafood restaurant for miles', Wharf Restaurant Cocktail Lounge & Bar is a perfect spot to sip on delectable cocktails that complement your meal. At sundown, leisure lovers can find a high table or cosy lounge as they watch the fishing boats sail in. For starters, order the salt and pepper calamari or dig into whole snapper infused with flavours that accompany the Spanish mackerel. Finish things off with rocky road cheesecake. While the Wharf serves steak, it's best to stick with its seafood – after all, it's a seafood restaurant.

Sandpipers Restaurant

This family-owned restaurant offers a modern Australian menu with something for everyone. At the helm is award-winning Chef Luke Cameron, a master of the fruits of the sea. Take advantage of the weeknight specials, which feature squid ink spaghetti, crispy skin Atlantic salmon and prawn dumplings, to name a few. There's even a kid's menu with plenty of options for youngsters.

Rock Lobster Restaurant

Soak in the views of the bay with Rock Lobster's al fresco dining. The menu is stacked with seafood dishes, kid's meals, daily specials as well as special dietary options. Rock Oysters dipped in ginger sauce rank toward the top of the dining list. And if you're feeling hungry, check out the cold seafood plate, which serves fresh king prawns, oysters and blue swimmer crab, or try a fun take on a seaside traditional with beer-battered Barramundi fillet with chips and homemade Tartar sauce.

Mavericks on the Bay

Nestled on the edge of D'Albora Marina, Mavericks on the Bay is an upscale restaurant with a laid-back attitude. Enjoy the fresh, seasonal menu that highlights local seafood. Visitors can choose between different recipes of oysters or split the hot 'n' cold seafood platter for two. The lounge area offers cocktails and coffee, in addition to eight draft beers on tap. Sit back and relax after a meal while ordering something off of the tea and coffee menu. Mavericks is open for lunch and dinner.

The Deck on Soldiers Point Marina

If you're looking for a more reasonably priced sunset dinner, The Deck has you covered. Foodies can feel the sea breeze flow in while enjoying delicious plates straight from the surf. With a casual atmosphere, this restaurant is an excellent place to bring the whole family. Beyond the fish, the a la carte menu is sure to please the pickiest of palates, with choices ranging from snacks and salads to risotto and cake. Located a short drive away, it's open for lunch and dinner every day from noon 'til late.

Vues on the Bay

Vues on the Bay has a full-palate menu. It comes with delectable dining and snack bar. The shared plates are a popular option, with seafood and cheese appetisers. What Vues lacks in kid's choices, they make up for in light food and entrees. This modern restaurant has a sports bar to watch the latest matches, an intimate lounge for cocktails and a function room for parties.

Watercress restaurant

Blending French, Italian and Aussie cuisine, Watercress is a three-course restaurant on Nelson Bay. Seafood platters come in somewhat small sizes, but are nonetheless delectable. For the adventurous, sink your teeth into Indian​-spiced scallops. Pumpkin ravioli with prawns make for another exciting meal. Though there's no kid's menu, Chef Glen has been known to cook something special for children. On the whole – good vibes, better food.