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Best of the Nest: Garfish takes top honours

When you’ve been around for a couple of decades, it can be hard to keep things fresh, but that’s what Garfish Crows Nest has done both in the kitchen, with its fresh seafood promise, and at the table with its warm and friendly service.

platter of seafood
Garfish seafood platter

Garfish's combination of food & service has proved to be a winning one, leading to its recent success at the 2023 Restaurant & Catering Association’s Awards for Excellence where it took out the top honours for Best Seafood Restaurant – Informal at the national level.

“From a business point of view, it is always good to be recognised by your peers in the hospitality industry, so we are always humbled when we get that recognition,” says restaurant manager Jakob Jonsson-Williams, who has been with the business since 2017. “Managing Garfish is an honour. I carry the baton passed on by previous managers and the one thing we pride ourselves on is consistency with regards to both product and service.”

He admits the role can be very challenging – “especially in these current times” – and explains: “I am responsible for everything front of house, from staffing to stock, but most importantly ensuring every service runs smoothly and all our diners leave happy. This in itself can be a challenge as every service is different. I work very closely with our head chef and one of the keys to our success is communication both with our customers and within the business.”

restaurant staff with award plaque
Jakob Jonsson-Williams & the Garfish team show off their 2023 Restaurant & Catering Association’s Awards for Excellence - Best Seafood Restuarant Award

Along with Jonsson-Williams, the team also looks to veteran area manager Carole Dunn, who has been with the restaurant since the beginning. She says its longevity has secured its place in the suburb.

“I think the community regards Garfish as an asset. We are a stalwart in the area,” she remarks. At the end of January the restaurant celebrated its 20-year anniversary, “no mean feat these days,” she adds.

Having a long history means the restaurant and staff have shared many memorable moments with customers over the years, and they’re now beginning to see the next generation come in, says Dunn. “We are a ‘go to’ restaurant. We are part of the family, having seen babies and young children grow into adults that now bring along their partners and young families. We are consistent and familiar.”

fish pie
Garfish's Fish Pie

Because the restaurant sources its seafood fresh, its menu is seasonal and you’re likely to see the blackboard specials change regularly. Having said that, there are certainly popular options that people come back for. 

“We definitely have favourites on the menu, dishes that we could never take off, like the salt and pepper squid, snapper pie, fish and chips,” says Jonsson-Williams. However, he recommends the sharing seafood platter as “a great way to navigate our menu” and try a little of everything. “It offers a selection of our most popular entrees along with chargrilled shellfish, fish from our daily blackboard selection, plus additional side dishes.”

And if you’re after a degustation tip, he says a classic won’t go astray. “In terms of pairing you can never go wrong with freshly shucked [Sydney rock] oysters from East 33 and a glass of Champagne or aged Leogate semillon from the Hunter Valley.”

waitress pouring wine
Garfish has exceptional service

Want to create your own pairing? Garfish offers BYO ($8pp) on Saturday lunch and Tuesdays. You’ll find Garfish Crows Nest at 6/29 Holtermann Street. For bookings and menu details, see (There is also a Manly restaurant if you’re travelling to the Northern Beaches.)

Coming in to roost

Garfish manager Jakob Jonsson-Williams says newcomers to the Crows Nest area are likely to unearth more than they might think when they visit. “Visitors and first-timers to Crows Nest are constantly surprised by what’s on offer, from great shopping, lots of cafes and eateries to small wine bars. The parking is easy, and of course we would love to see you at Garfish.”

By Adeline Teoh


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