The culinary offerings at the world’s favorite wave pools will surprise you

The often-heard mantra for surfers is Surf, Eat, Sleep, Repeat. Here at WavePoolMag, we can’t do much about the sleep part for you, though for surf stoke we do keep you updated with all Wave Pool happenings worldwide. But that leaves food. And oh how we need fuel after a good surf session, especially one at a wave pool where you’re surfing wave after wave with no downtime between sets. Granted, food selection isn’t going to sway you to surf at one pool instead of another, but it’s nice to know what treats await your taste buds.

We did some investigating and found that the days of ubiquitous restaurant chains taking up retail space in each and every new development are winding down. People want authenticity, not corporate faux Italian dining. Fortunately, the same creativity and panache that goes into imagineering a surf spot can be found in the kitchen of your favorite wave pool. Here we explore the culinary offerings at the world’s favorite wave pools.

Wave pool restaurant at The Wave in Bristol
The menu at The Wave takes traditional post-surf fare and revitalizes it with locally sourced sustainable ingredients

The Wave – Bristol, England

Nick Hounsfield, co-founder of The Wave tells us about their food offerings, how produce is sourced and what dishes are popular in the Queen’s realm.

How many restaurants, takeaways, and dining areas do you have?
“We have our cafe bar in the Clubhouse, plus pop-up takeaway options outside, including stone-baked pizza and delicious Mexican burritos and tacos.”

Price range?
“In our cafe – Small dishes/breakfast options from £5 (US$7 / AU$9), main meals approximately £8-£15 (US$11-20 / AU$20-28), Sides £2.50-£4.50 (US$3-6 / AU$5-8)”

Would you consider listing the restaurant menu on your site?
“Our website has info on our food and drinks philosophy, the catering options we have at The main menu changes a little depending on the time of year, but we may look to have a sample menu available to view online.”

Some of the offerings at The Wave. Not shown, their ever-popular cauliflower pakoras with cucumber raita.

“We work hard to make sure that all our ingredients are as natural and simple as possible. We champion great producers, celebrate seasonal food, and we showcase great street food vendors whose approach to food fits with ours. We also look at every aspect of our food to understand its effect on the natural world, from the animal welfare and environmental impact of producing it, to the carbon footprint of getting it to us, to the packaging of our takeaway options and how we can minimize our food waste.”

Which are your most popular dishes?
“Our handmade burgers have been a real hit from day one. We use sustainably sourced meat and fish, and our head chef Dan has created a delicious range of options, including vegetarian and vegan burgers. I love our fish finger burger – but the cauliflower pakoras with cucumber raita are also a particular favorite of mine!”

Can people bring their own food and drinks to The Wave? 
“We allow people to bring food with them – with the obvious exception of alcohol and glass bottles/containers – but ask that they consume it outside rather than in our Clubhouse.”

For The Wave’s, cafe opening hours and food options check here.

Pizza and beer are a post-surf staple, but when done by Adventure Parc Snowdonia, the pairing goes above and beyond taste expectations

Adventure Parc Snowdonia – Wales, UK.

We had a chat with Iwan Phillips, media manager and bon vivant about the many food options offered at Adventure Parc in northern Wales.

What restaurants do you have on-site?
“Zephyrs Bar & Grill, Surfside Deli & Kitchen”
Please give us some background on the food and or theme?
“Local produce. Seasonal ingredients. Global flavors. Invigorating adventures followed by soul-soothing food is what life is all about. and dishes up seasonal, local ingredients sourced from the rivers, coastline, and fields of North Wales.”
What makes your restaurant special?
“Zephyr’s Bar and Grill offers panoramic views of the lagoon where you can enjoy slow, serene mornings watching the sunrise over the mountains before enjoying a bountiful breakfast. The terrace is also the perfect spot for a laidback lunch or dinner.”
Your favorite dish or the house specialty?
“Herb Crusted Welsh Rump of lamb with harissa spiced couscous and glazed apricots – a truly sublime dish characterized by world-class local produce.
Surfers burger is a great one too. A quarter pounder of Conwy Valley beef with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and bacon in a toasted bun served with fries – an indulgent refuel to get you ready for your next session.”
More info on Zephyr’s to come (web page to be updated soon) – info on Surfside Deli & Kitchen here

The Twin Fin restaurant at Alaia Bay benefits, like much of Switzerland, from French and Italian influences. But during our visit, we made a post-surf habit of the pad Thai and Indian Curry dishes.

Alaia Bay – Sion, Switzerland

When you’re in the Swiss Alps, in between nibbling on locally made chocolate, gazing at mountain peaks, and catching waves, you’re going to get hungry. That clean mountain air and an endless supply of waves is a sure-fire way to build a serious appetite.  

And the Swiss, as precise as they are with watches and penknives, don’t slack off when it comes to food and drink. Alaia Bay’s Twin fin restaurant has 300m² of floor space with a terrace boasting 400m². And their food and drinks menu is no less extensive.

Offering everything from Poke bowls to vegan (and regular) burgers, salads, Nasi Goreng, Pad Thai, pizza, artisanal desserts, and a whole lot more. As for the drinks menu, it’s more extensive than a brewery and upmarket cocktail bar combined. Feel like a glass of Moët & Chandon after a session? No problem at Alaia Bay.

The most popular food item at most of the world’s wave pools is a burger. But the devil is in the details and the way the restaurant makes that burger “Extra”.

But of course, this being Switzerland, nothing can be classed as cheap. Some examples from the Twin Fin restaurant . . .

Caesar salad: CHF25 / US$27 / AU$37 
Nasi Goreng: CHF27 / US$29 / AU$40
Italian Pizza: CHF32 / US$34 / AU$47

Is your pocket feeling warm at the moment? Yep, that’s your credit card melting in anticipated distress. But hey, you only live once. Soak in the Swiss scenery after an epic session and make your stomach smile.

Info on the Twin Fin restaurant and food inspirations here. With their entire menu here.

Would this grom know the difference between a wood-fired artisan mozzarella di bufalo and a New York fat slice? Probably not. But his parents would, and they’re the ones picking up the tab. So while Urbnsurf could get away with the lesser fare, they don’t.

Urbnsurf – Melbourne, Australia

Urbnsurf has upped the stakes in the food and beverage game. Along with opening a restaurant, bar, and alfresco dining areas with seating up to 350, they signed an exclusive deal with the award-winning team behind the well-known (in Australia) Three Blue Ducks restaurants. 

Committed to buying local and ethically farmed produce the Three Blue Ducks team planted an on-site kitchen garden, growing herbs and Australian natives such as lemon myrtle and saltbush. The drinks menu features an extensive list of wines, beers, and spirits, locally sourced from across Victoria, served on tap to help keep bottle waste down.

Serving food all day, plus special Sunday roasts, menus for groups, kids (called the Ducklings menu), takeaways and not forgetting a list of 35 wines from independent wineries.

Three Blue Ducks is just as much a part of Urbnsurf as Beast Mode

You can view Urbnsurf’s / Three Blue Ducks’ food ethos and general info here and here’s the full menu.

Some sample items.

Spit-roasted organic half chicken, fermented capsicum glaze, creamed corn, cos wedge, green tahini. AU$36 / US$27 

Harissa poached eggs, grilled chorizo, pickles, cashew sukkah, red onion, herbs, toasted sourdough AU$23 / US$17

Roasted kingfish, burnt eggplant, charred corn, cucumber, tomato, pickled chili AU$39 / US$29

At the American Dream Mall in New Jersey you’ll find 100 places to eat, including Dunkin Donuts

Skudin Surf – New Jersey, American Dream Mall

The Skudin Surf pool, housed inside the American Dream Mall, the largest mall in America, is pretty unique. While always balmy inside, it can be freezing outside, so your taste buds could be forgiven for being confused.

But not to worry. With over 100 eateries, 21 full-service restaurants, and 45 specialty food retailers there’s no shortage of choices. Everything from bubble tea to burgers, dumplings to Donner kebabs, and cupcakes to cotton candy – if that’s your thing.

There are no food options within the wave area, but food courts and a host of culinary options aren’t far away. You can spend anything from a few bucks for a takeaway to $100+ for a restaurant meal with several courses.

You can view the mind-boggling array of food here 

Surf Stadium Japan has built up their cafe, well, stadium-style for a better vantage point of the surf.

Surf Stadium – Shizuoka, Japan

There are no shortcuts in Japanese kitchens and much of the cuisine is based on ancient recipes. Rice alone, and the many varieties of it, are a cornerstone of Japan’s culture. And what modern kitchens can do with it, is simply amazing.

At Shizunami Surf Stadium they offer a Hawaiian-themed restaurant named I.D. Kitchen that offers a variety of rice bowls, steaks, pancakes, and other deserts.

Says Shunichi Matsuuchi, Surf Stadium’s Assistant General Manager, “In addition to Loco Moco, a typical Hawaiian dish (rice topped with hamburger, fried egg, and brown gravy), we have many rice bowls served with locally caught shirasu (whitebait) and sea grapes (a type of seaweed with lots of little bubbles that burst when chewed). We also have a gut-busting steak menu. All our packaging is also environmentally friendly, incorporating nature-friendly materials and butterfly cups, a shape that eliminates the need for plastic lids.”

And Shunichi’s favorite dish? “The Loco Moco. The special sauce and ingredients match the hot egg and are very tasty.”

More on the cuisine at Shizunami here.

When BSR rebranded as Waco Surf, they expanded on amenities including the Bronco Bar where you can swim up and order a drink or a taco.

Waco Surf – Texas, USA.

It’s only natural to think of Texas and tacos belonging together. With Texas’s down-to-earth food culture and large Mexican diaspora, it’s a perfect match. Particularly when you’re tired from surfing too much and need something wholesome, tasty, and quick.

“We’re pretty stoked to offer Flores Tortillas for all our tacos,” says Amy Hunt, Waco Surf’s Director of Marketing, “These are from a local family business and are made with smoked beef tallow – yeah, they’re delicious. We’re always working with local purveyors to get the right product in our hands to offer our guests from across the country and the globe a taste of Waco, Texas.” 

With food options available from their Surfside Shack (tacos, bowls, beers, and coffee), the Dive Bar (swim-up bar with handmade cocktails), the Wedge Grill (burgers and drinks), and the Lakeside Saloon offering almost anything you could desire.

Says Amy, “Our head chef Kris Wilia is straight from the North Shore of Oahu and brings with him some pretty badass Hawaiian dishes. We’re expecting his Hawaiian BBQ Chicken lunch taco (also known as the ‘Warchild Taco’) to be the most popular from our Surfside Shack.”

More Waco Surf info right here

Tex Mex and Mexican food have become an American post-surf staple since the first San Diego surfers crossed the border to hit the rights of San Miguel in the 1960s. Waco Surf keeps the tradition going.