Buena Vista Hotel, Mosman

Miss Arabella has a job.  It’s at the Buena Vista Hotel in Mosman.  She was quite fortunate to get the job because there are rumours the manager isn’t keen on hiring girls who attended Arabella’s School for Princesses.  Anyway, overcoming that obstacle, she talked her way into the position and has proven herself reliable and brings in a fair amount of tips.

BV for Buena Vista - pity about the flash on the i-phone

BV for Buena Vista – pity about the flash on the i-phone

Since starting work there a few months ago she has been asking us to come for dinner at the pub to see her in action.  After many false starts and changed plans with Arabella telling us what nights would be best for families, we finally made it there last night.

The Buena Vista Hotel opened in 1912 and was refurbished in 2012 with two full service bars, a bistro with cook your own meal options, lounge rooms, a bottle shop and an outdoor courtyard.  The upstairs bistro dining has an open roof allowing the starlight in but this could also be an architecturally clever way to circumnavigate our smoking laws.

The welcoming staircase to the upstairs restaurant

The welcoming staircase to the upstairs restaurant

The reason we went to ‘the Bue-nah’ on Monday night is because from Sunday to Thursday you can order the rump steak or the chicken breast, bar-be-cue it yourself, put it on a plate, then head to the vegetarian section where you can load your plate with hot vegetables or fresh salads all for just $7.00.  As one mother said to me, ‘This has to be Mosman’s best kept secret’.

Dining area

Dining area

I haven’t been anywhere for a very long time where you can buy dinner for $7.00.  Even when I take my kids to McDonalds, their bill is always higher than that.  And this is so much better for you.  With a choice of chicken or steak there’s also backed potatoes, corn, cauliflower, a pasta salad, green salad and coleslaw with mustards, sauces and gravy all for $7.00.  Now Alfie doesn’t eat steak, ‘It’s too chewy’, he always cries even if it’s organic, grass-fed, free-range, hand reared and eye fillet.  So I asked if he could have sausages instead.  Can you believe sausages aren’t on the menu!

Look who's behind the bar.  And I ironed that shirt.

Look who’s behind the bar. And I ironed that shirt.

But there is a kid’s menu with all the usual suspects including pasta, steak and chips, chicken nuggets and chips and fish and chips.  Alfie ordered fish and chips.  Every item on the kid’s menu is $10.00.

The same woman who said this is Mosman’s best kept secret also told me she often goes to the Buena during the week with a bunch of girlfriends because they have two-for-one lunch specials.  If you’re there on a Thursday they have $7.00 cocktails from 5pm.

We all sat down for a pre-dinner drink except for Carl who was designated the job of cooking the steaks medium-rare.

The serious business of steak cooking

The serious business of steak cooking

The setting and the atmosphere is actually quite restaurant-like as opposed to pub-like and it is a pleasant place to take the family or go with a group of friends.

The salad bar

The salad bar

Arabella’s advice to us was to arrive early if we wanted a table and so we were there at 6pm.  We ordered our dinner at 6.30 and it was rump steak all round except for Alfie.  Other steaks of better cuts of meat can be ordered but these are more than $7.00.  For the seven of us dining, our food bill came to $52.00.  And we were in Mosman.  Where people say it’s expensive.

The hovering around the bar-be-cue

The hovering around the bar-be-cue

We didn’t linger for dessert.  We wandered up to an Italian gelato bar and ordered ice creams.

If you’re looking for an affordable place for a family night out, The Buena Vista is a great choice but the advice I’ve had from the blond bar maid is to arrive early to ensure you’re able to get a table and a spot around the bar-be-cue.  The special is only available Sunday to Thursday with Thursday nights being the busiest.

photoBV4Remember to tip the bar maid.

Buena Vista Mosman:  76 Middle Head Road, Mosman.  Ph:  9969 7022


  1. So wonderful that Arabella landed a job in this beautiful venue. I’m with Alfie on not being much of a steak eater. And I don’t know about that grilling your own meat. That’s part of the reason I occasionally dine out, so I don’t have to cook. At least the price is right.

  2. How nice for Arabella! I hope she is enjoying it. My 18 yr old decided to be a telemarketer! Well as long as it pays well right! And teaches them responsibility.
    I went to a place like is where you grill your own steaks but it closed down. I guess people don’t want to cook their own food outside! But this place of yours is a great deal..$7.00…a steal!
    I would def hit Buena Vista and tip the bar maid if I were in Australia. Good luck to Arabella.


  3. School for Princesses, my daughter should apply to go there when she gets back from Europe! What a lovely restaurant and gorgeous bar maid 🙂 We used to have a restaurant where you could cook your own steaks, but it closed a few years back. It was perfect during the long,cold winters when you don’t feel like digging your grill out from under 3 feet of snow! Now we all just wait for the first day that hits 45 degrees with sunshine and we all run outside with our steaks! Have a wonderful day Charlie 🙂

  4. What a fabulous place! I would be there as often as possible! It looks like a lovely inviting space, and I think the cooking your own meat is kind of clever! All the choices in vegetables as accompaniment is really brilliant, too. But the price is incredible! I would imagine the lovely Arabella does very well there…good tips for a beautiful, smiling young lady in the very nicely ironed shirt! 🙂

  5. Great that Arabella has a job in such a fab place. Seven dollars? I still can’t believe it!
    What a bargain.

  6. Fantastic to have a kid with a job! Jealous.

  7. Congratulations to the new bar maid for a fun (temporary) job which may lead to bigger and better situations. Sounds like fun if you don’t mind grilling your own meat. 🙂

  8. Ha! I was going to say that – remember to tip the barmaid! Good for Arabella, and what a bargain – can’t believe you can get a steak dinner in Mosman for $7! AND still get a seat in the restaurant! 🙂

  9. What a great idea! How funny that the kids meal was more than your meal. Looks like the barmaid is going a great job in that second photo and so well presented in her freshly-ironed shirt!

  10. What a fantastically priced meal! Food didn’t look too bad and it’s always great to see someone you know in action!

  11. How good to have a daughter with all the inside knowledge. My guess is they are selling dinner at a loss to get you in there drinking and gambling. I bet the gelatto was almost more exxy than dinner. Thanks for the tip.


  12. Congratulations to Arabella.
    And that place looks great. $7.00 for real food? That’s terrific!

  13. Tip the barmaid the same as the total and that would still be the cheapest meal for seven I’ve heard of in years in Australia!

  14. Congratulations to Arabella. Good on her for getting herself a job and she looks so happy behind the bar. That was certainly an exceptionally cheap meal. It makes you wonder how they make money – it’s probably based on volume.

  15. Congrats to Arabella! So wonderful to have employed children 🙂 And what a great spot for a family meal…such a bargain!

  16. That is a great bargain indeed Charlie! If we got a family’s worth of KFC it would be over $40, greasy, not very tasty, and I could eat very little of it myself. I wish this place was closer. Can the blond barmaid get you a further family discount? That would be the icing on the cake 🙂

  17. Great looking place!

  18. Good on Arabella for getting the job and good on you for sharing Mosmans best kept secret. I can’t believe you an get that sort of a deal for $7. WOW!

  19. YAY Congrats Arabella for getting a job 😉 She’s doing so well with a double degree and a job well done!! looks like a great place to take the whole family and with nothing over $10 on the kids menu that’s pretty good!

  20. Dinner for 7 for $52.00?!?!? 6 of us went to dinner at a “diner” 2 weeks ago and paid far more than that. Far more! This sounds like a great place but I think you were wise to get there early. I bet it can get mighty busy — and loud — once the place fills, with elbows flying at the grills. :).

  21. I saw the title of the post in my email and thought, “Buena Vista?” Reminds me of Disney in Orlando, Florida or Cuba with the Buena Vista Social Club. When I read that this hotel has been around since 1912, I turned my brain off.

    She’s so cute and I’m really pleased she likes the job. So tell me, how much did you tip her when you left?

  22. Congrats on the job Arabella! Cheap and fresh eating by the looks. I would have made Alfie have just veggies and you could have shared his steak or chicken. Looks good though.

  23. What fabulous news to hear Arabella has a job. 😀 Sound like a great family restaurant and great pries too.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  24. What amazing prices! And good on Arabella for settling into her job. She looks gorgeous in that ironed shirt 😉

  25. Cheers to Arabella’s efforts … and you wouldn’t appreciate an Italian gelato bar.

  26. What a great place to work. I remember when my Mum used to come and visit me at work… 🙂

  27. Oh we drove past here tonight! We could have waved to Arabella! 😀 Congratulations to her for doing so well at her job!

  28. Congrats to Arabella! But I have to ask — since you iron her shirt (and her neat, crisp look no doubt spurs people to tip generously) — does she share her tips with you? 😉 Anyway, $7 is a major deal, in any part of the world. Sounds like a fun time. And I used to work in the hospitality industry, so I always tip! Fun post – thanks.

  29. And just think, if Arabella hadn’t been hired you might never have discovered this gem!

  30. Hahaha I love how you wrote about ironing that shirt and tipping her. You are a cute and supportive mom! 😀 Good for her to get that position! She always have a nice smile, and I’m sure no problem about the tip! 😉

  31. Oh Charlie, how nice for Arabella, she is going to get such a great experience. She really fits perfectly in such a nice environment…
    Enjoy the rest of your week 🙂

  32. This looks like a great restaurant and your daughter looks so happy working there!

  33. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    Congratulations to Arabella! My daughter is going to finish grad school in three weeks and she had a job interview this week and another scheduled. Whoo hoo! Get those kids off the parents’ payroll, I say! Looks like a great place Arabella is working.

  34. I too congratulate Arabella, and how proud you must feel knowing she has proven herself reliable.

  35. Congratulations to Arabella. I know it is kind of a different job but she will really learn how to communicate and all about how the customer is always right a… great life long skill.

  36. That does look like a fantastic deal, and it would be fun to cook your protein! The selection of salads sound incredible too. We certainly don’t have anything like that in Toronto. Does Arabella get to keep all of her own tips or does she have to share them with the other servers?
    We have restaurants with great patios who also circumvent our smoking laws, rather annoying if you ask me.

  37. Dear Charlie,

    I have not been to Buena Vista Hotel for a while but it’s quite a nice atmosphere there.

    I may have a better deal for you – $7.90 for a Porterhouse at Hotel Mosman and it’s full service. So for 90 cents more, you get to chill out with your friends rather than stand around the BBQ cooking your own meat. I’m pretty sure the deal is on everyday of the week but do call first if you decide to go. Then again, Arabella is not there and it might not be worth it after all.


    • Love the porterhouse at the Duck in Mosman. However, salads or vegetables (other than potatoes as mash or chips) are an added extra. Head up the beaches a little way to Narrabeen Sands on a Wednesday night. $11 will get you a delicious steak, chips & salad with a schooner of beer thrown in. Trivia (free entry) starts around 7:30. Unfortunately, the blond barmaid with the dazzling smile doesn’t work there.

  38. Congratulations Arabella! Wonderful! 🙂

  39. It’s so cool to have girls….they get to go to School of Princesses, and then get down to business of serving people and getting a solid practical head on their shoulders. What a lovely girl you have. For $7, and that kind of food, I would go there everyday.

  40. Your daughter is gorgeous…of course, look at her mother! Looks like a nice place to dine. Nice price, too!

  41. Nice going Arabella! Tell her not to make the same mistake I did and spend all my money earned from my early jobs. If I’d saved that money… even just 50% of it, my years at university would have been so much easier (and more successful :p).

  42. Yay Arabella! She looks quite happy in her job, too.

  43. wow they have done a lot of work there, since I was there decades and decades ago

  44. Hi Charlie, congratulation to Arabella. Very nice environment and the food look good.

    Have a nice weekend.

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