Great southern land – eat your way through the best restaurants in Byron Bay and surrounds
There ain’t nothin’ like a roadtrip, especially when the destinations are this delicious. We’re buckling up and heading south – join us on a journey through Byron Bay’s best restaurants for your eating and drinking pleasure.
Neighbourhood eatery Barrio (located in the Habitat precinct) offers relaxed all-day dining, starting with daily bakes, coffee and sandwiches, before evolving into vibrant salads, smoked fish and grilled meats. Focused on the woodfired oven and open-flame grill that are the heart of the establishment, you can expect a menu that serves up Middle Eastern-inspired bites influenced by the produce available at the time. If you’re in the mood for a cocktail, while away the afternoon over a margarita, negroni or smoked pina colada. All produce is smoked, cured and pickled in-house and the menu is constantly evolving.
Beach Byron Bay
Overlooking the magical Clarkes Beach, Beach Byron Bay is co-owned by Ben and Belinda Kirkwood together with Fink, a leading Australian restaurant group which includes OTTO Brisbane, OTTO Sydney and Quay among its stable. Renowned head chef Alanna Sapwell, who was named Gourmet Traveller’s Best New Talent, Courier Mail’s Chef of the Year and delicious.’ Unearthed Next Gen Chef, has curated a menu that showcases hyper-seasonal, ethically raised and locally sourced produce. We can think of no dreamier spot for a long lunch by the ocean.
Lovers’ Lane is the latest addition to Byron Bay’s culinary melting pot and is definitely one to visit next time you’re in town. An ode to excellent food, natural wine, cocktails, and dancing, the bar-restaurant hybrid is the latest gastronomic offering from the crew behind Bali’s beautiful Penny Lane restaurant in Canggu, so suffice to say it’s got our undivided attention. The kitchen is in the exceptional hands of executive chef Tyler Preston (Bang Bang, Chin Chin), who has curated a concise menu of snack and share plates that are designed to graze over a casual cocktail or glass of wine – think freshly shucked oysters and beef tartare alongside more substantial bites such as barbecue king prawns and charcoal chicken.
Three Blue Ducks
No trip to Byron is complete without stopping by The Farm. A sprawling 80-acre working farm, there’s plenty of room to roam amongst the macadamia orchard and the fields planted with produce that makes its way onto each and every plate that comes out of the Three Blue Ducks kitchen. Roll out a rug and enjoy a picnic hamper filled with house-made goods, locally sourced cheeses, charcuterie, parfait, dips, fruit, sweets, dried fruits, nuts, berries, and bread from The Bread Social, or, for a slightly more elevated dining experience, pull up a seat in the restaurant. The menu is designed to showcase ethical local growers and producers by curating a selection of interesting dishes that allow the quality of the produce to shine.
Raes Dining Room
Nestled within the boutique hotel Raes on Wategos, this elegant dining experience is a gift from the culinary gods. Executive chef Jason Saxby has crafted a modern Australian menu with a Mediterranean influence overlooking the magnificent Wategos beach. To truly make the most of your time, we recommend the Prix Fixe menu or six-course tasting menu.Daughter in Law
This is not your typical Indian eatery – restauranteur Jessi Singh’s vibrant, ‘unauthentic’ Indian restaurant has already become ubiquitous with a riot of colour and flavour for fusing a coastal Northern Rivers influence together with traditional flavours. Whilst it may raise a few eyebrows, Jessi describes his food as ‘unauthentic’ because, in his view, there is no such thing as authentic Indian food. The fresh and inspiring menu features new spins on old favourites such as the unauthentic butter chicken or the Old Dehli vegan chana masala, alongside delights like the Hiramasa kingfish ceviche, IFC ‘Indian Fried Chicken’ and Colonel TSO’s cauliflower – an Indo-Chinese-style cauliflower dish packed with flavour.
Byron Bay plant-based eatery No Bones is well-loved by locals for its fresh take on fare that’s both delicious and good for the planet. With an outdoor space perfect for enjoying summer meals alfresco and a top-notch cocktail list to boot, No Bones has all of the makings to become your new favourite meat-free munch spot.
Tucked in along Bay Lane behind the pub, Supernatural is all about natural and organic wines, ethical produce and spirited cocktails. Expect bites like oysters with Asian finger lime vinaigrette or smoked mussels on toast with oxheart tomato, lemon and herbs, underscored by its ever-extensive collection of wine from home and across the globe, and new must-try cocktails like the native-ginger-infused bush margarita.
Curiously named after a category three tropical cyclone (also the colloquial Dutch word for grandma), Oma wine bar is the latest venture from the crew behind Three Blue Ducks. The quaint 60-seater offers an array of share plates that showcase local produce including fresh seafood, house-made pickles and charcuterie cut to order. While the food created is certainly a draw card in itself, it’s the 50-strong wine list that is the real hero here. Featuring exclusively organic, minimal-intervention wines from around the world, Oma also aims to highlight female makers and producers with women at the helm.
The Mez Club
If, like us, you are wishing you were hopping around the various Greek Islands, The Mez Club is the next best thing. It’s suitably bright, white and welcoming with a menu that takes you on a journey around the Mediterranean Sea, from the souks of Morocco to the stunning south of France, peppered with the fresh produce of Italy and the seafood of Spain. It’s the European adventure you’ve been dreaming of. The Hut Byron Bay
If you venture south and follow the winding road that leads from Byron Bay into the lush hinterland valleys behind it, you may stumble across a historic treasure in a little place called Possum Creek. The Hut Byron Bay is located in the Old O’Possum Creek Public School, a historic building that has been converted and modernised while still retaining many of its heritage features. The menu is inspired by long Mediterranean lunches, with a focus on Southern Italian and Greek flavours. With elements of the menu dependant on the morning’s market finds, the ever-evolving selection is guaranteed to be fresh and locally sourced where possible. Serving up lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we hear tables have a tendency to linger well into the evening – perhaps The Hut’s top-notch tipple list has something to do with it? The Mediterranean inspiration continues with a selection of spritzes, classics and signatures to wash it all down.
Here’s one that GC locals will be familiar with. A sibling space to the popular Burleigh Heads eatery, the Byron Bay iteration was the original Light Years, which has also gone on to create similar venues in Newcastle and Noosa. Dedicated to slinging modern Asian fare and fanciful cocktails, the menu meanders from spicy Korean-style bao buns to a tasty turmeric and coconut cauliflower curry. Hot tip, the miso corn is a must.
Belongil Beach Italian Food
As the man behind venues such as Icebergs Dining Room and Bar and CicciaBella, it is safe to say that Maurice Terzini is quite accomplished in the Sydney hospitality industry. Late last year, Byron Bay welcomed Belongil Beach Italian Food, Maurice’s first venture outside of Sydney, which he created in association with his long-time business partner Deke Miskin and general manager and business partner Dave Owen. Located a stone’s throw from the ocean and with a menu of fresh and simple Italian classics, Belongil Beach Italian Food is the perfect place to perch for long grazing lunches and fun family dinners. The menu spans across options of spuntini, antipasti, vegetables and salads, pasta, seafood, grilled mains and desserts.
The coffees start pouring at 7:00 am, kicking off a day of brunching and lunching in the sun at The Roadhouse. With new ownership at the helm, The Roadhouse has your morning covered with brews, breakfast, freshly baked muffins and pastries, which then flows into lunch and rotating daily specials (Reuben sanga with house sauerkraut, anyone?). After dark, a woodfired aroma billows through the air – that means it’s pizza time at The Roadhouse, with good wine and beers aplenty.
Saltwater Social Club
Saltwater Social Club is all about laidback coastal vibes. For sunset sips to relaxed dinners on balmy summer nights, Saltwater Social Club is the perfect place for rounding out a day spent on the sand with a refreshing beverage. The good times are fuelled by a nautical-inspired cocktail list, which includes the likes of the Tradewinds – Plantation pineapple rum, Kabosu Japanese citrus liqueur, lime and passionfruit – and the Dunebuggy, with Hendrick’s gin, St-Germain, lemon and a fresh cucumber. The laidback menu features starters such as bocconcini with olives, wonton sliders and short rib tacos, plus a selection of salads and larger fare to share.
Masa Byron Bay
On your way into town you’ll find Masa, a bakery located in the Byron Bay industrial estate. Starting your morning with a coffee and a croissant pulled fresh from the oven is a ritual we would definitely recommend, particularly when the pastry selection is this good. If you prefer something other than the classic buttery croissant, Masa’s offering includes both sweet and savoury delights. The eclectic selection of the day is displayed along a polished-concrete benchtop and includes treats such as the lemon-myrtle and lemon curd cruffin with a toasted meringue swirl. Staples with a twist are also on offer, like the charcoal olive-oil sourdough.
Tacos with freshly pressed corn tortillas, punchy snacks, finger-licking share plates and proper margaritas – Suffolk Park’s Chupacabra is where you’ll find the true tastes of coastal Mexico. There are snacks like chicharron (pork rinds) and street-style corn on the cob with hot sauce, a raft of tacos to choose from, plus vibrant mains like grilled watermelon with pepita and coriander salsa, Mexican-style surf and turf, and reef-fish wings in agave and jalapeno butter.
Craving an Asian-food fix? Bang Bang’s lively vibe and menu of Southeast Asian bites will curb that, quick smart. Starters (known as ‘little bangs’) like prawn toast with XO mayo and Moreton Bay bug buns act as a moreish prelude to mains like crispy, sticky pork belly with master-stock caramel, wok-tossed pad seeuw, Bangkok-style fried rice and fragrant curries. Keen sippers can pair their bites with Asian-inspired cocktails and ice-cold beers.
You should definitely start your di Vino journey with the house-made focaccia (and thank us later). The Italian diner, which you’ll find on Fletcher Street, celebrates the best of the land and sea with a menu of small plates (think Ballina king prawns with spicy ‘nduja) and handmade pastas like tagliolini verdi with spanner crab, cherry tomatoes, smoked butter and saffron. Sip your way through Italy’s best drops by the glass or bottle while you’re at it.
In true Byron style, this list effortlessly flips from high-end fine diners to a hidden gem tucked away in an industrial estate. Authentic Greek eatery Kouzina, a hidden gem tucked away on Acacia Street in the industrial estate, is a local favourite for big, fat Greek dinner feasts (Thursday to Saturday) and casual lunches (Thursdays and Fridays). Start with mezedes like dolmades, dips and kolokithokeftedes, then work through mains like village pie, papoutsakia, chicken souvlaki and lamb stifado. Save room for coffee and Greek sweets.
Image credit: Jess Kearney
Harvest Newrybar, Newrybar
A non-negotiable must-do when in the Byron Bay region. Experience Harvest properly with a (very) long lunch or dreamy dinner and feast your way through the kitchen’s inventive expression of the region’s bounty, which highlights produce from local artisans, Harvest’s own gardens, and foraged, native and wild ingredients from the local area. To the left sits Harvest Deli, a wonderland of charcuterie, cheese, wine, deli favourites, condiments, pantry essentials, pastries and fresh daily bread (baked in Harvest’s own historic 118-year-old bakery), and the Wild Harvest line of products, produced by resident forager and wild-food researcher, Peter Hardwick. There’s plenty to see, eat and explore while you’re there.
Here, you’ll find arguably the best karaage and temaki outside of Japan at this unassuming eatery. Just trust us on this one, you won’t be disappointed.
This is one of those, if you know, you know places. It’s not overly fancy or boast the flashiest fit-out in town, and yet there’s a constant stream of people in and out. Chihuahua Taqueria slings some seriously mouth-watering tacos inspired by the streets and marketplaces of Mexico. An institution in its own right, no trip to Byron is complete without a taco or three.
Want more? If you prefer a little bit of (literal) elevation, find the staircases to Balcony Bar & Oyster Co. and Loft Byron Bay. For a bite and a beer (straight from the source), the Stone & Wood Canteen at its Byron Bay brewery is open daily – it’s run by the 100 Mile Table crew and slings beer-friendly eats like beef-brisket burgers, mustard-chicken terrine with pickled zucchini, relish and sourdough, and crispy pork belly.
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