If variety is indeed the spice of life Byron Bay’s thriving café scene delivers the goods. The region has always been synonymous with farm fresh produce and a healthy lifestyle. However, the past few years have seen a heightened focus on creating a premium dining scene. In fact you’d be hard pressed to NOT find a café gem here. Whether you’re sampling your way down the main street, relaxing by the sea or venturing through the lush hinterland this list will guide you to the region’s most divine places to eat.
Address: 142 Bangalow Rd, Byron Bay.
Opening Hours: Tues – Sun 7am to 1:30pm. Dinner 6 to 10pm.
Creators of food and elixirs to thrive is their tagline and it’s true. A meal here is a quintessential Byron experience. The menu changes frequently and appeals to all appetites. Think vegetarian lunch platters, free range mushroom omelettes, organic chicken pho soup and a host of decadent desserts. Come evening, sharing a cheese platter whilst flirting with their diverse range of Whisky blends is a real treat.
Address: 18 Old Pacific Highway, Newrybar.
Opening Hours: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. 7 days.
Harvest is at the top end of the dining game. The atmosphere is welcoming and the staff are incredibly knowledgeable with a professional yet friendly manner. Now the food, gosh the food. A huge emphasis is placed on ethical and sustainable produce. There’s an impressive edible garden on-site plus a delectable bakery and ever popular deli. Do yourself a favour and go all out with a multi course meal and matching wines. It’s always a memorable experience to visit Harvest. Unrivaled in its quality cuisine choices. Bonus points for their ambient playlists, setting the mood – always.
Address: 33 Childe St, Byron Bay
Opening Hours: Brunch 7am – 2pm
The Belongil is situated alongside its namesake’s beach, just a stone’s throw from the central Byron hub. It’s a lovely place to dine amongst the trees and enjoy a sea breeze. A breakfast stand out dish is the ‘Haloumi & Asparagus’ – grilled asparagus, raw spinach, haloumi, poached eggs on sourdough completed with a zesty lemon dressing. Super satisfying! The barista’s here weave caffeine magic courtesy of Campos coffee. For lunch, do try the Mexican style chicken burritos. An explosion of exotic flavour that matches well with a glass of Spanish sparkling. Hola! Hint; the burgers are huge and ideal for a post surf feed. Note: The Belongil decks out very pretty as wedding venue too (pitcured above).
THREE BLUE DUCKS @ THE FARM
Address: 11 Ewingsdale Rd, Ewingsdale
Opening Hours: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. 7 days.
This hugely popular café/restaurant is part of The Farm set up. Essentially it’s an operational farm complete with animals, on-site workshops and sprawling produce gardens. If you happen to venture to Three Blue Ducks do make time to explore your rural yet sophisticated surroundings. The always changing menu includes vibrant salads, fresh fish dishes and heavier meat options during the colder months. A terrific place to take a group of friends and settle in to enjoy the finest of food amid stunning green scape vistas. Note: this is child friendly venue complete with an epic adventure playground. Tip: Their themed Sunday lunch feasts are my absolute favourite.
BAY LEAF CAFÉ
Address: Corner Jonson & Marvell St, Byron Bay
Opening Hours: From 6:30am for coffee, 7am for food.
A trip to Byron is not complete until you have called in to the shire’s most reliable dining stalwart aka the Bay Leaf Cafe. Staff here all seem both charismatic and quick in their manner. There’s impressive art pieces adorning the walls too. Menu options will satisfy anybody, no matter what your preference, from carnivore through to vegetarian fare, they have you covered. It’s an awesome people watching place whether you’re seated inside or out. Bayleaf is an iconic Byron Bay café – well worth your time. Note: opens from 6:30am for those that require an early coffee fix.
THE MEZ CLUB
Address: Shop 4, 85-87 Jonson St, Byron Bay
Opening Hours: 12-3pm. 5-11:30pm
Relatively new on the local dining scene The Mez Club has fast made its mark in Byron’s café culture. Think perfectly executed cocktails accompanied by mouth-watering tapas. The vibe here is properly buzzing. The space exudes European style. Long tables laid out to encourage shared dining and a scattering of private alcoves for a more intimate experience. Happy hour is from 4-6pm, so be sure to put The Mez Club on your to-do sunset drinks list when visiting the shire. A sensory experience transporting you across Europe, Morocco and the Middle-east.
THE ITALIAN BYRON BAY
Address: Bay St, Byron Bay NSW
Opening Hours: 6pm -11pm
Not sure how to write this review without coming across an exuberant super fan, which of course, I undoubtedly am. Anyway, the Italian Byron Bay boasts a prime location directly opposite main beach and next to the famed Beach Hotel. Spot the menu on the sidewalk and follow the tree lined path to gastronomy heaven. Feeling like a standout starter of authentic arancini and and an expertly mixed martini, shaken not stirred? Great, take a table in the alfresco dining section and indulge away. Got work company, a hot date or simply keen to celebrate? That’s wonderful, but you really don’t need any reason celebrate when dining at the Italian IS the occasion!
BEACH BYRON BAY
Address: Clarkes Beach, Lawson St, Byron Bay.
Opening Hours: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. 7 days.
Location, location, location. This enigmatic café sits upon prime beachfront real estate at Clarkes Beach. The view over the bay is breathtaking and it’s not unfamiliar to see whales and dolphins playing just offshore. Beach Byron Bay is a classy establishment that still manages to convey a relaxed atmosphere. The menu is contemporary in fare and it’s clear the head chef is passionate about delivering quality produce. Presentation is impeccable and essentially a food bloggers dream. The token wood grilled ‘Fish of the day’ fillet doesn’t come any fresher than here at Beach Byron Bay. Same for the succulent Black Onyx beef dish – a tasty affair indeed. After dark the café turns into a destination seaside restaurant hence bookings are a must. Hint: advanced reservations are highly recommended.
Address: Shop 5b, 21-25 Fletcher St, Byron Bay
Opening Hours: 7am -4pm. 7 days.
Combi is, was and has always been at the forefront of the ‘super bowl’ revolution. Their price point is very reasonable and pretty much anything you order makes for an eye catching Instagram story. A stalwart breakfast menu item such as the organic acai bowl loaded with berries, pistachios and coconut flakes guarantees you a nutritious start to the day. Lunch is deftly enticing with a healthy array of raw dishes. Excellent examples include the raw Zucchini Spaghetti and my favourite the Organic Raw Pad Thai – fresh ribbons of carrot and zucchini, beansprouts, coriander and a homemade spiced peanut and ginger sauce. Bring it on. Disclaimer: I generally start the day the french way with un cafe & a cigarette. Naturally, my body was disconcerted at first but ultimately pleased by Combi’s fair trade coffee and nicotine free healthy menu options.
Address: 7 Jonson St, Byron Bay.
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 10pm. 7 days.
At the top of town is where you’ll find the world famous Fresh Cafe. Stroll across the road after a refreshing swim at Main Beach, find yourself a table here and we promise you will find yourself an unparalleled slice of foodie heaven. It’s a terrific vantage point for people watching and features live music daily from 4-9pm. Without exaggeration the food here is amazing! Fresh Cafe is effectively a Byron Bay institution, operational for 20 + years. No easy feat but one they have effortlessly managed to achieve by remaining at the top of the modern food game. Must try dish; Tasmanian Salmon Fillet served with sweet potato, kale and cashew cream salad, broccolini and a zesty salsa verse. The aforementioned pairs well with a local craft beer and/or a glass of New Zealand’s finest Golden Goose sauvignon blanc.
Address: Arts precinct. 10 Station St, Bangalow.
Opening Hours: 8am – 2:30pm. Wednesday to Sunday.
Woods is a quaint little café with loads of charm and a bohemian luxe vibe. Nestled in the arts precinct of Bangalow (approx. 15 minutes west of Byron Bay) the café is conveniently adjacent to on-trend fashion stores, artisan studios, bespoke jewellers and a charming florist. Locals swing by here in the morning for their coffee fix and are always met by smiling effervescent staff. It is a small venue so when it’s busy you may wait a short while for a spot in the sun or a perch at the bar. Which is no problem when you can wander about the precinct and maybe find yourself a token Bangalow memento. Breakfast standout dishes include but are not limited to; avocado on organic sourdough with dukkha and ‘Summer Eggs’ poached on rustic sourdough with organic smashed peas, greens, fresh herbs and pickled fennel. Enjoy!
THE BYRON BAY SHIRE RESTAURANT HOT LIST;
Specials mentions for these tantalizing dining venues just a shore drive from the hustle & Bustle of central Byron.
Fleet Brunswick Heads – be sure to book ahead and reserve your place at this multi award winning restaurant by the banks of the Brunswick River (just a short 15 minute drive from the Byron). This innovative dining space unquestionably deserves all its industry accolades. In fact, Gourmet Traveler recently prized hostess extraordinaire, Astrid McCormack as ‘maitre d’ of the year’. As for the food, I can honestly report that every single dish will create a tasty memory to treasure long after you have left. You’ll definitley vow to go back again.
Milk and Honey Mullumbimby – for delectable wood fired pizza’s loaded with flavour. Tuck into the pork and fennel sausage pizza with mozzarella, tomato, red onion, fennel parmesan chili. Bellissimo.
Shelter Lennox Head – this restaurant is one of my all time favourite seaside places to dine in the shire. Such a welcoming vibe, sleek furnishings and smartly dressed staff. Obviously the food is the real star! I can never go past their fresh fish of the day (local line caught of course) with seasonal sides and crisp glass of Chardy. A classy coastal lunch. Hint; if you’re in Lennox anyway I suggest you go up to the headland on sunset and watch the waves break and the marine life shine.
Doma Cafe – Federal. A little off the beaten track and into the ethereal Byron Bay hinterland is where you will find the highly regarded Japanese café Doma. Everybody knows that the Japanese pay extraordinary attention to detail and its evident in every meal here. Doma’s team of chefs are super inspiring and create a little magic in every mouthful. Servings are generous and the prices are fair considering the high quality of ingredients. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options are all available too. Heralded as the best Japanese/Western fusion food around sees weekends at Doma get pretty busy so if you prefer a more quiet meal then mid-week dining may be preferable. Do try the Tataki Beef, Miso Eggplant Salad and the Katsu Chicken Burger. Overall it’s a wonderful café, in a lovely forest like location that we guarantee you will love!
Well, after reading my restaurant reviews above I hope you’re inspired to dine somewhere special next time you visit the shire. I’ve personally researched each (such a tough gig) to gift you a definitive guide of restaurants highlights in Byron Bay. You’re welcome.