If you’re looking for the best cheap eats in Byron Bay, you’ve come to the right place…
Byron Bay is a polarising place. Self-proclaimed hippies share the surf with A-list millionaires. Backpackers park caravans on the foreshore while Australia’s elite spends $500 a night at boutique accommodation.
While the food landscape is filled with an array of fine-dining options, many menus have adapted to reflect the tastes of those who don’t want to take out a second mortgage for a good feed. Turns out, there are plenty of ways to eat well in this Northern enclave of New South Wales, and not all of them involve spending to the nines.
After countless stints of frequenting Byron Bay with mere dollars to my name, I consider myself an expert on aptly eating on a budget. If that isn’t enough to convince you, I also consulted two honorary locals to get the low-down on the best cheap eats.
Below you’ll find our list of combined brains trust recommendations.
Tucked away from the bustle of the main street, Beloporto is known for its selection of top tier chicken dishes. Eager beach-goers line the street for burgers, wraps and strips made from fresh produce and locally-sourced ingredients.
Outside the chook, there’s also beef and vegetarian alternatives, as well as an all-day breakfast menu guaranteed to satiate.
All protein is best accompanied with chicken-salted chips and their range of in-house dipping sauces – chef-made from scratch.
Address: 3/73-75 Jonson St, Byron Bay
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2. Bay Kebabs
Founded in December 2003, you may recognise Bay Kebabs from midnight strolls down Byron’s main street – the time of night when this place is pumping with hungry customers.
Favoured as the late-night institution by both locals and tourists, Bay Kebabs gets its charm from polaroid-clad walls, iconic merchandise and pretty exceptional food.
They’re locally owned and run, utilising the best lamb and chicken in town. Their vegetarian falafel is vegan friendly, and also among their most popular items on the menu. The hommus, tahini, and pesto are made locally in the Byron Industrial Estate and the tzatziki, aioli, fresh coriander salsa and tabouli are all made in house.
Address: 4/8 Jonson St, Byron Bay
3. Top Shop
Spot the corner cottage with people spilling out onto the street and you’ve found Top Shop: home of the best breakfast burger selection in town.
There’s the Bacon and Egg Roll – as hearty as it is popular. The Omelette Roll, featuring free-range eggs, parsley, spinach and cheese. The Chorizo and Egg roll is another favourite, best enjoyed outside on the grass in the sunshine.
The holy grail of the Top Shop menu, however, is awarded to the Breakfast Burger. For $15, you’ll get bacon, egg, cheese, hash brown, avo, lettuce, tomato and sauces packed into a crispy bun. It’s the perfect size, ready and waiting for you post (or pre) swim at nearby Clarkes beach.
Address: 65 Carlyle St, Byron Bay
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4. Japonaise Kitchen
If it’s reasonably priced (and portioned) Japanese cuisine you seek, this place has your name on it.
You’ll find Japonaise Kitchen smack bang in the middle of Lawson Street, serving authentic, Japanese staples in a relaxed setting. There are an array of the classics to choose from – ramen, sushi, tempura, gyoza – with generous portions of share plates doing the rounds through lunch and dinner sittings.
Wash it all down with either a locally sourced or Japanese beer, and leave with a surprisingly affordable bill.
Address: 2/25-27 Lawson St, Byron Bay
Byron Bay is known for its upscale Mexican fare, with several scattered eateries fighting it out for the title of the best. But it’s Chihuahua Taqueria, hidden away in a humble arcade, which serves some of the region’s most authentic Mexican food.
The menu is tiny, featuring only six taco varieties alongside a few faithful sides, but boy do they deliver. All meats are sourced from local farms, and all fish is caught fresh daily. So essentially, you’re getting 100% of the charm, taste and flavourful depth of its more extravagant neighbours, all without the expensive overheads. A winning recipe if you ask me.
Address: Feros Arcade, 12/26 Jonson St, Byron Bay
6. Orgasmic Falafels
Summer Byron-goers may recognise this name from the rotation of friendly employees, permanently parked outside Beach Road Hotel with a tray of free samples. Just one of these mini-falafels will be enough to convince you to walk the 30 meters to the flagship store, ready and waiting to take your order.
Choose from an array of Middle Eastern platters and pita pockets, catering to both vegetarians and carnivores.
It’s also permanently cemented in my head as the best falafel I’ve ever had. The friendly staff, great price point and hefty portions will have you pit-stopping here every time you return to Byron.
Address: 11 Bay Lane, Byron Bay
7. The Rails
The Railway Friendly Bar – affectionately dubbed The Rails by locals – is the best-loved live music venue in Byron Bay. It’s also home to some of the best pub food in the area, served alongside local and touring bands every night of the week.
Soundtrack your lazy lunch or dinner to everything from roots, reggae and blues, to funk, folk and rock. There’s also a sunny beer garden, with over 20 brews on tap.
Address: 86 Jonson St, Byron Bay
8. One of the many happy hours
Byron Bay loves a happy hour, and attending one is a great way to experience fare from the kitchens of some of the more premium venues in the area for less. You’ll find both food and cocktail specials on offer. Below are our picks of the best bars in Byron Bay that offer a happy hour.
The Mez Club: Bright and breezy with a Mediterranean menu. (Daily 3pm-5pm. 9pm-late)
Miss Margarita: One of the most popular options. A high energy venue that packages the flavours of both Mexico and Byron Bay. (Daily 5pm-6pm)
Locura: The team behind Three Blue Ducks front a Latin American diner and cocktail bar, featuring a balcony that tips over bustling Lawson Street. (Daily 5pm-7pm)
The Bolt Hole: Enter through a church to find this cosy, vintage craft, cocktail, whisky and gin bar. Panoramic windows offer sunset views of the Byron Hinterland. (Daily 5pm-6pm)
Sticky Wicket: Part American-style sports bar, part British pub, this is the best sports bar in town. (Daily 5pm-7pm)
Loft Happy Days: A sprawling balcony with a bright atmosphere and extended happy hour. (Daily 12pm-6pm, and Spritz Sundays)