Byron Bay’s cafes are up there with some of the best in the country. Here is a list of some of our favourites.
Byron Bay is one of the few regional towns in Australia that is on the top of everyone’s destination dining list. The local crowd here is decidedly in the know and one of the many reasons the food culture here is so insanely good is because the town’s denizens – a mix of long-term locals and smug sea changers – demand it. Note: make sure you don’t leave it too late in the day as many cafes don’t stay open past about 2pm, especially when the surf’s up. Here’s the scoop on the best cafes in and around Byron Bay.
Best for: The classic Folk nourishing bowl (for all its rainbowy goodness).
Folk is a local bolthole that treats vegetarians as VIPs. It’s also popular with flexitarians who come here to eat and eat well.
Come to Folk to eat and eat well. (Image: Jess Kearney)
The garden cafe is tacked onto a caravan park, with tree stumps serving as stools and railway sleepers defining the veggie patch. There’s nothing that will evoke ‘happy holiday memories’ like the smashed avo on organic sourdough (of course) with house-made dukkah, just-plucked garden greens and toasted seeds.
A fave with hungry surfers is the Folk burrito with spiced biodynamic brown rice and quinoa with organic black beans, spiced kraut and cumin-roasted pumpkin. Craving something sweet? Try the house-made banana bread and chocolate brownies. Folk Nights on Fridays offers a curated dinner menu, live music, and good times.
Nourish your tummy and palate with healthy meals at Folk. (Image: Jess Kearney)
Address: Lot 1, 399 Ewingsdale Road, Byron Bay
2. Yulli’s Byron Bay
Best for: Congee with sauteed mushrooms, puffed wild rice, ginger, puffed tofu, pickled mustard leaves and morning glory.
Yulli’s has taken its vegan venue concept and sprouted in Byron Bay. The plant-based menu, like Yulli’s Brews and Yulli’s Surry Hills, has mod-Asian accents and is paired with a diverse drinks list made up of vegan wines, spirits and cocktails. The chef behind the business is Thailand-born Teerapong ‘Bee’ Supawan known for his innovative twists on Asian cuisine.
Yulli’s Byron Bay has a standout plant-based menu served inside a funky space.
The Vietnamese hot bowl of king brown mushrooms, cashew lao gan mar, charred cavolo nero and toasted baguette are some of the more exuberant examples of the modern plant-based pan-Asian fare on offer. The space itself is stunning, an extravagance of raw wood and images of Asian pop culture. At night, Yulli’s gets a glow-up thanks to its stunning neon light installations.
Address: 2/1 Carlyle St, Byron Bay
Best for: Go nuts on “magic mushroom” spiced hot chocolate.
The Roadhouse (The Roady to locals) is a rustic-chic wonderland that is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Located on Bangalow Road, on the outskirts of Byron Bay, The Roady is where you will find a crowd of dreadlocked travellers and digital nomads getting revved up over coffee before starting their day.
Enjoy chill vibes amid the morning rush at Roadhouse. (Image: Oli Ayo)
Grab a spot in the sunny courtyard filled with the comforting fragrance of burning wood for baked eggs with wood-fired capsicum, kale, Persian feta and charred sourdough for brunch or the noteworthy Roady green bowl.
Dine al fresco under huge umbrellas outside the cafe. (Image: Oli Ayo)
Address: 6/142 Bangalow Rd, Byron Bay
4. Combi Byron Bay
Best for: Try the acai bowls, healthy banana bread, and nourish bowls for a more filling option.
Combi Byron Bay doffs its hats to the surfers and hippies who converged here in the 1960s and ‘70s in their VWs and helped to shape the northern NSW town. The Combi-sized eatery, located a couple of blocks away from Main Beach, spills out onto a courtyard that has a kind of surf-shack groove.
Combi Byron Bay’s cafe interior is chic and minimalist.
Combi is a honeypot for locals and visitors young and old who stroll down here after a Bikram yoga sesh to inhale cold-pressed juices as iridescent green as the surrounding jungle.
Combi is a honeypot for locals and visitors young and old.
Address: 25 Fletcher St, Byron Bay
5. Lilium Love General Store Cafe & Cellar
Best for: A community bowl of roast veg, Nimbin rice, garden greens and turmeric tahini dressing with an energising adaptogenic tea on the side.
This earthy cafe meets general store and cellar door is trying to be all things to all people because it’s located in the hills of Huonbrook, about an hour’s drive into the Byron Shire hinterland. All the food and products at Lillium are 100 per cent organic, seasonal and medicinal and ‘consciously created’ for a very alt clientele who sign up to @theglobalcoven newsletter packed with wonderfully spellbinding thoughts from the world of white witchiness.
The licensed tonic bar is more Byron than Byron. It sells Shadow and Spirit Wisdom Cards, Om Bombs for the bath, Medicine Tea and Coven stickers. And while the cafe is set to relocate to another Byron Shire location, it’s all coffee, cake and community until then. Watch this space for an update on the new locale.
Address: Upper Wilsons Creek
Best for: Cake and coffee. We also recommend the avocado on sourdough with feta and fresh herbs.
Join the convoy of van lifers travelling to this bright and happy space in the Byron industrial estate’s Habitat. The cafe offers nourishing plant-based food and a range of provisions you can procure for a picnic. You will find bullet-proof coffee (of course), as well as cold-pressed juices and smoothies, a rotating roster of salads, bowls and cakes that explain the cafe’s cult following. Head here on a Friday to get fresh flowers supplied by local growers, Flora and Daisie.
Enjoy healthy smoothies, delicious salads, nourish bowls, unbeatable cakes and fresh flowers at Vagabond.
Arrive early in the morning to get a jump on the queue for coffee. Vagabond uses its own 100 per cent organic house blend that has been the blend of choice here for more than a decade. Take your food and kick back on the pretty lawn area with a motley crew of travellers and locals.
Vagabond uses its own 100% organic coffee blend.
Address: Habitat, 1 Porter St, Byron Bay
7. Punch and Daisy
Best for: Nasi goreng made with nutty brown rice and served with pulled mushrooms, peas, broccoli, shallots and sugar-snap peas. Follow with turmeric latte. Open until 2 pm.
Mullum is having a moment. Reinstate your nose ring, don your most flowy, flowery long skirt and invest in a floppy hat to feel part of the Mullumbimby hip parade.
Elegant paintings on the wall add to the cafe’s aesthetic appeal.
Mullum as it’s affectionately known is where Byron Bay locals go to escape the crowds and relive the happy halcyon days of “Byron 30 years ago”. Punch and Daisy packs a punch with its all-day brunch, seasonal cakes and baked treats. The café serves Moonshine coffee, loose-leaf chai lattes and locally made teas.
Address: Studio 2/105 Stuart St, Mullumbimby
8. Tones at Soko
Best for: Go for breakfast and stay for lunch with a Tones banhi mi or Nice Bowl.
Head to Byron Bay’s industrial estate to enjoy a dreamy piccolo made using Allpress Espresso at Tones at Sōko. Part of the appeal of the cafe, which is adjacent to the St Agni fashion store, is that it’s not showy so rocking up in your Ugg Boots and Peter Alexander PJs is an acceptable vibe. Sit outside in the leafy courtyard, which plays host to regular block parties.
Recharge and reset with a bowl of coconut sticky rice and pick up a bunch of beautiful Braer flowers to pretty up your beautiful Byron Bay Airbnb.
Address: 4 Acacia St, Byron Bay
9. The Byron Bay General Store
Best for: Truffled mushroom toast and apple and cinnamon porridge (during winter) and a seasonal fruit salad (warmer months).
The Byron Bay General Store is a local institution, proudly serving locals and travellers since 1947 in one of the Shire’s oldest commercial buildings. Gather in the earthy eatery, which was once home to Greys Store, Craig’s Store and Macs Milk Bar, to eat and drink and stock up on local goods that include everything from gourmet granola to cold-pressed juices.
Feel better about yourself and order the brekkie bowl of mixed grains, roasted sweet potato, grilled tomatoes, roasted mushrooms, and sprouted salad with sauerkraut.
Address: 26 Bangalow Rd, Byron Bay
10. Federal Doma Cafe
Best for: Okinawa cheesecake, a divine blackened cheesy concoction made with love and arigatou (thanks).
Doma is a charming little cafe, tucked away in the hills in the tiny village of Federal. It’s run by two local Japanese chefs. The service at Doma is friendly and attentive, and the atmosphere is so warm you’d swear you are in a Japanese kissaten. Doma means, ‘dirt place’ referring to an area of hard compacted dirt found in the entranceway to most traditional Japanese homes. And it’s a nod to the earthiness of the cafe.
Get closer to nature at Federal Doma Cafe.
Spend the morning surfing or SUPing and then head for the hills to enjoy brunch at the petite cafe, which is housed in a character-filled cottage. Doma does a very nice line of dishes, not all of which have Japanese accents. The sushi is stellar, which is to be expected. But there’s also a thoughtful list of grain bowls and burgers. Stock up on choc chip and nut cookies for a bit of classic one-upmanship with the kids’ bento box.
Federal Doma Cafe is known for its lush garden setting.
Form an orderly line on Saturday mornings to pick up a loaf of rakkenji hakkou (fermented bread), a curious mix of sweet potato, carrots, apples and rice that won’t take you too far into funky town. On a road-trip from Byron Bay to Sydney? Doma devotees will know to stop off at its sister cafe Qudo in Bellingen, three hours’ south of Byron.
Address: 3/6 Albert Street, Federal
11. Three Blue Ducks Byron Bay
Best for: Enjoying an artfully styled and Instagram-worthy picnic hamper on the grounds of the 34-hectare working farm. BYO Blundstones and picnic rug.
Have you even been to Byron Bay if you didn’t visit The Farm and have lunch at the Three Blue Ducks? The Three Blue Ducks’ aim is to ‘grow, feed, educate, give back’ while respecting honest, real ingredients, supporting ethical local growers and embracing the local artisanal food movement.
The Three Blue Ducks’ aim is to ‘grow, feed, educate, give back’. (Image: Kitty Gould)
Sit in the rustic farm-style cafe, about 8.5 kilometres from Byron Bay, to enjoy roasted pork loin with charred greens, blackened onions and apple sauce.
The Three Blue Ducks near Byron Bay is open for breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner. Drift around The Farm store to stock up on a carefully curated assortment of provisions and artisan wares before ordering a nourishing bowl for brekkie or cauliflower curry for lunch.
The Three Blue Ducks near Byron Bay is open for breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner. (Image: Kitty Gould)
Address: 11 Ewingsdale Road, Ewingsdale
12. Top Shop
Best for: Avoid judgment and order the plant-based Vegan Beyond Burger with a plant-based pattie, lettuce, cheese and pickles.
A sit-down meal at the Top Shop in Byron Bay translates to lazing on a blanket on a lawn littered with friendly folk who seem to share a kind of cloud-clearing optimism. The Top Shop has always been the top spot to get the down-low on what’s happening in Byron.
Whether you’re in search of a cup of expertly made coffee or a bacon and egg burger, the hippy-chic cafe housed in an old 1950s milk bar has an arty ambience and an edgy young crowd of creatives that will see you eavesdropping on their more interesting lives until the early arvo.
Address: 65 Carlyle St, Byron Bay
Best for: Soaking up the best Byron Bay vibes over banana bread topped with candied pecans, fresh berries, whipped butter and passionfruit honey.
Bayleaf Cafe is a long-time favourite with locals and visitors alike. Order up a coffee from Gold Coast roaster Blackboard – a tried and tested blend of ethically sourced beans – while you peruse the menu.
Bayleaf Cafe is a long-time favourite with locals and visitors alike.
Our reco: the sweet potato flatbread made with purple kumara flatbread, pumpkin and confit garlic puree, roasted heirloom Dutch carrots, kale and cherry tomatoes with a coupla garlic-fried eggs. The scrambled eggs with feta, salsa verde, fresh rocket, avocado and chilli on toasted sourdough is also top-notch.
And if you’re up for a hair of the dog… they serve an excellent Bloody Mary made with Lord Byron Distillery Gin. Bayleaf has also recently introduced a curated wine, beer and cocktail menu. You’ll find plenty of seating inside and out, but you might have to wait a bit for a table during peak times – it’s worth it. Peruse the well-stocked shelves while you wait.
Try the Sweet Potato Flatbread made with purple kumara flatbread.
Address: 2A Marvell St, Byron Bay
14. Beach Byron Bay
Best for: Order the roasted fish with grilled butter beans and harissa with pistachio and green olive salsa.
The location of the Beach Byron Bay cafe is hard to beat as it’s one of the only cafes in Byron that has direct access to the beach. You can choose to dine in the more formal restaurant section or order takeaway from the dinky little kiosk window.
The beach is just a stone’s throw away. (Image: Nikki To)
The cafe is an everyday spot thanks to the kiosk, where you can grab an egg and bacon roll and a coffee and head straight down to the beach. Book a table if you’re here with your A-list entourage.
Grab something to eat before heading to the beach. (Image: Nikki To)
Address: 2 Massinger St, Byron Bay
Best for: While you might be tempted to jump right into a dish dubbed avo dreams, the Turkish eggs is also a good bet. A beautiful plate of eggy goodness.
If you go down to the Woods today, you’re in for a big surprise. And by that we mean delicious seasonal, local and sustainable dining in a very cute, rustic space at the back of the boho-chic Bangalow in the Art Precinct, just a 10-minute drive from Byron Bay.
Expect delicious seasonal, local and sustainable dining at Woods.
Woods prides itself on building community and spreading good vibes. The cafe is situated right near to the bustling weekly farmers’ market in Bangalow and first impressions are that it makes the perfect place for a heart-starting java and to nab some fresh produce. It is the place to go to find your tribe and bask in the simplicity of the cafe, set to casual mode. The impossibly hip staff here also aim to please.
Address: 10 Station Street, Bangalow
Best for: The eatery also offers seasonal ramen dishes on Monday nights.
Mangosteen is a cute local favourite tucked away behind the main drag of Bangalow. It’s only open for lunch and serves delicious Japanese dishes in a very relaxed and casual setting.
Have a taste of Mangosteen’s umami-rich dumplings.
Japanese owners Yuki and Kyohei arrived in Bangalow two years ago when they visited Byron Bay while chasing waves. The eatery serves sushi for lunchtime as well as delectable Asian-inspired grab-and-go deli foods. Mangosteen has a sister restaurant and brewery of the same name in Japan.
Address: 38 Byron St, Bangalow
17. Clunes Store & Cellars
Best for: The Clunes Store Brekky Rock n Roll with bacon, egg, house relish, herby aioli and greens.
Clunes Store is so much more than just a general store. The fire-engine red premises is a boutique wine cellar, a bustling cafe, and a post office, an easy-going place with knowledgeable staff and a whole lot of heart. Clunes recently expanded the cafe concept with an afternoon offering, serving a carefully curated list of wine and cheese, local produce and provisions from within the store and cellar.
A dinner service is also in the pipeline. This is a wonderful multi-faceted cafe-general store in the hills, which is worth visiting on a road trip to Byron. The menu is extensive. So if you can’t see the forest for the trees, order the In the Jungle smoothie (banana, dates, cinnamon and milk).
Address: 33 Main St, Clunes
18. High Life
Best for: A gatho with good mates over a few ‘songs, snacks and snake oils’.
This tiny little spot, tucked off the main road of Byron Bay, is where you will find some of the best breakfast and lunch options on offer. Byron is packed with cafes, restaurants and bars that do justice to Australia’s most revered dish: avocado on toast. But the ingredients here are both organic and seasonal and the avocado is so freshly smashed it presents like it has a pulse.
Let the barista mix your fave coffee blend.
While it’s neighbouring Nimbin that has a pot festival, the High Life is a wry wink at the stoners who have congregated in Byron for decades. You might find a few here with the munchies ordering the rice cakes with avocado and sprouts, tempeh salad, and mushies on toast. Everything here is seasonal and nutritious. The drinks menu includes a range of warm beverages and tonics, including Allpress Espresso coffee, turmeric ginger latte, and the ‘magic mushy’ drink. Make sure to swing by during the week as it’s not open on weekends.
Pop into High Life for a memorable meal.
Address: Shop 5/103 Jonson St, Byron Bay
19. Yum Yum New Brighton
Best for: The notorious teriyaki which is so-called for a reason: it’s a saucy signature sanga.
This little cafe in New Brighton is perfectly positioned between the beach and the weekly farmers’ market, which is so local it’s held on a Tuesday. The baristas here serve their own special ‘New Brighton Blend’ from local roasters The Branches Coffee, alongside brunch, which is sandwiched between 6.30am to 1pm every day, as well as wood-fired pizzas on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Dogs are very welcome at Yum Yum, the cafe is only 200 metres from one of the best “off-leash” beaches in the Northern Rivers. Eat like you give a damn and order the nourishing kitchari (rice and lentils), an ayurvedic staple.
Address: 50 River St, New Brighton
20. Keith – Murwillumbah
Best for: Sourdough crumpets with sweet whipped ricotta and drizzled with seasonal syrup.
Keith is a gorgeous little cafe in the heart of Murwillumbah serving specialty coffee (by local Byron Bay roaster, Beam Coffee). The new owners of Keith are sensitive to the fact that not all diners in Byron Bay are vegan and vegetarian. Chicken pies, toasties with hand-cut Mt Warning smoked ham, brie and caramelised onion jam, fresh orange juice and a great example of what the little café does best.
The kitchen team also reach for local seasonal fruit and vegetables for dishes such as the big-arse bagel freckled with sesame seeds and stuffed with caprese and peach, tomato and rocket when these ingredients are available.
Address: 132 Murwillumbah St, Murwillumbah
21. Old Maids
Best for: The brekky special of poached eggs, chilli jam, rocket and herby crème fraiche.
Meet with your motley crew of mates with mullets for a slow morning over coffee and brekky burgers at Old Maids burger shop in Brunswick Heads. This old-school burger joint focuses on doing simple things well. It’s Brunswick Heads, so there will always be a plant-based burger on offer. But the meat and poultry patties are also ethically sourced and of the highest quality.
The fried chook burger is a personal fave, served with cheese, pickles, slaw and slathered with mayo. Order a basket of sweet potato fries on the side for a real weekend of splendour.
Address: 30 Tweed St, Brunswick Heads.