April 14, 2023
22 mins Read
It is not only the pristine beaches, incredible nature, and great surf of the Northern Rivers that make this a very special place to be. Plan your next visit around these exceptional Byron Bay (and beyond) restaurants that showcase some of the region’s finest producers in the most beautiful settings.
A very new entry on the Byron Bay dining scene, Pixie opened at the end of 2022 in the newly opened Jonson Lane precinct (home to a whole host of other gorgeous new dining and retail venues including Light Years, Bar Heather, Deiji Studios, Nagnata, and Venroy).
In a stunning light-filled space by Flack Studios that pays homage to 1970s Italy, Pixie Food & Wine is the brainchild of the team behind Light Years and Moonlight. Executive chef Matteo Tine’s Sicilian roots inspire the menu at this laid-back, coastal Italian diner with a very impressive wine list.
We recommend having a drink at the bar first before moving to your table (either inside or in the little laneway outside). Also open for breakfast.
Address: 139 Jonson Street, Byron Bay
Raes Dining Room is without a doubt one of the most impressive dining experiences in Byron and the perfect place for a long lunch or special dinner.
Tucked away into a pretty corner of Wategos Beach inside Raes on Wategos, you’ll find a light, bright, breezy, coastal dining room offering Modern Australian fare with a Mediterranean influence. Executive Chef Jason Saxby showcases some of the best local seafood and produce from around the region on his carefully curated menu.
The Cellar Bar & Terrace is a great casual option if you are not feeling like something so fancy (or pricey) – you will find delicious bar snacks and cocktails.
Address: 6-8 Marine Parade, Byron Bay
Another must if you happen to be in Byron from Thursday to Sunday, The Hut is located in the hills of Possum Creek just 15 minutes outside of Byron. Housed in the former O’ Possum Creek Schoolhouse building (built in 1911), this pretty weatherboard makes for the perfect setting amongst the trees for an incredibly delicious Italian-style feast.
Inspired by the Mediterranean and the pleasure of eating together, Chef Bruno and his team work with local farmers and fishermen to create a menu each week based on crop and availability, featuring unbelievably delicious dishes that are created to be shared. We recommend opting for the “Premium Chef’s Menu” to sample the best of the best of the day’s menu.
Address: 471 Friday Hut Rd, Possum Creek
Harvest Newrybar is a very special place for the very pretty setting and garden, and the people behind it alone. The excellent fresh, local and seasonal fare on offer – showcasing the best produce in the region – is just a bonus.
Harvest is a space for community and celebration. As well as the award-winning Harvest restaurant, there is also the gorgeous little Harvest Deli as well which is the perfect place to grab a coffee and something delicious for lunch on the go, or to enjoy in the garden out the back. Just a leisurely 15-minute drive from Byron Bay, this is a must-visit on any trip to Byron.
Address: 22 Old Pacific Hwy, Newrybar
Light Years opened in Byron Bay in 2017 and recently moved into a sleek new space in the newly opened Jonson Street Precinct. They have since opened more and more locations along the East Coast (there are now four in total including Noosa, Burleigh Heads and Newcastle).
Serving up delicious modern Asian fare and very good cocktails you can expect to find a delicious selection of dumplings, bao, and share-style dishes such as five spice duck pancakes, prawn toast donuts, fire cracker chicken and more.
The music is always good and the vibes are always high. Look out for their sister venue as well, Moonlight.
Address: 139 Jonson Street, Byron Bay
A local’s favourite, the Roadhouse (or “Roady”) is a cafe by day and pizzeria by night. In the evenings, it’s all about wood-fired pizza – and they do it the best. We recommend trying the Purple Haze or The Layla.
Using the best of local products throughout their menus, this is the perfect spot for a margarita at sunset or a delicious cosy pizza inside.
Address: 6/142 Bangalow Rd, Byron Bay
Ciao, Mate! is a cosy, intimate neighbourhood diner in Bangalow by the clever and creative team behind The Eltham – one of the region’s best pubs and music venues. Luke Sullivan and Matt Rabbidge from The Eltham joined forces with Melbourne chef Matt Stone.
This tiny diner has an equally tiny menu but the Italian-inspired food is delicious. There are half a dozen wood-fired pizzas, a pasta or two of the day, a salad, and a couple of other tasty snacks. There are delicious natural wines and good beers to choose from. And there is a super cute courtyard out the back with Italian-style red and white checked tablecloths.
A great spot for a relaxed bite to eat at the bar or in one of their cosy booths in a very inviting little room.
Address: 33 Byron St, Bangalow
This is a dearly beloved coastal diner in Lennox Head just 20 minutes south of Byron Bay. A super relaxed, all-day diner right across the road from the beach, it doesn’t get much better than this. The service is always friendly, and the coffee is always great, this is a place to relax and enjoy (dogs are welcome as well).
Shelter is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week. The menu features ethical and sustainable produce wherever possible, and they have recently introduced a Pasta and Vino night – a new special for Thursday nights (two courses and a glass of wine for $50).
Address: 41 Pacific Parade, Lennox Head
This relaxed seaside diner was a very welcome addition to the Byron dining scene when it opened at the end of 2021.
The brainchild of acclaimed Sydney restauranteur, Maurice Terzini, Belongil Beach Italian Food showcases fresh, simple, classic Italian food that celebrates local producers and the community wherever possible through a curated menu showcasing the best of the Northern Rivers NSW, and a daily selection of fresh fish and locally sourced seafood. It’s delicious.
Address: 33-35 Childe Street, Byron Bay
While Fleet in Brunswick Heads has been having a brief hiatus (they are set to return in April 2023), their light-filled, tiny space has been hosting a rotating residency of up-and-coming chefs. It was Roco Ramen Bar first, and now, since January it has been The Long Weekends.
The idea of a residency is that through that time the temporary operator can test out their idea and use the practical learnings as a stepping stone to creating a more permanent home.
The Long Weekends is a coming together of David Aznar and Chef Jayel Brihi who have designed a menu to showcase native food and beverage on equal footing, with foraging and fermentation at the forefront of everything they do.
A delicious stopover when in Brunswick Heads. Their residency runs until April when Fleet returns.
Address: 2/16 The Terrace, Brunswick Heads
Hidden away in the Byron industrial estate you could easily miss this heavenly little slice of Greece (and you won’t want to). This warm and friendly Greek taverna is a laidback offering that features a daily changing menu of traditional Greek dishes.
The $60 three-course banquet menu is the way to go with classics such as slow-cooked lamb shoulder, or souvlaki from the grill (chicken, calamari, pork or halloumi and mushroom), and many other vegetarian options as well.
There are delicious mezze-style bites available for takeaway, and a charming little courtyard from which to enjoy your lunch in the evening time under the hanging lights. It’s BYO as well, which is always a lovely bonus.
Address: 1/1 Acacia St, Byron Bay
Bar Heather is yet another new addition to the Byron bar and dining scene, and the sister venue to the wonderful Luna Wine Store just across the road.
Housed within the newly opened Jonson Street Precinct, Bar Heather is a Parisian-inspired natural wine bar by Tom Sheer and James Audas (of Lo-Fi Wines and Luna Wine Store) and Sommelier Ollie Smith that showcases more than 650 natural and biodynamic wines.
Chef Ollie Wong-Hee joins them on the food front to present a delicious offering of fancy bar snacks (but it is way more than just bar snacks).
Address: 139 Jonson St, Byron Bay
Barrio is a super relaxed dining experience in a stunning corner space in Habitat that is wonderful for both lunch and dinner with friends.
Barrio showcases an ever-changing, Mediterranean-inspired menu featuring seasonal dishes, many of which are prepared over the open-flame grill, that is designed to share.
Address: 1 Porter St, Byron Bay
This is the loveliest new addition to the Northern Rivers dining scene. An intimate wine bar and dining room, designed by Flack Studio, by three friends – sisters and co-owners Danni and Nikki Wilson from Melbourne’s Carlton Wine Room and MoVida respectively, and Ewen Crawford, ex-head chef of MoVida.
Bistro Livi is housed inside an Art Deco building in Murwillumbah’s Art Precinct and its delicious, Spanish-inspired menu features local and seasonal produce, together with delicious natural wines.
Address: Cnr Brisbane St &, Proudfoots Ln, Murwillumbah
This is a quintessential Byron Bay hinterland dining experience. Frida’s Field can be found on a stunning 48-hectare farm in Nashua, just 20 minutes outside of Byron. The drive out there is stunning in itself.
Run by the Rawlings family (who own the farmland) and head chef Alastair Waddell, they are open only for lunches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (and Thursdays through summer) with a seasonally changing set menu that can be enjoyed over a three to four-hour sitting.
The lovely wine list showcases mainly small-batch, minimal-intervention, and local wines.
Address: 76 Booyong Rd, Nashua
Cadeau is one of those places where everything is impeccable: the service, the setting, the food, the wine. This local eatery and wine bar opposite the river in Brunswick Heads is the perfect place for a relaxed dinner with friends. Casual yet refined. Lots of natural wines to choose from and a dinner menu inspired by classic French and British fare.
Address: 2/26 Mullumbimbi St, Brunswick Heads
This gorgeous “little house” in Brunswick Heads by the delightful and clever people behind Fleet offers a warm and relaxed Mexican dining experience. Dishes are simple yet complex in flavour, showcasing exceptional produce from local and mindful producers from around the region. La Casita is fully licensed, shaking up cocktails and sourcing a diverse range of agave spirits, natural wines and beer.
Try specials such as snake beans cooked slowly in guajillo chilli oil, mole verde, salted peanuts and queso fresco, or perhaps the Bull mahi mahi head meat crumbed in corn chips, with tomato and crustacean oil, spiced up with grilled morita chilli. It’s super delicious and fun here.
Address: 5/3 Fawcett Street, Brunswick Heads
This is a gorgeous, local neighbourhood pizza joint in Bruns – cosy and warm in the winters, and with a cute sunny courtyard in the summertime. On Mondays, it’s jazz night (jazz and $12 negronis).
They do great pizzas, good pasta, nice wine, good music, and always a lovely vibe. Their cute courtyard backs onto the Sails Motel next door, so a very easy choice if you are staying at the motel.
Address: 26 Tweed St, Brunswick Heads
From the same team behind The Eltham Hotel and Ciao, Mate! just up the road, Chef Matt Stone dishes up super delicious modern Australian fare and other delights at You Beauty in the evenings from Wednesday-Sunday and lunch on weekends.
They have live Jazz on Thursdays and records with friends on Sunday afternoons. Think delicious Padrón peppers on the grill with housemade burrata and tomato skins, or crumbed prawns with leek and buttermilk, or maybe a kangaroo skewer or two.
You Beauty has just introduced a very happy Happy Hour from Wednesday to Friday with $7 beer and house wine, and $14 margaritas and negronis – the perfect choice in Bangalow for an afternoon drink and snack.
Address: 37/39 Byron St, Bangalow
Bang Bang is a favourite in Byron for its modern-Asian deliciousness. With another location just up the road in Noosa Heads as well, Bang Bang are masters at creating a fun, buzzy, beachside vibe with hand-crafted cocktails and delicious food.
Think crunchy salt and pepper squid with Szechuan, nuoc Cham sauce, and wasabi mayo; Moreton Bay Bug Buns; Crispy fried prawn toast. And more. We recommend their negroni. You can find them right in the centre of town.
Address: 4/1 Byron St, Byron Bay
A Mullum institution, this lovely little local pizzeria and wine bar in the heart of town serves up delicious wood-fired pizzas and an ever-changing drinks list that features the best of Australia’s smallest, sustainable, and minimal-intervention wines, as well as delicious cocktails and beers.
Address: 5/59a Station St, Mullumbimby
Tweed River House makes for a lovely, long lunch outing. Recently awarded a Chef Hat in the 2023 Australian Good Food Guide Awards, this beautiful bar and bistro sit on the lush green banks of the Tweed River with beautiful views over Wollumbin and the hinterland.
The restaurant is housed in a beautifully restored century-old grand river house, evoking the gentler pace of the Northern Rivers, where you can enjoy your lunch with the panoramic views from the river terrace or inside under the elegant, pressed tin ceilings.
Their curated seasonal menu is hand-selected by their chef to showcase the very best of the region’s fertile farmlands, riverways and ocean.
Address: 131 River Street, South Murwillumbah
A winner of many awards (and most recently two hats in the SMH Good Food Guide 2023) Pipit was opened by Chef Ben Devlin and his wife Yen Trinh back in 2019. This is modern fine dining at its best, taking inspiration from their coastal sense of place.
Pipit’s food expresses the best of Northern Rivers produce in a creative and thoughtful manner, with degustation set menus designed as a sequence of flavours, textures and ideas, sharing the very best of our local farmers, unique produce, and our sub-tropical climate.
Major considerations when crafting the menu include maximising ingredients and fermentation and cooking with wood fire and charcoal.
Address: 8 Coronation Avenue, Pottsville
Another major award-winning restaurant (most recently, one hat in the SMH Good Food Guide 2023) is Paper Daisy by Executive Chef Jason Barratt, part of the renowned Halcyon House.
The menu is considered a celebration of their unique part of the world, and depending on the season might feature dishes such as Yellowfin tuna, shiso, Davidson plum, sapphire grape; Shishito peppers, black garlic, macadamia; Pearl perch, pomelo, zucchini, wasabi rocket; to name just a few.
Paper Daisy’s restaurant is currently open to in-house guests exclusively for breakfast and lunch, but group lunch bookings for four-20 adults are welcome. Also, the Paper Daisy bar is open from 3pm and dinner reservations are open to all from 5.30pm daily.
Address: 21 Cypress Crescent, Cabarita Beach
This is a friendly and laidback “Italian-ish” (in their own words) diner in coastal Cabarita by renowned chef Daniel Medcalf and his business partner, Rachel Duffy.
The 60-seat all wood and concrete diner is open for dinner Thursday through Sunday and for lunch on weekends. It is a modern but comfortable space and the food is excellent. Don’t leave without trying the local snapper fish finger sandwich!
Address: No. 35. Tweed Coast Road, Cabarita Beach
Located on the beachfront in Kingscliff, Taverna is a modern Greek-inspired taverna with just 60 seats right across the road from the beach. The perfect spot for a long lunch, quiet dinner or beachside cocktail. Designed to share, Taverna’s menu uses only the freshest produce from the local region.
Every Sunday night Taverna’s chef takes care of the menu for you with the ‘Chef’s Sustainable Banquet’, a collection of 4 courses utilising the best local produce they have on hand. This menu changes weekly and is selected by the chef on the day – a chance to sample items from their a la carte menu and/or new menu items soon to be released onto their menu in a banquet style for $45pp.
Address: 22 Marine Parade, Kingscliff
If you are in the mood for a stunning drive through the hills, look no further than a trip out to Mavis’s Kitchen. Nestled at the base of the majestic Wollumbin-Mt Warning, this 10-hectare former dairy farm is home to a relaxed country-style restaurant, a rich organic kitchen garden, and eco-friendly cabin accommodation. The setting, surrounded by World Heritage rainforest and the fertile farmland of the lush Tweed Valley, is incredibly peaceful and inspiring and it’s no wonder the focus here is all about sustainability.
Open for breakfast on the weekends, lunch Wednesday through Sunday, and dinner Saturday nights only. The menu at Mavis’s Kitchen features food grown organically (in their very own garden where possible), sourced locally, harvested seasonally and prepared and served with love. If you don’t feel like rushing off, book one of the charming Mavis’s Cabins for the night.
Address: 64 Mount Warning Rd, Uki
Another newie right in the heart of Byron town is Lover’s Lane. Chef Tyler Preston (ex-Bang Bang and Chin Chin) dishes up excellent snack plates of delicious bites in a grungy yet glamorous interior space designed by Adam Grygopruk and George Gorrow.
The leather booths and lounges make for an inviting place to get stuck into the impressive cocktail list (by Bradley Wakefield, ex-Halcyon House) which was inspired by local botanicals from around the Byron region, as well as a lovely wine list full of natural, biodynamic, pet nat, orange and pink wines.
Address: 6 Lawson St, Byron Bay
Acclaimed chef-owner Jessi Singh’s Daughter in Law in Byron delivers “unauthentic Indian, American and Australian food” in a vibrant and playful atmosphere. Think neon lights and quirky, fun vibes.
The cocktails are delicious and we can recommend their Thali plates and all the little snack plates such as the Amritsari Lobster Pakora. Singh has restaurants in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and around the US as well.
Address: 22 Fletcher St, Byron Bay
With a brand new second venue recently opened in nearby Ocean Shores, it is easy to see how much Byron and this region love the delicious plant-based food that has become so renowned at No Bones.
A vegan bar and kitchen in the centre of town featuring plant-based food, delicious cocktails, all Australian (natural) wines, Australian beers, good music, and happy hour every day, this is a big favourite amongst locals and visitors alike.
Address: 11 Fletcher St, Byron Bay
Moonlight is an intimate Hibachi grill and wine bar in Byron by the same clever folk behind Light Years.
Open 7 nights a week, this dark, monochrome space, features delicious offerings over the hibachi grill – one of Japan’s oldest cooking traditions – highlights include chicken wings with Moonlight togarashi and lemon, and their amazing crab rolls.
The highball cocktails are delicious and feature local ingredients foraged from the hinterland and there is an impressive list of sake, Japanese whisky, and biodynamic wines as well. Every evening from 4-6pm they offer a rotating drink and snack special for $15.
Address: Bay Lane, Byron Bay
Karkalla Byron Bay is an Indigenous Australian restaurant in the heart of Byron Bay, the passion project of Mindy Woods, a proud Bundjalung woman of the Widjabul Wia-bul clan.
Featuring locally sourced, seasonal produce and native indigenous ingredients, ‘Karkalla’ is a nod to owner Mindy’s indigenous heritage and her desire to create opportunities for indigenous and non-indigenous people to connect with Aboriginal culture, art and stories through food. Mindy shares her love of food, heritage and culture and is passionate about celebrating and protecting Australian native foods.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can expect to find delicious seasonal, share-style and locally sourced plates, native-infused cocktails and Australian wines.
Address: 10/8 Fletcher St, Byron Bay
Honour Brunswick Heads is a neighbourhood restaurant and wine bar specialising in “good times and mighty fine wines”.
You can find them in the centre of Bruns just across the road from the river. With a European-inspired seasonal menu and an exciting wine list featuring excellent natural wines, this is a lovely local place to check out. Open Wed-Sat from 5pm.
Address: 4/16 The Terrace, Brunswick Heads
A very new addition to the Bruns dining scene, Trouble San is the realisation of a dream for three local friends – Lachie, Shamani and Marky – who had always had a vision to create their own dining space in which people could kick back and enjoy some amazing food, great music and a few cocktails after going for a swim in the river or beach, or jumping off the bridge (a rite of passage in Bruns).
Grab a seat in one of the leather seats and enjoy the view out over the river. The feeling is relaxed and the food is Japanese-inspired. Great cocktails as well.
Address: 2 The Terrace, Brunswick Heads
Lola is an intimate and cosy restaurant in Ballina that was born in 2021 by owners Rosa and Olivia to celebrate their passion for food and connection with people. Lola showcases local food and flavours that are true and authentic, full of heart and soul from everything they loved eating growing up in Europe.
Northern Rivers produce is presented in a variety of dishes that are part of Rosa and Olivia’s cultural identity (Italian) with a twist to reach out to the Ballina area where they live.
Address: Shop 1/28-34 Cherry Street, Ballina
The best pub in the Northern Rivers, in our humble opinion, for great food and excellent live music. Head Chef Tim Goegan (formerly Gimlet and Supernormal in Melbourne) serves up excellent pub fare featuring local produce. We recommend the Sirloin, grass-fed Angus steak; and the Eltham burger.
The beer is cold and the music is always great. They also have some beautiful accommodation and a bottle shop onsite as well. Open 7 days a week, 12pm till late.
Address: 441 Eltham Rd, Eltham
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