March 20, 2023
8 mins Read
This little NSW surf town, just two hours south of the Gold Coast, punches well above its weight when it comes to dining. From overachieving burger joints to degustation-style dining, Neapolitan pizzerias and homely Turkish cafes, these 10 restaurants promise to please all kinds of palates.
One of Yamba’s most lauded restaurants, Karrikin is the place to celebrate special occasions – though there’s no reason why you shouldn’t stop by for a casual dinner either. Seasonal, local produce is king here, and native ingredients make regular appearances on the four-course set menu too.
You might find dishes like potato dumplings with snapper mousse and pickles, smoked fish with Davidson plum cracker, and beetroot with apple and nasturtium lining the menu.
It seems as if all the finer details have been considered here, right down to the artful presentation of dishes, beautiful ceramic plates and fancy glassware.
What’s more, the setting is glorious, all sage and grey walls, matte black furnishings and plenty of timber. There’s also a breezy indoor-outdoor feel to the space, with bifold doors opening up the seated bar counter to the undercover patio out front, and the dining room leading through to a leafy backyard.
Address: 27 Coldstream St, Yamba, NSW, 2464
In the mood for something low-key? This modest little cafe, squeezed in next door to a real estate agency, could be the answer.
It’s hard to pin down Sweet N Spicy’s exact cuisine, which veers a little all over the place, but there’s a definite pan-Asian lean… think Vietnamese beef salad, Thai-style choo chee prawns and Malaysian chicken curry, with some arancini, buffalo wings, and beef empanadas thrown in for good measure.
Beyond the food, it’s the warm, friendly and efficient service that keeps diners coming back for more; well, that and the option to BYO wine.
Address: 28B Yamba St, Yamba, NSW, 2464
A Neapolitan-style pizzeria, Drift has amassed a loyal legion of followers for its high-end pizzas, which are lovingly assembled using free-range charcuterie, organic Australian stone-milled flour, and artisanal cheeses.
It’s definitely become one of the best restaurants Yamba has to offer. Even the spirits in its cocktails are top-shelf and paired with housemade syrups and fresh cold-pressed juices.
The wine list has been carefully curated too, pleasing even the most discerning of oenophiles with its smattering of pét-nats and generous cross-section of old and new world wines.
Vegetarians and vegans are catered to here as well, and there’s a handful of side dishes and salads to choose from.
Address: 1/29 Yamba St, Yamba, NSW, 2464
Locals, tourists, passers-through – everyone pops into Pacific Hotel, the Yamba pub high on the hill above Main Beach. It’s your classic Australian beach pub – wood-panelled walls, historical photographs of the region, and a large oval bar splitting the pool tables at the front and dining at the back. Best of all, a lot of the popular Yamba Airbnb’s are within walking distance, meaning it’ll fast become your (temporary) local.
Food-wise, you’ll find all the pub meal favourites at this Yamba institution. Love a steak? It’s on the menu. More a schnitty or parma person? Both are present and accounted for. Aside from these classics, Yamba king prawns (famous in these parts) are available alongside housemade seafood sauce and fresh, zesty lemon – paired with a sauvignon blanc and the Pacific Hotel’s stunning ocean views, you’ve got the perfect afternoon planned.
Address: 18 Pilot St, Yamba, NSW, 2464
When the post-beach craving for a burger strikes, head for Brgr Spot. This tried-and-true outfit, just a block back from Yamba’s Main Beach, is known for its fries (shoestring or sweet potato) as much as its burgers and reasonable prices.
There’s both vegetarian and vegan options too, and if you’re in the mood for something a little lighter (or you’re gluten-free), every burger on the menu can be converted into a salad instead.
And with a pretty generous selection of beers, wines and cocktails on offer to boot, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make an afternoon of it here either.
Address: 2/15 Clarence St, Yamba, NSW, 2464
One of the more recent cafe openings in Yamba, Gather sits high above Main Beach in the restaurant hub that encompasses BRGR Spot, Pacific Hotel, Gather and The Italian On The Hill.
Arguably offering up the best coffee in town (although a close second would be Summi’s, right next door), Gather offers light, delicious meals across breakfast and lunch, like ricotta on toast with blueberries, honey and mint.
On Fridays and Saturdays, head up after a swim for Arvos at Gather, where from 4pm to 7.30pm you can sip wines and local craft beers as the sun goes down.
Address: 3/14-15 Clarence St, Yamba, NSW, 2464
Open for breakfast and lunch, this homely joint is one of the best cafes in Yamba, and has developed something of a cult-like status.
Chef-owner Sevtap has brought a rustic slice of the Mediterranean to the beach town with her tightly curated blackboard menu, homemade cakes, patterned mismatched china and leafy patio.
Expect strong Allpress coffee, and humble yet wildly fresh local produce transformed into memorable, moreish Turkish-inspired dishes, such as scrambled eggs with feta and sucuk (Turkish sausage), coconut and cinnamon toast, braised octopus, lamb kofta, grilled sardines.
And if you’ve been wooed by Sevtap’s ‘less is more’ approach to cookery then you can even buy one of her three cookbooks in-store.
Address: 22 High St, Yamba, NSW, 2464
Yamba is not a beach town that’s short on great cafes, but few boast views as striking as The Kiosk. Housed within Yamba’s Surf Life Saving Club, this unassuming little cafe with its picnic benches and striped parasols, is open from breakfast through to lunch right on the town’s Main Beach.
Whether you’re in the mood for something salubrious (hello acai bowls and fresh, cold-pressed juices) or something a little more indulgent (perhaps a bacon, egg and cheese roll with a vanilla milkshake on the side) The Kiosk delivers.
Address: 1 Marine Parade, Yamba, NSW, 2464
Love Italian food? You need to lock in a visit to Sassafras, a family-friendly joint situated in the middle of town.
Recently reopened and refurbished, the Sassafras menu is all about no-fuss eats – woodfired pizzas (some of the best Yamba pizza on offer, in fact), classic pastas and fun, summery cocktails. With plenty of outdoor seating, Sassafras is also a pet-friendly Yamba restaurant if you’ve got your fur baby in tow.
A must-try is the interestingly named ‘rat baits’ – little fresh-baked breads with a trio of house-made butter. Music fans will love the live gigs Sassafras holds, too. Check the website for artists and dates.
Address: 16A Coldstream St, Yamba, NSW, 2464
Looking for the best fish and chips in Yamba? It’s in town at Fisho. Technically a tiny takeaway shop on Yamba’s main street corner, we’re giving it a pass into the Yamba restaurants category thanks to the picnic tables right out front, which have become its unofficial alfresco dining area.
Grilled, battered or crumbed, Yamba’s Fisho has a strong focus on local, fresh seafood and will regularly update their Facebook page with recent catches in the region, so be sure to check or ask the friendly staff if you’re keen to try the catch of the day.
Yamba’s Fisho is always brimming with fresh Yamba prawns, and has some of the best potato scallops this writer has had in Australia (a big call, we know). Prices are cheap, service is fast and yes – the chips are crunchy, salty and consistently delicious.
Address: Cnr Yamba St and Coldstream St, Yamba, NSW, 2464
Additional updates written by Chloe Cann
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And Gather. A fabulous cafe with great coffee.
Fantastic article – thanks. Would you please be able to do a similar one for Northern Rivers region? There’s Harvest, Shelly Beach Cafe, Eltham Pub and the gorgeous Tweed River House…what other treasures am I missing? Recently moved up here and am keen to explore and support. Thanks so much Joanne
In my opinion Sweet & Spicy is a very good restaurant, the food is amazing & the customer service is outstanding. My go to restaurant when I eat out.
One happy customer
I found Beechwood very appealing and quality fresh food , great service and a great atmosphere,a select and great choice menu and priced to suit ! 10-10 , thanks for the experience and I will be back !
Italian on the Hill always pleases . Menu specials which include fresh seafood like sardines as starters and great veal dishes. Good wine list and super service always makes for a good night out. The locals like it just as much as visitors
Some really great places listed here. Always take our visitors out to Sanctus Brewing Co the local brewery. Top notch beer and food with a great atmosphere. Very stand out in our region