The population of Noosa are discerning about their food, demanding only the best and freshest options available. We’ve created the ultimate gourmet food trail as a guide for locals and visitors.
Within minutes of the town centre, there are some seriously decadent foodie institutions, which embrace the farm-to-fork philosophy. Here are 7 that are worth dragging your tastebuds away from the beachside fish n chips for.
1. Visit a Grower
Tony Meijer, the grower at Noosa Reds, proudly shows you around his macadamia-nut powered greenhouses. All the tomatoes are ripened on the vine and then supplied to many restaurants around the Sunshine Coast. Tony is a purist, never picking the tomatoes green – don’t even joke about putting his produce in the fridge either.
2. The Gourmet’s Warehouse
If for nothing else, if you need a quality coffee, head to Belmondos Organic Market. The roasters use fine Arabica grounds and specialise in cold drip coffee. And the milk for your latte is sourced locally from the nearby Maleny Dairies. Oh, and it’s not just about the coffee, Belmondos is a virtual gourmet food warehouse with shelves and shelves of oils, cured meats and olives, while also serving up some solid feeds.
3. Hastings Street
There is a fine selection of restaurants on the main strip, from El Capitano to Miss Moneypenny’s, but one of the best has to be the Boardwalk Bistro. The Uber-white interior signals fine dining, giving it a ‘somewhere-else-besides-Noosa’ ambience, but the atmosphere is as casual and no need for black-tie here. Head in for happy hour from 3 PM to 5 PM to grab $2 oysters with a glass of bubbly.
Another must-try on the Hastings Street menu is at the Noosa Beach House by Peter Kuruvita. When PK took over the old Cato’s Bar & Grill at the Sheraton Noosa, the elegance was resurrected in the space. The intimate setting is prime fine-dining as you order the freshest seafood in Noosa. The seafood tasting plate is full of freshly shucked rock and pacific oysters, Hervey Bay scallops, salt and pepper Moreton Bay Bugs, ginger chilli leader prawns and a black pepper snapper fillet.
But if you’re searching for breakfast at the Noosa Beach House, they know how to create a drool-inducing buffet. An all-you-can-eat set-up is in place each morning, even for the locals and non-hotel stayers. Pancakes, bacon, omelettes and fresh seasonal fruit are all on the docket, so keep going back and refilling your plates.
4. Noosa Farmers’ Market
If you are in Noosa on a Sunday, drag yourself out of bed for the best produce in the region at the Noosa Farmers’ Market. It’s not supermarket prices here, but it’s worth paying a little more for the wide range of produce (and gourmet fare), much of which ends up in Noosa’s eateries. They are held at The Noosa Australian Rules Football Club between 6 AM and 12 PM.
5. River-Front Dining
It’s time to steer away from Noosa’s main strip, Hastings Street because food in Noosa is certainly not all just about the beachfront. A short ferry ride up the river drops you off at Rickys River Bar & Restaurant, an elegant river-bank restaurant and bar with a view good enough to eat. Executive chef Glenn Bowman specialises in fresh; his delicate tuna sashimi just one example of his care and attention.
6. The Cooking School Noosa
Noosa’s own Cooking School is for the professional and those who only know how to toast bread. There is something for everyone to learn here. Going through each culture and cuisine in order to get a more rounded experience is easy to do in Noosa because the town is full of eatery-diversity. The school also brings in world-class chefs for exclusive lessons. Run by the team behind Wasabi Restaurant and Bar, their chefs make regular appearances as the instructors.
If you’re keen on learning the arts of artisan bread, pasta, dumplings, curry and country French, then you’d better hit up these legends for an experience you could only dream of. After each lesson, you get to binge on your creations, along with a glass of vino perfectly paired with the dishes.
7. Noosa Food and Wine Festival
The Noosa Food and Wine Festival happens annually in May at the Lions Park in Noosa Heads. The best chefs from around the country come together and bring out live cooking demonstrations, celebrity chef dinners and beachfront brunches. But oh it is so much more than that.
You’ll come face to face with all the best local food and drink producers while sipping your way through the Craft Beer & Cider Corner. The masterclasses are run every morning and feature some of the greatest cooks in the world. Previous festival line-ups have been My Kitchen Rules Judge Manu Feidel, Dessert pastry king Adriano Zumbo and literal MasterChef Matt Preston.
The after-parties are just as good as the entire festival. Restaurants and bars in the area will be in full swing during the weekend, hosting takeover events, degustations and if you’re lucky, maybe even a cheeky discount of two, exclusively for ticket-holders.
Check out our best things to do at the Noosa Food and Wine Festival.