Don’t let the pristine beaches and warm sunshine distract you. The Sunshine Coast is home to some of Australia’s best restaurants and cafes. And there’s no better way to explore this region than by letting your belly do the talking.
Here are the top spots for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between.
The Sunshine Coast sure knows how to start the day right. After you see the options for early morning dining you might want to extend your stay to make sure you can fit them all in.
Whether you’re hungry from an early morning swim or simply fancy a delicious nourishing breakfast, beachside Bistro C in Noosa Heads has got you covered. Overlooking Laguna Bay, choose from lighter dishes (think seasonal fruit with coconut yoghurt) or set yourself up for the day with the cheesy polenta, roasted field mushrooms and chorizo.
Address: 49 Hastings Street, Noosa Heads
The only two words you’ll need at Marcoola’s Little Boat Espresso are “gingerbread waffle” or maybe three: “okonomiyaki green pancake”, okay maybe four: “haloumi and mushroom duxelle”. The truth is that whatever you order, you’re in for a treat.
Address: 3 Lorraine Avenue, Marcoola
If you’re in an all-you-can-eat mood and your digs don’t do a buffet brekkie, head to Peter Kuruvita’s Noosa Beach House, where you can make your own juice and load up on fresh pastries, meats, cheese, fruit and eggs.
Address: 16 Hastings Street, Noosa Heads
While it may seem unusual to have breakfast in a brewery, wait until you taste the food at Moffat Beach Brewing Co., just metres from the beach. The brekkie burger is the clear winner with smoked bacon, fried free-range egg and chilli jam on a brioche roll.
Address: 12 Seaview Terrace, Moffat Beach
Lunch? Yes, it really is that time already.
With ocean views and colourful pops of yellow and green in the fit out, Lemon and Thyme in Mooloolaba is a great place for a casual lunch. While not specifically vegetarian or vegan, the menu caters to all. The lemon and thyme baked brie with local honey and chargrilled ciabatta is a winner, as is the vegan quesadilla with Moroccan carrot, roasted peppers and coconut labne.
Address: 2/121 Mooloolaba Esplanade, Mooloolaba
Another great spot for a chilled-out meal is Brouhaha Brewery in Maleny. The beer is outstanding – its strawberry and rhubarb sour beer is exceptional – and see the Maleny Wagyu dish? The spent barley used in the brewing process is fed to the cattle before making its way back onto the menu in the form of a beef burger.
Address: 6/39 Coral Street, Maleny
If you’re after something a little more refined, riverside Rickys (with its own jetty) is the place. Fresh, local seafood shines here and the six-course tasting menu makes for the perfect long lunch. The menu might include local white fish with cauliflower and almond, spanner crab spaghetti and Cooloola strawberries with whipped stracciatella.
Address: 2 Quamby Place, Noosa Heads
With the sun shining and waves crashing, lunch al fresco sounds like a super idea. Drop into the Mooloolaba Fish Market, grab a hot parcel of fish and chips before settling down at a picnic table overlooking the Spit.
Address: 201 Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba
We hope you’ve left some room for dinner.
Dinner on the Sunshine Coast is a serious affair. No, not in a starched white tablecloths and suits kind of way (although you can find that if that’s your jam) – we mean that the level of culinary delight is set to seriously good.
Ease into your evening with some tunes, eclectic decor and punchy food at Sum Yung Guys, where the vibe is a hipster hangout crossed with significant food cred. Start with the crunchy, salty king prawn toast with gochu mayo, before moving onto bigger dishes like local cuttlefish with green mango, lemongrass and betel leaf. Whatever you do, don’t miss the fresh, hand-stretched roti. It’s worth the trip alone.
Address: 8/46 Duke Street, Sunshine Beach
Be prepared to say arigato because once you’ve dined at Wasabi, you’ll be forever grateful. The award-winning Japanese restaurant champions local produce, most of it from their farm in Honeysuckle Hill. The delicate and perfectly balanced tsukidashi (snacks) are a sign of things to come, such as the local cobia skin with garlic flower, konbu and mirin jam.
Address: 2 Quamby Place, Noosa Sound
You can’t talk about the best places to eat on the Sunshine Coast without mentioning The Spirit House. Set within tranquil tropical gardens, this iconic restaurant, bar and cooking school is next level. This is fresh and bold Asian-inspired cuisine, from the miang of pickled crab, green mango and coconut served on a lotus petal to the cured yellowtail kingfish, jungle curry vinaigrette and pickled daikon.
Address: 20 Ninderry Road, Yandina
The bits in between…
Best places for coffee
If you need your coffee fix, you’ve come to the right coast. Among the wooden pallets at The Pallet Espresso Bar is some of the best coffee north of Brisbane. For something a little spiritual with your latte, check out Guru Life, or for an intimate brew, head to The Pocket Espresso Bar where you can not only grab a coffee but a cheeky cocktail on the side.
Best places for dessert
Want the scoop? Head to Maleny Food Co., which makes extraordinary ice-creams fresh each day and regularly uses local seasonal fruit. And if your sweet tooth isn’t satisfied, drop into the Kenilworth Bakery where if the wall of doughnuts doesn’t defeat you, the one-kilogram doughnut challenge will. Filled with your choice of custard, cream or Nutella only a few brave souls have managed to polish a whole one off.