Add one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, live music, kombi vans and seriously good food, and you have yourself one hell of a holiday destination.
Here’s our guide to eating your way through the gorgeous Byron Bay.
Best breakfast spot in town, head to this sceney hipsters hang for seriously impressive coffee courtesy of their house-roasted beans (Marvell Street Roasters). Don’t go past all-day brekkie options like FAT: fetta, avocado, tomatoes with olive oil and torn baby spinach on sourdough, or the bircher of all birchers loaded with seeds, nuts and fruit topped with yoghurt and a dash of granola for added crunch. Look up at the seasonal specials board and glass counter laden with daily baked muffins and cakes. Did we mention the Chef is ex-Tetsuya?
BEST FOR: coffee coffee coffee (espresso, cold-drip, aeropress… it’s all here)
Bayleaf Café, 1 Marvell Street, Byron Bay
Marvell Street Roasters, 2 Marvell Street, Byron Bay
The Top Shop
Eat with the locals at this super casual hill-top café where the coffee is solid, the bread is house-baked and the burgers are epic. Head to the back streets and look for a white clad cottage with people spilling out from every side. Dare to take on the burger challenge? Wrap your laughing gear around ‘The American’ featuring a hearty beef patty with gherkins smothered in ketchup and gherkin, or for the vegos, get up close and personal with a thick chickpea patty, beetroot, tomato, lettuce and mayo. Throw in a side of fries and finish on a house-made pastry and you’ll be happier than a hippie with a hacky sack.
BEST FOR: hanging with locals on the grassy knoll
The Top Shop, Corner Carlyle and Massinger Street, Byron Bay
One One One
Breakfast, lunch or dinner. Take your pick at this local’s pick. For brekkie, go for good coffee and buttermilk pancakes with strawberries and yoghurt. If it’s a lunch affair, it’s hard to go past the BLT. The real magic happens at dinner where cocktails come to life in partnership with a knockout tapas menu. Graze on morsels like pan fried sheep’s milk cheese with lemon, parsley and pepper; whole grilled sardines with cracked wheat, dill and orange; and kingfish ceviche in lime juice, green chilli, coriander and coconut milk. Did someone say dessert tapas? Yep! Sample bite-size pieces of baklava, nougat, halva, caramelised pear with white chocolate and mascarpone cream, and fresh dates stuffed with chocolate and soaked in warm espresso syrup.
BEST FOR: cocktails and dessert tapas
One One One, 111 Jonson Street, Byron Bay
Byron Beach Café
Possibly the prettiest perch in Byron, pull up a chair on the sun-drenched deck and soak up the absolute waterfront views overlooking Clarkes Beach. A posh breakfast menu includes vine tomato and basil bruschetta with soft-boiled eggs and balsamic reduction. For lunch, step it up a notch with stalwarts like snapper pie with braised leek, oyster mushroom and truffle oil. Tip – they do dinners through summer only. Make a reservation so you don’t miss out.
BEST FOR: the view
Byron Beach Café, Clarkes Beach, Lawson Street, Byron Bay
In need for a sweet treat on the run? Make your way to the quaint hole-in-the-wall French patisserie nestled underneath The Balcony. Choose from a plethora of daily made pastries, cakes and tarts. DO NOT go past the almond croissant. It will change your life.
BEST FOR: sugar hit on the fly
L’ultime Patisserie, 3 Lawson St, Byron Bay
A little further out of town …
Encompassing a café/restaurant, bakery, deli, kitchen garden and private function space, Harvest Café can only be described as a food and produce emporium. Run by a super friendly hubby/wife combo and located in the teeny-weeny town of Newrybar (you can skip, hop and jump down the main street), lap up the charming cottage vibe and nab a table on the wrap-around veranda. Peruse the beautiful produce-focused menu, order a bottle of wine and sip the afternoon away. Make time for a sticky beak around the 99 year old stone bakery, abundant kitchen garden, and deli complete with purpose built cured meat and cheese fridges. And grab a loaf of house-baked woodfired sourdough on your way out.
BEST FOR: long lunch on the balcony
Harvest Café, 18 Old Pacific Highway, Newrybar
Town Café Restaurant
When two of Sydney’s best Chefs call it quits in the big smoke and set up shop in a small country town, you know it’s worth a visit. Town is the brainchild of Karl and Katrina Kanetani, who between them have a CV to make any foodie weak at the knees – Pier, Est., Tetsuya’s, MG Garage plus stints overseas in NY and London. Located in the main street of the arty town of Bangalow, go for a casual brekkie or lunch in the downstairs café, or if you’re after something fancier head upstairs for dinner.
BEST FOR: top notch food and unpretentious service
Town Café Restaurant, 33 Byron Street, Bangalow
Milk and Honey
A seriously impressive woodfired pizza joint operated by local husband/wife team Chris (on the tools) and Michelle (on the floor). Take a bottle of plonk, weave your way through the pokey dining room and feast on knockout pizzas like mixed mushroom with thyme, parsley and parmesan; pumpkin, pesto and goats cheese; and pancetta, olive, basil and mozzarella. Don’t pass on killer sides either – fennel, radicchio and pecorino salad is a must.
BEST FOR: great pizza, great vibe
Milk and Honey, 59a Station Street, Mullumbimby
So, a group of you have hired a pimping villa for the week. Open plan dining – check. Modern kitchen – check. Lap pool – check. Why on God’s earth would you eat out? Good question, you quip. Contact Anise Catering and let the party come to you. Chef Brendon Haras (ex-Tetsyua’s and Rae’s) knows how to put on a good show and with a client list including Elle and Tom, you’ll be interested in more than just his menu descriptions. Do Chefs cook and tell?
BEST FOR: pimping dinner party
Anise Catering, Brendon Haras 0424 968 263