Raes Dining Room, Byron Bay
The two-hat Raes Dining Room is a great place to spot celebrities, even if you’re not staying at one of the seven suites. Raes Dining Room is a bright and airy space that feels like a Mediterranean slice of Byron. It offers a six-course or three-course menu with an emphasis on native and seafood ingredients.
Harvest, a Northern Rivers institution and cafe in its right is a destination unto itself. It’s a bakery, deli, and restaurant located in the village of Newrybar, about 15 minutes away from Byron. The buildings are spread over multiple historic structures and are surrounded by a kitchen. You can start your day with a coffee, enjoy a leisurely lunch, or grab a sourdough loaf from the 120-year-old woodfired oven.
Light Year, Byron Bay
Light Years was a hit from the moment it opened in Byron Bay’s main street. The restaurant has since moved into a bigger space within the Jonson Lane Precinct, but it still offers the same fun and modern Asian menu with a funky music soundtrack. Cocktails are also a highlight. The Netflix and Chill, which combines popcorn-infused rum with passionfruit and lime, is a great example.
Ciao, Mate!, Bangalow
Matt Stone, a zero-waste chef, is the brains behind this charming and compact Italian diner located in Bangalow. You’d wish it was close to home so you could enjoy a negroni with the locals at the bar or take the kids in for a hearty pasta and woodfired pizza in the retro booths. Grab a table on balmy Bangalow evenings in the fairy-lit patio.
Pixie Food & Wine Byron Bay
Chic coastal Italian is served in a 70s-Milan-meets-Byron style dining room at Pixie Food & Wine. The Light Years group has opened this sophisticated dining spot in the new Jonson Street area. The menu is traditional Italian with a beachy flavor. Start with oysters, charcuterie, and pasta, then move on to the main course.
Balcony Bar & Oyster Co., Byron Bay
Balcony Bar, perched high above Byron’s main street, is the ideal place to enjoy some of the freshest seafood around and soak in the atmosphere. Sean Connolly, the executive chef, is a master of oysters and sources only the freshest, local, sustainable, and seasonable shellfish. You’ll be welcomed in board shorts, sand-covered feet, or your finest attire.
Bistro livi Murwillumbah
The Good Food Guide has named Bistro Livi, a moody Melbourne-style small bar located in one of Northern Rivers hippie hubs, as the Regional Restaurant of 2024. The intimate Spanish-inspired restaurant has a distinguished pedigree. Its three co-owners and chefs come from Melbourne’s famed Movida Wine Room and Carlton Wine Room.
Moonlight Byron Bay
In contrast to sister restaurants Light Years and Pixie, Moonlight has a monochrome palette, intimate spaces, and Japanese/Scandinavian simplicity. The chefs use a hibachi grill to cook the food, but they add bolder flavors to compliment the foraged and local ingredients. The biodynamic wine on the list has been selected at the peak of the lunar cycle to guarantee the best flavors.
Ben Devlin, a Byron native, has honed the art of cooking at some of the world’s finest restaurants, including Noma Copenhagen. In 2019, he opened Pipit in Byron with his wife, promising to use local produce, including Indigenous ingredients and tropical fruit. He also promised sustainable seafood and meats and made everything in-house, from bread to vinegar. You’ll never forget this meal.
You Beauty, Bangalow
Matt Stone’s team will open their second Bangalow Restaurant in mid-2022. It is located just a few steps away from Ciao Mate! The menu is constantly changing based on the availability of local and sustainable ingredients. The beer is always chilled, and the dining area pays homage to a classic Aussie pub.
Paper Daisy, Cabarita Beach
Paper Daisy is part of the retro Halcyon House in Cabarita Beach. It’s 40 minutes north of Byron. The dining room has a stunning view of the ocean and a gin-filled menu. The four-course set menu is simple and sophisticated, using locally sourced ingredients.
The Smoking Camel Byron Bay
Smoking Camel, the latest restaurant from Light Years, offers a modern take on traditional Levantine food, with influences from Lebanon and Turkey as well as Israel. Arabian Nights Dance Party is the theme, and there are neon lights, vibrant blues, and oranges, as well as a checkerboard floor. There are also a few disco balls. Expect messes, pita bread, and meats cooked over a fire.
Frida’s Field in Nashua
Frida’s Field is peak Byron – a regenerative, organic farm in the Hinterland that has its herd of Angus Wagyu cows and serves a three-day-a-week paddock to plate lunch. Chef Alastair Waddell, who has worked at renowned restaurants like Qualia in Hamilton Island and Guillaume in Melbourne, is now the chef of Frida’s Field in 2023.
Treehouse, Byron Bay
Treehouse is located near the northern end of Belongil Beach. Perfectly encapsulating Byron’s bohemian style, this laid-back spot is immersed in lush palm trees and serves up a menu of chic Mediterranean-inspired dishes and woodfired pizza. Live music is played regularly, including on Sundays.
Federal Doma Cafe, Federal
The legendary Doma is located in the small village of Federal, a 20-minute drive from the city. It has been a Northern Rivers local secret ever since the restaurant opened in 2012. The two chefs wanted to introduce their brand of creative, vibrant fusion cuisine. Expect to see a lot more Byron-style grain dishes, burgers with a twist, and vibrant salads. Check their Instagram page to find out when they do dinners on Saturday or Friday nights.