Living in Melbourne, we can be a bit spoilt for choice when it comes to quality cafes and brunch spots. When planning my trip to Byron Bay at Easter, I couldn’t wait to explore its food scene, and let’s just say, I definitely wasn’t disappointed. There’s an uncomplicated, laid back atmosphere here which I haven’t found in many places in Australia. It makes you appreciate the small and simple things in life. Local produce is paramount here and, most importantly, a good friendly attitude. Whether you’re looking for an acai superbowl, a protein laden breakfast or a specialist coffee-house, you’ll be well looked after in Byron Bay. Take the time to explore some of the towns outside of Byron Bay including Bangalow and Brunswick Heads which are blossoming into foodie meccas in their own right.
Here’s a wrap up of the best cafes in Byron Bay (well at least my favourite spots) from my recent visit.
It’s easy to fall in love with the Harvest Cafe. Nestled in the charming town of Newrybar in the Byron Bay Hinterland, Harvest Cafe, Bakery and Deli is full of warmth and character. For a more formal breakfast affair, visit the Harvest Restaurant and enjoy super fluffy pancakes on the deck, or pick up some treats from the Harvest Deli next door. There’s even a fromagerie, where you can enjoy a sumptuous cheese platter with home-baked fig and walnut loaf. The wrap around verandah is the perfect spot to enjoy a perfectly brewed coffee and a pastry. Expect exceptional fare which showcases the diversity of the region in all its glory. And it’s only a 20 minute leisurely drive from Byron Bay.
This hidden gem in the charming town of Bangalow is as cute as it gets when it comes to cafes. Kick back and relax on one of the prized outdoor tables or window awnings and enjoy a quality Dukes brew and one of their winning brunch options. Here it’s all about organic, ethical and plant-based foods. On the menu there’s a healthy quinoa rainbow salad, a zesty soba noodle salad and a rather decadent superfood infused granola bowl. The decor is incredibly cute with their trademark wood style kiosk and hanging pot plants adding to its charm. You can’t help but bop away to the retro tunes pumping out of their old school audio system. Don’t go home without visiting Raw Vintage industrial furniture and Bangalow Music and Books next door.
Folk is the big sister to Woods in Bangalow and is definitely a well-kept favourite for local folk in Byron Bay. It’s a gorgeous spot, complete with a sun soaked verandah and plenty of lush green trees to keep you cool. Perch on the bar stools at the front or grab your possi for a casual coffee on the milk crates on the lawn. Either way, you won’t be disappointed here. The menu is fun and inventive with modern twists on classics like buckwheat banana hotcakes with maple candied almonds and creamy house made labne. Don’t miss the Folk Love Potion – an interesting beetroot, lucuma and maca root latte concoction. It’s 5 minutes out of the town centre of Byron Bay, but well worth the journey (trust me!).
Only a stone’s throw from Byron Bay’s beautiful Belongil beach, this cafe is a crowd favourite for locals and tourists alike for their mouth watering breakfasts. The sun drenched, breezy courtyard is a popular spot to enjoy breakfast before a day in the sun and surf. There’s also plenty of shady spots under the paperbark trees to keep you cool in summer. Here you can expect superb coffee, cold pressed juices and a delicious range of breakfast and lunch dishes. We loved their house made lime and coconut bread and nourishing bowl chock full of avocado, kale, Nimbin brown rice, housekraut, roast pumpkin and lemon. Belongil Bistro also doubles as a wedding and event venue; and with the good food, buzzy atmosphere light and beautiful view, you can see why.
Perfectly positioned overlooking the beach and Byron Bay’s Julian Rocks, the Beach in Byron Bay has one of the best (if not best) views of the region. Boasting absolute beach frontage, the Deck Restaurant offers outdoor dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All dishes are prepared using the freshest, seasonal ingredients which showcase the region’s finest produce. I only visited for breakfast on this trip but would love to come back for lunch or dinner next time. The breakfast menu is full of tastebud tingling treats like pumpkin, zucchini and chick pea fritters and waffles topped with red papaya, figs and a devilish butterscotch sauce.
Ask a Byron Bay local where they go for breakfast and coffee and most of them will say Top Shop. Perched on top of a hill, this popular, uber laid-back hangout serves breakfast, single-origin coffee and mouthwatering burgers. The breakfast menu balances health conscious options like uperfood infused acai bowls and house made granola to breakfast burgers laden with eggs and bacon (a perfect hangover cure!). There’s not a lot of seating inside, but you’re always welcome to sit on the grass outside or grab a cushion from the basket when they are really busy. Most of the food is served in Bio Pak containers which are great for the environment, so you can eat with less guilt. Top Shop will have you feeling so laid-back, you’ll be almost horizontal!
Brunswick Heads is really blossoming into a foodie hot spot with the likes of Fleet and the Park Street Pasta Bar. Table View is a specialist coffee shop of sorts and definitely wins the prize for best coffee while I was in Byron Bay. Their local Byron roastery, Marvell Street Coffee Roasters, handcraft a variety of seasonal blends and single origins. There’s a delicious range of dishes on the menu from poached eggs with corn, swiss brown mushrooms, speck and goats curd and their take on the reuben with housemade sauerkraut, silverside, gruyere cheese and “awesome sauce”. Sweet tooths will love their Belgian waffles topped generously with vanilla bean icecream and Canadian maple syrup.
Affectionately called “The Roadie” by locals, The Road House has developed somewhat of a cult following since opening its doors. The Roadhouse pride themselves in sourcing the highest grade naturally-grown local produce through sustainable farming and consuming nourishing, organic whole foods and elixirs. The drinks list is equally impressive with a mind boggling range of healing elixirs and their signature “Golden Mylk” and “Butter Coffee” which uses grass fed, local, creamy butter instead of milk. In the evening, the cafe transforms into a bar, offering a nice range of organic dinner options and whiskeys. Don’t forget to check out their rotating specials board, which is influenced by seasonal, local produce.
Located on The Farm in Byron Bay( an 86-acre working biological farm in Ewingsdale) Three Blue Ducks is a foodie’s paradise complete with licensed restaurant and produce store. Three Blue Ducks is all about honest food that’s sourced sustainably. Their aim is for organic, chemical-free, grass-fed and grass-finished meats. Dishes are crafted by head chefs Darren Robertson and Mark Labrooy from fresh ingredients which are grown on-site or from regional producers. They are open from breakfast to dinner, with live music and BBQs on weekends. Don’t leave home without buying a loaf of sourdough and some of the sweet treats from the Bread Social.
Another delicious option in Brunswick Heads is the Footbridge Cafe which is conveniently positioned just opposite the river. On weekends it can get very busy, so try to get there early to avoid the crowds. On a sunny day, there’s no better spot than the outside tables where you can soak in some Vitamin D while getting your morning coffee fix. The coffee is good, and crafted by Moonshine Roasters in Federal. Rumour has it they cook some of the best dukkah eggs, haloumi and pea fritters and kedgeree in town. Shhh.