Best Restaurants and Cafes in Ballina and Lennox Head

The Far North Coast of NSW offers some of the most delicious dining options in Australia. Don’t believe us? Many of Australia’s most renowned chefs have made the move to the Byron Bay and Ballina hinterland, and more than a few have opened restaurants in the area. In addition, the area boasts some excellent growers and produce, not to mention some truly passionate foodies. Put it all together and you have some truly unique and excellent dining options.

Whether it’s a healthy breakfast after your morning surf, a long lunch overlooking the rolling hills of the hinterland or a dinner showcasing the locally grown produce, you are spoilt for choice on the Northern Rivers. Here are some of our favourites.

La Cucina Di Vino, Ballina

Literally on the beach, and just a 2-minute walk from Grandview Apartments Ballina, La Cucina Di Vino has unparalleled views of the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean. This Italian restaurant has great atmosphere and most importantly, delicious food.

Best Restaurants Ballina
La Cucina Di Vino is right on the beach, and just a short walk to Grandview Apartments Ballina

Shelly Beach Cafe

Also just a two minute walk from Grandview Apartments is the Shelly Beach Cafe. Newly renovated, this cafe has some of the most delicious food in town, and is also licensed so you can have a cheeky drink before walking home to your apartment. It also has arguably some of the best views anywhere on the Far North Coast.

Wharf Bar and Restaurant, Ballina

Situated right on the Ballina River, the Wharf Bar and Restaurant is a perfect place to sit and watch the boats and activity on the water. Worth an extra mention are their yummy seafood starters and Woodfired Pizzas, and I will secretly tell you their Espresso Martinis in Happy Hour are a wonderful way to relax after a cruise on the river or shopping marathon.

The Cove, Ballina

The Cove is a reasonably new addition to the Ballina food scene, but it has quickly become a local favourite. This is one of those few venues that not only does breakfast, lunch and dinner but does each one of them as well as the other – and it’s not just me saying so… check out their reviews! With a modern industrial feel and a bar serving up some delicious twists on your favourite cocktails, The Cove is a solid choice for your Ballina dining experience.

Quattro, Lennox Head

With award winning wood fired pizzas, fresh local seafood and a cocktail selection to rival any city bar, Quattro is a fun place to sit and watch the world go by. If you’re lucky you can snag one of their lounges and while away the afternoon grazing on their extensive menu.

Shelly Beach Cafe has not only one of the most spectacular views on the North Coast, but some of the most delicious food too.

William’s Street Café, Lennox Head

If you’re looking for a beachside café with the funky vibe the Far North Coast is renowned for – without the fake Insta baes ruining it – you should definitely check out William’s Street in Lennox Head. Across the road from the beach, it’s a perfect place to relax for a long lunch or Sunday afternoon cocktail while listening to some live local tunes. Just up the road from Lake Ainsworth, this awesome little café offers a delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner menu.

Mavis’s Kitchen, Uki

A hinterland drive is definitely one of the must-do’s while visiting the Far North Coast and tucked in in at the base of Mount Warning is Mavis’s Kitchen. Getting a bit of a cult following over the last few years, Mavis’s is now a favourite with locals, celebs and visitors to the region keen to sample some of the area’s most delicious produce in one of the most spectacular settings. It’s also a perfect excuse to meander through the rolling hills, shop at the roadside stalls, and if you can coordinate your visit with one of the local hinterland markets, you’re well on your way to experiencing the true nature of the area. Make sure you phone ahead to book for this one.

Mavis’s Kitchen is the perfect place to spent a morning or afternoon enjoying some of the area’s best food

Summerland Farm, Alstonville

Summerland Farm, formerly known as The House With No Steps, is one of the most successful disability enterprises in the world, and offers a unique place for morning or afternoon tea, or lunch. The beautiful grounds are easy to wander around, and make sure you check out the produce shop where they offer some of the most delicious local offerings such as teas, coffee, jams, breads, cheeses and so much more. The tractor rides are a novelty where you can learn about the farm’s history and workings at the same time.

The Farm, Byron Bay

With national recognition we had to include The Farm Byron Bay as one of your stops on your Northern Rivers food journey. A working farm, The Farm grows much of the produce on site, have a variety of animals and gardens on site, and also sell a variety of local produce and wares to make your visit more than just breakfast, lunch or dinner. Their Three Blue Ducks restaurant is owned by renowned chef Darren Robertson and his mates so it’s reputation is second to none. They also do Hampers so if you’d prefer to wander the ground than to sit in the restaurant make sure you order one of these in advance.

We are really spoilt for choice when it comes to dining venues on the Far North Coast and trying to narrow down just a few for this blog was no easy task.