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.
Lighthouse Beach Café, Ballina
Literally on the beach, and just a 2-minute walk from Grandview Apartments Ballina, the Lighthouse Beach Café has unparalleled views of the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean. Breakfast here, while watching the dolphins jumping and the locals surfing, has got to be one of the best ways to start your day.
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.
Mi Thai, Lennox Head
Mi Thai is arguably the best Thai in town. Lennox is spoilt for choice when it comes to amazing cafes and restaurants, but Mi Thai should be at the top of your list. Their nightly specials are enough to draw you in, but they also nail the fan favourites with their Penang Chicken and Massaman Beef Curry setting the benchmark for authentic, fresh flavours. This author’s favourite!
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.
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.
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. Keep an eye out for Take 2!!