The food lovers’ guide to Byron Bay

Combining good food and travel is quite possibly a match made in heaven, which is why it might take you by surprise to discover you can enjoy both in Byron Bay.

The laidback beachside town in northern NSW has a surprisingly thriving and sophisticated food scene – everything from casual cafe dining to health food cafes, vegan cuisine and humble pub grub is on offer.

I’ve put together this guide for all the food-loving travellers out there. Here are my top picks of where to eat in Byron Bay:

Food guide: Combi Byron Bay coffee
Food guide: Combi Byron Bay buckwheat pancakes
Food guide: Combi Byron Bay avocado toast and smoothie
Food guide: Combi Byron Bay interior


With a bohemian, island style atmosphere and a focus on fresh, healthy food, Combi has become a sought after cafe in Byron Bay.

The open space offers comfortable and casual dining, and the comprehensive menu of gluten free and dairy free meals and drinks means there are plenty of options to suit all tastebuds. The coffee is also excellent.

The cafe is renowned for their delicious smoothies – try the Coco Banana for a sweet yet refreshing hit or the Mango Shack if you want something fruity and zingy.

Those after a savoury breakfast or lunch option should not skip the avocado on toast, garnished with almond dukkah and topped with a fresh herb salad. Add feta (vegan option available) to take this meal up a notch.

My personal favourite, and something I order every time I visit Combi, is the buckwheat pancakes. A great gluten free option, the pancakes are layered with fresh banana and raspberry chia jam, and served with a side of coconut ice cream, passionfruit pulp, a home-made macadamia crunch, and maple syrup. 

Combi: Shop 5b, 21 – 25 Fletchers St, Byron Bay.

Byron Bay food guide Ember steak
Byron Bay food guide Ember steak
Byron Bay food guide Ember dessert


For smoky, chargrilled steaks as well as fresh seafood and vegetarian dishes, be sure to make a reservation at Ember.

Even though the restaurant is located in the Woolworths complex, don’t let the location fool you into thinking this is an average establishment. The table service is impeccable, the food is some of the best I’ve had in the area, and they have an excellent wine list to complement the selection of dishes on the menu.

You can’t go to a steakhouse without trying the steak – they’ve got everything from porterhouse to scotch fillet to rib eye, as well as a selection of wagyu steaks. Pair your meat with a couple of sides to round out the meal. I highly recommend the pear and goats cheese salad, and the seasonal greens.

Complete the meal with a drink – the restaurant has a full bar and a huge selection of drinks including cocktails, wine including sparkling, rose, red and white, as well as a range of spirits.

And if you have space for dessert, the chocolate fondant with ice cream is decadent!

Ember: Mercato on Byron, Shop 8, 108-114 Jonson St, Byron Bay.

Food guide Bayleaf Byron Bay greens bowl
Food guide Bayleaf Byron Bay tropicana drink


Another excellent cafe in Byron Bay for brunch is Bayleaf.

The coffee is top-notch, and they have a great range of other drinks including a seasonal smoothie and the ‘tropicana’ which is an anti-inflammatory tonic incorporating orange juice, lemon, ginger and turmeric – my personal favourite on a hot day.

For food, you can’t go past the Bayleaf Greens, which has become a staple on the menu, and offers a bowl of kale, broccoli, buckwheat, avocado, herbs, lemon, nuts and seeds, topped with poached eggs. The Bayleaf Aussie Burger also comes highly recommended, or for something sweet try the banana and hemp seed bread topped with seasonal berries and a house-made miso caramel sauce.

Hot tip: this place is incredibly busy during peak brunch hours and will often have people queuing in the street to get in, so be sure to go for an early breakfast or opt for lunch after 12noon.

Bayleaf: 2A Marvell St, Byron Bay.

Byron Bay food guide Treehouse drinks
Byron Bay food guide Treehouse food
Byron Bay food guide Treehouse market fish meal
Byron Bay food guide Treehouse lemon meringue


Slightly outside central Byron Bay, but well worth the walk along the beach (or short drive) to get there, is Treehouse.

Situated near Belongil Beach, the restaurant is famous for its traditional woodfired pizzas and their menu of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Choose from the smaller shared plates like the kingfish cevice, grilled octopus or hot chicken wings to get started. Some standout main dishes include the fish tacos, the local market fish served with roasted potatoes and brocollini, and the grass-fed beef burger. 

You can’t go wrong with one of their pizzas – try the classic margherita, spice things up with the pepperoni, or keep the tropical theme going with their island vibes pizza, complete with champagne ham and pineapple.

If you’ve got room for dessert, I highly recommend trying the deconstructed lemon meringue with biscuit.

The venue also has a full bar which makes it a great option for afternoon or evening drinks. Look out for their daily happy hour for some great drink specials.

Treehouse: 25 Childe St, Byron Bay.

Byron Bay food guide Chihuahua drinks
Byron Bay food guide Chihuahua tacos


For authentic Mexican dishes, be sure to visit Chihuahua.

The tacos are substantial in size and generously loaded with the freshest ingredients – try the Cerdo taco with slow roast pulled pork, pineapple and roast pepper for an incredible fusion of sweet and savoury, or go for the Carne, a pulled beef brisket with charred corn and salsa.

Also on the menu is a quesadilla filled with roast brisket, queso, chipotle aioli, sour cream and guacamole. Or try the nachos if you’re after something with a little crunch.

The drinks are well worth mentioning as they are delicious and often have rotating specials. Choose from their menu of margaritas – can highly recommend the Coco margarita for fellow coconut lovers out there – as well as selection of beer and wine, all with a Mexican touch, of course.

Chihuahua: 3/8 Byron St, Byron Bay.

Byron Bay food guide The Pass Cafe nourish bowl
Byron Bay food guide The Pass Cafe drink

The Pass Cafe

If you’re going to do the coastal walk to the Byron Bay lighthouse, stopping in at The Pass Cafe on your way back for breakfast or lunch is an excellent way to refuel after the climb.

Overlooking The Pass beach, this cafe has a relaxed atmosphere, and is a great spot to relax and enjoy a refreshing drink or nourishing meal.

After my hike, I opted for their nourish bowl which is packed with salad greens, roast pumpkin, mushroom, avocado, crunchy sprouts, a superfood nut mix and finished with a simple lemon and olive oil dressing. It’s a great gluten free and dairy free option for those who need to cater to dietary requirements.

Also on the menu is beer battered barramundi, corn and halloumi fritters, and a range of burgers. For a cooling drink, try one of their freshly squeezed juices or smoothies.

The Pass Cafe: 1 Brooke Drive, Byron Bay.

Byron Bay Beach Front

Beach Hotel

Overlooking the ocean at Byron Bay’s Main Beach is the open-air pub Beach Hotel.

This place is great for fuss-free, modern Australian meals with chicken parmigiana, fish and chips, and cheeseburger and chips all staples on the menu. Beach Hotel is also ideal for a drink and some nibbles on the side, with plenty of smaller sharing plates to choose from.

The venue also regularly hosts local musicians so if you enjoy a drink or a meal with a side of music, this is the place for you.

Beach Hotel: 1 Bay St, Byron Bay.

Top Shop - Granola

Top Shop

This funky cafe situated at the top of a residential hill attracts locals and travellers alike and always seems busy. Go early or be prepared for a wait!

Still, the vibe is very relaxed, and you’ll find people lounging on the grass outside as they sip on a coffee or enjoy a simple breakfast.

For a light yet sweet start to the day, go for the Top Shop granola bowl – it’s been a bestseller on their menu for several years. Otherwise the breakfast burger or their selection of grilled sandwiches will satisfy those who prefer a savoury option.

And don’t forget to try the coffee – one of the best in town!

Top Shop: 65 Carlyle St, Byron Bay.


Where is your favourite place to eat and drink in Byron Bay? Tell us in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: The writer travelled at their own expense.

Sharon Green, editor

Sharon Green

Sharon Green is the founding editor of SHE DEFINED.

An experienced journalist and editor, Sharon has worked in mainstream media in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Forever in search of a publication that confronted the real issues faced by modern women, Sharon decided to create her own.