Foodies rejoice: there are as many cutting-edge eateries in Noosa as there are tanned beach bods. From cheap, ‘grab-a-burger-on-the-run’ holes-in-the-wall, to high-end gourmet palaces, food options are plentiful and great quality. For post-swim snacks, cafes, bakeries and gelaterias fill any gaps. While Hastings Street in Noosa Heads is the long-standing epicurean centre, Noosa’s other areas – Noosa Sound and Noosa Junction – have fast caught up, if not surpassed, the main drag for quality eats. To assist you with your sand, sun and gourmet extravaganza, here are the best Noosa restaurants on Hastings Street and beyond in a three-day foodie itinerary.
Day One – Noosa restaurants
Brunch: Start off your day with a leisurely power breakfast at 10 Hastings Street. This pretty spot, located at the wooded end of the main drag, has a sunny, beach-house décor.
Bare, sandy feet are allowed here; the more casual, the better, it seems. Chefs whip up a range of fabulous juices and smoothies (superfood acai berries are big here) plus great-value egg dishes.
Lunch: Laguna Bakery (3/49 Hastings St) – since you’ll no doubt be hitting the beach or National Park, why not enjoy your lunch as take-away al fresco?
Grab a good old-fashioned sausage roll from the local bakery on the main drag and while you’re at it, don’t miss the bikini-clad gingerbread men! (On your return to the main drag, be sure to indulge a little at the local ice-cream joint, Massimo’s Gelateria (75 Hastings St).
Think a touch of Rome-on-the-coast style heaven. Even the locals who avoid Hastings St in high season (the crowds bother them) will make an exception for this place. The bonus? The gelati and sorbets are made from natural ingredients only.
Drink: Miss Moneypenny’s – one of Noosa’s latest drinking spots to hit the local scene — brings a touch of city to the beach. It has a slick bar and an enormous cocktail list featuring the classics with a twist, such as a marmalade Tom Collins to bloody Marys with a Moneypenny twist.
Dinner: Locale is tucked away on Hastings Street, yet away from inquisitive passerbys, this secret, elegant locale serves modern Italian cuisine, with an emphasis on local produce. Antipasti plates range from pan-seared scallops to beef carpaccio and excellent mains include snapper, beef (220g worth) and spatchcock.
Day two – Breakfast on Noosa Beach
Breakfast: Aromas is the ultimate people watching palace, where tables face the street-front Parisienne style. It gets bonus points for opening extra early so line up for a coffee after your pre-breakfast swim. While it serves up good cooked breakfasts (free range poached eggs, portobello mushroom dishes and the like) a lighter option – bircher muesli or delicious fruit salad – should keep you going until lunch.
Lunch: Berardos Bistro on the Beach
In a town so in love with the outdoors, it’s not surprising beachfront dining is popular. The Missoni bikini wearing types flock to this spot – appropriate really, given that it’s straight out of the pages of a designer magazine – light, white and airy (and its location – in the middle of the boardwalk strip – affords it the perfect view over Laguna Bay and the lush headland beyond). But that’s not to say it’s pretentious.
The menu features down-to-earth-with-a-stylish-twist modern Australian cuisine, such as beer-battered Queensland barramundi & chips and chicken linguine with a range of shellfish, garlic and chilli oil.
Drink: To bring you back to your beach roots, grab a pre-dinner snifter at the Noosa SLSC (Surf Life Saving Club). This wonderfully unpretentious spot right on Noosa’s main beach is typical of any surf club on the Queensland Coast – rowdy, friendly and relaxed. Grab a seat anywhere (the floor-to-ceiling windows provide for an expansive beach vista) and enjoy a sundowner.
Dinner: It’s time to leave the confines of Hastings Street and spread your culinary wings a little. Noosaville, around three km from Hastings Street, is a definite hot spot when it comes to some cutting-edge eateries (locals have kept it secret for years).
Our choice for a fabulous evening meal is Little Humid. A pebble’s throw from the riverfront, this small and cosy spot serves up inventive modern Australian dishes such as crispy-skin duck confit and seafood risotto paella style. And vegetarians rejoice – this place has excellent non-meat dishes (that carnivores also adore).
Day three – Casual Noosa Vibe
Breakfast: Bistro C on the waterfront hits the spot. After your early morning swim, be sure to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and coffee here. This fun place manages to blend chic with a casual beachside vibe. You can wander straight off the beach and grab a table on the outdoor terrace.
Lunch: Gaston is another all-day spot with a super-friendly vibe and great value lunches – gourmet baguettes (who can go past a sticky pork belly) to the menu’s so-called “small things” such as corn fritters or scallop dishes… Okay, so it’s not on the beach front, but you need a bit of respite from both prying eyes and the sun. This place has a fabulous trendy-yet-not-snooty vibe.
Drink: No pre-dinner cocktails this evening! Save your dollars and appetite for the final extravaganza.
Dinner: Wasabi is in a classy location on the Noosa River, this award-winning high-end Japanese restaurant has the lot: a drinks list as long as a Tokyo train track (including whisky from Japanese distilleries, shochu infusions and sake), authentic Japanese cuisine and pricey, but fabulous, menus. There’s Omakase (let the chef decide) for $134, Wakeru (to share) for $98, and a la carte (mains from $25). This is an experience worth lingering over.
Postscript: If you’re in town on a Sunday morning, head to the Noosa Farmers Market on Weyba Road, Noosaville (open 7am to noon), and eat your way through a delicious array of foodie stalls. This is the place for organic produce… and your edible souvenirs to take home.