9 Noosa restaurants and bars you need to try
Whether you’ve never been to Noosa or you’re a diehard annual holidaymaker, one thing you can be assured of when you visit is a memorable meal (or 10).
Waving the flag for innovative and award-winning cuisine on the Sunshine Coast, these Noosa restaurants and bars are all worth bookmarking for when you’re ready to make your reservation.
Going strong for 16 years, Wasabi is unlike no other Japanese restaurant you’ve ever experienced. Much of that comes down to the fact owner Danielle Gjestland is fastidious about using local produce and allowing the fruits of the Sunshine Coast’s waters and soil direct the delicate menu.
Under her watchful eye – and that of co-owner and Head Chef, Zeb Gilbert – the signature Omakase menu rolls out seven or nine blissful courses, with the option for matching wines. Lunch or dinner here, perched over the Noosa River, shouldn’t just be reserved for special occasions.
Sum Yung Guys
Ten minutes’ drive from Hastings Street in Sunshine Beach, Matt Sinclair’s Sum Yung Guys is a firecracker pan-Asian diner you’ll definitely want to make a booking at in advance.
Street art, neon signage and a funked-up playlist set the tone for the party your taste buds have as you tuck into cured Ora King salmon with fresh coconut and green chilli dressing, and Heavenly Beef with wu-tang sambal. The cocktail list is all killer, no filler.
As far as restaurant real estate goes, Sails takes out the top gong in Noosa, with tables so close to Main Beach you can almost feel the surf spray.
Not to be outdone, the food and wine offering here commands serious kudos, with seafood the undeniable star of the show. Start with chunks of charred ciabatta smothered with house smoked trout butter and move onto a steaming bowl of fresh seafood linguine, punctuated by juicy Noosa Reds tomatoes, chilli and garlic and you’ve got yourself the perfect lunch.
A newcomer on Hastings Street, O-Ren is a compact brewhouse and restaurant big on Asian flavours.
The beer list comes compliments of sister venue Copperhead Brewery in Cooroy. Specially brewed ales like the Gogo Misu (orange and miso rice) and a passionfruit sour pair perfectly with little bites like lotus chips and sweet pork relish through to braised lamb shoulder with chilli tamari caramel.
Thomas Corner Eatery
If you’re yet to discover the stupefying beauty of Noosaville, make your way to Thomas Corner to dine with tranquil views of boats, pelicans and the gum trees that line the riverbank.
The menu here is basically the Sunshine Coast on a plate, which means one visit might reward you with local figs paired with basil labneh and honey pecans, while another might be all about the fried local garfish with Asian slaw. That being said, any time is a good time for a cheese plate and a glass of wine here.
Head over the hill to Noosa Junction in time for aperitivo at this chic Italian restaurant and bar. There’re $5 specials on every day from 3-6pm.
If you miss the afternoon shift, don’t worry, the mood will be just right when you sit down for crispy slow roasted porchetta or the pan gnocchi with smoked squash, fig, hazelnut and goats cheese. Everything – from the pizzas to the black-tiled bar and classic flick, The Big Blue, being beamed onto the wall is good. Heads up: They’re not open Sundays.
Pull up a pew at the long, sophisticated bar inside Locale, order a spritz while you peruse the menu and 36-page wine list and you could be on the Amalfi Coast. Stay on for stone-fired pizzas at the bar or move onto dinner in the restaurant.
Vegan? Locale use aquafaba (chickpea water) instead of egg white in their sours.
Sunset Bar at Noosa Boathouse
The clue for the best time to be at this bar is in the name. Head up to level three of Noosa Boathouse and slip into locals mode with a Noosa Sling cocktail or Stone & Wood.
Arrive early for live music on Sundays from 4:30pm.
Land and Sea Brewery & Fortune Distillery
Catch the courtesy bus to this design-forward craft beer brewery and boutique distillery, tucked into the Noosa industrial estate. Book in for a behind-the-scenes tour or just grab a pencil and checklist to make your own tasting paddle.
There’s live music on weekends and a cracking beer-bites menu with plenty of vegan options.
When to visit Noosa
The Curated Plate – August 2020
The best time for food lovers to visit Noosa is during a festival – and new kid on the block The Curated Plate bursts onto the scene this August 8-11.
Celebrating the region’s best produce and culinary talent, expect four food-fueled days of events across the Sunshine Coast, from the coast to the country. We’re talking long table feasts, farm to fork tours – and even jetski seafood safaris for the adventurous types who need to be IN the ocean, and not just eat from it. There’s something in the program for every foodie!
Noosa Eat & Drink Festival – 14-17 May 2020
Make plans to visit in autumn when the Noosa Eat & Drink Festival is in full swing. Running over five gourmet days, this event celebrates what makes eating out in Australia great. From fresh seafood to hand-harvested wines, it showcases the very best food, wines and culinary talent from Australia and around the world.
The festival kicks off with an opening cocktail party on Noosa Main Beach where you may even get a chance to rub shoulders with your favourite celebrity chefs.
From master classes in the Festival Village to hinterland foraging tours, and long lunches to the official opening of pop artist, Peter Phillips’ gallery, the program is packed with a line-up of more than 100 events. What’s in store for 2020? Watch this space.