Lucky enough to be visiting Noosa? Well you’ve come to a foodie paradise. The quality of cuisine is as good as anywhere in Australia and a number of restaurants are truly world-class.
You’ll find renowned eateries, celebrity chefs, innovative kitchens, cafes bursting with inventive brunch options, boutique breweries, pricey fine-dining and value bistros. All this, as well as organic produce and farmers’ markets selling the freshest of ingredients.
Undoubtedly, Noosa has one of the most dynamic dining scenes in the country and if you love your food, you’re in for a treat. Enjoy.
Location: Shop 1A, Noosa Marina, Tewantin, QLD 4565 Ph: (07) 5474 4799
Pier 11 is dramatically situated at the Noosa Marina with picturesque views of the Noosa River. This location alone would make it a candidate as one of the best restaurants in Noosa. Fortunately, the food served here is also outstanding.
The restaurant specialises in modern Australian cuisine and is a great waterfront option for all dining occasions.
The stylish and warm decor of the main restaurant offers diners a picturesque setting and the River Lounge is an excellent place to relax, unwind, and enjoy a cold beer or glass of wine. There are endless river views and the natural surrounds are both beautiful and calming.
With its spectacular setting, flexible floor plan, attention to detail and quality of service, Pier 11 is often used for special occasion events and business functions. The venue regularly accommodates wedding functions, anniversaries, Buck’s & Hen’s nights, corporate functions, birthday celebrations, Christmas Parties and more.
Editors note: Pier 11 has been reported as closed (June 2022). We will advise when we know more.
Location: 75 Hastings St, Noosa Heads, QLD 4567 Ph: (07) 5447 4235
For many Noosa regulars, their annual trip to this gorgeous vacation spot isn’t complete without either lunch or dinner on the deck at Sails.
The location is iconic. A shaded deck, tables dressed in pristine white and unrivalled views of Laguna Bay, merely a step away. But it isn’t solely being within touching distance of the white sand beach that brings diners back again and again. The food is as memorable as the outlook.
Executive Chef Paul Leete oversees a Modern Australian menu which is proud to showcase local seasonal produce. Dishes are fresh and clean and there is, as you would expect, plenty of wonderful seafood on offer.
In the Entrees, the Sashimi Plate of features Hiramasa Kingfish, Petuna Ocean Trout and Mooloolaba Tuna. Or perhaps you’d prefer Sandcrab Lasagne where the sweet crab meat enhanced by a sprightly raw tomato sauce.
The Mains include Coral Trout and Barramundi, though personally, I can never resist the allure of a Moreton Bay Bug. Here, they come shelled, butter poached and accompanied by the house caesar salad. Carnivores are also catered to with Short Rib, a slow-roasted Shoulder of Lamb, Eye Fillet and Wagyu Rump to tempt them.
Lastly, we have to mention the awesome wine list. After all, you don’t win 3 Australian Wine List of the Year Awards unless you know your way around a cellar.
Admittedly, Sails isn’t a cheap dining option. However, it is arguably one of the best restaurants in Noosa. And in this foodie haven, that is setting the bar high.
Location: 62 Hastings St, Noosa Heads QLD 4567 Ph: (07) 5447 5111
Locale has a moody, sophisticated vibe. Especially when the sun drops in the evening and the dark decor and subtle lighting weave their magic. For me, it’s what a hip Melbourne bar/restaurant would look like if it set up business in a subtropical setting. And believe me, that is no criticism!
But Locale is far from being all looks and no substance. This is an authentic Italian restaurant serving superb food. In fact, they are so serious about their produce that they even have their own farm to ensure the quality of their ingredients.
The small plate Assaggini move from Olive Marinate and Bruschetta to Gamberetti (School Prawns with Romesco Mayo) and a lush-sounding Nodini Mozzarella paired with Pistachio Pesto and Aged Balsamic. Following this there are Oysters, Marinated Globe Artichokes and the umami hit of Venison Tartare, Smoked Aioli, Pickled Beets and Charcoal Lavosh.
Next up is Antipasti. Excitingly, it includes an Eatability favourite, Cotechin (Pork Sausage) here matched with Chickpeas, Apple and Pecan.
The Pasta is as silky as you’d hope from an Italian kitchen. However, if you like you carbs in a different form, there’s also a Classic Saffron Risotto with Veal Ossobuco or a vegetarian-friendly Potato and Goats’ Cheese Gnocchi to entice you.
If you still have space, for Secondi there’s Fish and Pickled Mussels, a Chicken and Mushroom Rotolo or an Eggplant and Potato Gratin – amongst other options. And sides, of course.
Again, a full-blown meal at Locale will cost you, but with food this good and such a wonderful ambience, it’s worth it.
Location: Shop 4 The Pavillon, 19-21 Sunshine Beach Rd, Noosa Heads, QLD 4567
A quick stroll away from the bustle of Hastings Street lies a real gem of a find.
If you love Japanese cuisine, then you really should check out Sumi Open Kitchen whilst you’re in Noosa. Online reviews consistently rave about the food here with many diners stating it’s the best, most authentic Japanese food they’ve eaten outside of Japan. Wow!
As the name suggests, the restaurant has an open kitchen – perfect for adding culinary drama to your dining experience.
The current menu offers to ‘Trust the Chef’ options. You can either choose 4 courses ($75 pp) or 6 courses ($110 pp), but whichever you decide on, the food highlights fresh, local produce, treated with respect. Open with the Beef Sweet Potato Croquette, revel in the quality of the Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi and delight in the crisp batter on the Prawn Asparagus Tempura. And everything is a pretty as a (mouth-watering) picture.
If you like a drink with your meal, try the matched sake pairings.
Sumi Open Kitchen doesn’t have an ocean view, but it is still one of the best restaurants in Noosa and dinner here is an experience you won’t regret.
Location: 1 Sunshine Beach Rd, Noosa Heads, QLD 4567 Ph: 0466 974 601
Just down the road from Sumi Open Kitchen, Light Years Noosa is the Sunshine Coast outpost of 3 East Coast restaurants, promising modern Asian food.
This is the kind of spot that’s great to hit with mates as the sunsets. Ideally after an exhausting day sunbaking or surfing. Order a cold beer or, even better a round of cheeky cocktails (The Geisha is Eatability’s kind of tipple – Ink Gin, Umeshu Plum, Lemon, Bitters and Foam), a stack of share plates and while the evening away.
Bao Buns are having their moment as a menu favourite and at Light Years there are 4. Try the fab sounding Spicy Korean Fried Chicken with Cucumber, Lettuce and Ranch Dressing. Feeling adventurous? Then order the intriguing Eggplant Katsu that comes with ‘Strange Flavour Sauce’. If that doesn’t pique your interest, I don’t know what will!
That sauce comes up again with the vegan-friendly Cumin Spiced Cauliflower, or perhaps you’d prefer the Miso Caramel Eggplant? For the omnivores, there’s plenty to tempt hungry stomachs. The Mee Goreng spiced Fire Cracker Chicken, 5 Spice Roasted Duck Pancakes and Turmeric & Coconut Fish Curry all get great raps.
And if you can’t decide, there are 2 ‘Feed Me!’ selections at $65 or $85 pp. What more could you ask for?
Location: 52 Hastings St Upstairs, Noosa Heads, QLD 4567 Ph: (07) 5474 9990
Ah Pizza! Surely no family holiday is complete without at least one meal based around this much-loved Italian winner?
Noosa’s El Capitano boasts 72-hour fermented sourdough pizza bases made from organic Australian flour. Fortunately, the love shown at this stage is well-worth the effort – resulting in tasty, crispy exterior/soft interior bases. These are topped with fresh, local produce. In fact, even their Mozzarella and Salumi are handmade in the area and the kitchen staff are well-versed in fermenting and curing.
Here, the Pizzas are divided into Rosso (red – tomato sauced) or Bianco (white – no tomato sauce). Classics like Margherita, Pork & Fennel Sausage and Quattro Formaggi make the cut. However, if you want to branch out, there’s also Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder (with Olives, Goats’ Cheese and Gremolata) or Sweet Potato (with Caramelised Onion, Cashew Nut Puree and Dukkha).
It’s always great to find an eatery that’s happy to cater to different dietary requirements. Pleasingly, at El Capitano, Pizzas can be tweaked with the minimum of fuss.
So for plant-based dieters, there’s the Sweet Potato and a Vegan Butternut Pizza. If diary doesn’t agree with you, all Pizzas can be finished with Vegan Cheese. Moreover, the team at El Capitano can prepare Gluten Free Pizzas for an extra $3 and their Dessert list includes a Dairy Free/Vegan Strawberry Coconut Sundae.
All this, served by attentive staff in a vibrant, busy pizza bar. No wonder El Capitano makes our list of the best restaurants in Noosa.
Noosa & Surrounds
Noosa isn’t just an idyllic beach and a couple of ‘eat streets.’ The Noosa Hinterland is dotted with great places to eat and drink with communities like Kin Kin and Eumundi (home to the popular Eumundi Markets) are well-worth a trip. There are breweries, distilleries and farmhouse kitchens, as well as charming cafes and bakeries, all waiting to be explored: