Noosa is a picturesque coastal town on the Sunshine Coast, located about an hour and a half drive north of Brisbane. It’s a destination I love going to for its stunning beaches, warm weather, and laid-back lifestyle. But many visitors may not realise that Noosa is also a top destination for foodies, boasting a vibrant restaurant scene with diverse cuisine that reflects the town’s coastal and cosmopolitan influences.
Noosa takes its food seriously, from fine dining establishments with waterfront views to casual eateries serving up mind-blowing international cuisine. In fact, 10 of its restaurants were included in the 2023 Australian Good Food Guide Chef Hats for their incredible food and renowned chefs, so clearly, it is a place with pedigree.
But where is it good to go? In this article, I’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best restaurants in Noosa that will have your tastebuds dancing with delight.
Sum Yung Guys easily ranks as one of the best restaurants in Noosa and is a must-visit destination for those who crave flavourful and innovative Asian fusion dishes. Their menu is perfect for sharing with friends and has earned them 14 Chef Hats for their exceptional food, crafted by MasterChef’s Matt Sinclair and their delicious cocktails, concocted by co-owner Dylan Campbell. Due to their popularity, booking your table well in advance is best to avoid missing out on their outstanding offerings. The team at Sum Yung Guys are passionate about serving modern Asian cuisine, and their menu will blow you away. From succulent ‘Crying Tiger’ short ribs and Mooloolaba prawn toast to soy-braised eggplant and aromatic curries, it’s a feast for the senses. If you have a sweet tooth, you must try their pandan-acotta, a dessert that will transport your taste buds to a tropical Asian paradise. (You can thank me later!).
Lucio’s Marina is an exquisite waterfront seafood trattoria and aperitivo bar in the Noosa Marina. The restaurant is a second-generation establishment inherited from the iconic Lucio’s in Paddington, NSW, which closed its doors in 2021 after 40 years of operation. It boasts a similar interior space and a stunning art wall that overlooks a bend of the Noosa River, making it the perfect spot for a romantic dinner or an afternoon aperitivo with sunset views.
The restaurant serves an exquisite menu that combines freshly caught seafood with premium local produce from the Noosa Hinterland, paying homage to northern Italian flavours. The menu is a nod to the original Lucio’s menu and will transport you to coastal Italy. You can’t leave without trying their saffron pappardelle with braised wagyu shank ragú and bone marrow emulsion. It really is a little piece of heaven on your plate.
If you love Italian food like me, you will be delighted with what Locale offers. A must-visit spot in Noosa for all lovers of top-notch pizza and pasta, you will find this fabulous venue at the Noosa National Park end of Hastings Street. It’s just a few steps from Noosa Main Beach and is well-known on the local dining scene for receiving no less than 14 Chef Hats!
Their seasonal menu of delicious modern Italian cuisine features handmade pasta, traditional antipasti, sumptuous desserts, and an extensive beverage list. You won’t regret trying their freshly made pasta, especially their squid ink tagliatelle with Fraser Isle spanner crab – it’s life-changing!
This restaurant is even more appealing because they source ingredients from their Noosa farm. It also has a sophisticated atmosphere that feels like a hidden slice of Italy in the bustling beach town. Don’t fancy dinner? No problem. It is a terrific place for a signature Locale Passion cocktail or an espresso nightcap.
Fans of Yum Cha probably already know about Embassy XO because it has received 12 Chef Hats over the years. However, if you haven’t yet discovered this trendy restaurant, it’s worth heading to the cosy venue that overlooks Sunshine Beach Village for its incredible take on Asian food.
Offering some of the best Yum Cha and modern Asian cuisine on the Sunshine Coast, it is a favourite with locals and some diners who drive up to an hour and a half from Brisbane or beyond Gympie to get their fix! There’s something for everyone here with a variety of menus, including a la carte, banquet, yum cha and bar menus. Wherever you have come from, you can indulge in a delicious meal and tasty cocktails while enjoying the ultimate modern Asian dining experience. Plus, if you’re a wine lover like me, you’ll be pleased to know that Embassy XO doubles as a wine bar.
Sumi Open Kitchen
Are you looking for authentic Japanese cuisine? Then look no further than Sumi Open Kitchen in Noosa Junction. With an open kitchen, the dining experience here starts with your eyes, as you can watch your delicious meals prepared right before you. Awarded 12 Chef Hats for its authentic Japanese fare, diners can enjoy a night of entertainment and delicious food with their Trust the Chef’s menu. This six-course omakase menu features Japanese-inspired dishes with a sake pairing. All you have to do is sit back and relax while the chefs work their magic and surprise you with their culinary creations. A word of caution for those who are vegetarian, vegan, or have gluten or dairy sensitivities – due to their set menu style, this restaurant is sometimes unable to accommodate them. However, you will enjoy a superb gastronomic experience if you can eat almost anything.
Rickys River Bar & Restaurant
How does a fine dining experience with stunning water views sound to you? That is precisely what you get at Rickys River Bar & Restaurant. An accomplished establishment just a short drive from Hastings Street, guests can even arrive by boat on the Noosa Ferry if they fancy going there in style! Rickys offers a chic and relaxed atmosphere that perfectly captures the Noosa lifestyle. It also presents a menu of seasonal dishes that has received 12 Chef Hats for its exceptional cuisine over the years. Widely regarded as one of the best restaurants in Noosa, you can treat yourself to such delights as spaghettini spanner crab, roasted breast of duck with salty-bake beetroot, and my personal favourite, the goat and ricotta cheese gnudi with pine nut cream and grilled zucchini. Prepare yourself for a food coma because you will end up in one!
Noosa Waterfront Restaurant and Bar
If you have yet to enjoy dining at Noosa Waterfront Restaurant, I highly recommend adding it to your must-visit list. Located away from the hustle and bustle of Hastings Street, this hidden gem boasts stunning views of the Noosa River, delectable Italian-inspired cuisine, and a dining experience that is both relaxed and upscale. Widely considered one of the best Italian restaurants on the Sunshine Coast, and certainly in Noosa, the venue sits serenely on a tranquil inlet of the Noosa River, offering an elegant yet laid-back vibe that carries through the decor to the exceptional food. With 13 Chef Hat awards, you can indulge in a celebrated rotating Italian menu that showcases seasonal ingredients sourced from the local area, all while taking in the breathtaking location. To offer diners an authentic experience, all their pasta is handmade in-house, and they even have gluten-free options for some pasta and pizza dishes.
Sails Beach Restaurant and Bar
Sails in Noosa is the perfect spot for a leisurely lunch with stunning views overlooking Laguna Bay. This dining destination strikes the ideal balance between casual coastal vibes and refined elegance, making it a terrific spot to indulge in a long lunch or dinner while admiring the waves on Noosa Main Beach. The winner of 12 Chef Hats, the venue is renowned for its thoughtfully sourced Modern Australian cuisine and boasts an extensive wine list. Their three working wine cellars hold one of the largest wine collections in Queensland, which has seen the venue win a trio of Australian Wine List of the Year awards. So if you are an oenophile, this place will be your Disneyland! For those here just for the food, the menu brims with dishes championing fresh local produce. Try the prawn linguine or the grass-fed, 220-gram eye fillet and prepare to thank Executive Chef Paul Leete and his team for a fantastic dining experience.
ALBA by Kuruvita is a new restaurant by the renowned chef Peter Kuruvita. He is known for his culturally-inspired cooking and has received 13 Chef Hats for his Modern Australian Cuisine. The restaurant offers a variety of dishes made from local seasonal produce, international spices, and woodfired pizza. They also provide cooking masterclasses from their in-house cooking school, allowing you to learn how to replicate Kuruvita’s delicate flavour balances at home. The meaning of ALBA is ‘white’ or ‘sunrise’, and it embodies the true essence of Noosa with its light, breezy, and refined atmosphere. The multi-venue space includes a cafe, providore, pizzeria, and cocktail bar that transforms into a stylish restaurant as the sun sets. This restaurant serves a spectacular tasting menu selection, including options for seafood lovers and vegetarians. However, if you fancy a single-plated meal, plump for Kuruvita’s signature Sri Lankan Snapper Curry. It’s amazing!
Noosa Beach House
Nestled in prestigious Hastings Street, the Noosa Beach House Restaurant is an institution in town. A much-loved upscale eatery, the venue has been awarded 12 Chef Hats for its delectable European cuisine that blends global flavours while highlighting the coastal location of Noosa.
Whether you prefer a fancy dining experience or a more laid-back atmosphere, the Noosa Beach House has got you covered with its extensive restaurant and bar menus.
Complimenting its stunning location with contemporary decor, the venue is the perfect spot to partake in a glass of champagne and oysters on a sunny afternoon after a day spent on Noosa’s main beach. Alternatively, you can enjoy a range of modern European dishes made with fresh local ingredients, such as the sumptuous Beach House seafood platter or the grilled giant octopus with piquillo peppers, potato mousseline, and bottarga.
For those wanting a modern and elegant coastal dining experience, this place is undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in Noosa.