Where to go for global flavours in Byron Bay

Amazing Asian cuisine, authentic Italian and lip-smacking Latin American - these are the places to eat in Byron Bay when you're craving something different.

A spread of seafood and vegetable dishes at Byron establishment Light Years.
  • Vanessa Frey
  • November 2019

The food scene has always been upstaged by this beachside mecca’s good looks and laid-back beach vibe – until now. A range of amazing restaurants serve up a wide variety of cuisines, from Mexican to Italian. Here are the six best restaurants in Byron Bay opens in new window for international dishes.

Light Years

Asian cuisine is hard to come by in Byron; truly good Asian is rarer still. Cue intimate arcade restaurant Light Years, where fresh, flavour-packed dishes are the order of the day (er, night). With its colourful décor, convivial atmosphere and close-quarter dining, it’s like an authentic little slice of the continent with a predominantly Vietnamese influence. Roll on, yum-cha Sundays.
17 Lawson Street, lightyearsasiandiner.com.au opens in new window

Di Vino

What do four surfer dudes know about Italian? Quite a lot, it seems. Cooking the kind of food even Nonna would be proud of, authentic enoteca Di Vino has quickly endeared itself to those who know their involtini from their arancini. Take the handmade pappardelle with a rich, unctuous beef ragù, pair it with a dark, brooding Montepulciano, then cap it off with a stroll along the Main Beach foreshore, just around the corner.
2 Fletcher Street, (02) 6680 8424, divinobyron.com opens in new window

A spread of pasta, bread and cured meats at Byron establishment Di Vino.
From handmade pasta to tiramisu, Di Vino serves up traditional Italian fare.

El Camino Cantina

There’s Mexican cuisine, and then there’s Tex-Mex – an unashamedly Americanised cuisine that’s big and bold on flavours and fun. Bright murals on the walls accented with Mexican kitsch set the scene for the crowd-pleasing soft shell tacos, nachos topped with chilli con carne, burritos and quesadillas on offer at this family-friendly eatery in Byron’s new mixed use precinct, Mercato. Wash it all down with machine-made margaritas and Mexican beers.
108-114 Jonson Street, (02) 9259 5600, elcaminocantina.com.au opens in new window

Barrio

Well before the Mexican dining wave hit Byron Shire’s shores, Francisco Smoje was wowing diners with fire-licked South American food and hearty hospitality at this all-day eatery in the hip, eclectic Habitat precinct. Order from the menu or let the Argentinian chef feed you his signature dishes, which may include blackened eggplant and piri-piri chicken cooked over coals, and an unbelievable chickpea-flour bread.
Habitat North Byron, 1 Porter Street. Industrial Estate, barriobyronbay.com.au opens in new window

Chicken cooks on charcoals at Argentinian-inspired restaurant Barrio.
Charcoal piri-piri chicken is one of the specialties at Argentinian-inspired Barrio.

Chupacabra

This breezy eatery in Suffolk Park serves modern spins on regionally focused Mexican cuisine, particularly traditional Yucatán dishes. Start with the zucchini-blossom quesadilla, move on to the sashimi-grade ceviche of the day, then finish with the flame-grilled octopus with salsa macha. Or just work your way through the eight-strong taco menu.
Shop 12A, 3 Clifford Street, Suffolk Park, 0448 077 401, chupacabra.com.au opens in new window

A seafood meal and pita chips from Chupacabra.
Chupacabra serves up eight types of tacos - and lots more!

Worth the drive

Venturing beyond Byron? Detour south to Lennox Head’s casual hatted seaside diner Shelter – its pineapple margarita is sunshine in a glass.
41 Pacific Parade, Lennox Head, (02) 6687 7757, shelterlennox.com.au opens in new window