I’ve been away from my home of Byron Bay for over a month now, and I’m missing a few things, many of them food related. I’m currently in Taghazout, Morocco, and good, fresh, vegan food isn’t so easy to come by! Since some of Byron’s delicious eats are front of mind right now, it seemed like a good time to share some of my favourites.
Byron Bay has fabulous fresh produce, and most local eateries have at least one or two vegan options. The ones below though are my go-tos for lots of vegan options and consistently fabulous food.
Elixiba is vegan, gluten-free restaurant tucked down an arcade in the middle of town. I’m going to be brutally honest, and warn you that the decor is hideous. Or more diplomatically, it’s not to my taste. It looks like a set from a high school production of Lord of the Rings. Don’t let that put you off. Embrace your inner hobbit! You’ll be glad you did once you try this vegan deliciousness. I’ve taken lots of vegan and non-vegan visitors (you get a lot of visitors when you live somewhere as beautiful as Byron) and they’ve all wanted to return, often multiple times within a week.
The menu includes burgers, salads, macro bowls, nachos (pictured below) and more. My top pics are the nachos, humble burger and raspberry fields dessert (share it with someone; it’s super dense). And definitely try the chips.
There’s also a comprehensive cocktail menu – not really my jam, but I’ve told the cocktails are superb.
Hot tip: on Wednesday nights they often have special deals, eg. $10 nachos, or all-you-can-eat curry, or pay as you feel. Make a booking!
If you’re in the mood for cheap and cheerful, you can’t go past Orgasmic Felafel. The name is no exaggeration, this is the world’s best felafel. The felafel are always freshly cooked, and they’re smaller than most felafel, so they have an amazing crunchy-to-fluffy ratio.
I’m sure there are several vegan options here, but I can’t go beyond the felafel pocket. The hummus is excellent; the tahini sauce abundant and a bit of chilli adds just the right amount of bite. They also have the option for gluten-free bread.
Hot tip: unless you’re starving and have a large man-size appetite, a half-pocket is a good meal. And only $8!
Byron Bay General Store
A relative newbie in Byron, the General Store quickly found its way into my heart. When I dream about avocado toast, I’m dreaming about theirs… on sourdough, covered with a mountain of fresh greens, toasted seeds, and drizzled with tahini. But I’m getting ahead of myself. These guys are located just outside of town, on Bangalow Road. The owners have done a beautiful job transforming what used to be Mac’s (a greasy burger joint) into a bright, light, boho-vibed haven.
In addition the the avo toast, the vegan waffles are an absolute treat, served with date paste, fresh fruit and coconut ice-cream. The smoothie bowls and hot chocolate are also winners.
Folk Byron Bay
Folk is located in a caravan park near the industrial estate, but the vibe is anything but caravan park… it’s epically cute (okay, and a little pretentious), and the food is bold and fresh. The menu is small but I don’t see that as a bad thing… they do a small number of items, and they do them all very well. For me, a huge menu is a turn-off… how can everything be fresh? How can they give each menu item the attention it deserves?
If you’re there for breakfast, the granola with hibiscus vegan yoghurt is a winner. For lunch, the burrito is divine. And the chilli hot chocolate is my favourite in Byron.
Hot tip: visit on a nice day. Indoor seating is limited, and eating in the garden is part of the charm.
With it’s cute and girly aesthetic, Combi is a popular brunch and lunch spot. For main meals, I find it a little pricey for what you get (avocado on sprouted quinoa toast is $19… ) but I love the açai bowls with peanut butter and some of their raw vegan desserts. Okay, many of their raw vegan desserts. If I had to pick just one, I’d recommend the Snickers. The buckwheat pancakes are also heavenly (share them! They’re super-sweet.)
Heart of Byron
Another cheap and cheerful option is Heart of Byron… all vegetarian, with lots of vegan options, Heart of Byron serves hearty, honest food… curries, soups, bakes and some salads. The lunch buffet is just $10, and you’ll get a nourishing feed. But for me, the real highlight is the Golden Ayurvedic Chai… possibly the best chai in Byron (and Byron is all about chai).
Baz & Shaz
It’s not a cafe, but I feel Bad & Shaz rates a mention as my favourite place for groceries. Located on Beech Drive in Suffolk Park (5km from Byron), it stocks organic fruit and veggies and lots of whole food pantry staples. And they cater to the vegan community well, with vegan yogurt, cheese, chocolate and ice-cream; bean and lentil chips, a good range of tempeh, tofu, felafel; dips; some fake meats; etc.
Their prices are much lower than the whole foods stores in town. It’s definitely worth a visit to stock up. Since I live a five-minute walk away when I’m in the area, I find myself wandering down most days.
Do you have any favourites I’ve missed?? What other town and cities around the world should I eat my way through?