Fresh Foodie Finds On The Northern Beaches Of The Coffs Coast

From blissful long lunches in garden sanctuaries to artful Mediterranean cuisine by the sea, a food lovers playground awaits.
Join us as we venture north of the Coffs CBD to meet the faces behind the latest food experiences designed to spark imagination, bring people together and build community

Sandy Beachouse Cafe

Any sun-kissed day trip to the pristine Sandy Beach must include a whimsical rendezvous to the Sandy Beachouse & General Store. Exuding pure relaxation, warmth and a welcoming ambience, this pet-friendly oasis invites barefooted beachgoers and their furry companions to unwind in laid-back coastal bliss.

Wrapped in one of the soft cafe blankets, kick back in one of the super-comfy Adirondack chairs that line the cafe’s front; the perfect spot to lounge and soak in the breathtaking ocean views. And living up to its name, a bohemian-chic interior creates an atmosphere of effortless tranquility – much like a home by the sea. Being a general store-come-cafe, Sandy Beachouse sells a beautifully curated array of fresh flowers, homewares, foods and fashion.

Hailing from Melbourne, where she ran her own cafe, head chef Donna enjoyed sourcing fresh produce from her aunt and uncle’s biodynamic farm, infusing her dishes with a farm-to-table story. Luckily, Donna moved to the Coffs Coast in 2020 and now calls Sandy Beach home. “In summer, I love walking from work to the beach in under 60 seconds!”

Being a seasoned culinary artist with a wealth of experience working in 5-star hotels across Australia, Donna’s food journey has been a tapestry of learning and creativity. “I love that at Sandy Beachouse, I can express myself through cooking. Often I’ll see something I like and tweak it a little bit. You’re always looking for ideas in your daily life.”

Donna’s passion for creating different, punchy flavours is evident with a menu catering to all-day indulgence. “I knew this would be more of a takeaway shop, so we streamlined the menu. While it is simple food, it is good food. It’s all about the delivery,” she says. The hugely popular ‘beachie wrap’ features a mouthwatering combination of perfectly cooked bacon, egg, and feta, with refreshing spinach, zesty onion, juicy tomato, creamy avocado, and a sweetness from the homemade red pepper jam. With such a tempting array of flavours, it will satisfy that post-surf hunger. “A lot of the time, it doesn’t have to be fancy – it just needs good flavours and profiles. You must know how to bring it together,” says Donna.

Younger sister to Woologola’s own Beachouse Cafe, Sandy Beachouse has been lovingly adopted by the community. The friendly local faces make you feel like you’ve been coming back your whole life, and it’s easy to see why this is the meeting place for locals to gather. “I enjoy creating a space where people love to come to enjoy a coffee and some really nice food,” says Donna.

Whether it’s a lazy brunch or a leisurely afternoon catch-up with friends, this beachside beauty is a haven of relaxation and culinary delights in one of the Coffs Coast’s most pristine locations.

Sandy Beachhouse
42 Sandy Beach Drive, Sandy Beach

Wylde Oak Cafe

Nestled within the enchanting Coffs Garden World, Wylde Oak Cafe is part of a unique garden lifestyle collaboration where visitors can sample the latest culinary delights while feeling connected to nature.

Brothers-in-law Scott Tarlinton and Ben Wilson head up the popular venue, sharing a wealth of hospitality experience and a life-long passion for food. “As a kid, my first job was picking local blueberries nearby. After starting in Coffs, I worked in both Melbourne and Merimbula. I then decided to bring what I learnt back home,” says Scott. “Growing up, we’d always gone to restaurants and loved the scene. At university, I worked in bars and restaurants. I love hosting,” adds Ben.

Speaking to the dynamic duo, it quickly became evident that family is at the heart of Wylde Oak, as it certainly took a whole village to get this fabulous venue off the ground and keep it there! “Everyone’s got a role … from accounting to socials, the whole family helps. Being the owners and working here daily, we oversee every dish that goes out and want everything to be perfect,” says Ben. And if we’re talking about perfection, the offering at Wylde Oak is pretty damn close.

Describing the atmosphere at Wylde Oak Cafe as intimate, fun, and friendly perfectly sets the stage for the hilarious banter shared between the enigmatic duo. It’s infectious and inspires the unique twist behind every culinary creation. “We just love what we do and enjoy coming to work every day to laugh,” says Ben.

Their diverse menu is a seasonally curated selection of contemporary Australian cuisine using locally-sourced ingredients. “There’s plenty of local produce on the Coffs Coast,” says Scott. “From the freshest seafood to seasonal fruits and vegetables such as figs, bananas, avocados and turmeric, you just have to find it – it’s all here!” adds Ben.

Made with local mahi-mahi, I was lucky to try the stand-out Yellow Fish Curry. The dish is an exotic fusion of rich, aromatic flavours, accompanied by pumpkin, rice noodles, bean shoots and fried coconut, served with peanut and shallot crumb.

Fully licensed with a large deck, the cafe is also perfect for your next alfresco event and offers a carefully considered section of cocktails, wines and locally brewed beers to enjoy in the sun. A personal favourite is the ‘Coffs Coast’ pale ale from local brewer King Tide. However, don’t miss ‘Between the Flags’, an American blonde ale from Woolgoolga Brewing Co., which is also extremely popular.

It doesn’t get any better than unwinding with friends having a drink and some yummy food by the beautiful koi pond while the younger guests let off steam in the colourful playground nearby. Did we mention it’s also pet-friendly!?

Wild Oak Cafe is open for breakfast and lunch seven days at ‘Coffs Garden World’

Wylde Oak Cafe
16 Wakelands Road, Sapphire Beach

Coffs Coast’s Long Lunch

Inspired by a love for food stories, cultural diversity, and the desire to bring people together, the Coffs Coast Long Lunch aims to connect and celebrate individuals from various food backgrounds at the table, breaking down barriers and fostering inclusivity.

Created by Awia Markey, who also runs Bite Food Tours, an exciting opportunity emerged to host inspiring, immersive and educational experiences for food lovers right here on the beautiful Coffs Coast. “I care about this area, which is growing as a food destination. I’m interested in food stories and the people behind them. I’m also really interested in different flavours and what grows around here. While there are long lunches everywhere, I wanted to expand that idea and bring together a unique mix of people in an intimate setting,” says Awia.

The first long lunch event was hosted at Wylde Oak Cafe, where Awia holds her foodie book club. The large deck and friendly atmosphere make the venue perfect for food enthusiasts to connect with dedicated producers eager to share their stories. Conversations and stories around culture, food origins and cultivation methods, as well as culinary tips, made the event both immersive and educational. “Because food brings people together, the aim was to create an event connecting people from all walks of life. Food is a real passport to other cultures, and there’s so much diversity on the Coffs Coast, so it made sense to make it very inclusive.”

Four different producers were featured at the first event. Attendees met Alice and Darren from New Life Farm. They are fifth-generation growers who showcased their produce and emphasised the low food miles principle with on-site sales and local delivery. The audience was captivated by Catherine Scarborough, the Coramba garlic farmer, as she revealed her locally grown and produced Black Garlic. Another highlight was Dave Ricketts, the ‘Chocolate DR,’ whose lifelong passion for chocolate inspired his Coffs Harbour-made creations. Zarin Asady from Silk Road Afghan Supermarket shared intriguing insights into cultural and culinary differences between life in Coffs Harbour and Afghanistan.

Attending Awia’s long lunches, you can expect to have fun, engage in conversations with independent and small-scale businesses, and meet like-minded food lovers while enjoying fabulous food and wine. “Coffs Coast Long Lunches are fun, inclusive, and welcoming – there’s always a laugh and a tip or two to take home,” says Awia. “I could see that people were excited to meet the growers and be among like-minded people,” she added.

The next Coffs Coast Long lunch will be held on Saturday 28 October, and we cannot wait! Be sure to follow @coffscoastlonglunch on Instagram for more information. And in the meantime, check out Awia’s fabulous food and culture tours Bite Food Tours

RATTLE Restaurant and Bar

Presenting a perfect fusion of beautiful Mediterranean-style shared food with commanding vistas of Emerald Beach, RATTLE Restaurant and Bar beckons all your senses on an inspired culinary journey.

Coffs Coast brothers Louis and Hugh Riley (the beloved personalities behind the Emerald Beach General Store) set out to create a restaurant concept that would work within the relaxed beachside location but was also enticing enough to push people out of their comfort zone. “We wanted to impress and offer something different. Sometimes you need to hold people’s hands a little, but that’s where the fun happens,” says Louis.

The result is a unique gastronomic playground incorporating rustic Middle Eastern Mediterranean and European coastal cuisines, all with a fun and modern edge. Whether indulging in mezze-style starters or sharing larger plates, RATTLE offers a ‘choose your own adventure’ feasting experience.

A creative collaboration among local food icons Byron Goh, Huey Riley and current head chef Sam Allinson, RATTLES’ seasonal menu comes to life through various exquisitely crafted plates designed to be shared. From fresh morsels of oysters, mussels and scallops to the succulent 1.2kg lamb shoulder, the artistry extends beyond the palate, with every dish thoughtfully presented as a visual delight. Each bite sparks wanderlust, taking you on a sensory exploration of the Mediterranean through food that is made to share. “This was an opportunity to create something solid to hang our hat on, and for us, it had to be around Mediterranean food. Given the location, we knew it would work well here,” says Louis.

RATTLE’s wine list showcases a mixture of crowd favourites, but includes drops from emerging producers, adding an element of fresh inspiration to the dining experience. The restaurant also embraces sustainability, ensuring a thoughtful thread runs through the menu. Alternatively, the talented bartender Jo passionately crafts creative cocktails that mirror the vibrancy and ingenuity of the restaurant’s design and ambience.

A mix of contemporary indigenous and abstract art adds further personality to the space, with Local artists Adam Osteand Millie Mainhardt commissioned to share the story of the surrounding landscape. The artwork’s beautiful palette of lilac, mustard, and sage green colours decorate the interior, initially inspired by Louis’s favourite pair of socks! Bringing in the outside, lush greenery from The Plant Room and fresh flowers arranged by Erin Oste enhance the space, transcending you into a Mediterranean oasis, leaving any hint of winter far behind.

Speaking with Louis, he shares that the success of RATTLE has come down to a mix of family support and the ability to create magic with a tight-knit crew of experienced hospitality professionals. Gathered from all over the world, the team has spent their lives pursuing quality food and wine.

And in case you’re wondering, the name RATTLE was inspired by the classic rock and roll song ‘Shake, Rattle, and Roll,’ which Louis listened to frequently. “The clever lyrics resonated with me; I found the name provocative and playful, aligning perfectly with the nature of the restaurant,” explains Louis. RATTLE is open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner

RATTLE Restaurant and Bar
104 Fiddaman Rd, Emerald Beach