There is more than meets the eye in the Whitsundays food, beverage and bar scene, with a whole host of fantastic local venues for visitors and travellers alike to enjoy. We sat down to chat with two local Whitsunday foodies about the vibrant Airlie Beach restaurant scene and uncover what travellers should expect from their stay in paradise.
Meet Alex & Jono - Founders of Whitsunday Menu
The founders of Whitsunday Menu, Alex and Jono are mates from Airlie Beach with a passion for showcasing the food and beverage options on offer in their local town.
“Our aim is to showcase all of the local food options in the best possible way. There has never before been one hub for travellers and locals to find information about who delivers, the daily specials, or even where to find a good curry.”
Partnering with many of the local restaurants, cafes, bars and food services, Alex and Jono are about to launch their new website, Whitsunday Menu. Not only will the website share useful information about all of the available dining options in Airlie Beach, but also showcase them with professional photography, highlight top reviews and share daily specials and new announcements. Naturally, they’re the perfect candidates for sharing their insights on the best spots in town.
What should food-loving travellers expect from Airlie Beach?
There is a lot of local talent, cool spots and exciting dishes that tourists and locals alike just don’t know about. The Whitsundays are known for their amazing islands, but there is so much to savour on the mainland as well, particularly from the food, beverage and bar scene. Variety is the key, from gourmet sweets to rooftop cocktails, wood-fired pizza to sushi river boats, there is something for everyone in the Whitsundays.
Whitsunday Menu is particularly helpful for travellers who might be visiting for their first time. Without much of an idea of the local options that are available, our website can be a terrific starting point for planning where to eat in town.
Where can we find the best locally-caught seafood in town?
Fish D’vine have established themselves as the home of seafood in Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays. All of their seafood is caught by a handful of local fisherman and served fresh, often just hours after being caught in the surrounding islands and Great Barrier Reef.
They have just moved to a new spot near the water and refurbished the restaurant, so there has never been a better time to visit. It’s a hot ticket right now, so bookings are highly recommended. Some other great local seafood options include Paradiso, Mika and Northerlies.
Has the pandemic had an impact on the local food businesses?
A lot of restaurants in town are adapting because of Coronavirus, which has brought about a big focus on meeting the customer’s new expectations from the venues they choose to dine. Many places are seeing the need to adapt, as well as making the most of the downturn in visitors to embark on refurbishments and launch new menus. There has been a lot of energy to get back out there, and now that travellers are returning to town, they are finding even more terrific food options on offer than ever before.
What is the local café scene like in Airlie Beach?
Coffee in Airlie Beach meets a high standard wherever you go, and is often paired with beautiful surroundings and a scenic view across the water and out to the islands. There are also some terrific food options in our local cafes, from signature corn fritters to amazing vegan food.
Meet Kat Harrison - Owner of Bohemian Raw Cafe
Kat is the owner of Bohemian Raw café, a popular local cafe offering vegan food options in a relaxed, waterfront setting. The artfully-decorated Bohemian Raw smoothie bowls are the best in town, and Kat and the team at ‘Boho’ pride themselves on their extensive vegan options for breakfast and lunch. The café sits on the water’s edge at Coral Sea Marina, right on the Bicentennial Board Walk –a popular walking route along Airlie Beach’s sparkling coastline.
As a local café owner, who better to ask than Kat about the top spots to eat in Airlie Beach? Here are three of Kat’s local favourites:
Northerlies Beach Bar & Grill
“With live music over the weekend, this family friendly location will provide the whole family with a day of fun.”
A special location on the waterfront just outside town, Northerlies is the perfect spot for date night, family dinner or an evening with close friends. They offer a variety of dining experiences, from their outdoor seafood bbq with a casual, family feel, to a more upmarket dining feel inside the venue. With an impressive bar, which often includes locally brewed beer, Ryan and Sophia always deliver the best cocktails, time after time.
La Tabella Trattoria
A beautiful Italian restaurant located in the heart of Airlie Beach, the owner Leni always welcomes her customers with a bright and friendly smile. La Tabella is a beautiful dining-out experience, while feeling right at home. The fresh seafood pasta paired with Nanny Goat chardonnay can’t be missed.
Undoubtedly the best location in Airlie Beach for sunset drinks on the waterfront. With formal dining upstairs and a more relaxed indoor-outdoor bar downstairs, you cannot beat Sorrento’s for relaxed sundowners and a great view over the marina. Be sure to book ahead or get in early, this spot is an absolute local favourite.