Market Bistro, Maroochydore
The Australian Good Food Guide released its 2023 Chef Hat Awards earlier this year, and we’ve rounded up a mouthwatering list of awarded restaurants you can find right here on the Sunshine Coast! From umami Asian specialists through to masters of seafood, the list showcases the rich culinary abundance of our sparkling ocean and lush hinterland. To start off your fine dining journey, we’ve handpicked seven of the hatted restaurants for you to try out when you’re next visiting our (delicious) region.
1. Sum Yung Guys
Sum Yung Guys, Noosaville
You'll find this ultra-trendy Modern Asian eatery in Noosaville. First up on the agenda is a cocktail or mocktail chosen from their range of enticing concoctions. Whether you’re in the mood for their Round Three (dragon fruit gin, sake, lemon, ginger, yuzu soda), their Cherrywood (vodka, raspberry liqueur, amaretto, shiraz, lime and Thai basil) or their bubbly Watermelon Spritz (watermelon, lemongrass, lemon, mint, tonic), there’s something for every drinker to sip on – zero-percent or not! Next comes the real star of the show: the food. Meals at Sum Yung Guys are premised around sharing, so you won’t miss out on tasting a wide variety of items from the menu. Recent menu items include Mooloolaba prawn toast with gochu mayo, flavourful chargrilled chicken with green chilli, sesame, peanut and ginger cream, as well as netted spring rolls. You’ll want to reserve your spot for either the lunch or dinner sittings at Sum Yung Guys to save disappointment.
2. Market Bistro
Market Bistro, Maroochydore
Market Bistro draws its strengths from its delectable European-style cuisine that champions a relaxing dining journey. You’re also in experienced hands – the restaurant is owned and operated by respected industry veterans Luke Stringer and Tony Kelly (Kelly also opened the Stokehouse Restaurant in Brisbane and created the Riceboi brand, among others). Situated in the Maroochydore CBD and open seven days a week, you can expect to find a range of pastas, grilled meats, vegetarian options and fresh local seafood on the menu. Familiar favourites like eggplant parmigiana are elevated with a tomato fondue and mozzarella, while the classic pavlova gets a citrus twist with the addition of lemon curd and a vanilla meringue.
One of the best point of differences about Market Bistro is its Wine Store, where you can walk in, purchase a bottle for retail prices, and then enjoy it with your meal. A small corkage fee does apply, so remember to keep this in mind.
Honeysuckle in Buderim
East-Asian Yumcha gets taken to the next level at Honeysuckle in Buderim, a 13-minute drive from Maroochydore CBD. Order a bottle of crisp white wine to accompany your meal and choose between a vegetarian yum cha banquet, a classic banquet, or select from the mouthwatering a la carte menu. If you opt for a banquet, you certainly won’t leave hungry – your table will be loaded up with pork belly, chicken larb, salmon sashimi, crispy fish and steamed rice... all concluded by a cheesecake flavoured with orange, chilli, cardamom and spiced pastry (classic banquet). Gluten-free dietary requirements are also no problem at Honeysuckle – dishes can be replaced for GF-friendly alternatives as needed.
Be sure to take special note of the dinnerware as you enjoy your meal – it has been exclusively crafted by Australian ceramist Peri Ceramics.
4. Bella Venezia
Bella Venezia, Mooloolaba
Bella Venezia is a Mooloolaba Esplanade establishment, having first opened its doors in 1983. Since then, it has become a local favourite on the Sunshine Coast for Italian cuisine, set amongst a cosy, welcoming atmosphere. Think pizzas, freshly shucked oysters, a range of share plate options, pasta, risotto and more. If you’re a wine connoisseur, you’ll be pleased to know that Bella Venezia offers over 60 different wines by the glass and over 470 wines by the bottle from its extensive list. Becoming a Hatted restaurant is yet another shining accolade the eatery has accumulated over its forty years on the Sunshine Coast: from a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence to the Australian Good Food Guide Reader’s Choice, Bella Venezia is the spot to be hanging out for award-winning fare. Kids don’t miss out, either. With spaghetti bolognaise, mini pizzas, shoestring fries and local Maleny gelato on the menu, there’ll be no complaints from the youngest members of the family!
*Updated due to relocation* Step into the trendy surrounds of Bask – an exciting eatery that’s got the Sunshine Coast talking. Bask recently moved from Eumundi to Peregian and is now open! With both Bask Bakery, AND Bask (Restaurant & Bar) serving up plenty of mouthwatering goodies, we know you'll be spoilt for choice. Check out the offerings here.
6. The Spirit House
Spirit House, Yandina. Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland
Home to the 2023 Australian Professional Chef of the Year, Tom Hitchcock, The Spirit House (just like Bella Venezia) is a beloved fixture of the Sunshine Coast food scene. Comfortably situated amongst lush tropical gardens in the historic rural town of Yandina (around a 20-minute drive from Coolum), The Spirit House is a Thai-inspired sanctuary perfect for dining with a crowd. Meals here are full of moreish flavours – we're talking sweet vinegar braised pork belly, palm-sugar charred squid, and a baked cheesecake with tamarind and ginger jelly and boysenberry sorbet.
Plus, if you’re keen to learn as well as eat, The Spirit House also offers cooking classes (both in-person and online). Just bring yourself – the Spirit House provides the rest!
7. The Long Apron
Nestled in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, The Long Apron at Spicer's Clovelly is a two-hatted restaurant with not only an inviting French charm but a menu to match.
Choose from an an à la carte menu or a degustation menu that changes seasonally and features the freshest local ingredients. We recommend setting aside a long lunch to sit and savour the flavours.