For one of the best restaurants in Noosa, Locale is not what you’d imagine.
There are no white walls, no beach scenes playing out before your eyes, no colourful textiles. In fact, Locale is the opposite of what’s heralded as “dining out Noosa-style”. And that’s just one of the reasons we love it!
You’d be forgiven for not knowing exactly where this Locale place is. You’d also be forgiven for pronouncing it wrong. No, it’s not lo-carl (aka the fancy schmancy version of local), it’s actually lo-ca-lay. (No need to be embarrassed, we’re all friends here, plus we had it wrong for a while there too!)
With a dark, sophisticated and sexy interior, Locale is tucked in a prime position down the quieter, national park end of Hastings Street. So it’s possible that you may have never actually walked passed it—hey, Massimo’s sits across the road and we all know the pulling strength of gelato—or didn’t click that there was actually a restaurant hidden behind the masculine façade.
Alternatively, you could be like us, regulars, who know they’re onto a good thing when they find it. And Locale, is just one of those places you can’t help but recommend.
Beyond its almost-modernist interior, where hints of timber are balanced by floor to ceiling glass windows that look out to a lush garden scene, Locale is first and foremost an Italian restaurant and sleek wine bar.
It’s accommodating too. With a spacious, dimly lit formal dining area for those special occasions or romantic nights out, a lounge area to sip on cocktails, and a terrace, that feels more like a secret sanctuary than just a breath away from the Hastings Street pathway.
Food is taken very seriously at Locale, and dishes are split across four menus—lunch, dinner, at the bar, and desserts.
Pull up a stool under the soft glow of a pendant light or get cosy on the sofas and graze on cicchetti—our not-be-missed picks include the baked pumpkin, sweet potato and buffalo ricotta gnocchi and the pork and veal meatballs in an heirloom tomato sauce. Wash it all down with a refreshing Hugo Spritz—St Germain, mint, fresh green apple, elderflower cordial, Prosecco and soda—or a Salted Caramel Martini. Mmmm!
If you prefer le pizze, then don’t go past the wood-fired magic that happens at Locale. La Signora with tomato, buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto San Daniele and rocket is one of the most authentic pizzas we’ve devoured outside of Italy.
Dinner at Locale is an event not to be missed, complete with stunning white linen covered tables and comfy captain’s-style chairs. If you’re perusing the Antipasti, order the Trota, granchio—you’ll be served a bed of impeccably cured Petuna ocean trout topped with a Fraser Island spanner crab, apple, fennel, and radish mix, and then finished with salmon roe. Delish!
The Prima Piatti section in the menu is where pasta patiently awaits hungry eyes. With five house made options to choose from, after first fork swivel it’ll become obvious that you’ll need to return at least four more times to try the others.
If a three or more course meal is right up your alley then for the mains we highly recommend the artfully plated Agnello—herb-crusted Gippsland lamb rack, baby beets, eschallots, smoked yoghurt and watercress.
Because we’re devout believers of the dessert stomach, it’d be criminal not to saunter around the sweet list. We won’t point you in any direction because there’s just too many ways you can go, but if ever there were a place to tempt taste buds with a new flavor and put your trust in a chef, it’s at Locale.
With its peaceful setting and gentle ambience, Locale is actually more of a local spot than somewhere that’s pounded by tourists at all hours. Combine its high-end yet casual atmosphere with authentic Italian, a killer drinks list and staff that are extremely knowledgeable, helpful and friendly (a threesome which we’re totally into), and it’s pretty obvious that if you haven’t already, then you need to get your food-loving self to Locale. Stat!
Where: 62 Hastings Street, Noosa Heads
Contact: 07 5447 5111
Image Credit: Daniel Hine