Mooloolaba is home to some of our favourite eats on the Sunshine Coast—whether they’re peppered along the main esplanade overlooking the ocean, tucked away near the Spit, or rewriting the culinary experience at the Wharf precinct.
In Mooloolaba you'll find something for everyone; some of our top foodie finds are transporting your tastebuds to countries all over the globe including Southeast Asia, Italy, Greece, America and the Mediterranean. So whether you’re visiting or a local, here are 14 of the best restaurants in Mooloolaba you should have dined at by now.
If you love modern Asian cuisine, Spice Bar needs to be on your priority list. This stunning restaurant, perched high in Mooloolaba, offers gorgeous ocean views during the day, and at night, exudes a modern luxury making your dining experience something truly special. With a menu designed to share, it allows you to try multiple dishes and really sample the culinary delights of one of the best restaurants in Mooloolaba. Among our favourites are Hervey Bay scallops with soy ginger sabayon, edamame with yuzu salt, and lamb shank red curry. Truly sublime.
Bella Venezia is the big mamma of Italian dining here on the Sunshine Coast, opening in 1983 and recently winning first place in Australia’s ‘Top Everyday Eats’ competition, according to Tripadvisor’s Travellers Choice awards. And while the restaurant has undergone a facelift in the past year, their menu has largely stayed tried and true, just the way we like it. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It’s hard to pick a favourite, with such a lengthy menu, but we can confirm that the slow-cooked beef cheek ragout with hand-cut pappardelle and monnalisa pecorino is a rich and glorious offering, best served with a glass of Shiraz. And the Florence pizza honours its namesake, laden with Italian tomatoes, spinach, sauteed mushrooms, pumpkin, roast capsicum and garlic aioli. It’s no surprise Bella Venezia is rated as one of Mooloolaba’s best restaurants.
Located just a stone’s throw from Mooloolaba’s stunning shoreline, Pavilion Mooloolaba boasts uninterrupted sweeping views of the ocean, balmy sea breezes and an intimate, laid back vibe. The dreamy interior oozes Mediterranean vibes, with terracotta hued feature tiles, creamy white tones and splashes of greenery. The share-style menu is simplistic, yet refined, much like the Pavilion itself. Start with freshly shucked oysters, crispy cauliflower tacos and forest mushroom arancini before moving onto their famous 72-hour fermented base pizzas. As expected, their drinks are divinely to-die-for, with all your favourite classics and a few extra special ones thrown in for good measure. Any drink is immeasurably better when drunk while gazing out at gorgeous sea views, with a cool sea breeze rolling in.
The Dock Mooloolaba
Easily one of the most well known and best-loved restaurants in Mooloolaba, if not the Sunshine Coast, The Dock Mooloolaba commands a prime waterfront spot on The Wharf Mooloolaba. Pull up a chair on the breezy waterfront deck or venture inside into the industrial-chic restaurant with exposed brick walls and pops of greenery. The produce-driven, seasonal menu stays true to Executive Chef Chris Sell's ethos that 'fresh and local is best'. The Dock specialises in slow-cooked and smoked meats, like Berkshire porchetta with black barley and roasted sweet potato, and wood-fired grilled meats like Cape Grim rump with duck fat potatoes and veal glaze. There's also plenty of options for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free friends.
Channelling the essence of a Japanese izakaya dive bar, Rice Boi dishes up the goods when it comes to modern Asian street-style food. If you have a thing for baos then Rice Boi can hook you up with duck, pork or chicken sumo loaded buns. Or, if you’re after a heartier dish, you can’t pass up their chicken karaage ramen in roast chicken broth with baby corn, egg, nori, spring onion, bamboo and naruto. Given that Rice Boi is undeniably one of the best restaurants in Mooloolaba and super popular among the locals, the opening of Rice Boi ‘Upstairs’ has been a welcome addition. Open Thursday to Sunday, this second-storey bar offers the full menu, as well as delicious cocktails and wine, live music and a wicked view of the Mooloolah River.
Spero at The Wharf is brainchild of Sunshine Coast restaurateur Tony Kelly, who has delivered a string of highly successful local restaurants over the years. This time he has teamed up with chef Mitch Smith and restaurant manager Elyza Molloy, previously at sister restaurant Rice Boi, to bring you a Greek offering plucked straight out of Greece. You can expect to find calamari, lamb moussaka, gyros, pork belly baklava and spanakopita on the menu, as well as introducing other delicious dishes, including confit lamb shoulder with a pomegranate glaze, tzatziki, lemon potatoes and olive oil. While the food is guaranteed delight, the decor is also certainly easy on the eye, with a show-stopping tiled bar laden with potted plants.
Prawn Star Mooloolaba
This restored fishing trawler provides a truly unique experience, where you can enjoy fresh, locally caught seafood cooked onboard a bespoke timber fishing trawler. Located in the bustling foodie hub of The Wharf Mooloolaba, Prawn Star Mooloolaba serves only the best of wild-caught Australian seafood, and trust us when we say it's some of the finest ocean treasures we have ever tasted. Dive into sea delights like crayfish, bugs, oysters and tiger prawns or treat yourself with one of their divine sharing platters, which showcase the best of our local seafood. If you’re after seafood on the go, you can order ahead and take away your sumptuous seafood, but we do highly recommend taking a seat at the bespoke dining experience, or you’ll be seriously missing out.
Craving the depth of flavour that only a wood-fired oven can provide? Pay a visit to our friends at Il Vento—they’re one of the incredibly ccool restaurants killing it at the Wharf precinct. Keep it simple with their authentic wood-fired margherita pizza, chow down on their wood-fired focaccia with mozarella, garlic and parsley or our personal favourite is the linguine con gamberetti with wild-caught prawns. Once done stuffing your face, if there’s still room for dessert, you must devour their signature cannoli with ricotta, pistachio and honey. Hands down, one of the best restaurants in Mooloolaba.
Pier 33 is the epitome of laidback luxe, with its Hamptons-inspired decor complementing the stunning Mooloolaba Marina. With a range of dining locations available, you can sit down and enjoy a meal in the restaurant, or find a spot on the lush lawn or outdoor settings and order snacks, signature cocktails and seasonally curated wines from their panoramic island bar. Regardless which menu you order from, fresh seafood is always the star here—particularly the oysters, which you can enjoy a la natural or dressed with flavours of sesame and soy, pickled ginger and cucumber. If you’re looking for one of the best restaurants in Mooloolaba for a special occasion, this might just be the spot.
Sakana Sushi Bar
The most highly rated sushi restaurant in Mooloolaba, we couldn't possibly write about the best restaurants in Mooloolaba without including Sakana Sushi Bar. Unassuming and tucked discreetly into the side of its sister restaurant Fish on Parkyn, Sakana is a Mooloolaba institution for a reason. Dive into the fresh sashimi, nigiri sushi, futomaki and assortment of other traditional Japanese dishes, which use high quality seafood from the docks straight behind Sakana and are designed to be shared with great company.
This refined over-water restaurant is all class and sophistication is emulated in every aspect of See Restaurant. Chef Antonio Puelma has a strong focus on serving fresh seafood with Chilean influences and the extensive menu is every bit as delicious as it sounds. We're talking about delights like coconut-crumbed Mooloolaba king prawns with Peruvian salsa, duck breast scallopini with chestnut and Congo potato puree, and whole puttanesca baked snapper with creamy polenta and rich tomato sugo. See Restaurant is easily one of the best restaurants in Mooloolaba, if not the Sunshine Coast.
It can be a challenge to find authentic Vietnamese on the Sunshine Coast, but the team at Nouc Cham are the good folks filling the pho-sized hole in our stomach. This authentic Vietnamese restaurant boasts an extensive menu that will transport you right to the bustling streets of Hanoi. Start small with wagyu beef la lot skewers, soft shell crab rice paper rolls and kingfish sashimi before moving onto share-style meals like roast pumpkin and tempura snake bean rendang curry and mandarin slow-cooked duck legs. Plant-based friends are well-catered at Nouc Cham for with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options.
Born from a love of the American southern culture of slow-cooked soul food shared with the ones you love, Dirty Moes delivers unpretentious eats on the daily and is easily one of the best restaurants in Mooloolaba. So it’s no surprise you can come to expect ‘Low 'n' Slow’ platters of succulent, fall-off-the-bone meat. Wash it down with a glass of hand-crafted beer, whiskey or their famous sticky date espresso martini. Wednesday night is brisket night at Dirty Moes and every Thursday, they bring out the big guns with an epic selection of burgers.
There's something about various vegetables, meats and rice balls flying through the air that makes teppanyaki so appealing. Bring out your inner child (and practice your catching skills) at this highly entertaining teppanyaki joint in Mooloolaba. Kinnho Teppanyaki is, hands down, one of the best teppanyaki spots on the Sunshine Coast and boasts an array of set teppanyaki courses, in addition to appetizers and banquet menus.
Looking for more delicious eats? Grab your chopsticks and check out the best Japanese restaurants on the Sunshine Coast.
Image credit: Amy Higg for Urban List