Treat your tastebuds to the thriving Maroochydore restaurant and Mooloolaba restaurant scene on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Here’s where to eat in Mooloolaba with some intriguing Buderim restaurants also to discover. Get ready to be delighted with these irresistible dining destinations that will satisfy your cravings for the freshest farmed and fished produce.

Where are Maroochydore, Buderim and Mooloolaba?

Maroochydore, Buderim, and Mooloolaba are vibrant coastal communities situated on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, renowned for their stunning beaches, lush hinterland, and relaxed lifestyle. Maroochydore, often considered the heart of the Sunshine Coast, boasts a bustling central business district alongside picturesque riverfronts and pristine beaches. Buderim, nestled inland, offers breathtaking views of the coastline from its elevated position in the hinterland, characterized by its lush greenery and charming village atmosphere. Mooloolaba, located south of Maroochydore, is famed for its iconic beachfront esplanade, vibrant dining scene, and world-class surfing spots. All three locales are easily accessible from Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, with a convenient drive of around 1.5 to 2 hours north along the Bruce Highway, making them popular weekend getaway destinations for both locals and tourists seeking sun, surf, and relaxation. Heading further north? Try these Noosa restaurants while you are there.

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Must-try Maroochydore Restaurants

The Rickshaw Restaurant & Bar

The Sunshine Coast has a reputation for its Asian fusion gastronomy, exemplified by culinary destinations such as Sum Yung Guys, Rice Boi, The Tamarind, and Spirit House, all solidifying the region’s culinary importance. The latest entrant to this esteemed group is The Rickshaw Restaurant & Bar, situated along the picturesque Maroochy River. With enticing offerings like Crying Tiger Beef Tartare, Chinese 5 Spice Char-Grilled Chicken, and delectable Kombu Bugs, it comes as no surprise that discerning food enthusiasts are eagerly vying for a coveted seat at this epicurean haven.

NOTE: Rickshaw is closed for renovations. 

Lilianna’s Trattoria

Also in Ocean Street and inspired by Nonna Liliana, Lilianna’s Trattoria serves up the classic homestyle Italian dishes beloved by generations.

scallops at Giddy Geisha Maroochydore restaurant

Dining at Giddy Geisha. Photo: Kerry Heaney

Giddy Geisha

Well-known chef, Tony Kelly, is one of the prime movers behind this reboot and has several restaurants under his banner, some located in the new Maroochydore City Centre.  Giddy Geisha was buzzing when we visited for lunch on a Monday. Giddy Geisha is a particularly apt name as the cuisine bounces and borrows right across a comprehensive list of Asian favourites.  The menu is an exciting mix of street food classics and modern Asian twists, and it’s flexible. The staff were happy to accommodate a request for less spice for one diner, and there’s a gluten-free and a vegan menu. The funky urban grunge decor with street art and banners reminds me of dining in an Asian food market with an open kitchen so you can see the chefs in action. The head chef is Alejandro Soto, who is also in charge of Rice Boi in Mooloolaba.

We ate 10-hour braised tender lamb rendang lamb in a creamy spiced young coconut sauce and baked Hervey bay scallops in their shell topped with shiso and doused in umami butter. There were crisp prawns and unctuous pork belly bites with finely shredded papaya and charred pineapple, Coconut beef spring rolls with coconut galangal mayo and soft Szechuan duck buns atop a tangy carrot ginger sauce and xo crumbs. Giddy Geisha is open every day from 11.30 am to 9 pm, which makes for very convenient dining. They also do takeaway.

Dining at Giddy Geisha

seating at Giddy Geisha
Maroochydore restaurants Giddy Geisha interior
Market Bistro, Maroochydore Restaurant

Truffled gnocchi was a knock out at Market Bistro

Market Bistro

Next door to Giddy Geisha in the new Maroochydore CBD is the upscale Market Bistro. When it comes to Maroochydore restaurants, this one is much loved by locals for its house-made pasta, wide selection of dry-aged meats and export quality local seafood. It is styled as a quintessential European style bistro, and looking around the buzzing space, I’m getting classic New York vibes from the Art Deco curves, white marble and wood detailing.

The restaurant is owned and operated by hospitality veterans Tony Kelly, Luke Stringer and Peter Marchant, and it shows from the moment you step in the door. There’s a good selection of house-made pasta, dry-aged meats and some export-quality local seafood, with Mooloolaba prawns a favourite. Their wood-fired grill imparts a distinct flavour to signature dishes like the char-grilled calamari that oozes lemony flavours.   The ravioli is silky smooth with a cheesy sauce that I can’t get enough of because it’s so delicious. I’ve chosen the truffle option, and there is a generous shaving over the top.

Our dessert, a Bread and butter pudding, is a cross between thick, soft white bread and a moist doughnut. Deep fried to give a crisp exterior, it comes with passion fruit curd sauce and cream to drizzle over the top.

Best tip: Grab their lunch special available Monday to Friday with an entree and main and a glass of wine for $45.

Bottarga Restaurant

Also in Maroochydore’s new CBD, expect amazing Italian dishes, handmade pasta, pizza, line caught fish, and a carefully selected wine menu that includes selections from Italy and other international favourites at Bottarga.

The Rooftop Bar

Positioned seven stories above the ground in Maroochydore Road, The Rooftop Bar has a bespoke menu designed to be the perfect accompaniment for cocktails and cool breezes. Filled with coastal delights, it is ideal for sharing or snacking.


Perched at the top of The Kontiki building in the heart of the new Maroochydore CBD, Circa is a relaxed mix of a rooftop bar, lounge and restaurant. Expect fine food, exquisite cocktails, and a champagne menu unmatched on the Sunshine Coast. Inspired by the decadence of the 1920s, the opulent booths offer 180-degree views of the Sunshine Coast Ocean and Hinterland.

Quail dish at Market Bistro.

Market Bistro Maroochydore
The Boat House, Cotton Tree

The Boat Shed, Cotton Tree

There’s nothing new about The Boat Shed at Cotton Tree.  It’s been in this enviable position at the mouth of the sparkling Maroochy River for as long as I can remember. This fantastic location on the banks under the shade of a sprawling Cotton Tree matches the contemporary Australian cuisine.  This is where I take my mother for lunch as the parking and access are easy.

Where to eat in Mooloolaba

Mooloolaba is a very popular tourist destination with a good selection of restaurants and bars.  Here’s where to eat in Mooloolaba.


Shot Coffee Mooloolaba

Mooloolaba  Shot House Coffee

Shot House Artisan Coffee

How far will you go for your perfect coffee? You have to cross the road to find the best coffee in Mooloolaba. Located underneath one of the last remaining Queenslander houses on the Mooloolaba Esplanade, Shot House Brew Bar is not in the main tourist strip. You’ll have to cross busy Venning Street to get there, but it’s well worth the extra few minutes walk for a cup of their excellent coffee made from ethically sourced beans from Cooroy Coffee Roasters. I’m a small cappuccino and K2 is a double shot flat white. What’s your order?

Wat Den Bar, Mooloolaba

Wat Bar Mooloolaba
Cocktails at Wat Bar Mooloolaba

Cocktails at Wat Den Bar, Mooloolaba

Wat Den Bar

Wat Den is a dark, mysterious cocktail bar cavern on the main esplanade strip at Mooloolaba. Head inside to find a seat at the moody bar or choose light and sit outdoors to enjoy sea glimpses. The cocktail menu is long and a little daunting, so I had a chat with the bartender, and that solved all my problems. He was able to suggest a cocktail and it was just perfect. “If you’re not into yoga”, is sweet, fragrant, and luscious. It’s a clarified cocktail concoction of plantation white rum, Blanco, tequila, pineapple, lime, and coconut foam with mysterious additions such as falernium, rooster and roger. Damn, it tastes good!
K2 had a twist on his favourite Negroni and he says it’s one of the best he’s ever had. @wat_den_bar specialise in whiskey and tequila and has agave flights if you are looking for something different.
Don’t expect substantial food here as it’s all about nibbles The menu includes treats like salted chilli, macadamias, lemon and garlic, Sicilian, olives, and an impressive range of cocoa pod, chocolate and milk chocolate raspberry jellies.  I rate it five stars. Put Watt Den on your list!

Prawn Roll, Pavillion Mooloolaba

Where to eat in Mooloolaba – Pavilion’s Prawn Roll.

Pavilion Mooloolaba

Forget bug rolls! At Mooloolaba, it’s all about using premium Mooloolaba prawns for their soft milk bun rolls. I was hoping for whole prawns but they are chopped into a mix for this combo. I found it at @pavilionmooloolaba where the beach views are a magnet for easy afternoon drinks. Their menu is all about sharing so take your bestie along to sample a fun night out in Mooloolaba. It’s popular, so don’t forget to book ahead.

See Restaurant

It’s as close to the water as you’ll get in Mooloolaba, with an overwater table at See Restaurant at Mooloolaba Wharf.  The menu is Modern Australian, with a focus on fresh seafood sourced straight from the trawlers that pull up in this safe harbour. And what a view it is, looking straight out across the water towards the canals of the Mooloola River. I dined on their BBQ Seafood Tasting Plate, which came laden with calamari, corn, king prawns, scallops and salmon, all expertly skewered and cooked over a hot barbecue plate. Delish!

See’s Seafood Tasting Platter

Mooloolaba Restaurant See
Rice Boi

Enjoying dinner at Rice Boi. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

Rice Boi

Home to Rice Boi, The Wharf has gone from a run-down shopping centre to the epicentre of relaxed and innovative dining. The modern Asian street food here is highly rated, and it’s no surprise this is another Tony Kelly Maroochydore restaurant venture. The décor is grungy and innovative with a Japanese Izakaya feel and lush water views. Must-tries include dumplings, bao, epic curries and a cold beer.

Deck Cafe, Mooloola River Fisheries

When you can see the trawlers sitting outside tied up on the wharf, you know your prawns will be the freshest around.  You’ll find that at The Deck, upstairs at the Mooloola River Fisheries.  It’s casual dining serving the same fresh, wild-caught seafood you can buy downstairs.  The menu includes all your favourites, including fish burgers, salads with local tuna and fish fresh from the filleters downstairs. In a rush? Their take aways are awesome and you can eat them in the park opposite or on the beach with sand between your toes.  Make sure you include a potato scallop! TIP: Try to hot and cold seafood tier for a fish out!

Fresh prawns at Deck Cafe, a prime Mooloolaba restaurant for seafood

Mooloolaba Fish Market, Mooloolaba restaurant

The Boat Shed restaurant at Cotton Tree.  Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Prawn Star Mooloolaba

Prawn Star Mooloolabah has opened on The Wharf Mooloolabah on Parkyn Parade with two restored fishing trawlers. The trawlers are open for dining every day from 11 am to 9 pm serving up fresh local seafood. I have dined at Prawn Star in Cairns and I loved their salmon sashimi, prawns and oysters.  You can buy their seafood as platters or just cut to the chase with a large serving of your favourite bugs, crayfish, oysters or prawns.  It’s a great place for groups of seafood lovers, not so great if you don’t eat seafood as there are no alternatives.

Kenilworth Bakery Mooloolaba

This is not a Mooloolaba restaurant, but you need to know about the Kenilworth Bakery at Mooloolaba. This place has everything from one-kilo doughnuts to artisan pies and dog treats.  An offshoot from the famous Kenilworth Country Bakery established in Kennilworth in 1924, and there is a #1KGDONUT CHALLENGE that is so popular you really should order it ahead.  Find it at The Wharf, Mooloolaba.

Flo’s Creperie Mooloolaba

Dishing up a little bit of France, family-friendly Flo’s Creperie is new at The Wharf in Mooloolaba.  Try the savoury and sweet crepes but don’t miss the cocktail menu which rivals any inner-city bar.

Velo Project Mooloolaba

The Velo Project has a rear courtyard.

Velo Project

You’ll need to hunt down this cafe in the back streets of Mooloolaba, but I guarantee it will be worth it.  It’s always busy when I arrive but we usually can find a spot.  On my last visit I discovered they have a large rear courtyard, so don’t let a full front of house put you off.  The food here is full of fresh, authentic flavours and portions are generous.  Velo Project

Breakfast burger at the Velo Project

Breakfast Burger, Velo Project Mooloolaba
Honeysuckle Restaurant Buderim

Dining at Honeysuckle, a must-try Buderim Restaurant.

Buderim Restaurants to try

Just up on the hill behind Maroochydore and Mooloolaba, is the quieter centre of Buderim where you will also find some excellent dining.

Honeysuckle Restaurant

If you are looking for yum cha, this is the place to go.  Qantas Magazine says it’s the best on the Sunshine Coast, and I’m not going to argue with them.  The menu marries together Asian flavours and local seasonal produce very well, with a range of classic dishes.  You’ll find all your favourites on the many, from Pad Thai and Lamb Katsu to KFC (Korean Fried Chicken). The desserts are not to be missed either. Everything is beautifully presented, enhanced by thoughtful plate ware from local Peri Ceramics. TIP: The $58 Banquet Menu is very good value.

Harry’s on Buderim

Only a 10-minute drive from Maroochydore, Harry’s on Buderim can’t be beaten when you are looking for a great dinner. This iconic restaurant is positioned on the edge of the Buderim Forest Park and enjoys a tropical outlook. The restaurant offers contemporary Australian cuisine in a 141-year-old heritage-style homestead.

Dee Den, Buderim

Fresh aromatic flavours and a playful blend of spices in dishes designed to share is the food you’ll find at Dee Den.  Loosely translated in Thai, it means the odd one out, which means the food here will always be a little different and never boring! Dee Den is located in an old Queenslander in Buderim’s main Burnett Street, next to Buderim Tavern.  This modern Asian restaurant has a bar and dining inside and on the deck.  I particularly like their well-thought-out menu guide, which helps you work out how many dishes you might need with seafood, pescatarian, vegetarian and plant-based options. It also includes date night conversation starters such as “Would you rather the aliens that make first contact be robotic or organic?”.

Cameron Matthews and Kerry Heaney

Further Afield

Mapleton Pub

Hop in your car and head to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland to dine at Mapleton Pub. It’s a stunning combination of one of the coast’s loved hatted chefs, Cameron Matthews, and produce from The Falls Farm. This food match made in heaven will see you eating at a 133-year-old pub and enjoying produce picked fresh from just down the road. Expect pub classics like chicken schnitzel, fish of the day, and prime ribs along with share plates of wood-roasted octopus and beef tartare.  It’s a gastronomic delight in a pub setting.

This is not your average pub meal and not your average chef. Cameron Matthews @cameron__matthews is a creative genius in the kitchen and he’s created his perfect match at Mapleton Public House. Here the focus is on the farm’s fresh organic produce picked daily at The Falls Farm @thefallsfarm , just a five-minute drive away. With a view to match the food, Mapleton Public House destination dining at its best. If you are just looking for something simple, there’s a menu for that too.

Mapleton is a charming town nestled in the heart of the hinterland on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. With its picturesque landscapes and friendly community, it offers a peaceful and serene environment for residents and visitors alike. Mapleton also boasts a rich history, with well-preserved architecture and historic landmarks. Local shops and cafes add to the town’s charm.

Mapleton Pub view
Mapleton Pub Bar