Australia

The best cafes in Bundaberg

When we first visited Bundaberg I was surprised by the fabulous foodie culture we found here. Now on a repeat visit with more time to spend in the region we’ve set out to discover our own definitive list of the best cafes in Bundaberg.

Situated in the midst of one of Australia most diverse and prolific food bowls it really should be no surprise that this town has created and drawn back home more than its fair share of excellent chefs, cooks and craft producers. So if you’re wondering where to eat in Bundaberg we have some fabulous choices that really showcase local produce and you won’t want to miss these.

These cafes have put themselves firmly ‘on the map’ but in case you are new to the area, or looking to plan your road trip based on your next meal as we have been known to do I’ll include our own map below with some must-visit spots for the visiting foodie, or hungry family.

Our favourite Bundaberg Cafes

Water Street Kitchen

The Water Street Kitchen cafe and catered dining room are run by Alex and Jen. When I first visited in July 2017 it was one of the newer additions to the Bundy food scene but they started strong and after our recent return visit, I’m pleased to say they have gone from strength to strength.  

This sand crab lasagne is absolutely delicious. It might look like a very generous serving of crustacean sauce it’s sitting in but believe me you won’t want to leave even a smear on your plate, and is a parmesan chip a little OTT on such a decadent meal, well probably but I’m still not sharing. Drew’s katsu chicken burger on a brioche bun with aioli and fries did look a more mainstream option but I’m guessing the magic is all in the marinading of the chicken to make it so incredibly tender and juicy inside its crispy coating.

Water Street Cafe Bundaberg - That crab lasagne is perfection

Jen’s style and aesthetic are evident in the beautiful decor and decorative touches throughout and Alex’s experience as a chef, his enthusiasm for the local produce and a strong grounding in balancing nutrition, flavour and presentation will have them in demand for a long time to come.

It also doesn’t hurt that they’re an adorable, engaging couple with a clear passion for their foodie venture.  They always feature strongly in the lineup for the Taste Bundaberg Festival and its predecessor Winterfeast.  I can’t wait to get back and see what they are doing a little further down the track.

Water Street Kitchen

The Water Street Kitchen is located in a converted house on the corner of a suburban street in Bundaberg South. With indoor tables, seating on the sunny deck and casual garden tables it’s an inviting space to linger over lunch, celebrate that special dinner or catch up with friends for a weekend brunch.

Address:  85 Water St, Walkervale QLD 4670

Indulge Cafe

Ask the locals one place you must try while in Bundaberg and they will send you here.  It’s an adorable heritage styled cafe tucked away in the midst of town. You might have walked right past if you didn’t know that you shouldn’t.  

It’s owned and run by Mitchell White, a young chef who could be the poster boy for the locavore movement in Bundaberg, he absolutely lives, cooks and breathes the philosophy of knowing where the ingredients came from and who grew them.

Indulge blueberry pancake
Fabulous and fresh breakfast at Indulge Cafe

It’s much more than that though, he creates magic with the ingredients both in the flavour profiles and presentation.  We had brunch at the cafe and also attended a 5-course garden party he and his team catered at Fairymead House for WinterFeast 2017.  Honestly, this man can’t produce a bad dish.

Sunday Soiree by Indulge Cafe
Sunday Soiree by Indulge Cafe
Sunday Soiree dessert by Indulge Cafe

Address:  80 Bourbong St, Bundaberg Central QLD 4670

The Journey

It’s not often I’ll call out a coffee shop amongst my favourite cafes in a destination, it’s not easy to build a reputation on great coffee alone but these guys really do warrant a mention, and a stop when you are next in Bargara.

There’s only a small seated area indoors and bar table around the side but we were planning to take ours down to sit at the bar table in the park overlooking Bargara beach for the best views in town. I ordered a flat white (the Kiwi coffee order is here to stay) and Drew got his usual long black with a splash of milk. Both were smooth and full of flavour with a long tail but no hint of bitterness – for me pretty much coffee perfection.

While owner Mat is an ultra trail running vegan there is no judgement on what milk you choose, they have full cream Mooloo Mountain, a Queensland farmers milk from around the Gympie region I believe if that’s your preference and Zymil for the lactose intolerant but there is also a full spectrum of quality plant based choices.

I did do a second take on their milk pricing though, having become accustomed over the years to paying a hefty premium on every cup for the privilege of being allowed to have plant-based it did not go unnoticed that they actually gave a discount! That was definitely a first.

The coffee is also locally sourced from Kai, a fair-trade coffee roaster on the Sunshine Coast who in turn do their bit to support both the growers and children living in poverty.

Address: 13B Centre Point, 5 Bauer Street Bargara. QLD 4670

Grunskes by the River

Grunskes is another Bundy icon and on my must visit list whether you choose to stop by for lunch or dinner on the river, or to pick up some fresh fish and seafood to cook back at your own accommodation. It’s rare now to find a seafood processor who sells directly to the public but at Grunskes there’s a team who’s job it is ensure a constant supply of shucked scallops, filleted fish and prepared seafood direct from the boats is available for distribution to retail customers and through the restaurant.  That’s a big job as this place is super popular for good reason.

Grunskes by the River, Bundaberg

Owners Paul and Beryl know the industry inside out having been involved in commercial fishing and running prawn trawlers for over 40 years.  They are passionate supporters of the industry and promoters of wild caught Australian seafood.  You’ll find the vibe here is relaxed and casual situated right on the river front.  

You just won’t get fresher, more delicious seafood than this.  Although you’re able to take away both a cooked meal or wet fish, I highly recommend that you grab a table on the deck at least once during your stay to enjoy the full experience of exceptional local seafood together with the view by day or the peaceful evening air.

Address:  11E Petersen Street, Bundaberg East QLD 4670

Breeze Cafe and Bakery

Skye runs Breeze Cafe alongside Mum (Gudrun) and Dad (Richard) together with some local help.  They make a formidable team producing all their preservative-free bread and baked goods on the premise including my favourite, Richards special ginger beer cultured sourdough.  

Breeze cafe and bakery

They cater for all dietary requirements with a solid range of gluten-free and vegan options, raw cakes and had no problem with recommending a rice milk alternative for me with the cold drip coffee.  Incidentally if you’re not a cold drip convert already you need to try it here, they make it on-premises and it has an incredibly smooth flavour with a solid hit of wake-me-up caffeine.

The cafe is a great space to relax while the menu is full of familiar favourites crafted with their own special touch.  Local and home made is their specialty with many ingredients coming from ‘just up the road’ or the herb, chili and passionfruit patch out back.  Even the vast amount of flour that goes into each days bread supply is milled in central Queensland.

Breeze are open 7 days from 8am until 2pm and their location in Innes Park make them a good stop to incorporate on a drive down to explore the southern reaches.  Perhaps some snorkelling at Barolin Rocks or the white sand and river mouth at Elliot Heads.

Address:  Innes Park Rd, Innes Park QLD 4670

Windmill Cafe, Bargara

Finally I have to give a mention to Windmill Cafe in Bargara. This one is very easy to find by it’s distinctive namesake design just a block back from the beach.

The Windmill Bargara

They offer a range of healthy meal options again with a focus on local produce but their range of Nana’s Pantry Gelatos are what many seek out here. The traditional Italian style gelati are made daily in Bundaberg using fresh fruit sourced from local farms.

Address: 12 See St, Bargara QLD

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