Most of the places we stayed at in Australia had a kitchen, which means we cooked roughly 85% of our food. On the rare occasion we wanted to eat out, Gold Coast offered a lot of great options. We ate in two cities in the Gold Coast: Bangalow and Byron Bay. The Lonely Planet lead us to both towns and promised good eats. It did not disappoint. I say that only because we followed The Lonely Planet’s suggestion in Mooloolaba and it was our least favourite culinary experience – I was too nervous and never ended up eating the food I ordered.
Like in Melbourne, restaurants in Bangalow and Byron Bay just love their sesame! On the one hand, this is great because it narrows the choices when you have too many options. On the other hand, it’s hard to eat like a proper local, hence eating Italian and Mexican food instead of a good old Aussie brekkie.
Eating in Bangalow with food allergies
Don’t be deceived by the size of Bangalow; it’s made up of the main street with one side road, both loaded with charming shops and eateries. I’d describe it as the classy big sister of Byron Bay who has fantastic taste. If you are into Scandinavian design, white linen, and Donna Hay this town is for you.
When we first got to the city we were in desperate need for java. Our first stop was Sparrow coffee. This was probably the best cappuccino I had down under.
We desperately wanted brekkie food. After much deliberation and humming and hawing over the amount of sesame in the two restaurant options, we ended up taking the safer route choosing to eat at The Italian Dinner. I had the carbonara – what I was thinking ordering a dish like this in hot weather I do not know. Needless to say, it was creamy, salty, and overall delicious! My hubby got a pizza, which was seriously made from spicy hipster pizza dreams (gf option available!).
The food was full of subtle, rich flavors with just the right amount of seasoning. The service was not my style, but still good and very allergy friendly. Overall, this dining experience was tasty, if not a little rich. Note to self, don’t eat creamy pasta in hot, humid weather, unless you want to take a food coma induced snooze.
Eating in Byron Bay with food allergies
If you are exploring the Gold Coast, you cannot miss the chill surfer town of Byron Bay. This place is a haven for tourists, hippies, and young folks. It has a spectacular beach, lots of stores, many travel agencies, juice shops, and of course full of good eateries.
We started our visit with fresh coconut water and a stroll down the beach. After a session of wave bashing brought prematurely to an end by a jellyfish sting, we fuelled up on burrito bowls from a local SoCal-Mexican restaurant, OzyMex. OzyMex is a one-off restaurant from the people behind Byron Bay Chilli Co, a hot sauce company. They were great with my allergies, going over all the ingredients and had many top 8 free options. The bowl was a little tiny, but that meant there was space for froyo!
I can’t remember the last time I ate froyo! I was jubilant to indulge in a big bowl of natural and coconut froyo from another Byron Bay native, Yoflo. They use all natural and locally sourced ingredients and have dairy free options.
Byron Bay was one of my favorite cities we visited. It was brimming with life, even on a rainy day. I was also happy to support allergy friendly local eateries. We could have stayed there a couple of more days eating and swimming away merrily.
The two towns we visited on the Gold Coast have many options for food allergy folk. Whenever I consider a restaurant, I always ask them about their ingredients and feel out how they would handle my allergies. Most places I spoke with were aware of food allergies and were up front about whether I would be safe to dine there. My general feeling is if you have a sesame or nut allergy the options are more limited, but if you have a dairy allergy or gluten intolerance most places can accommodate you.
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Kortney is your typical atopic triad! She manages asthma, eczema, environmental and food allergies. Kortney is a co-creator of the online community Allergy Travels and co-host of The Itch Podcast. She wants to spread joy in a community that can easily see the hard side of life with atopic disease and believes that you can have a full life with food allergies, it may just be lived a little differently!