Restaurant Guide

Raes on Wategos: Restaurant review

It's a new chapter at this iconic Byron Bay hotel.


6-8 Marine Parade,
Byron Bay, NSW


Lunch daily noon-5pm
Dinner daily 6pm-10pm


E $23-$32
M $32-$43
D $21-$28
Dégustation $95

Raes has finally arrived as a dining force, a fresh refurb and new chef doing wonders for the restaurant in this storied Byron Bay hotel. The space – all blush, pink and white walls, blond wood and picture windows – capitalises on the beachfront location while avoiding most of the coastal clichés. Service is set to relax mode but never lets up, with the floor crew confidently talking through the Italian-leaning menu and wine list. And although Jason Saxby's flavours are comfortingly familiar, they never fail to surprise: al dente broccolini is dressed with buttery whipped macadamias, briny Appellation-grade oysters from the Northern Rivers or Wooli Wooli River get a citrusy kiss from finger lime and burrata is cut by sweet pickled heirloom zucchini. Not so surprisingly, pasta is elevated to fine-dining standard by Saxby (former head chef of Pilu at Freshwater). Take the umami-rich tagliolini with local bottarga and grilled Ballina king prawn. Or the technique-driven carbonara raviolo hiding a molten egg yolk. The counterpoint to all this lushness? A textural, herbaceous castagnaccio cake with roasted pears and rosemary ice-cream. It's restrained, but also a resounding reminder that Raes is now a contemporary regional diner to be reckoned with.
(02) 6685 5366
Bookings essential
  • Licensed
  • Bar
  • Private room
Accepted card types:
  • American Express
  • Eftpos
  • MasterCard
  • Visa
Jason Saxby
This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.
Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide
Our guide gives a yearly snapshot at the best restaurants to eat at right now. The best-rated restaurants, as judged by the reviewers' first-hand experience, form our national Top 50.