You couldn’t get a better position for a restaurant in Byron than Raes, and it’s particularly good in summer when the tables are open to the breeze and you can feel as well as see the surf, sand, and rocks below the lighthouse at Wategos. Perhaps it’s the rocky cove, or the white-walled Tuscan villa look, but I always feel like there’s an old-school, almost European, elegance to dining at Raes that inspires me to make the most of the good times in life with family and friends.
Melbourne diners, who have the opportunity to be discerning about where they eat, will feel comfortable with world-class head chef Jason Barrett, who worked at Circa, Stokehouse, then in a senior role at Attica before opening his iconic cool Hector’s Place in Richmond.
‘My cooking style comes from all three of these restaurants, and is best described as simple and classic yet refined, creative and produce driven. I believe food needs to be fun, not overworked and over-pretentious… but most importantly it just needs to taste good,’ says Jason.
His food is accessible to locals, with an easy-to-understand menu that over-delivers on execution, and makes the most of the beachside location with a decidedly Mediterranean lean where seafood takes centre stage. However, unsurprisingly perhaps with such a modern chef, the vegan menu options (advise dietary requirements at booking) are of the same high standard, ensuring that vegetarians like myself are also included in the good times.
Whiling the afternoon away with a long lunch on the patio, or a special balmy night dinner, has always been one of the joys of Raes, the dining space became more stylish last year with the second round of renovations that also included a complete kitchen upgrade, and the replacement of the old cellar with a bar.
The new Raes Cellar Bar has a unique oyster and sashimi menu alongside gelato, Champagne Perrier-Jouët and a selection of cocktails: it’s a relaxed space where guests and barefoot beachgoers can enjoy an afternoon drink and some of the region’s finest seafood. It complements the Raes Dining Room space, and between them they offer a range of private dining spaces perfect for weddings and functions, as well as simply enjoying your life.
Raes Dining Room and Cellar Bar
Open: Lunch and dinner 7 days a week
raes.com.au or 6685 5366