Evans Head – it has great beaches, a wonderful river mouth, and walks – it’s a great spot for a holiday, and given the housing affordability issues in Byron Shire one of our Echo workers even commutes from there. But it doesn’t yet have the café and restaurant scene of, say, Yamba. Dining options include the Evans Kitchen, described by my mate as the best Chinese food within a two hour drive of Mullumbimby (and yes, he did actually order takeaway and drove to collect it from Mullum). We tried it over the school holidays when there was a wait of well over an hour; so not the best test conditions. There is also apparently a good Chinese restaurant at the bowls club.
Of course, there’s the massive riverfront Evans Head RSL, always a safe bet, and the Illawong Hotel, with a great semi-outdoor setting, friendly staff and often live music. Whilst my meal there wasn’t that good when we visited, everyone else liked theirs, so I’d definitely give it another go. We didn’t try the Japanese-Mexican restaurant (Japxican – ‘I started with gyozas followed by nachos’ said one chirpy TripAdvisor review). You can get a good coffee at Vespas on Oak, opposite the massive caravan park, but my favourite place was the Sandpit Café (under the surf club), which had great staff, coffee and food, right on the sand dunes of the main beach. Above it, The Sandbar Restaurant has an even better view and serves cocktails and food – I think this will be the first place I’ll try when I return to Evans Head.