Discovering Australia's hidden gems

Ballina Gallery Café – Local Art and Food with Heart.


A  Sunday morning social gathering in the Northern Rivers: meeting new friends, admiring local art, and discovering the culinary and aesthetic delights of the Ballina Gallery Café!

This delightful Café and Art Gallery form part of a heritage listed building which was constructed during the 1920’s in the Northern Rivers coastal town of Ballina. The large, high ceiling rooms adapt perfectly for a gallery, and provide an open, spacious feeling inside the café, with an abundance of natural light streaming in from the open-air verandah.

The weather decided to bestow ‘liquid sunshine’ on us this morning, so we chose the roomy indoor table for our group. Despite the intermittent deluges, the alfresco verandah dining was still a popular option and every table was full.

Our young waiter made an especially strong impression on me with his friendly, cheerful manner, and I found the overall service to be extremely attentive and efficient. We felt very ‘looked after’ even though the café was extremely busy, and appreciated the service with a smile!

I was also impressed with my coffee. In a region renowned for its high quality coffees, this one was definitely up there.

The menu is seasonal and varies according to the freshest produce available. It was extensive and a pleasure to peruse; making the ‘task’ of choosing from many tempting dishes a joyful, albeit difficult activity.

After much delightful deliberation I decided on the grilled sweet potato and pumpkin in herbed hash cakes with red quinoa, avocado, fetta and grilled zucchini salad with two poached eggs. I was not disappointed.


Other dishes that adorned our table included buckwheat pancakes with baked maple pears, fresh ricotta and hazelnut praline; and roasted button mushrooms with garlic and herbs, roasted cherry tomatoes, goat’s cheese and roasted almonds on toasted sourdough. We were all thoroughly impressed.



In the relaxed and casual atmosphere we felt comfortable to linger longer, and enjoyed a second round of coffees while we got to know each other better.

Still not ready to leave, we leisurely wandered through the art gallery and marvelled at the creative genius of several local artists. The exhibitions change regularly and usually run for one month.

We enjoyed our morning so much that we decided to regather for the next exhibition. And combine it with a meal from the fabulous café of course!

The café is open for breakfast and lunch Wednesday to Sunday from 730am.

46 Cherry Street Ballina

Phone: (02) 6681 3888



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