The state’s most famous island promises stunning vistas, clear-blue waters and cute marsupials, but there’s plenty to discover on the food front too. Whether it’s for a day-trip, or a weeklong getaway, here’s our updated guide to where to drink and dine after you hop off the ferry. 

Aaaaaaaah. That’s the first sound you’ll hear on Rottnest Island as holiday makers and day trippers step off the ferry and feel their shoulders immediately sink down with a collective sigh of relaxation. Next is the aark! aark! of the island’s terns and gulls as they squabble over chips and squid rings from plates at the island’s most popular watering holes.

From the legendary relaxed bakery to the upmarket Lontara at Samphire Rottnest, part of the revamped and extended hotel. From top to bottom, the quality means there’s often little left on the plates for the birds to squabble over, with plenty of discovery in between. 

The Mezz 

A new addition to the island situated just at the end of the main jetty and home to a damn fine Spicy Margarita, this pop-up venue is a summer addition to nearby Frankie’s family. There’s snacks, dip platters and a solid cocktail list, and the vibes are super casual, so bathers and footwear are all you need to fit right in.

1 Henderson Ave, Rottnest Island,


Rusted-on Rotto-lovers with memories of hot and sweaty beer-soaked afternoons at the Quokka Arms are in for quite the shock at the sophistication of this island-inspired restaurant that’s part of the extension and refurbishment of the old Governor’s residence now known as Samphire Rottnest. 

The menu, which is overseen by WA industry legend and chef Russell Blaikie, has just seen a recent evolution with the ongoing $79 three-course feast is still bang on for value. Expect the likes of soft-shell crab karaage with jalapeño ponzu dipping sauce, or wagyu beef tartare with betel leaves and smoked-eel mayonnaise. Mains extend to luxe Malaccan black pepper rock lobster with curry leaves, or Angus beef rib with coconut vinegar and palm sugar, both generous enough that you might be riding home with extras.

And of course it’s hard to dampen the joy of sitting poolside in such an elegant setting while looking over Thomson Bay with a Negroni in hand. Lontara breaks for the winter, but in peak season be sure to book well ahead or risk missing out on a stunning ginger and coconut panna cotta for dessert, premium wines and all the rest.

1 Bedford Avenue, Rottnest Island,

Isola Bar e Cibo

Isola, Italian for island, taps right into the psyche of Rottnest, enticing diners with a sense of Mediterranean sophistication and views worthy of a film set featuring beautiful people sipping Aperol Spritzes and shelling grilled prawns by the sea. 

This incarnation of the bright and breezy waterfront venue really is a breath of fresh air, working in tandem with its sister restaurant at Samphire, Lontara, with hotel staff directing diners to Isola when Lontara is closed.

It’s a no-brainer to opt for the gamberoni, here translating to whole wood-grilled Exmouth prawns with crayfish butter, capers and lemon. The word might be Italian but the dish has Western Australia written all over it. Our number one dish is the tagliarini with Shark Bay crab, tomato, chilli and garlic, which sheds any cliché associations in this sublime setting overlooking Thomson Bay, where it seems completely at one with the world. It’s one of many seafood choices, but there are heartier options in lamb shoulder, and a hefty bistecca cooked over coals. Simple stuff but executed with confidence.

Italian drops predominate on the wine list, but proud locals will find plenty to cheer about. 

Colebatch Avenue,

Geordie’s Café & Art Gallery

Georgie’s offers hidden gems among archetypal Rotto fodder – smash burgers and chicken Caesar salads hit the spot for loafer-wearing boaties and Geordie Bay landlubbers reluctant to make the 1.5-kilometre trek to restaurants in the main settlement.

Crispy calamari and a tapas plate are on a casual order-and-pay-at-the-counter basis by staff who are so friendly you’d think they owned the island. At lunch there’s a burger menu with five options; a sunrise bacon and egg burger, a fish burger and various iterations on beef patty. Fresh salads sit next to classic ‘Good Ol’ Fish & Chips’. There’s a Little Nipper menu for the young ones too. Sit back, relax, and maybe even stay for dinner.

Katemeraire Road, Geordie Bay,

Rottnest Bakery

If you don’t know how to get to Rottnest’s famous bakery, which has been doling out jam doughnuts, cream buns and crowd-pleasing loaves of bread for decades, don’t worry, just follow the crowds when you get off the ferry – or just follow your nose. These days sourdough is on the menu but yeasted breads still make up the bulk of sales, numbering around 250 loaves a day during peak periods. Alongside decadent jam doughnuts and almond croissants are sausage rolls, steak pies and rotisserie chickens and their recently added Crayfish Pie made with fresh cray caught the day before off the island. Grab an extra jam doughnut for the road.

Also check out the ‘chook shack’ next door for a rotisserie chicken – take one away with fresh white buns and add crisp lettuce and Kewpie mayo from the general store.

Maley Street, Rottnest Island,

Hotel Rottnest

Forever an island icon and featuring live music and late ferries home over summer, Hotel Rottnest is the unofficial social hub of the island.

Service here is very slick, with staff happy to manage expectations when demand is high and the wait is long – a stand alone food desk taking orders helps things along.

The slider, though, is definitely worth the wait. Featuring WA crayfish or perhaps local snapper, a touch of Japanese mayo, spring onion and lettuce piled into a buttermilk bun, it’s about as close to Rottnest’s version of heaven as you’ll get. The panko-crumbed prawns, dusted with spicy togarashi and served with yuzu and sake mayonnaise aren’t far behind, nor are the outstanding leek and manchego croquettes. 

What to pair it with? A crisp Margaret River white or a shared Margarita jug are just the ticket. Or follow chef Russel Blaikie’s lead and order a beer or two for the perfect match. 

1 Bedford Avenue, Rottnest Island,

Frankie’s on Rotto

It is in the true spirit of Rottnest when a small family-owned business develops a huge following because they expertly tap into what a large swathe of holidaymakers want from their island paradise: casual family fun without overemphasis on provenance or mind-baffling ingredients. Frankie’s has been churning out sourdough pepperoni pizza, no-fuss pasta, chicken parmies and Caesar salads since 2017, and the front deck overflowing with punters is a sign they’re on a winner.

Plus, the full bar licence helps for the grown-ups when it’s time to move on from a cup of Micrology, the locally roasted coffee.

A breakfast of smashed avo and eggs might segue into lunch with a Spritz and a chilli prawn pizza shared while people (and quokka) watching. It’s not cutting-edge, but they sure play the hits. Meal deliveries are also a boon for those at Longreach and Geordie. And if you’re cycling around the island, check out their Basin outpost, Kuld Creamery, for a creamy gelato.

342 Somerville Drive, Rottnest Island,

The Lane

A Rotto experience without trying a cray dog is like, well, going to San Francisco and not eating the sourdough. Or being in New Orleans and not drinking a Hurricane. At The Lane, the cray dog comes with lashings of grilled crayfish marinated in garlic and olive oil with a spicy zing of chipotle mayo, all sandwiched between fluffy Rotto Bakery buns. Take a box seat on the deck, soak up the relaxed atmosphere and observe the passing parade holiday goers. Then when it comes to sheer joy in a bun, the famous egg-and-bacon rolls with tomato or barbecue sauce run a close second to the cray dog. Simple, sure, but why get complicated when the setting is so stunning? There’s also Simmo’s ice-cream, lunch bowls, smoothies and fresh juices. But why not opt for a Portuguese tart before you jet off?

Maley Street, Rottnest Island,

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