Eat, drink and enjoy these Tweed Heads restaurants and surrounding eateries that cater to any mood.
Whether you’re keen to frock up for an intimate dinner with your romantic lead or are looking for a buzzing eatery to catch up with friends, Tweed Heads and her over-the-border twin town of Coolangatta have all bases covered. From laneway gems to waterside eats and refined restaurants, these are the top picks for dining out.
1. Gallura Italian, Tweed Heads
Best for: Sharing with your significant other
This Sardinian-inspired restaurant is harbinger of what’s to come for Tweed Head’s culinary scene. Elevated and refined, the kitchen here draws flavours and themes from the Tweed and Italian coastlines and features ingredients from both. Under the watchful eye of a yellow, wine-swilling octopus painted on the wall, diners relish plates such as linguine with local prawns and Tassie mussels and vongole or risotto with saffron and smoked yellow fin tuna tartare. Go a la carte or opt for a ‘coastal Italian seafood’ or ‘terra’ set menu.
Relish the mouth-watering menu at Gallura Italian.
Open: Dinner Wednesday–Saturday; lunch Friday–Sunday
Address: 1/20 Stuart Street, Tweed Heads
2. Ivory Waterside, Tweed Heads
Best for: Sunny arvo sessions
Despite the shimmering Tweed River and her tributaries meandering through the shire, there are few places to sit and take it all in by the banks. But Ivory Waterside goes a long way to righting that wrong with its absolute waterfront locale on Terranora Creek. Set yourself up on the deck and watch the sun ripple on the water as you tuck into well-executed, bistro-style fare of steak, burgers, fish ’n chips and other usual suspects. Salt-rimmed margaritas beckon as the sun beats down, making it difficult to plan your exit, but you can extend the good times at Benny’s Arcade for a spin on some classic ’80s games enjoyed with a cold beer.
Bask in waterfront views at Ivory Waterside.
Address: 156 Wharf Street, Tweed Heads
3. Franc Jrs, Coolangatta
Best for: Getting pumped for a night out
This cool pizzeria with its retro Italo-American edge is unapologetically out there with its flavour-bomb toppings. Shuffle into a red banquette and settle in to have a giggle over the pizza names that are as entertaining as the vibe.
Expect flavour-bomb toppings at Franc Jrs.
There’s the Jaloppy Poppy strewn with jalapenos, sausage and salami, and the Sage Against The Machine scattered with sage and pancetta. There’s also a vegan menu and Detroit-style squares topped with everything from vodka sauce to whipped lemon ricotta. It’s a wild ride perfectly primed to fuel your night out.
Sit down for a wild night out with your friends at this retro-hip pizzeria.
Open: Dinner daily; lunch Friday–Sunday
Address: 2/102 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
4. Clay Cantina, Coolangatta
Best for: Dinner and drinks for couples or trios
Attracting national attention for its excellent home- and market-style Mexican plates, this petite laneway eatery is a must-visit. Take a seat in the beautifully tiled and earthy-hued dining room or the alley outside and prep your palate for authentic flavours, such as sopes topped with chipotle chicken, al pastor tacos and the sweet pastel de tres laches (three-milks cake).
Grab delicious tacos and refreshing drinks at Clay Cantina.
If you’re keen to try your hand at making your own, book into one of Tuesday cooking classes, where you’ll learn to make a snack, salsa and a traditional dish.
Swing by Clay Cantina for Mexican-inspired dishes.
Open: Dinner Wednesday–Saturday
Address: 2/16 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
5. Bar Evelyn, Coolangatta
Best for: Date night done right
An elegant, upscale Italian bar and eatery that’s worth slipping into your finery for. Here, it’s all about the details and superior quality, from the natural wine list to seasonally driven antipasti and freshly made pasta.
Dine on memorable Italian fare at Bar Evelyn for a superior night out. (Image: Jared O Sullivan)
Simplicity is executed with finesse in dishes such as the vodka sauce conchiglie and Moreton Bay bug tagliatelle and provenance of ingredients is a focal point. If you’re in the mood for a more casual option, you can always takeaway a sourdough pizza or two to enjoy by the beach.
FInd an offering of natural wine and cocktails on offer at Bar Evelyn. (Image: Jared O Sullivan)
Address: 58 Marine Parade, Coolangatta
6. Holy Jala, Coolangatta
Best for: Drinks with the gang
A medley of Mexican and Mediterranean, this SoGo (southern Gold Coast) diner is a place that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Come straight off the beach for a cooling margarita and a fiery jalapeno popper and dive right into dialled up flavours that will keep you nibbling as you quench your thirst with icy-cold Mexican beer.
Eye-popping drinks to quench your thirst at Holy Jala.
The brightly-hued, light-filled space hosts Sunday sessions and themed nights, so check the website for the latest events.
Dive right into tasty Mexican delights at Holy Jala.
Address: 140 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
7. Eddie’s Grub House, Coolangatta
Best for: Good times
This rock and roll joint sits below the retro-revamped Pink Hotel and caters to the out-and-about Cooli crowd. Live music is on high rotation here and while you’re toe-tapping to the beat, you can enjoy something to eat from the dive bar-style menu, which includes southern fried chicken, hamburgers, wings and onion rings.
Address: 171 Griffith Street, Coolangatta