March 21, 2023
11 mins Read
So much more than gorgeous coastline and nightlife, the Gold Coast is thriving when it comes to its edible offering and has become a culinary capital for every foodie to put on their list.
From cafes and coffee shops to bars and breweries, these coastal precincts are ready to rock your tastebuds, starting with some of the best restaurants on the Gold Coast for the next time you’re in town.
Known for: Beachfront view and Moreton Bay bug rolls
As the day unfolds, kick on with sunset cocktails at Rick Shores, a bonafide Burleigh Heads nirvana. Here you’ll find Pan-Asian flavours that focus on fresh, locally sourced produce to share.
If you come all this way though, it would be remiss not to order the famous Moreton Bay bug roll; a taste sensation featuring chunks of fried lobster, gem lettuce, and Sriracha.
When you’re done feasting, the beach is steps away from the dining room. Just be sure to book ahead – this place is buzzing.
Address: 3/43 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads
Known for: Beautiful sunsets and Mediterranean flavours
While there are many Gold Coast restaurants with a view, it feels extra special when you’re faced with a golden sunset looking out to the Surfers Paradise skyline.
The Tropic is a charming, full-service restaurant with a fun, Mediterranean-inspired menu of seafood and shareable treats.
If you prefer a more laid-back vibe, pop into its sister restaurant Burleigh Pavilion in the same establishment for wood-fired pizzas and all the classics.
Address: 3b/43 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads
Known for: Modern Japanese izakaya-style dining
How about a Japanese restaurant on the Gold Coast? Etsu is a place for those in the know. It’s unlikely you’d stumble across this white timber door by accident – and even if you did, you wouldn’t consider going inside. Those who do, however, are rewarded with a Japanese izakaya-style dining room, filled with effortlessly cool décor. The dishes here are designed to be shared and served steadily during the evening. Feast on your classics like sushi and sashimi, to more experimental tempura dishes, and an abundance of innovative cocktails.
Address: 2440 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
Known for: Fun vibes and refreshing cocktails
Boasting uninterrupted river views and a vibrant ambience, Surfers Pavilion is the perfect lunch spot with friends. Choose from a wide selection of creative seafood dishes and watch oysters being freshly shucked right in front of you with both chilled and grilled options. Be sure to pay a visit to its Frosé Bar for a frozen wine concoction on the deck.
Address: 30-34 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Known for: Relaxed waterfront dining
Housed in one of the most sought-after waterfront locations in the city, a long lunch at Glass Dining and Lounge Bar is pretty much a Gold Coast prerequisite. Having perfected the art of intimate meals, award-winning fare, and exquisite wines, spend your afternoon gazing at panoramic views of the harbour.
Start with oysters dressed with shallot and chardonnay vinegar before sampling any of the winning plates from the tapas menu. Behold one of the best views in the city.
Address: 27/74 Seaworld Drive & Marina Mirage Waterfront, Main Beach
Known for: All-you-can-eat seafood buffet
At one of Australia’s busiest racecourses, The Gallery Restaurant offers one of the best-valued seafood buffets on the Gold Coast. It’s the perfect space for groups who want to relax with a winning trackside view whilst indulging in tasty food and soaking up the atmosphere that only a day at the races can offer.
Address: Racecourse Dr, Bundall
Known for: Modern Australian shared plates
Smack bang in the middle of upscale Broadbeach lives an industrial restaurant that is both warm and welcoming – Social Eating House. As the name suggests, the plates at Social Eating House are designed to be shared. Served on large and small tapas plates, you’ll find everything from oysters to charcuterie, tuna, and whole roast chicken. Wash it down with a drop from their wine list, or sake, beer, whisky, and cocktails.
Address: Shop 137/3 Oracle Bvd, Broadbeach
Known for: Modern Vietnamese cuisine
Spend a weekend on the Gold Coast and you’d be forgiven for thinking Jimmy Wah’s was a forgotten Burleigh prince or something. That’s how often you’ll hear his name. Instead, this local favourite is the result of a five-week motorbike tour that Chef Jake Cooley took around Vietnam.
Can’t decide what to order? Enjoy the flavours of the sea with their famous Fresh Ocean Trout Tartare. Infused with kaffir lime oil, coconut milk, finger lime, and a side of grilled rice paper, it’s simply too good not to try!
Address: 1724 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Known for: Pasta, pizza, and cocktails
Another Burleigh Heads beauty, Justin Lane is for those who love a skyward sojourn in the form of a rooftop bar. And let’s face it, who doesn’t? Sundowners, balmy nights, a tipple under the stars… this place combines all of these with views out to the ocean and the Surfers Paradise skyline.
Part of the Justin Lane pizzeria and pasta bar establishment, the rooftop bar is a casual, chilled space with white umbrellas, festoon lighting, misting to keep you cool in summer, and heaters to keep you cosy come winter. Your rooftop feast awaits.
Address: 1708 – 1710 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Known for: Favourite Italian dishes
Craving the best Italian on the Gold Coast? Take in the sea breeze by the beach at Coolangatta’s Baskk Italian, serving all of the classic dishes you know and love. It’s also a wonderful cocktail bar with two-for-one happy hour deals. Drop in on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday evening to enjoy live music.
Address: 52/58 Marine Parade, Coolangatta
Known for: A fresh, modern approach to Mexican food
For authentic Mexican food, Bonita Bonita has you covered. The menu is full of funky creations including its chimichangas (mini deep-fried burritos) using the freshest ingredients. Right next door is its little sister, Bon Bon Bar, serving up your favourite Tequila.
Address: 2460 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
Known for: Five restaurants under one roof
If a dining experience like no other grabs your interest, make your way to The Collective. Here you can indulge in the flavours of Mexican, Greek, Asian, American, and Italian cuisines all in the same place.
You and your friends can choose between Mazi, The Italian Job, Umami, Luckies Diner, and TaLA Cantina and come together to dine as one. It’s a foodie and cocktail-lovers playground.
Address: 1128 Gold Coast Hwy, Palm Beach
Known for: Colourful and bold Mexican food
Heard a whisper of the ‘Little Mexican joint down the alleyway on James Street’? It’s Hail Mary, a fabulous restaurant that combines its salmon-pink colour scheme and plush velvet barstools, with tacos, jalapeno poppers, and chilli cucumber margaritas.
Address: 26 James Street, Burleigh Heads
Known for: Beachfront dining in the heart of Surfers Paradise
Perched above the hustle of the Surfers Paradise Esplanade, Seascape Restaurant + Bar offers the choice of two seating options — chic bistro or fine dining, both with stunning views over Surfers Paradise Beach and an incredible seafood menu including its seafood platter with Pacific Lobster.
Address: 4 Esplanade, Surfers Paradise
Known for: Its laid-back blend of international cuisine
Every family is on the lookout for a relaxed, no-rules restaurant with an easy food experience, and we know just the one. With a cool, rustic vibe, Willow Dining mixes a feast of Mediterranean, European, Modern Australian, and Spanish cuisine, along with a fusion of Asian favourites together in Tapas style, so there’s something enticing for every person at the table.
Address: 1957 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads
Known for: Award-winning seafood menu
With so many excellent seafood restaurants on the Gold Coast, competition is fierce but one you absolutely must put on your list is Omeros Bros with its award-winning seafood menu. With its simple dining in a casual setting, your attention is on the food with the freshest oysters, ocean fish, crustaceans, crabs, and Moreton Bay bugs to choose from.
Address: 74 Seaworld Dr, Main Beach
Known for: Delicious Tokyo flavours
From mouth-watering sashimi to a warming cup of Chawanmushi, indulge in delicately prepared and presented Japanese dishes at Kiyomi. With a menu created by visionary Executive Head Chef Chase Kojima, Kiyomi gives diners a modern, yet authentic taste of Tokyo — without the long haul flight.
Address: Lobby Level The Star, 1 Casino Dr, Broadbeach
Known for: Endless summer atmosphere
Enjoy uninterrupted ocean views of Surfers Paradise Beach when visiting Hyde Paradiso, a European summer-themed oasis nestled above the crowds of Surfers Paradise.
Feast on the tantalising Mediterranean-inspired tapas and cocktail options — perfect for a long lunch that leads into a Sunday session.
Address: Peppers Soul, Level 2/8 Esplanade, Surfers Paradise
Known for: Best burgers on the Gold Coast
Sometimes, only a fat, juicy burger will do and Milky Lane is happy to oblige. From crispy southern fried chicken or a double smashed pattie to loaded potato gems, milkshakes, and epic desserts (there’s a deep-fried Golden Gaytime on the menu), this place requires a large appetite.
Address: 1/38 Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise
Known for: Pan-Asian share plates
Drop in, sit back, and feast like a king at Kin Pan-Asian Kitchen & Bar. The menu is centred around sharing and mostly features Japanese dishes with a twist of Indonesian and Thai flavours.
From Chef’s signature sushi maki and succulent Asian Tapas to bigger plates of deliciousness such as black miso cod and crispy baby barramundi, you’ll be well looked after. Alongside adventurous cocktails and a seriously cool mix of silky-smooth jazz, new and old-school funk, and groove and soul music, you won’t want to leave.
Address: 5/1730 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads
Known for: Fun and modern Asian dining experience
Offering share-style food, unique cocktails, and friendly wait staff, Light Years in Burleigh Heads has become a beachside favourite.
From dumplings and bao buns to curries and duck pancakes, each menu is spearheaded by Executive Chef Robbie Oijvall to create food that is bold, colourful, and full of punchy flavour.
Address: 1848 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads
Known for: Cabanas and poolside bites
Cali Beach Club offers some amazing leisure spaces to enjoy, whether you’re there for an hour or a whole day. Whether you want to swim in the pool, lay on a sun lounge, or play in the sporting areas, everyone needs a lunchtime feed, and there’s an on-site restaurant to assist. From small plates and burgers to sirloin steak, platters, and cocktails, you’ll be well taken care of.
Address: 21a Elkhorn Ave, Surfers Paradise
Known for: Teppanyaki banquets
If the smoky flavours of teppanyaki are singing out to you, Misono inside JW Marriott Surfers Paradise is one of the largest Teppanyaki restaurants on the Gold Coast. Bringing the youthful spirit of the streets of Harajuku, Head Chef Henry Bongay has entitled a real flair for entertaining into his team and has mastered the art of teppanyaki with skills second to none.
Address: Level 3/158 Ferny Ave, Surfers Paradise
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I’ve never heard of Stable Coffee and Kitchen – but it’s definitely going to be my Gold Coast brunch destination this weekend! Looks beautiful