Food, glorious food. Nothing reveals the heart and soul of a destination quicker than biting into the local dining scene. The laid-back hangouts, the family favourites, show stopping new bars, and restaurants that are memorable from the second the menu slips into your hands. It’s a reason in itself to travel.
The Gold Coast is a city that delivers in the foodie stakes – and then some. And we seriously cannot get enough, from the beach to its hinterland. Waterfront restaurants with views as good as the meals, sky-high rooftop bars worth raising a glass to, and markets that will take you to the streets of Asia… every dish and flavour you could hope for is waiting to be devoured.
Want to know some of the best? Here are our picks for seven essential Gold Coast restaurants.
If you’ve been craving the chance to browse a bustling street food market, to bite into wood fired pizzas straight out of the oven, lose yourself in the fragrant aromas of Thai cuisine, or perhaps samba your way up for a delicious Brazilian mocqueca fish stew, this is the place to do it! Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, Miami Marketta brings the flavours of the world to you with a line-up of sensational food trucks. Add in live music and you’ve got a fantastic night out!
Image credit: Miami Marketta
A brand-new addition to the Gold Coast, Surfers Pavilion is a trendy waterfront venue perched overlooking one of the city’s famous canals. A seafood-heavy menu designed for sharing (or keeping all to yourself), oysters shucked before your eyes, a devilish cocktail menu and frosé bar tailor-made for sunny afternoons relaxing on the deck… it’s where you want to be.
Image credit: Surfers Pavilion
Palm Beach Surf Lifesaving Club
The Gold Coast is renowned for embracing the coastal way of life. Few things showcase that better than its surf life saving clubs. Aside from keeping beachgoers safe, the Gold Coast clubs also know how to keep our bellies full too. Palm Beach Surf Club has a fantastic waterfront restaurant where you can tuck into a pasty parmi, enjoy a schooner of local beer, keep the afternoon kicking with espresso martinis, and soak in the serenity of the breaking waves.
Image credit: Palm Beach Surf Club
Pizza fans, this is one for you! This unassuming Coolangatta restaurant is home to the best pizzas on the coast. Their quirky takes on traditional pizzas, coupled with a pretty extensive vegan menu, have helped them build a legion of devotees from far and wide. Walk through the door and the delicious scent of wood-fire mixed with aromatic herbs and melted cheese will have your mouth watering before you even look at the menu.
Image credit: Francies’s Pizzeria
Vietnamese with a modern Australian influence. That’s Jimmy Wah’s in a nutshell. Located right on the Gold Coast Highway in Burleigh Heads, the local hangout brings the heat with a menu featuring the likes of Bahn mi with soft shell crab, Vietnamese pancake with pork and prawn, a braised beef red curry and tempura spiced cauliflower. Every dish is an edible work of art.
Image credit: Jimmy Wah’s
Love Mexican food? Get ready to discover your new favourite restaurant: Bonita Bonita in Mermaid Beach. Everything about this local favourite, from its vibrant Day of the Dead-inspired decor to a killer menu which features unexpected yet delicious flavour combinations, is to die for. Wash it down with a margarita or two and you’ll be in a state of foodie bliss before you know it.
Image credit: Bonita Bonita
A feast for the eyes as well as the stomach, The Collective in Palm Beach unites five different kitchens under one roof. Wood-fired pizzas and from The Italian Job, BBQ pork bao buns from UMAMI, chimichangas and slow-cooked pork brisket tacos at TaLA. It’s the ultimate venue for families or groups who all crave something a little different. Best of all, it’s all on one bill and it shares the same gorgeous dining area. The rooftop bar is a must for late afternoon cocktails!
Beyond this seven, there’s so much more to discover too. Our best tip? Just get out and explore. Stroll along the streets, hop on the light rail, and let your taste buds take you on an adventure.