One of the unmistakable pleasures in life is going to a new place and experiencing it through your tastebuds – trying out new restaurants each night, sampling wines from cellar doors and critiquing the local cuisine.
The Gold Coast is teeming with fish and chip shops and burger joints – and they’re all top-notch – but look a little harder and you’ll find an abundance of restaurants, bars and cafes, offering everything from sashimi to pierogi in both tree-side and seaside settings. From Burleigh Heads to Broadbeach, and Tamborine Mountain to Mermaid Beach, these are our top 14 picks for foodies visiting the Gold Coast.
If you happen to be staying at or near The Star in Broadbeach, you’ve made the right choice for fine food – it’s home to a collection of unique restaurants. Nineteen at The Star is a rooftop restaurant that offers a sundrenched lounge experience by day and incredible skyline views after the sun goes down. Enjoy the view with Nineteen’s signature coconut chilli martini in hand after trying your luck at the tables in the casino downstairs. Customer experience is of the utmost importance here, which includes a wealth of trained sommeliers who will be able to recommend the best wine to pair with your meal.
For a taste of Tokyo right here on the Gold Coast, The Star’s award-winning Japanese restaurant Kiyomi has quickly become a fan-favourite since opening its doors. A modern take on authentic Japanese fare, its extensive menu is as impressive as its elegant interior. With a focus on fresh seafood, from sashimi and oysters to kingfish sushi or spicy tuna served with crispy rice, the food is best paired with an ice-cold cocktail and finished with something from the decadent dessert menu.
Less than 10 kilometres, or about 18 minutes’ drive, away at Burleigh Heads is Rick Shores, one of the Gold Coast’s most celebrated fine dining destinations (it’s on pretty much all of the Aussie top-100 restaurant lists).
Head chef James Brady uses fresh, locally sourced produce to create pan-Asian flavours across a menu that has all your favourites, such as roasted barramundi, red duck curry, sticky pork belly and crispy chicken – just ramped up a level of sophistication. If it’s just too hard to choose, go for the ‘feed me’ option to get a selection of the restaurant’s yummiest offerings handpicked for you.
Tearing your eyes away from the menu is tough but it’s a must-do, because Rick Shores isn’t just close to the beach, it’s on it! Floor-to-ceiling windows bring diners so close to the sea, you’d imagine you can feel the spray. This really is the quintessential Gold Coast dining experience.
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For the wine lovers among us, the Gold Coast Hinterland is home to a selection of boutique vineyards worth raising a glass to. The enchanting Witches Falls Winery on Tamborine Mountain is a purist’s dream: a small but bold winery that’s open seven days a week, where you can graze on a delicious platter made up of cheeses from the cellar door’s own Jambreen range.
You can also spend a whole day at the fun-filled O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards, which stretches along the banks of the Canungra Creek. Not only can you do wine tastings at the cellar door, you can also enjoy a gourmet picnic on the grounds and make a new four-legged friend at the on-site alpaca farm.
Australia’s collective love for craft beer is apparent nowhere more than on the Gold Coast. With new breweries popping up regularly, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to kicking back with a cold one. Lost Palms Brewing Company in Miami is a colourful brew house that makes for a perfect spot to enjoy a cold beer after a long day exploring the beach.
Just a 15-minute drive from Burleigh Heads National Park, Burleigh Brewing Co is one of the pioneers of the Gold Coast craft beer scene. If you’ve done your exercise for the day walking in the national park, why not reward yourself with a pint of 28 Pale Ale and a bite to eat from an on-site food truck? You can also book a brewery tour if you’re curious about how your favourite drink is made!
If gin or spiced rum is your drop of choice, then make your way to Husk Distillers, which is a short 20-minute drive from Coolangatta in Tumbulgum. Take a distillery tour from Wednesday to Sunday or simply relax on the sprawling lawns with a glass of their iconic Ink Gin in hand.
The large number of affordable yet stylish serviced apartments in the Gold Coast means that you may well have your own full kitchen to whip up your own gourmet meals. To feast like a king without paying a royal ransom, head over to The Spit at Main Beach and visit the Gold Coast Fishermen’s Co-Operative. Local fishermen sell their catch direct to the public every day here, so you are guaranteed fresh seafood at fair prices.
If you fancy some juicy tropical fruits for breakfast (or even as a healthy dessert after dinner), Tropical Fruit World is located just over the border in NSW, 20 minutes south of the Gold Coast Airport. Here you can purchase fresh, seasonal fruits (more than 500 varieties from around the globe are grown here each year), take a tour of the sprawling 165-acre farm or enjoy a bite to eat prepared from the produce grown on-site at Plantation House. You can even find out what will be in season during your holiday with their handy fruit seasonal calendar.
There are of course many other markets in the Gold Coast where you can purchase locally-grown, fresh fruits and vegetables. Bundall Farmers Markets, Palm Beach Farmers’ Markets, Carrara Markets and Gold Coast Organic Famers’ Markets (located in Miami) are just some of your options.
It’s probably no surprise that some of the coolest places you could go to throw back a drink or share a meal in the Gold Coast are in Coolangatta. Have breakfast or lunch at Café Dbar, which offers you a paddock to plate-influenced menu and panoramic views from the top of Point Danger, or head to Baskk for an evening of woodfire pizzas, boozy desserts and fabulous sunset gin cocktails. Hot tip: Sunday is an especially good day to visit, with $15 cocktails and tapas on offer.
Another option is the modern Australian restaurant Labart in Burleigh Heads, which serves up some innovative tastebud treats. Think barbecue quail, Hiramasa kingfish and cheese with Queensland honeycomb and lavosh.
For something a little different, venture just half an hour from Surfers Paradise to The Polish Place on Tamborine Mountain. Its award-winning restaurant features an authentic Polish menu based on traditional family recipes and close to 50 varieties of vodka. The beautiful restaurant has only recently reopened after it was destroyed by a devastating fire three years ago.
Come and play in our spectacular natural playground, where world-famous beaches with glistening waves are just the beginning. Lose yourself in the views of our lush hinterland and find a whole new way to escape.