Ten of the Best Gold Coast Restaurants
The Gold Coast is known for its sunshine, beaches, and good-time, champagne vibe, but finally it’s getting serious about food. There are a plethora of great places to eat, from quirky cafes to fine dining the entire length of the coast. Here are 10 of the best.
Little more than a red paper lantern signposts the entrance to this pumping Japanese bar/restaurant. Seating choices include bar stools, conventional tables and tatami booths set around a heavily lacquered tree “growing” from a communal table. Shared fare includes locally made silken tofu; tsukune dunked in raw egg yolk and a tartared trio of wagyu, Mooloolaba prawn and scallop. Binchotan charcoal keeps smoke to a minimum while the aroma of slow-grilled goodness wafts from the Robata grill. Not a place for an intimate dinner but fast, fun and loud, with alluring izakaya-style fare.
Fresh seafood and ocean views at The Fish House. Photo: Supplied
2240 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach 07 5526 0944, etsu.com.au
The Fish House
Prepare to be impressed by this elegant, sophisticated and yet down-to-earth beachside dining room. The refined, understated menu, printed with the day’s date confirming the freshness of the produce, is a tribute to the sea, beginning with a selection of half a dozen raw and smoked starters and nine entrees. Crustacean risotto is served with diced bug meat tossed in al dente rice swelled by a rich seafood bisque. For mains, choose from a blackboard list of whole fish or tempting menu items such as bass groper from Tasmania, pan-roasted with a brown and crackly top surrounded by a light tomato salsa.
Kiyomi Restaurant – surprising combinations delivering umami-filled thrills. Photo: Supplied
50 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads, 07 5535 7725, thefishhouse.com.au
Hank Dining and Bar
There’s an appealing focus on meaty things; char-grilled, smoked and braised, all bold with flavour, but there’s also a deft touch and a healthy dose of fun running through the menu. Fat tendrils of octopus on a Japanese crackle-glazed plate are interspersed with green olive segments, discs of lemon potato and smoky chorizo, smoked bone marrow arrives with a tangle of earthy mushrooms and toasted sourdough – a messily indulgent combination when topped with the accompanying parsley salad.
Social Eating House: not just a great bar. Photo: Supplied
Shop 12, Broadbeach Mall, Broadbeach, 07 5539 0883, hankbroadbeach.com
The ever popular pizzeria/pasta bar buzzes as loudly as it ever did, but the wait for a table is far more convivial with the new addition of a rooftop dining and drinking space. With views stretching over Burleigh beach to the distant high-rises of Surfers, it’s the perfect spot for a sunset aperitif and an appetite-whetting snack, from a simple caprese to an antipasto plate to share. Downstairs, it’s business as usual with a selection of charry crusted wood-fired pizza and rustic pasta dishes; from spaghetti with prawn, fennel, chilli and lemon to ribbons of pappardelle sauced with rich wagyu bolognese.
A loud, fun and alluring venue: Etsu Izakaya. Photo: Supplied
1710 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads, 07 5576 8517, justinlane.com.au
A giant portrait in the lobby ensured chef Chase Kojima a rock-star reception when his handsome, clubby restaurant opened at Jupiters over the summer. The Nobu empire alumnus’s funked-up Japanese menu proved an instant party starter, its surprising combinations delivering umami-filled thrills amped up with sugar and spice. Willing staff point out shareable hit dishes such as velvety grilled octopus with watermelon and tempura bug with grapefruit and sambal. For traditionalists, there’s a sushi bar, and charcoal grills such as rosy lamb cutlets with eggplant.
Jupiters Casino, Jupiters Casino Drive, Broadbeach Island, Gold Coast, 07 5592 8443, jupitersgoldcoast.com.au/dining
Mamasan Kitchen Bar
Mamasan’s chef Roy Choi was lured away from Sydney’s China Doll to oversee the kitchen of this latest venture by Moo Moo owner JP Duitsch late last year. In boisterous, bar-like surrounds, crowds of Gold Coast’s young and hip sip cocktails and graze through a menu that confidently dips into the cuisines of multiple Asian countries. Crisp, spiced KFC (Korean fried chicken) comes with a cloud of parmesan-almond “snow”, crunchy wonton wrappers do duty as tostadas for cool slices of sashimi and panko-crumbed squid is partnered by the ubiquitous Sriracha mayo. It’s far from traditional but big-flavoured fun for all.
3 Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach, 07 5527 5700, mamasanbroadbeach.com
Don’t expect to eat and run at Ristorante Fellini. The expansive menu demands thoughtful perusal, as does the wine list, which reads like an almanac of Italian varietals. Despite marina views of million-dollar yachts and high-end vino price tags, Ristorante Fellini is as inclusive of out-of-towners with bambini in tow as it is of the Gold Coast glitterati. Fellini’s own house-made pasta, light and delicate, forms the base of dishes such as tortellini di pollo with chicken and asparagus bathed in a shallot, pancetta and cream sauce flecked with parmesan. And the servings of secondi are generous. Be sure to save room for dessert.
Level One, Marina Mirage, 74 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach, 07 5531 0300, fellini.com.au
This sleek dining space set above Surfers Paradise has crisp linen tablecloths, aproned waitstaff and a dedicated sommelier, but this is formal dining Gold Coast style, so don’t expect stuffy. The lively dining room has a broad choice of seating options, from intimate corners for date nighters to look-at-me round tables in the centre of the room. The menu, overseen by chef Luke Mangan, is equally democratic, traversing styles and cuisines, It’s Mangan’s signature dishes most come for however; Hiramasa kingfish; the delicate disks topped with crumbs of ginger, dobs of persian feta and shallots or a lightly rolled crab filled omelette in a miso mustard broth.
Level 1 Hilton Surfers Paradise, 6 Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise, 07 5680 8100, saltgrill.com.au
Social Eating House
Social is more than just a wine bar with great snacks. Certainly there are amusing and lively nibbles such as crispy golden half-moon empanadas, rich with slow cooked lamb shoulder to enjoy with a chilled glass of Paco and Lola Albarino. But the well-drilled open kitchen, performing without a net in front of the small goldfish bowl of a dining room, is also more than capable of turning out exquisitely realised little fancies, such as pink clouds of trout mousse on crunchy rye toast with tiny glistening pearls of Yarra Valley salmon roe to pop on the tongue.
Shop 137, 3 Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach, 07 5504 5210, socialeatinghouse.com.au
A hush descends as you pass through sleek, moodily lit rooms where staff attend to a diner’s every whim. Being presented with hot towels and a global water menu are further luxe touches. The degustation menu offers a complete experience, starting with the delicate spanner crab omelette replete with sublimely sweet meat and swirls of red miso sauce. While diners sample impeccable sushi or sashimi, seafood and meat dishes begin their gentle cooking on the teppanyaki grill, under the watchful eye of chefs who become guides on the culinary adventure.