WHERE TO EAT WITH KIDS ON THE COAST

If you’re planning a fun-filled trip to the stunning Gold Coast, you’ll know that it’s just not complete without a few stops to fill the foodie tank. From the iconic Surfers Paradise down to the GC’s southern neighbour of Tweed Heads, these winning feasting spots for breakfast, lunch and dinner will keep the whole family satisfied and raring to go for the action that awaits in the theme parks, hinterland and along our beautiful coastline.

– Breakfast –

SANDBAR  |  Surfers Paradise 

Spread out, relax, soak up some sunshine and settle in for a big breakfast at this beachfront Sandbar with a quirky menu offering smoothie bowls, pancakes, toasties and super shakes. We hope you’re not in a hurry as it might take the rugrats a little while to choose.

Where: 52 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise 

BSKT CAFE  |  Mermaid Beach

BSKT is a bit of an icon on the coast, famous for serving up organic, gluten-free deliciousness with a family-friendly vibe. Throw the kids into the fun play area while you sit back with a matcha latte and try to choose between the Cocowhip breakfast bowl and a BSKT Healthy Eggs Benny.

Where: 4 Lavarack Rd, Mermaid Beach

RANDY WALLHOLE  |  Southport 

Call dibs on ‘Randys’ bright orange couch in this cute hole-in-the-wall café where you can tuck into bagels, eight different kinds of jaffles and kid-faves like Coco Pops and Fruit Loop bowls. Wash it all down with Toby’s Estate coffee and chocolate brownie milkshakes. What a way to start the day!

Where: 21 Nind St, Southport

THE JOURNAL CAFE  |  Burleigh Heads 

A simple, affordable menu makes this little unsuspecting cafe a winner for the whole family. Located within Mermaid Waters Shopping Village, and conveniently attached to the fruit and veg grocer, you can pick up some local produce while you’re sipping away on your ‘charge me up’ smoothie and the kids are getting stuck into their Nutella and banana pancakes.

Where: 88 Markeri St, Mermaid Waters

NEXT DOOR ESPRESSO  |  Tweed Heads South

Next Door Espresso
Image: Next Door Espresso Facebook page.

If you find yourself down the Southern end of the GC, this cool neighbourhood café Next Door Espresso will certainly hit the spot. With a delicious seasonal menu and a glimpse of the Terranora Creek, the kids will love a seat under the beach umbrellas for a divine apple crumble porridge or organic brioche french toast. Mum and dad will also love the smooth, local roast Moonshine Coffee and an ‘old mate benny’ – it’s a win-win.

Where: 56 Dry Dock Road, Tweed Heads South

DUNE CAFE  |  Palm Beach

Dune Cafe, Palm Beach

Yo ho ho! Who’s up for breakfast in the pirate park? The newly renovated Dune Café at Palm Beach Parklands sits right next to a gigantic ship that pocket-sized pirates can play on while their bacon and egg sliders are cooking. Signature sourdough toast and excellent coffee make this the perfect place for salty sea dogs and landlubbers too.

Where: Palm Beach Parklands, 945 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

CAFE DBAR  |  Coolangatta

For the best view on the coast – and some of the best juices too – trek up Coolangatta headland to Café Dbar. Locals come for the top-notch smoothies and breakfast bowls, and they stay to drink in the sight of waves, passing whales and impressive vistas from Burleigh Heads to Byron Bay.

Where: 275 Boundary St, Coolangatta 

– Lunch – 

THE COLLECTIVE  |  Palm Beach

If Dad feels like pizza, Mum’s craving Mexican and the kids are begging for cheeseburgers, then get thee family to this foodie-fest, The Collective where you can order from five separate kitchens but still sit together, in the shady courtyard, in collective family bliss.

Where: 1128 Gold Coast Hwy, Palm Beach

SURF CLUBS

Our surf clubs have it all when it comes to laid-back family lunching. Order schooners and slushies and sit back and watch the surf while the kitchen whips up classic seaside bistro fare. From north to south, they’re all pretty great. Take your pick.

BEACH BBQ

Get ready to throw another prawn on the barbie – Gold Coast style. Our beaches are dotted with free BBQ facilities, so why not assemble an esky of snags, tomato sauce, buns and icy beverages and set the family up beachside for an easy Aussie lunch? Chose from our top 10 GC picnic spots.

GEMELLI  ITALIAN  |  Broadbeach 

For the best pizza and pasta in town, our pick is Gemelli Italian, where brothers Paul, Alec and James will treat you to their brand of homestyle, handmade Italian goodness. Small peeps can choose from the kids’ meals – which include a scoop of gelato – or they can tackle a metre long pizza. Delizioso!

Where: 2/2685 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach

BURGER JOINTS

We really know how to burger around here and there are plenty of delectable choices. From old school diner cool Betty’s Burgers to hardcore Burgster to the new kid on the block, Milky Lane, you can order yours with bacon, pickles, onion rings and a mandatory side of deliciousness.

THEME PARK EATS

Our theme parks have progressed waaaaay beyond hot chips and dagwood dogs (though you can still get ‘em if you want ‘em). These days the parks serve up gourmet, gluten-free and all things gluttonous and GOOD. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

HINTERLAND PUBS

Families have loved pub lunches since pub lunches were invented. Our Hinterland serves up some of the best, from The Bearded Dragon in Tamborine (where the mini wildlife warriors can meet snakes and lizards), to Eagle Heights Tavern overlooking the coast and the Wattle Hotel at Oxenford – home to a kids play area that will keep them busy long enough for you to enjoy your ‘parmy’ and chips in peace.

If you find yourself in the metropolitan area of the Coast, parents rejoice! Mermaid Beach Tavern, The Dog and Parrot Robina and Benowa Tavern also have kids play areas to keep the little ones busy, and a great pub feed to boot.

– Dinner – 

CAVILL AVE  |  Surfers Paradise 

If you find yourselves in Cavill Ave looking for something to eat, you’re in luck! There are so many family-friendly choices we’ve lost count, but our favourites are Hurricanes (for ribs and beach views), Vapianos (for epic pizza and pasta and a cool ordering system), and Longboards (for gourmet burgers and “Little Grommet” meals the kids will devour). Wander down the mall and see what tickles your fancy.

FUFU  |  Mermaid Beach

Fufu isn’t Chinese for “family fun” but it might as well be at this American-Chinese diner. The kids will love tucking into individual bento-style meal boxes while parents will appreciate how Fufu injects a bit of Chinese into American classics like burgers and mac’n’cheese. Affordable, different and delicious.

Where: 2375 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach

BAZAAR, QT HOTEL  |  Surfers Paradise 

Bazaar QT

What kid (and adult) doesn’t love a buffet? This one is rated the best on the coast. Bazaar’s marketplace-style set up offers made-to-order dishes, a dumpling station, delicious salads, slow roasted meats, seafood galore and a dessert bar that’ll have the mini food critics mesmerised. Book a family table and make sure dad wears his elastic-waisted pants.

Where: 7 Staghorn Ave, Surfers Paradise 

JUSTIN LANE  |  Burleigh Heads

All the cool kids hang at Justin Lane, but you and your kids might prefer a couple of piping-hot pizzas delivered right to your picnic blanket on Burleigh Hill. Ask them to throw in some garlic flatbread and a kilo of cannoli and watch the sunset, snuggled in with your snugglebugs. So sweet.

Where: 1708-1710 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads

MIAMI RICE  |  MIAMI

Located underneath The Outrigger Resort lies this hidden Asian Fusion gem, Miami Rice. With a super friendly environment, fast service and a great selection of tasty Chinese and Malaysian dishes – some say the best on the coast – even the fussiest of eaters will be pleased. The little ones will love the authentic experience and of course, the deep-fried ice cream to finish things off.

Where: 2007 Gold Coast Hwy, Miami

HARRY’S STEAK BISTRO  |  Burleigh Heads

A gigantic wall-sized painting of a cow will keep toddlers mesmerised at this highly recommended house of Harry’s Steak and Bistro. A family-friendly atmosphere and unlimited fries (yes, unlimited fries!) adds to the relaxed-yet-fine-dining experience that perfectly blends top quality food with restauranteur Adam Halalampou’s unique Gold Coast style.

Where: 1744 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads

BEACH BURRITO  |  Coolangatta 

Beach Burrito Coolangatta
Image: The Weekend Edition.

You don’t have to wait until Taco Tuesday to enjoy this Mexican delight, Beach Burrito. With an affordable menu offering, the family can relish over Californian inspired traditional faves, like pulled pork or shredded beef tacos starting from just $6 each. The casual dress code (where thongs are totally acceptable) and beautiful ocean view – as the name suggests – makes for a perfect end to an action-packed outing or relaxing beach day.

Where: 72/80 Marine Pde, Coolangatta