Night bites, quirky cafes, hatted restaurants, street food, alfresco wine bars and craft beer tap houses - the renaissance of the Gold Coast culinary scene is in fine form. From rooftop cocktail bars in Burleigh Heads, unrivalled on-trend cafés in Palm Beach and oceanfront fine dining at Broadbeach, this metropolitan city has no shortage of foodie hotspots; only complaint is that we can barely keep our taste buds up to date with all the new openings, refurbs and revamped menus.
We all know nothing says you’ve had a cracker-of-a-holiday quite like gaining a little extra padding around the middle, so with this in mind we’ve compiled a locals’ guide to the Coast’s best eateries - here’s how to spend 48 totally indulging hours:
Breakfast at Blendlove, Southport
For the most part, Gold Coasters live and breathe a healthy lifestyle, with the much-loved acai bowl generally making the cut every weekend. Do as the locals do and fuel up with a killer acai bowl and coffee at this cute home-grown vegan Café. With just a sprinkling of breakfast items they’ve certainly perfected the essentials – you can almost taste the love that goes into them. Be sure to grab a selection of their insanely tasty treats to go, ‘cause there’s no way you’ll be able to stop at one. If you do over indulge just a little, not to worry, head to Broadbeach to walk it off with a stroll along the sand before a late lunch.
Lunch at Social Eating House + Bar, Broadbeach
Don’t be fooled by the industrial décor and laid-back atmos; this fine dining restaurant located in the heart of Broadbeach has certainly earned its hats. As the name suggests, share plates and tapas are this award-winning eatery’s speciality, showcasing Modern Australian cooking through a variety of simple yet elegant dishes including much-loved go-tos, spiced softshell crab with green mango, confit pork belly with spiced plum and veal carpaccio with tuna mayo. An exciting cocktail list, international whiskeys and sake, along with a world-class wine list make for a perfect afternoon of luxe wining and dining. For those keen to keep the good times rolling, head north to Surfers Paradise for pre-dinner cocktails.
Afternoon cocktails at The Island, Surfers Paradise
A much-needed facelift has brought this landmark 1980s hotel back to its heyday - iconic coral pink exterior and all. Now one of the Coasts’ newest boutique lodgings and hottest retro-styled rooftop bars, this is one of the trendiest places to sink a few in the sun. Equipped with sprawling alfresco patio, infectious holiday vibes and stellar cocktail menu, The Island is bringing the cool back to Surfers Paradise. Be sure to check out their Gin & Jazz Thursdays and Bliss Sunday sessions with DJs and local vocalists live from 2pm. Come thirsty! Now that you’ve worked up an appetite with those cocktails, it’s time to really tempt the tastebuds with the hottest street food hangout.
Dinner at NightQuarter, Helensvale
Think, local buskers strumming, spicy Asian dishes bubbling, smoky steaks grilling, strings of fairy lights twinkling – welcome to NightQuarter. Showcasing 120+ stalls of local arts and crafts, budding fashion designers, and most importantly a mouth-watering mix of micro-restaurants lining the aptly named, ‘Tapas Street’; this weekend night market can certainly draw a crowd. Helmed by chefs and food devotees drawing from heritage family recipes and custom built fire pits for a cook-your-own style BBQ experience - the food game here is serious business. A traditional Aussie-inspired outback pub, craft beer bar and fresh line-up of local live music talent and touring artists at ‘The Paddock’ - decked out with synthetic grass dancefloor to boot - has everyone covered. Dance the night away or enjoy a good night’s rest; tomorrow’s going to be another delicious day.
Breakfast at Paddock Bakery, Miami
When you spot this lovingly-restored weatherboard cottage between the trees of this quiet Miami residential street, with its charming picket fence and quaint garden furniture you know you’ve arrived somewhere special, but as you get closer you catch a scent of the antique fire-wood oven baking fresh artisanal bread, and now you feel like you’re coming home. Paddock Bakery has been melting the mouths and hearts of Gold Coasters for a few years now, but its rustic avo, wood-fired muesli, famous dippy eggs and straight-from-the-oven baked treats keeps its regulars popping home time and time again. Not sure how you’re going to top this one, and please the whole family? You just wait till lunch!
Lunch at The Collective, Palm Beach
The Collective is not just an innovative way to dine, it’s an all-round playground for the palate, with five kitchens serving up American, Italian, Mexican, Asian and contemporary Australian - even the fussiest diner won’t have anything to whine about. Speaking of wine, be sure to head upstairs to the rooftop bar for your favourite tipple and the best posi in the house with panoramic views west to the Hinterland. With a capacity of up to 300 diners this sprawling foodie hub is soaked in natural light and lush greens for a breezy alfresco vibe. Cocktail menu please?! Or if the amber brew is more your thing, head south to Currumbin for a change of scenery, but equally awesome ambience.
Afternoon schooeys at Balter Brewery, Currumbin
You may not be able to get barrelled like the pros, but you can throw back a beer like the world champs, thanks to local legends’ Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson’s latest venture – Balter Brewery. But being owned by surfing royalty isn’t just this sleek converted warehouse’s only claim to fame; they make damn good beer. If they don’t already have you hooked at a 12-tap bar with infinite flowing amber, then swing round on Sundays when the food trucks, exclusive beer samples and tunes roll out. Cheers to that! Continue riding the relaxed surfing vibes with the next stop at world-renowned surf break, Burleigh Point.
Dinner at The Point, Burleigh
Watch surfers dance on boards of every size and colour as they glide around the Point, notice the shades of pastel change as the sun slowly sets, see Surfers Paradise come alive as its lights flicker on; as any local will tell you this is not your average grassy knoll. Pack a picnic rug and pick-up a six-pack on the way ‘cause you won’t be wanting to move for a while. Arrive early afternoon for your best attempt at securing a prime position – we’re not kidding when we say this was a local fave. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, nearby gourmet pizzeria, Justin’s Lane, will deliver right to your picnic rug on Sundays!
Author: Narelle Bouveng
Narelle is a travel-writing mum of three (two teens and a tot) with a passion for photography and a relentless inclination to wander. Her home is the glorious Gold Coast, but her wandering takes her to many shores. Narelle often takes her family along for the ride in a pursuit to build a collection of memories, over things. You can find Narelle on Instagram @alittleatlarge.