You will never run out of places to eat on the Gold Coast.
If there's one word that sums up the Goldy (besides fun) it would be options!
With the Coast being the fastest growing region in Australia the restaurant scene is forever evolving. There are literally hundreds of restaurants, cafes, clubs and bars with a dish and a price point for everyone.
One moment I'm bare foot and dressed in board shorts and a singlet sitting on a plastic chair at the humble kiosk underneath a surf club, the next I'm fine dining at the Versace Hotel.
During our two week stay on the Gold Coast, we ate in a variety of places for breakfast, lunch and dinner and mostly family friendly and casual which we seek out with our two kids.
Below is a selection of those places plus a handful of reader suggestions down the bottom.
1. Bazaar at QT Hotel
I try to avoid buffets these days as I can't help myself from over-eating, which is never a good thing, unless I'm in Las Vegas and particularly the Paris Hotel Buffet. But 'Bazaar' at the funky QT Hotel in Surfers Paradise is not just any buffet. It has a market place concept with literally something for everyone with fresh produce in endless quantities.
My fave is the seafood station, and I also love how the Asian chef steams up dumplings to order. There's also a BBQ guy, wood-fired pizza, pasta, and a great salad bar. There s only one problem at Bazaar - holding your kids back, and yourself, from the AMAZING dessert bar with all these miniature cakes and slices staring you in the face. Just when you thought you were getting out of there relatively healthy...
2. Paleo Cafe, Burleigh Heads
This was the third Paleo Cafe we've eaten at around Australia. The first time was at the original cafe in Cairns, and the other time was in Albury. One reason we look out for these is because the Paleo diet is 100% gluten free, and Caz has a gluten intolerance. But we also enjoy the food and always order a coffee with almond or coconut milk.
3. Raw Energy, Coolangatta
We like to think that Raw Energy is completely healthy, and for the most part it is. There are plenty of healthy options that taste great. It's a cut above most cafe in that regard so we continue to go back.
We like the food, the smoothies, and the funky environment. You can't beat the beach location and they have a little kids play area which is always a bonus.
4. Cafe Dbar
This is where you should end up for breakfast or lunch after doing the walk from Coolangatta to Point Dangar which we highly recommend. At Cafe Dbar you're almost smack bang on the border of Queensland and New South Wales.
Cafe Dbar came recommended to us by some locals, and we're glad we kept walking up the hill from Snapper Rocks. Part gallery/restaurant/cafe the minute we walked through the door the casual, but modern, setting appealed to us.
We didn't have full meals but the food we had was fresh and tasty. Put this place on your southern Gold Coast list.
5. Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Club
If there's one thing Queensland does really well on the casual food front - it's their surf clubs.
Being fully licensed and offering breakfast, lunch and dinner right on the beach we always seek them out as they make for a great family dining option. Good food at reasonable prices.
Currumbin Vikings is a locals' favourite with such incredible views. We ate here on a weekend and it was quite crowded (it's not the biggest of clubs) but that also shows its popularity and the food servings were large and tasty.
6. Rainbow Bay Surf Club
The Surf Club at Rainbow Bay sits on iconic Snapper Rocks which is a famous surf break and holds the annual Quiksilver Pro Surfing event. You'll notice famous surfing memorabilia throughout the club.
Besides being super casual with great food (they have $10 meal deals throughout the week) the balcony provides one of the best sunset views on the Gold Coast all the way over to Surfers Paradise.
Not hungry? At least come here for a sunset drink!
7. Burleigh Kiosk
We love Burleigh Heads and were staying in the caravan park just up the road from the Surf Club. If you're looking for a casual spot right on the beach for breakfast or lunch, grab a seat at the Kiosk downstairs. The veggie burger was impressive. And forget about the food for a second, check out the view.
8. Southport Surf Club
Southport Surf Club or Surf Club Main Beach its now called has a great location right on Main Beach and the big deck allows you to make the most of the views.
Possibly the best food out of the surf clubs mentioned (my clam chowder was to die for) and it's an easy stroll from Surfers Paradise if you're staying in this end of town.
9. Vie Bar + Restaurant, Palazzo Versace
We went on a date night with compliments of the Vie Bar + Restaurant. It had been a long time since Caz and I had been on a date night, and thanks to my parents being in town they had the kids sleep over at their apartment so we could wine and dine in style at Versace Hotel.
We started with a sunset drink over the Broadwater followed by dinner in the chic Vie Restaurant. We had a 3 course meal deal for $59 per person which we thought was good value for a restaurant that has been Awarded one chef hat by Gourmet Traveller Magazine - Australia.
Of course it was stylish and contemporary. If you dine here, make sure it is a nice night so you can sit outside and appreciate the water frontage, and maybe consider lunch so you can appreciate the views better.
This was date night number two. This time Caz's parents were in town to watch over the kids, and so off we went to Seaduction in the swanky SOUL building right on the beach in Surfers Paradise.
This was a dinner with a difference - a special degustation menu. The idea is that you taste several dishes on a smaller scale and each course is paired with a matching wine.
We had 5 courses including smoked salmon, seared scallops, roasted quail, and velvet chocolate, and it was some of the most delicious food we've ever eaten. The wine was a good match too.
If you go here request a window table for uninterrupted views over the ocean.
11. Black Coffee Lyrics
Black Coffee Lyrics does great pizzas and tapas and we like how it evolves from a cafe in the day to a cool evening bar.
Grab yourself an espresso martini; it will knock your cotton socks off.
12. BSKT Cafe
We stumbled upon BSKT Cafe (short for Biscuit) in Nobby Beach on our walk from Burleigh to Surfers.
Upstairs is a yoga studio but downstairs they serve up healthy produce, most of it gluten and dairy free, and they do a good coffee!
13. Any beach for a BBQ or picnic
The Gold Coast really looks after its public spaces and provides free BBQ's, great kids playgrounds and nice grass areas at most of its beaches.
Grab some supplies for a BBQ or picnic and have a budget friendly get together.
Here are a few more suggestions by you guys that we didn't get to.
Tessa Hartnett says:14. Eat at Vapiano. We find it fresh and good value.
Celeste Mitchell says:
15. GreenHouse Factory is a new vegan restaurant and bar in Kirra Beach.
16. Ze Pickle is a burger and craft beer bar in Burleigh.
17. Woodbox Cafe in Burleigh is great for breakfast.
18. Two Brothers is a new upmarket fish and chipery in Nobby Beach.
Earl Winston Squirrelson says:
19. Little lido in Coolangatta is my favourite cafe, and Rainbow Bay surf club is the best place for an afternoon beer.
You all said:
20. Hellenika in Nobby Beach for amazing traditional Greek food owned by a Greek.