There’s no denying the Gold Coast of 2019 is a foodie’s paradise. But finding the right restaurant to suit that special night out isn’t always an easy task, so we’re here to help.
Narrowing down the city’s culinary champions was no easy task—from north to south, these are 15 of the absolute best Gold Coast restaurants right now.
QT Gold Coast’s signature restaurant, Yamagen is a funky izakaya with one of Queensland's largest Japanese whisky collections and some of the most innovative Japanese cuisine you'll ever taste. Behind the expansive bar, you can peer into the glass-enclosed kushiage station; the beating heart of the izakaya where smells and smoke wafts as chefs work over robata grills and binchotan charcoal. Or, nab a spot at the 15-seat sushi bar where you can interact with the chefs and devour plate after plate of omakase (chef’s selection of market fresh sushi and sashimi). If you’re on the hunt for one of the best restaurants on the Gold Coast, you’ve found it.
Social Eating House
Located on glittering Oracle Boulevard, Social Eating House is definitely not somewhere to go for a quick bite, for the simple reason you would not be doing it justice. One of the absolute best restaurants on the Gold Coast, this unassuming and unpretentious two chef-hatted bistro sets a culinary bar that other restaurants can only aspire to. Come for Social Eating House’s legendary one-kilo saltbush lamb shoulder, followed by the most exquisite desserts in town and washed down with orgasmic espresso martinis.
Spearheaded by celebrated Executive Chef Chase Kojima, Kiyomi is perfection on a plate. Tucked discreetly away on the mezzanine level at The Star Gold Coast, this stylish Japanese eatery is dimly lit, made moodier by the candlelight, dark furnishings and warm wood feature walls. With an adventurous menu including seared scampi with foie gras, Hiramasa Kingfish miso ceviche, binchotan Wagyu and melt-in-your-mouth sashimi platters, all dishes are prepared to look like an edible work of art. Don’t know where to start? We recommend passing the reigns over and splashing out on an eight-course degustation—it’s the stuff foodie dreams are made of.
Nineteen At The Star
If there’s one destination that seriously nails hotel dining on the Gold Coast, it’s The Star Gold Coast, with a half dozen stellar eateries under one roof. And the crème de la crème of Gold Coast hotel restaurants is Nineteen at The Star. This is where the who’s who come for grilled Patagonian Toothfish and rock lobster bolognese with glittering views of the coastline 19 floors up; and where visitors and locals splurge to celebrate that special something or someone.
Hidden behind a whitewash timber door, if you didn’t already know about Etsu, you’d question whether you’d stumbled upon a city-side barn. But, look a little closer and you’ll find a modern Japanese izakaya-style dining room with effortlessly cool staff, brought to life with incredible Asian creations—cocktails and sake included. Designed to share; devour sushi, sashimi, tempura dishes and more at this intriguing Mermaid meeting place and hands down one of the absolute best restaurants on the Gold Coast.
There’s something truly captivating about Mermaid Beach eatery, Lupo. Maybe it’s the stunning copper-topped horseshoe-shaped bar, the moody lights, humming atmosphere, or warmth of the wood-fired oven throwing delicious smells in every direction. Whatever it is, they’ve absolutely nailed it, and pulling up a seat at the intimate bar or dining room will transport you to the depths of a culture-swathed neighbourhood in Europe. With simple yet sensational home-style cooking direct from the open-fire oven, here you’ll feel like you’ve been welcomed in for dinner at the family home.
The North Room
Hunting for one of the best restaurants on the Gold Coast, whether it be date night or to treat your bestie? We’re totally crushing on Mermaid Beach’s intimate bistro, The North Room. The handiwork of talented husband and wife duo Tim and Shannon Stewart, nab a seat in this stylish 28-seat dining room and be spoilt with a refined European-style dining experience combining faultless service, buttery smooth ambiance and a menu that champions the finest of seasonal, locally-sourced produce. Expect creative dishes like the spanner crab and bone marrow crumpet or Pottsville pipis with green zebra tomato and pumpkin. Our tip? Surrender to the chef’s nightly tasting menu, with matching wines.
Gold Coast’s foodie portfolio was elevated when Sydney chef Alex Munoz Labart and his Gold Coast-raised wife Karla opened their first restaurant in Burleigh Heads. Recently awarded the best regional restaurant in Queensland by The Courier Mail, this intimate 60-seat bistro brings a touch of European sophistication to the local dining scene. Restaurant Labart’s open-plan kitchen and charcoal grill allows diners a front-row seat to watch Alex and his talented team work their magic. The ever-changing menu is designed to share with both snacks, small and large plates on offer, with all ingredients locally and sustainably sourced.
With a carefully-curated Asian fusion menu of contemporary dishes from Vietnam, Thailand and further afield, this Burleigh Beach waterfront favourite not only offers lust-worthy views across the table, but some of the most delicious dishes we’ve tucked our knife and fork into. You will not leave disappointed after the likes of soft shell crab on betel leaf, Rick’s famous Moreton Bay bug rolls, Kingfish sashimi and king prawn yellow curry. Hot tip? Rick Shores’ outdoor walk-in patio seats are all-time for a vino or frosty beer with a view, plus that golden hour around sunset is extra magical, so plan your night accordingly. Rick Shores is hands down one of the absolute best restaurants on the Gold Coast.
Burleigh Pavilion’s signature al a carte restaurant, The Tropic’s jaw-dropping locale makes you feel as if you’re dining on the edge of the ocean. With plantation-style ceilings, a pale pink tiled bar, crisp white tables, thoughtful greenery and splashes of pastel blue, moss green and creamy yellow, every inch of the 200-seat restaurant is achingly cool. Chef Guillaume Zika, who nabbed two hats while running esteemed Restaurant Cottage Point Inn in NSW, heads up The Tropic’s kitchen, so you know you’re in for a mouth-watering treat. The menu is produce-driven featuring only the freshest local ingredients, which means anything seafood related is a must-try.
Given our love affair with Asian food, we rank Jimmy Wah’s high among the best restaurants on the Gold Coast. A contemporary take on traditional Vietnamese cuisine with an Australian twist, you won’t find any upturned milk crates for stools or conical palm leaf and bamboo hats here. Open for both lunch and dinner seven days, undo your top button in preparation for plates and plates of flavour-packed braised short beef short rib on steamed buns, pork and prawn Vietnamese pancakes, Banh Mi and tempura bug tail on betel leaf.
The Fish House
Discretely situated at the southern end of Burleigh Beach, The Fish House is one of the Coast’s most celebrated restaurants. While window-side seating is a hot commodity, every table benefits from sweeping views over Burleigh and across to the glitter strip. Settle in with a chef’s multi-course menu of the day, ever changing, though often featuring the lemony fish soup with Blue Eye, Moreton Bay Bug Tagliolini and signature Patagonian Toothfish. Brag-worthy Insta content? Check! If you’re looking for one of the absolute best restaurants on the Gold Coast, stop the search.
Justin Lane Establishment
Ask any local and they’ll tell you Burleigh is where the magic happens; and one of its star attractions is Justin Lane Establishment. Justin Lane is legendary around these parts; having helped shaped the charismatic pocket of Burleigh we know and love today. Justin Lane’s sleek two-story digs attracts a hip, jovial crowd any day of the week, so come for the sun-drenched rooftop bar, misting stations and prime-positioned booths with beach views; and stay for the cocktails, handmade sourdough pizzas, pastas and share plates.
Tasca’s tiny European-inspired wine bar is proof that Gold Coast’s best restaurants can come in the smallest of packages. A beating heart on Coolangatta’s Griffith Street, this venue packs well above its weight and a sophisticated breath of fresh air on the far southern end of the Coast. With a seat at the bar one of the best in the house, settle in with small batch Italian, French or Spanish vino—served with an origin lesson by the knowledgeable staff—plus bar snacks and larger plates, all designed to share.