Food & Drink

21 Of The Absolute Best Restaurants In Burleigh Heads In 2023

By Urban List Gold Coast

Ahh, Burleigh. Over the years, this southern hub has established itself as something of a mecca for incredible food on the Gold Coast. Home to some of the city's most beloved dining establishments, Burleigh Heads is definitely the spot to go to get your grub on. 

There are always fresh and exciting places opening up on Burleigh’s golden shores, nestled amongst the tried-and-true faves, so you’ll never be short of a delicious feast. Pull up a seat, tuck in your napkin and scroll on for 21 of the best Burleigh Heads restaurants on the Gold Coast in 2023.

Maman

If you can’t get enough of Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern cuisine, this is a joint you have to try. Owned by champion Ironman Matt Poole and restaurateur Oli Frost, Maman boasts no-nonsense cocktails, an impressive wine list and share plates, designed for digging in with friends.  Expect only the best, because word on the street is, some of the crew there have been personal chefs for Pink, Tom Hanks, Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. 

Settle down and get ready to eat like a celebrity with Maman’s favourite, the Moreton Bay bug roll. A marshmallow-soft brioche bun, crispy iceberg lettuce topped with harissa and lime mayo—who could resist? But if seafood isn’t your cup of tea, they’ve got you covered with an eye-popping array of options. From beef kofte that’s so soft you’ll think you’re dreaming to slow-cooked tagine of lamb, we promise Maman is a top Burleigh restaurant that everyone will love.

Restaurant Labart

restaurant labart burleigh

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. The intimate, 60-seat eatery brings a touch of European sophistication to the GC dining scene, with its urban yet warm fit out, polished concrete floors, walnut timber tables and navy linen napkins.  

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. 

Oi Izakaya

a table of dumplings at oi izakayaTraditional Japanese izakaya are bars where workers stop on their way home from work for a drink and a snack. Oi Izakaya has captured that bustling vibe perfectly, with its plethora of exquisite share plates to enjoy over a whisky with friends.

Kick back and enjoy the chef’s selection or choose from a menu that includes favourites such as okonomiyaki, gyoza, karaage chicken and even crispy edamame cheese chips. Post-meal and to stave off the impending food coma, slink off to the sleek bar hidden at the back of Oi Izakaya, where you’ll find beers, cocktails, sake and over 70 whiskies on the shelf.

Rick Shores

Is there a Gold Coast ‘best of’ dining list that Rick Shores won’t make it onto? Doubtful. A seafoodie’s dream, Rick Shores combines pan-Asian flavours with fresh, locally and ethically sourced produce in a series of colourful plates designed to share with mates.

And we’d take a guess and say their famous Moreton Bay bug roll could quite possibly be one of the most Instagrammed snacks on the Gold Coast. Be sure to book ahead though—Rick Shores welcomes a full crew on board at just about every sitting. 

Light Years

the interior of light years, one of burleigh's best restaurantsIf you were to Google “cool”, we reckon Light Years would be right there beside it. Already loved in Noosa and Byron Bay, Light Years Burleigh Heads is a modern and distinctly upbeat Asian diner that’s sure to work its way into your heart, and most certainly your social life.  It features white and peach washed walls, breeze blocks, velvety chairs, smattering of terracotta, tropical fiesta pops and knock-out herringbone floors. 

Just a quick glance at the share-style menu and pretty much everything from the raw ocean trout, to the honey and sesame king prawns or mud crab and scallop dumplings will jump out at you. We’re also a big fan of the deconstructed spicy Korean fried chicken or eggplant katsu bao, so you can build your own to your liking.

Mr Hizola's

Walking along the popular foodie strip you can’t miss this bold eatery with its neon red sign and bright lanterns drawing customers in. Offering up a flavour-packed contemporary Cantonese-style menu, Mr Hizola's signature sizzling wagyu steak is served on a fo zek (hot) stone) and is delivered to your table, doused in brandy and set alight, flames licking upwards and cooking the meat to mouth-watering perfection right in front of you. Swing by for a cocktail and people watch from the window bar or carve a few hours out of your day and order the Emperor’s Feast. You won’t regret it.

RaRa Ramen Bar

Who doesn’t love ramen? RaRa Ramen is the hip new(ish) kid on the block, slinging up heavenly slurps that’ll make sure you come back. Skip the nine-hour flight, because this traditional Japanese restaurant exclusively uses the freshest ingredients to make sure you can taste the love (we can). 

The noodles are made fresh and in-house every day, so it’s no surprise that RaRa Ramen is a restaurant always worth stopping for. Slurp away to your heart’s content with a creamy fan favourite, Tonkotsu Black Garlic and Chilli—think creamy pork broth with melt-in-your-mouth free-range chashu (braised pork belly) with noodles you’ll fall in love with. If you can, save some space in your stomach for some sizzling fresh karaage chicken or pork dumplings, garnished, steamed and pan-fried to perfection. RaRa Ramen Bar is a must-try.

Local Burleigh
Local Burleigh, one of the best Burleigh Heads restaurants

Burleigh Heads might be the new top spot when it comes to food, because they’re scoring lots of restaurants that’ll leave you grinning ear to ear—and Local Burleigh is no exception. Even just one look from the outside will have you eating before you’ve blinked. What used to be Harry’s Steak Bistro is now a lush, timber-toned venue, with a sun-soaked beer garden in the back, and we promise the bite matches the bark. 

Kickstart your day with a bit of help from Local Burleigh with their beetroot-cured salmon with pickled cucumber, shallots, wasabi mayo and dill on fresh sourdough. Not a fan of salmon? No problem, dig into Local’s chorizo, bacon and scrambled egg breakfast burrito. And thankfully, they’ve put the beautiful beer garden to good use with their refreshing breakfast cocktails. Local Burleigh is an all-day restaurant and bar, so make sure you pop your head in, at any time of day.

Osteria del Mare

Smell that? That’s Osteria del Mare. Ahh—the smell of fresh, homemade pizzas and pastas. It’s always a pleasure to dine at this Burleigh eatery. Head inside to be blown away by the character of this beautiful Italian restaurant. The tradition that’s captured in the wood-brown furniture and brick walls fails to be anything other than a testament to Italian street eats. 

But Osteria del Mare has so much more to show. Even as you read this, they’ll be serving the best of Italian eats—think naturally risen, stone-cooked pizza with crust that’s cooked to perfection. You can rest easy knowing your meal will fail to disappoint (ever), because Chef and Owner Andrea Riva takes pride in his ingredient choices, only using top-quality imported Italian ingredients. Good for any day of the week, this beachy Italian restaurant is not something to pass on.

Belvedere Stonemill

Now this is a perfect little slice of Italy, right on our doorstep. Using the freshest of organic ingredients and employing the simplest, most traditional techniques, the Italian-born owners of Belvedere Stonemill have stayed true to their roots by milling their own flours, and delivering a menu of traditional Italian classics done perfectly.

Luxuriate in the rich darkness of the décor as you peruse the extensive wine list that offers up more than few cheeky Italian reds to relish. The light-as-a-pillow gnocchi and melt-in-your-mouth traditional meatballs have to be tasted to be believed. Also—cheese wheel. Enough said.

Jimmy Wah’s

best restaurants in burleighGiven our love affair with Asian food, we easily rank Jimmy Wah’s high among the best restaurants in Burleigh. A contemporary take on traditional Vietnamese cuisine, 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 soft shell crab steamed buns, pho, bahn mi and tempura barramundi. If you’re wondering who the cheerful face is smiling back at you from the wall mural, it’s the restaurant’s namesake, the cheeky character Jimmy Wah from the classic flick Good Morning, Vietnam; and he’s pleased to say, you’ve made a good choice. 

Suzy BBQ

Grab your gang, because Suzy BBQ, nestled in the heart of Burleigh Heads, is the funky Korean BBQ house we’ve all been waiting for. From the vintage Korean posters lining the walls to the red Coca-Cola chairs on the footpath to the bustling atmosphere, everything about Suzy BBQ is eccentric, fun and something the Gold Coast hasn't seen before.

Grill your own meats to taste at the table and tuck into them hot alongside drool-worthy kimchi dumplings and Instagrammable kimchi pancakes, all washed down with a range of crisp, cold Asian beers and spirits (and yes loads of soju, of course). It’s communal-style eating with a K-pop twist. Hands down, one of the best Burleigh Heads restaurants of 2023.

Hail Mary

Hail Mary, one of the best restaurants in Burleigh HeadsHail Mary is our little secret. No, not really—but it is hidden down a cute little laneway arcade off Burleigh’s James Street. This Mexican joint has nailed the vibe of Burleigh-meets-Mexico down perfectly. So it should come at no surprise when we tell you that this is no typical Mexican joint, with all the energising outdoor space and the fairy lights (nice touch). 

Boring burritos, out. Creativity is in, and Hail Mary will make sure you know it. This casual eatery is serving up a dizzying selection of starters, creative tacos, tostadas and quesadillas. And if you’re not rolling out the store with a full belly by then, they’ve got Mexican desserts for the final touch. With reasonable prices, bite-sized servings, and an atmosphere that’ll take you straight to the streets of Mexico, it’s hard to find something Hail Mary doesn’t do. Definitely one of the best restaurants in Burleigh.

Ze Pickle

Ze Pickle will never not be popular with the burger-mad crowd on the Gold Coast, with the team always working hard to top themselves with even more decadent creations. Although how you can get more decadent than double fried loaded tater tots is beyond us.

You had us at bacon and cheese, guys. The perfect place for loading up on burgs with mates after a few drinkies, Ze Pickle undoubtedly has the juiciest, most loaded burgers in Burleigh. And if you haven’t exploded at the end of your main, you seriously need to check out the Mars Bar and choc chip cookie dough skillet. All the noms.

Justin Lane

a table full of pizza at justin laneThe popular Justin Lane crew sure knows their pizza and pasta. This lively laneway hub has been a Burleigh staple for years now, catering both to the hip crowds who are keen for cocktails on the rooftop as well as loyal locals who head in once a week for their freshly house-made Italiano fix.

And with creative toppings like zucchini and confit garlic, or prawn, calamari and chilli, as well as options for our gluten-free and vegan friends justin-case, why wouldn’t you take a stroll down the lane? Hands down, one of the best restaurants in Burleigh Heads.

Kin Burleigh 
Kin Burleigh, one of the best restaurants in Burleigh Heads

Picture this for us. Fresh music from smooth jazz, new and old school funk, groove and soul, food that’ll plaster a smile on your face, and a staggering array of adventurous cocktails. Sound like the perfect night out? Then Kin Burleigh is definitely a place you’re gonna need to slide into your schedule. 

Get yourself acquainted with Kin Burleigh’s small plates, starting with spicy edamame coated in garlic butter, chilli, ginger and togarashi (a Japanese spice). And if you’re a fan of sushi, you’re in luck because we’ve got a recommendation that’ll get you good. The dynamite roll—a dreamy explosion of crab, salmon, shrimp and wasabi with every bite, sprinkled with some black and white sesame seeds for extra flavour. It’s a must-have. So if a restaurant that prides itself on a seriously cool mix of music with heaven-sent meals and cocktails sounds like the night of your dreams, you’re gonna have to check out Kin Burleigh. We insist.

The Little Plate

At The Little Plate, everything is made with love. Owners and Chefs Gaynor and Liv take the utmost care with their little plates, making sure there’s a place for everything, and everything in its place.

Whether it’s a bunch of creamy mussels nestled in a rich and thick tomato sauce, honey lavender spring lamb or our favourite South-East Asian-inspired ceviche, you’ll be able to find something wholly unique and utterly sublime to tempt your tastebuds. These divine share plates are for long evenings, good conversation, flowing wine, and savouring slowly. As for the romantics? It’s the perfect date night venue.

The Tropic

best Gold Coast restaurantsSituated at the northern end of the Burleigh Pavilion, The Tropic has made a name for itself among Gold Coast restaurants as a unique Mediterranean take on our fresh Aussie seafood. Treated carefully and lightly with a focus on complementary flavours that highlight the produce itself, The Tropic is one for the purists, the curious, and the all-round foodies.

Enjoy a little sea spray with your ceviche because it doesn’t get more waterfront than this. This gorgeous restaurant takes out top spot as the most Instagrammable joint on the Gold Coast.

KAMI

This is one little South-east Asian-inspired eatery that seriously needs to take a bao, because the menu at the relatively new KAMI (pronounced kah-mee) rivals that of some of Gold Coast’s most established Asian-fusion places, and with the number of those around, that’s certainly saying something.

This funky little neon dream will have you whipping out the phone for a selfie before you can say edamame. We’re talking to-die-for kingfish sashimi with finger lime, coconut cream and shiso, sweet corn elote with parmesan and chilli mayo, baked sweet potato with miso butter and hot strawberry jam bao for afters. Okay. Who’s kami-ng to dinner?

Rabbath

This intimate little space holds some pretty big flavours. With a menu of contemporary Lebanese delights served from a bustling kitchen that’s always on show, Rabbath will keep you coming back for more. If you can beat out the hordes for a seat, that is.

With a menu designed to share, you simply cannot go past the Mjadara, an Egyptian-style risotto with lentils, crispy onions and beetroot pickles, and if you’re a tabbouleh fan, we have to say we think Rabbath’s is the best on the Gold Coast, just quietly. Always-cheerful owner Patrick will welcome you into his little slice of Lebanon for a night with a big smile, something you’ll be leaving with after experiencing such gastronomic satisfaction.

Willow Dining

Take one small, dimly lit restaurant, a sprinkling of pavement tables and an unpredictable menu, and you’ll have Burleigh’s cosy Willow Dining. The team at Willow like to treat all your senses, with exposed bricks and a mish-mash of vintage furniture delighting your eyes and the rustic vibe making you feel warm and right at home.

The focus here is on a great food experience, and they certainly deliver, with a range of international cuisines that are as jumbled as the furniture, but work just as well together. Harmonise your evening with some Mediterranean starters before jumping into some Spanish tapas and modern Australian mains. As well as a cheeky cocktail or two, of course. At Willow Dining, it’s around the world in 80 minutes.

Made your way around the best restaurants in Burleigh? Head north up the highway and explore the best restaurants in Broadbeach next.

Image credit: Hayley Williamson, Brooke Darling & Kaitlin Maree Photography for Urban List  & supplied imagery

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.