5 Gold Coast restaurants you can’t miss

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The Gold Coast has come a long way in the past year and now boasts some of the best eating to be had in South-East Queensland, from incredible Greek food to the hippest cafés around. Here’s our top picks.

(Also check out 5 more Gold Coast restaurants you can’t miss + another 5 here.)

Black Coffee LyricsBlack Coffee Lyrics

Run by four very cool young guys originally from the Sunshine Coast, Black Coffee Lyrics is the place to be seen on the coast. So hip it hurts, the café turns from its daytime trade to an awesome bar with themed nights throughout the week (don’t miss the Mexican bingo nights).

The breakfasts are famous (the eggs smothered in basil cream is the stuff of dreams) and the coffee is ground exclusively for the café. With board games, books and great music playing it’s a place to linger. In fact, it’s so hot the venue was named in the Top 5 People’s Choice in The Australian’s Top 50 Hottest Restaurants, up there with Vue de Monde and Flying Fish. Not bad! (Eds note: This business is now closed.)


Lamb shoulder. That’s all you need to know to add Hellenika to your list of must-tries. This Greek restaurant in Nobby’s Beach not only has some of the best atmosphere and décor along the coast, it also has the juiciest, falling-off-the bone lamb shoulder to be eaten. Ever.

Hellenika is on the side of one of the busiest highways in Australia, however the unlikely setting makes the cosy and welcoming atmosphere inside even more surprising. Owned by a Greek and with an Irish head chef, the food is traditional but with a modern take. It’s also one of the best spots for a long Sunday lunch, just be prepared to leave full!


Buffets are never an acceptable eating venue unless you’re on a cruise. However Bazaar at QT Gold Coast has finally made the buffet cool again. And my God it’s such a good concept. Something for everyone, and lots of it.

This very cool buffet has a seafood station to rival any good fish & chippery, an Asian chef who steams up dumplings to order, someone pulling chunks of meat off a pig on the spit, a BBQ guy who grills steaks to order, a pasta station, pizza, charcuterie, salads, the list goes on and on.

One of the hardest things about a buffet is discipline and small portions. But save room for dessert – the dessert chef is like Willy Wonka with his love of popping rocks and fizzing candies.

Salt Bar & Grill

Salt was opened by celebrity chef Luke Mangan and it’s hard to miss him. His name is on everything – and not just in the sense that it carries his usual level of brilliant food and high level of service. We mean literally; the glasses, the napkins, the crockery. You half expect his name to appear on your toilet paper squares.

Branding aside, this is one of the best places to get a steak on the coast. Situated within the brand new Hilton Surfers Paradise, Salt is fast becoming so popular it’s hard to get a table without a reservation. And it’s all about the grill. Steaks melt in your mouth and come with some of the best side dishes around, there’s a selection of great seafood and some of Luke’s signature dishes also make an appearance on the menu.

Justin LaneJustin Lane

Nestled down a lane in the surfing mecca of Burleigh Heads, Justin Lane suits the cool vibe of this area to a T. The bohemian set congregates here in big numbers on a Friday and Saturday night (expect to queue) for some of the best pizzas around.

There’s a bar to wait in and a cocktail list that keeps you going back for more. Don’t expect to linger though as this place is so popular a bill will be on your table by the time you finish your last slice. And, if you need more incentive to visit, all of the waiters are really, really ridiculously good looking.

Want more?

Check out 5 more Gold Coast restaurants you can’t miss and Another 5 Gold Coast restaurants you can’t miss.

  • Oz ex-pat

    ”Buffets are never an acceptable eating venue unless you’re on a cruise.” What!!!!! As as ex-pat living overesas for near 13 years now in different countries, this statement would be laughed at.

    • Christina

      I’ve been to bazaar and its actually done amazingly well! I don’t think anyone would be disappointed there. I’m a chef so I’ve tried a lot of food. I’ve been to four of these places on this site and can say they know a bit of what they’re talking about. Seriously Bazaar would change what you think of buffets. don’t knock it till you try it. :)

  • Helve S

    Agree totally with oz ex-pat.  Love, love, love Buffets, eat what you like, how much you like, back and forth to the multitude of platters and counters, what could be better !!!!!!

  • Scroggstl

    Please get your websites up and running!  It’s great I can see the Menu’s but Atmosphere is what I want to see in the pictures!

  • http://twitter.com/Pretraveller Anne

    I will have to visit at least one of these restaurants the next time I head to the Gold Coast. Hellenika sounds great!

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  • Laura Versace

    We would love to know what you think about our Currumbin Restaurant called Alleys Restaurant. you can find detail about it here: http://www.alleysrestaurant.com.au

  • http://twitter.com/misskelt Kelly

    Hellenika is amazing, a definite must but make sure to book early, say a month in advance (serious)! Black Coffee Lyrics is in Surfers so not the best atmosphere, as a local I stay well clear of Surfers, when I went last year they did have a funky Melbourne alley style going on which was nice though.

    I have heard excellent things about Bazaar and Salt and will aim to visit them sometime soon, especially Salt.

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  • Ty

    Try Queensland’s first REAL Mexican Restaurant. Owned and Operated by actual Mexicans from California. Won’t find anything here that isn’t made from scratch! Including homemade tortillas!!


    About Us:

    In 2012, California natives and creators of California Tacos lived vastly different lives.
    One was working in San Diego facilitating corporate environ-mental clean-up, (oil spills and the like). The other was a chef, living and working in a Gastro Pub in Boston, freezing his butt off in the blizzards.

    The two friends quit their jobs and moved to Baja California

    for several months to work in the best taco shop in Tijuana, Mexico.

    Having traveled through Australia, they felt a strong need to impart on the Australian public the trad-itional food and hospitality they grew up loving, uniquely found in the Baja region of southern California and northern Mexico.

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  • Darryl

    Gemelli Italian should be on here, what a stunning place! some real italian thankgod…

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  • Selina

    I went to Bazaar for dinner last Sept 13′ with my family of 5. Look, over $300 later I couldn’t say we ate our money’s worth although the food was all quite good & we went with very big appetites. It’s definitely where you go for an occasion or if your well off. My children were treated very well which I appreciated, staff were very professional & friendly but not over bearing. I’ve been to buffets all over the world, including many during my two trips to Vegas. This was certainly the best in terms of quality over quantity.

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  • shelley

    Done four of these. Got Salt Grill to go. Now there’s a new list. My waistline can’t take it.

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  • http://www.effectiveonline.com.au/ EffectiveOnline007

    We ate at Cav’s last night for the first time in a long time. Forgot how good the steak actually was there… so good. check them out. http://www.cavssteakhouse.com

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