It’s been a long time since The Pink Poodle was the height of culinary sophistication on the Gold Coast. No longer a barren dining wasteland, peppered with behemoth ‘family restaurant’ chains*, the southern end of the coast in particular is where it’s at if you fancy yourself a bit of a gourmand.
Things haven’t slowed down since we wrote this post with a veritable smorgasbord of new restaurants and cafes opening their doors in the past year.
Luckily, most are proving they’ve got plenty of substance behind their undeniable style. Make a reservation at one (or all) of these eateries for your next visit.
(Psst! We’ve got another five you can’t miss over here, too)
1. The Fish House
Burleigh Headland and seafood go together like peas and carrots; like roast lamb and mint sauce; like meat pies and sauce (okay, you get the drift).
Owner Simon Gloftis knows a thing or two about creating food and atmosphere that’ll keep diners coming back for more – three years in, his Nobby Beach eatery Hellenika still overflows with stuffed-to-the-brim-satiated crowds. Now, on top of Greek delights he’s added fresh and fabulous seafood to his restaurant repertoire. Not unexpectedly, fish is the hero here.
At The Fish House, the onus is on the highest quality catches, prepared simply so you can still taste the ocean. Oh, and an A-Class wine list.
2. Social Eating House
This suave culinary hot spot garnered John Cusack’s Hollywood tick of approval, but to be honest we knew it was a winner well before then. The actor opted to dine at Social not one or two, but five nights running while filming on the Gold Coast recently. And it’s not hard to see why he was so smitten.
Impeccable service, a classy fit out, quality charcuterie and cheeses, and inventive Spanish-inspired share plates makes Social Eating House a stand out in Broadbeach’s Oracle complex. Hot Tip: Eat at the bar overlooking the buzzing kitchen for a slice of Manhattan living on the Gold Coast.
3. Willow Dining Room
You don’t want to dine here if you’re a bit precious about sitting on mismatched chairs and stools, but if you’re happy with a couple of ice buckets to dunk your BYO wine into and tables large enough to seat the whole crew – with tasty nosh a bonus – then say hello to Willow Dining Room.
Non-locals might have to look a little harder than most to find this pretty little sidewalk café, tucked off the main highway just north of Burleigh Heads. Again, share plates are the name of the game here with the bonus being the super relaxed, unpretentious vibe.
They’ve also recently opened up their courtyard and starting doing lunch on weekends. (Image source)
4. BSKT Café
Within a few days of opening, locals in the know were already hard-pressed to find a table at this new healthy eating café, even with the plethora of indoor/outdoor options available.
Taking over the corner opposite the Nobby’s Beach Surf Club, BSKT Café (short for Biscuit) houses a yogalates studio upstairs – with yoga, Pilates and ‘Brazilian Butt’ classes on high rotation – and serves up delicious produce downstairs; most of it gluten and dairy free for the intolerant/allergic/#cleaneating purists amongst us.
Save room for the brownie with coconut ice cream (although I can’t be sure how many Pilates classes you’ll need to do to burn that one off).
5. Marketta Street Food
Okay, so it’s not technically a restaurant, but if you’re looking to eat out on a Saturday night on the GC (and especially if you can’t decide on a cuisine that will keep your horde happy), take a stroll down a laneway in Miami and get in on the buzz that is Marketta Street Food.
Every Saturday from 4-10pm, the Rabbit and Cocoon arts precinct plays host to 25 street food stalls – serving up everything from Spanish, Italian, Thai and French cuisine – as well as boutique local beer and wine, a dessert hall and live music.
You could be gobbling down dumplings for starters, filling up on fresh ravioli for your main and taking home a sinfully sweet French pastry for dessert (or let’s face it, eating it all in the one sitting because it’s Saturday night and you only live once goddammit).
*Okay, they do still exist. Damn you Gold Coast Highway!