There’s no doubt about it, the Gold Coast dining scene continues to get trendier than a pair of cuffed chinos and a full beard by the day. Punching well above its weight in the gourmet stakes, the coast has award-wining fine dining options in spades, but these down-to-earth, rustic and homely restaurants, cafés and diners should definitely make the list next time you hit the GC.
Nutella donut sandwich. Got your attention? A bakery this may be, but Paddock Bakery’s organic wood-fired sourdough is turned into all kinds of tastebud-tantalising treats at this cute renovated Queenslander in Miami. Surrounded by a thriving garden, fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs are handpicked to become the stars on the ever-growing and changing menu.
Their meatball sub is heaven in two handfuls – meatballs, roasted capsicum sauce and wood-fired sub all made in-house and topped with cheese. And if you hit a bit of a bread coma, the carrot cake porridge combines oats, sultanas, carrot, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, pecans, walnuts, toasted coconut and honeycomb into heartiest, most comforting breakfast around this winter. The best part? It’s open seven days.
Even if you’re not in the market for a sit down brekkie or lunch, it’s worth making a stop for their gluten-free salted caramel and chocolate ganache brownie. #lifechanger
From the guys that bought you Justin Lane (featured in our previous list), the very debonair Cavalier Bar & Supper opened up late last year, right next door in Burleigh Heads, offering up a sophisticated Italian menu (their gnocchi is the stuff of legends) and lengthy wine list. With staples like olives, prosciutto, arancini and crispy fried baby squid prepared to perfection for primi, a short but flavour-packed secondi menu follows with the likes of lamb and red wine ragu with fazzoletti; roast pumpkin risotto with squash, green beans, garlic and Grana Padano; and oven baked fish with Coffin Bay clams, asparagus and dill.
The cocktail menu is smooth, mature and mysterious with a decidedly masculine twist. From the ‘beer and a smoke’ combo of Del Maguey Vida, passionfruit, cucumber and house-made ginger beer, to the Harlen Flip – Buffalo Trace, quince liqueur, Pedro Ximenez, egg, chocolate bitters and fig and pepper paste – you know you’re in the hands of experts. And if you’re not imbibing, the staff will pour endless still or sparkling mineral water for $5 a head, as opposed to the usual overpriced bottles.
With live Sunday afternoon jazz, deep leather Chesterfield couches and a private supper room upstairs; you could become very cavalier about how much time you spend here, indeed.
Cutthroat shave, barbershop snip, new designer threads, and a box of surfboard wax, yep, you can add them all as extras to your order of a bacon and egg roll and flat white at Alfred’s. Opened initially as a barber and retail shop, the boys at Alfred’s Apartment decided to add Alfred’s Diner to the premises in January this year making it the ultimate place to hang out in Mermaid Beach.
Toted as ‘gourmet street food’ the diner serves up tasty breakfast fare, like deluxe acai bowls topped with caramalised buckinis, Steph Gilmore’s favourite poached eggs on avocado toast sprinkled with dukkah and goats cheese, and a Mexican breakfast burrito. Lunch takes a leaf squarely out of the American cuisine cookbook with a short offering of two burritos, one salad and three hot dogs.
Taking diners and shoppers back to a time “when shirts were worn tucked in, your jacket travelled everywhere as a second skin and the shape of your sunnies and cut of your hair polished off the whole kit”, it’s a place where you can sip on bottles of Living Juice, get a beard trim and shop the carefully-curated collection of gentlemanly fashion and accessories, at the same time as getting a bite to eat.
They say good things come in threes but at Finders Keepers in Burleigh, there are more than three things that make this ‘old-school-grandma-cool’ bar worth a visit. One: Inventive cocktails that actually get cheaper after 10pm on Fridays from a bar where there’s no post mix allowed (apple and cinnamon muffin cocktail, anyone?). Two: stellar cuisine from their French/Japanese head chef. And three: Winter Warmer Wednesdays – aka three courses for $25.
From there, the level of awesome keeps rising. A gravity-defying bookcase filled with knick-knacks balances overhead the bar where bartender Leroy mixes liquid magic, creating an Alice in Wonderland-esque vibe. Cosy is the name of the game here – Chesterfield lounges, tongue-and-groove walls, magnolia wallpaper and leadlight bay windows keep the warm, have-another-scotchie-scotch-scotch atmosphere in.
The menu is designed to share (aren’t they all these days?), which means a chance to sample everything with a big enough group of friends. Think: Grilled Moroccan backstrap with tea infused blackcurrant couscous with lemon yoghurt, porcini arancini served on spiced tomato coulis and Tasmanian ocean trout en papillote, chased with a decadent dark chocolate fondant with vanilla bean ice-cream.
Little by name but certainly not by reputation, this boutique restaurant and bar tucked away in North Burleigh is a booking mandatory type of place – you don’t want to miss out! A little bit Mediterranean, a little bit Asian, the tapas-style menu brings fine dining into the share plate philosophy. No amount of preparation is too much, it seems, so it’s no surprise Little Plate is ranked number one in restaurants in Burleigh Heads.
The Little Bar is their newest addition, just one shop away, serving great cocktails and wine and chocolate boards, perfect for chilly winter nights (or, any night).