11 Gold Coast restaurants with epic water views
Some restaurants and cafes rely on good looks, celebrity chefs or Heston Blumenthal-esque theatrics to pull in the crowds but on the Gold Coast, real estate trumps all.
The best restaurants here also come with a side serve of million-dollar views, especially when the sun’s shining and the surf is pumping.
Surprisingly, for a region with 57 kilometres of coastline, nailing down waterfront dining options as a newbie Gold Coast diner can be trickier than you’d think.
So we’ve done the groundwork to pull together these 11 Gold Coast restaurants with epic water views. Don’t forget your sunscreen.
Glass Dining at Marina Mirage, Main Beach
Does lunching across the road from one of the Gold Coast’s most underrated beaches, overlooking a bevvy of yachts belonging to the well-heeled and the saltiest of sea dog dreamers sound like your
cup of tea glass of Verve?
Glass Dining and Lounge Bar provides the marina-front stage for anytime cocktails, as well as a stunning breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Start with oysters dressed with shallot and chardonnay vinegar or test out the san Danielle prosciutto and finely sliced honeydew melon flower before sampling from the tapas menu. The char-grilled sous vide octopus cassolette will be vying for your attention next to the crisp lamb short ribs with kimchi mayo and hoisin BBQ glaze.
For the main event, you could focus on seafood with the likes of black mussels doused in blue cheese and parsley. Yes please!
Helm Bar, Surfers Paradise
Eating out on the waterfront doesn’t need to equal fine dining (and remembering which fork to use when).
Helm Bar in Surfers Paradise melds pub-style feeds with a fun nautical interior and seriously gorgeous views over the Nerang River and Chevron Island.
It’s breezy, casual and, come the weekend, live tunes will turn your lunch or dinner into a damn-where-did-the-time-go (or wow-I-really-went-to-town-on-those-Coronas) affair.
Seascape, Surfers Paradise
Seascape has not one, two but three levels of the Soul Boardwalk in Surfers Paradise, with expansive views and killer nosh.
The bistro on level one is all cocktails and casual bites (think grilled scallops and fish tacos), while upstairs in the restaurant, sleek decor and floor-to-ceiling windows will capture your attention and taste buds from the moment you step inside.
Fish is the star of the show here with six different catches of the day served with more-ish sides like potato galette, tempura Asparagus with sticky soy and heirloom carrots with honey.
If you’re not in the mood for making any decisions, hand the reins over to their ever-accomplished chefs for the five-course seafood selection, with or without matching wines.
Straight from the beach? Take to the roof for a laid back cold bevvy and confit duck spring rolls or mojito battered fish from the tapas menu.
Seaduction, Surfers Paradise
Awarded a Chef’s Hat in the 2018 Australian Good Food & Travel Guide, Seaduction puts the faith back into the hotel restaurant.
Located within Peppers Soul Surfers Paradise, Seaduction offers a seasonal menu and tasting menu options from five courses which have an Aussie soul.
Start the salivation with hiromasa kingfish ceviche with soy and raisins followed up by a medley of shellfish steamed in Australian beer, seasoned with beef biltong; and later, Queensland pork tenderloin with smoked corn and apple jus. *Drool!*
Perhaps the most attractive of all options though is their lunch special, with two courses and a glass of wine for $45. The million-dollar views are complimentary.
BMD Northcliffe Surf Club, Surfers Paradise
In Australia, our Surf Life Savers do so much more than just keep our beaches safe and look good in yellow and red, their clubhouses are secret winners in the dining stakes, too.
With a pocket of Surfers Paradise’ prime beachfront real estate all stitched up, Northcliffe Surf Club is the perfect spot to order a pot (mid-sized beer) and a parmy (chicken parmigiana) and while away an afternoon, checking out the action on the beach in air-conditioned comfort. Plus, Keno!
Edgewater, Isle of Capri
Moor your yacht and step into Edgewater Dining & Lounge Bar for tasty fare served with a killer view over the Nerang River, and the towering Q1 building framed by floor-to-ceiling windows.
Boasting a modern Australian menu with an Italian bend, set aside a few hours (and book yourself a cab) to work your way through their ‘liquid journey’ menu – from the ‘Sparkly Tour’ right through to ‘Merlot Station’, it’s a fabulous showcase of Australian and Kiwi drops.
Open for breakfast right through to dinner, there are plenty of tastes to tempt but we’re going for the prawn and bug risotto with pink champagne sauce for the win!
The Fish House, Burleigh Heads
When Hellenika (renowned Nobby Beach restaurant) godfather Simon Gloftis opened The Fish House in 2013, foodies around the country flocked like seagulls to a chip in Burleigh Headland park, coincidentally across the road from this suave establishment.
The interior is sleek and stylish, the outlook as sunny as you can get, the staff faultless, and the seafood, superb. Unsurprisingly fish is the main event here, with whole cooked fresh catches of the day the headliners.
To truly soak up the menu and sample some of the fine suggestions from their sommelier, opt for the seven-course menu of the day. You won’t be disappointed.
Rick Shores, Burleigh Heads
The boys behind acclaimed south-east Asian restaurant LONgTIME in Brisbane nabbed the lease on one of the Gold Coast’s most prestigious waterfront properties in 2016 and flung open the doors of Rick Shores in Burleigh Heads.
Their most recent award is a Chef’s Hat in the 2018 Australian Good Food & Travel Guide so if you haven’t ready, gather your friends to make a booking and prepare to share.
From bar snacks like ‘Ricks’ fried bug roll and braised shiitake steamed bun with red vinegar and chilli oil, through to smoked beef tartare, king prawn yellow curry, and twice cooked duck with fermented plum, duck fat and puffed grains, the intensity of the flavours at Rick Shores will slap you sillier than the view itself (which is pretty boss).
Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Life Saving Club, Currumbin
For sandy-feet, literally ON the beach dining, Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Life Saving Club takes the cake.
While its charm lies mostly in the location, it’s the quality, wallet-friendly fare that keeps locals and visitors coming back for more.
Clubbie-style feeds like burgers, the fisherman’s plate and a hefty 350g T-bone are all there, but you’ll also find Atlantic salmon served with a fennel, radish and mandarin salad, crispy skin pork belly with seared scallops, and pumpkin and sage ravioli to satisfy more discerning palates (just wash it down with a Chardy, darl!).
*PS. There’s not always a giant octopus on the rocky outcrop beside the surf club – this was part of the annual Swell Sculpture Festival; a great time to visit!
The Beach Shack, Currumbin
More cafe than restaurant, The Beach Shack in Currumbin still deserves pride of place on the list for its undeniably beautiful views and the fact it’s licenced, which we all knows equals a perfect lunch locale.
It’s also casual enough that should you want to wander straight over from a swim with your towel wrapped around your waist, no-one will bat an eyelid.
Order an acai bowl or corn fritters with bacon from their all day breakfast menu or refuel after a surf with a tasty burger or barramundi and chips.
Bin72 at The Strand, Coolangatta
Fans of Burleigh Heads’ Bin 12 and Little Truffle in Mermaid Beach are well served at their southern cousin, Bin 72 in Coolangatta.
Apart from owner and chef Daniel Ridgeway’s tasty tapas, 12 metres of window frontage overlooking one of the coast’s prettiest beaches makes this the place to kick back with mates with a craft beer in hand.
Pull up a pew, get ready to share and order large, with fried jamon and mozzarella balls jostling for your attention alongside prawn-stuffed zucchini flowers, popcorn chicken with spicy mayo and braised beef cheek.
And if that’s not enough, check out the best Gold Coast restaurants by precinct.
What’s your favourite waterfront Gold Coast restaurant?
This post was originally published in 2016 and was updated on 23 March 2018.