Where to eat with kids on the Gold Coast
Families flock to the Gold Coast for theme park action, beach chills, hinterland mini-hikes and sunny good times. But you’ll need to step up your energy levels to extreme perkiness so that you (and your little people) can keep up with this holiday to-do list.
From Main Beach to Surfers and down to Currumbin, we’ve found the best family-friendly cafes and restaurants to refuel the crew, complete with climbing spots, play areas for all ages, frothy babycinos and piping-hot flat whites for the tour guides (aka you!).
BSKT Cafe, Mermaid Beach
You’ll find BSKT right in the heart of Mermaid Beach, less than 40 metres behind the sand. The dedicated kids area on the beach side of the restaurant (with bonus activity packs) isn’t the only drawcard for families – all kids meals come with a free juice and little ones eat free here every Friday night.
While they’re known for their locally-sourced, organic, paleo and gluten-free menu, BSKT is a hit with kids thanks to the berrylicious pancakes, tacka tacos, flatbread ham and cheese toastie, and kiddies ham and eggs. Little (and big) kids can top it all off with a CocoWhip, a healthy soft serve that’s vegan and dairy-free.
Where: 4 Lavarack Road, Mermaid Beach.
Open: Breakfast and lunch Monday to Thursday 7am-4pm, Friday and Saturday 7am-10pm, Sunday 7am-5pm.
Hot tip: Nom nom downstairs and then ommm upstairs at BSKT Activ where they offer strength and recovery-focused yoga classes.
Paradox Coffee Roasters, Surfers Paradise
This modern coffee-lovers haven has created a great gated space for kids featuring a chalk wall, toys, teddies and games to keep them distracted while you enjoy a coffee hit, eat with two hands and maybe even have a grown-up conversation.
The all-day breakfast and all-day lunch menu is packed full of deliciousness like haloumi and avocado burger and housemade cranberry and chia fruit toast for parents, but the real treat comes in kiddie form with the Paradox Kids’ High Chocolate. Prepare for the sugar high.
Where: 10 Beach Road, Surfers Paradise.
Open: Breakfast and lunch daily from 7am-3pm.
Hot tip: For something a bit special, their high coffee experience is like a regular high tea, but with caffeine goodness.
Waterfront Restaurant at Southport Yacht Club, Main Beach
Want your kids to learn sailing skills while you sip your latte? Then head to the Southport Yacht Club on weekends from 9am to 10:30am so your 7 to 15 year-olds can take off on a FunSail adventure.
Once they’re back from a morning on the water, they’ll need something palatable from the “cadets” lunch menu, which includes all the staples from steak and chicken nuggets to pasta bolognaise and fish and chips. Seafood-loving parents, on the other hand, will be drooling over the macadamia crusted barramundi or salmon linguine.
In between sailing and eating, the kids will be sorted for fun at the playground on the western lawn of the clubhouse.
Where: 1 Macarthur Parade, Main Beach.
Open: Breakfast Saturday and Sunday 7:30am-10am, lunch Monday to Saturday 12pm-2:30pm and Sunday 12pm-5:30pm, dinner Monday to Sunday 5:30pm-8:30pm.
Hot tip: Kids can chow down on lunch or dinner for a bargain $5 on Mondays and Tuesdays with any adult main meal purchase.
Bumbles Café, Surfers Paradise
It might only be a five-minute walk from the heart of Surfers Paradise, but Bumbles Cafe on Budds Beach – facing the Nerang River – feels miles away from the high-energy centre of the GC.
Find a spot outside under a big shady umbrella at one of the best under-the-radar kid-friendly cafes and place an order for a prawn or lime chicken finger sandwich (for you) and bacon and egg slider or waffles with vanilla ice-cream and Lindt chocolate sauce (for them).
Where: 19 River Drive, Budds Beach, Surfers Paradise.
Open: Breakfast and lunch Monday to Thursday 7am-4pm, Friday to Sunday 7am-4pm.
Hot tip: Go posh and book in for Bumbles’ high tea featuring housemade sausage rolls, quiche Lorraine and lemon curd tartlets.
Bazaar, QT Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise
One word: Buffet. A crowd-pleaser for all ages, this Sunday brunch buffet is found inside one of the coolest hotels in the hood, QT Gold Coast, smack bang in the middle of Surfers Paradise.
Their epic spread includes a live crepe station, gourmet brekky bowls, fondue station, breakfast pizzas and fried chicken with waffles – all of which can be enjoyed by the kids too. Buffet-style dining at its yummiest.
Where: QT Gold Coast, 7 Staghorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise.
Open: Breakfast daily 6:30am-10:30am and dinner 5:30pm-late, Sunday brunch 11:30am-3pm.
Hot tip: Treat yo’self to bottomless mimosas for an extra $25. Worth it.
Miami Marketta, Miami
If you’ve got kids that can’t agree on cuisines, head to outdoor street-food market Miami Marketta for 25 vendor options that’ll suit all tastebuds.
Despite the delish savoury selections available – from teppanyaki noodles and gnocchi to gozleme and brisket – the kids may make a run straight for the Dessert Hall which holds an abundance of gelato, cakes and donuts.
Live music from local blues, jazz and roots artists (with a dancefloor to boot) rounds off this fun family night out.
Where: 23 Hillcrest Parade, Miami.
Open: Dinner Wednesday 5pm-10pm, Friday 5pm-11pm, Saturday 4pm-11pm.
Hot tip: Got a group? Book out the Cocktail Garden, which opens up the private bar to you and your guests.
Paddock Bakery, Miami
For kids (both the two- and four-legged kind), this busy bakery and café inside an old Queenslander home is a great spot to enjoy breakfast, brunch or lunch (or an anytime treat).
Head beyond the picket fence to explore the veggie patch, citrus trees and lavender garden, armed with one of the ample crunchy cronuts, gooey tarts and other treats that are pumped out each day.
Want something more substantial? The dippy eggs (served with buttered sourdough soldiers, bacon bits and labna) and iced Milo are high on the order rotation for the kids, while mums and dads have tough decisions to make with the all-day brekky and lunch options.
Where: 20 Hibiscus Haven, Miami.
Open: Breakfast and lunch daily from 6:30am-3pm.
Hot tip: Need to cater a morning tea? You can order tarts, sourdoughs, cakes, sausage rolls and other treats from Paddock Bakery online.
Plantation House Cafe, West Burleigh
Right on Tallebudgera Creek and less than 10 minutes’ walk from David Fleay Wildlife Park, you’ll find Plantation House Cafe. With plenty of off-street parking, this easy-access cafe pulls in the locals with their all-day organic and free-range breakfast treats like Boston baked beans or corn and zucchini fritters, both served with spinach and poached eggs on sourdough.
Acai bowls are ready for the fruity fans while kids can’t say no to Plantation House’s burgers, pancakes and shakes. There’s a kids’ play area with chalkboard, rocking horse and loads of toys, too.
Where: 1/43 Tallebudgera Creek Road, West Burleigh.
Open: Breakfast and lunch Monday to Saturday 6:30am-2:30pm, Sunday 7am-2pm.
Hot tip: Grab some breakfast sustenance after an early morning swim in Tallebudgera Creek or play at Marin Sheils Park across the road.
Dune Café, Palm Beach
Dune Cafe’s location in the middle of pumping Palm Beach (and overlooking Currumbin Lagoon) gives them a five-star family badge.
Scallywags who love simple breakfast cuisine will dig their hotcakes or bacon and egg slider; while lunch options include tasty nacho boats and Southern-style chicken tenders and chips. The big people menu doesn’t disappoint with rustic potato and quinoa hash for brekky, or barramundi in crispy gluten-free batter for later on.
Where: Palm Beach Parklands, 945 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach.
Open: Breakfast and lunch daily 6:30am-3pm.
Hot tip: Grab a table or BYO picnic blanket and take in the live music on the last Saturday of every month.
Passiontree Velvet, Robina
If your mini-me brings their mandatory plus-one (of the stuffed kind) to all occasions, book in for the Teddy Bear’s Picnic kids high tea at Passiontree Velvet.
With all the fanciness of a grown-up high tea, but with a kid price-point (and no tea in sight), this cake shop turns it on with ham finger sandwiches, strawberries, macarons and a choice of babycino or juice. Mum (or dad!) is sorted with classic English scones, finger sandwiches and loose leaf tea too.
Where: Robina Town Centre (in front of David Jones), 19-33 Robina Town Centre Drive, Robina.
Open: Monday to Wednesday 9am-5:30pm, Thursday 9am-9pm, Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 10am-5pm.
Hot tip: Order a custom cake or macaron tower for a next-level addition to any birthday party.
Neighbourhood Espresso, Currumbin Waters
As the name suggests, there’s a strong community vibe at Neighbourhood Espresso with a casual backyard feel.
Let the kids loose in the vintage caravan cubby and grassed play area with tables and chairs and toys aplenty. Then, load up on the spiced pumpkin waffles with banana curd or chunky avocado topped with seeded dukkah, lemon and cumin oil. Kids can take a break from play with bacon and fried egg or avocado on sourdough.
Where: 4/9 Station Street, Currumbin Waters.
Open: Breakfast and lunch Monday to Friday 5:30am-2pm, Saturday and Sunday 5:30am-1:30pm.
Hot tip: Expect a good coffee from Neighbourhood Espresso. Their beans are brewed from Yatala’s own Supreme Roasters.
Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Life Saving Club, Currumbin
Whether your crew is signed up for the local nippers or not, Surf Life Saving Clubs are a pretty sure bet for good-value kid-friendly food options. Currumbin Beach Vikings have breakfast, lunch and dinner by the beach sorted with loads of specials across the week.
The Nippers breakfast menu covers simple delights like sausage, egg and hash brown or pancakes with maple syrup and ice-cream. Family faves like chicken nuggets, cheeseburger and chips and old faithful, Hawaiian pizza, are on the Nippers lunch and dinner menu.
Where: 741 Pacific Parade, Currumbin.
Open: Breakfast Monday to Friday 7am-10:30am and Saturday and Sunday 7am-11am, lunch Monday to Friday 11:30am-2:30pm and Saturday and Sunday 12pm-3pm, dinner Sunday to Thursday 5pm-8pm and Friday and Saturday 5pm-8:30pm.
Hot tip: Leave your car at home, and call ahead to arrange the courtesy bus pick-up and drop-off.
The Bearded Dragon Hotel, Mount Tamborine
If your family is beached out, head to the hills of Mount Tamborine and dine on quality pub-fare at the Bearded Dragon Hotel. Set on 110 acres, this country pub paddock with a huge beer garden has a bit of everything for the fam from live music and crocodile shows to playgrounds and alpaca feeding.
The Bearded Dragon team are serious about their hefty steaks and burgers but also mix in a sticky plum and maple glazed pork belly and Big Boy brisket Yorkshire pudding for good measure. Kids can take their pick of cheesy bolognaise, steak and vegetables or battered fish and chips.
Where: Corner Tamborine Mountain Road and Beaudesert-Beenleigh Road, Tamborine Village.
Open: Monday to Friday 10am-8pm, Saturday and Sunday 8am-8pm.
Hot tip: Make a weekend of it and stay overnight in a family room onsite at Bearded Dragon Hotel.
Need more foodie inspiration for your little people? Here are some more Gold Coast kid-friendly cafes:
- The Yard Cafe, 17 Lavarack Road, Mermaid Beach
- Zest Coffee, 5/496 Golden Four Drive, Tugun
- Cafe Tahbella, 11/3 Cottonwood Place, Oxenford
- BMD Northcliffe Surf Club, 51 Garfield Tce, Surfers Paradise
- Elk Espresso, Oasis Mall, Broadbeach
- Mermaid Beach Surf Club, Hedges Avenue, Mermaid Beach
- Pancake Diner, The Strand, 72 Marine Parade, Coolangatta