6 of the best places to eat and drink in Gladstone
The Central Queensland town of Gladstone on the Southern Great Barrier Reef might be best known for Heron Island and the twin towns of Agnes Waters and 1770, rather than its culinary scene, but when you know where to go, there’s no need to forgo gourmet gastronomy in Gladstone.
Hungry? Set your sights on the best places to eat and drink in Gladstone.
For fresh seafood: Gladstone Fish Markets
Calling all seafood lovers, you’re about to hit the protein jackpot in Gladstone.
This portside town proudly lays claim to both reef and inland fishing action, specialising in everything from ocean-caught red emperor, coral trout, Spanish mackerel and pearl perch to river-inhabiting whiting, flathead, barramundi, bream, mud crabs and more.
To sample it, make a beeline for the Gladstone Fish Market, who not only sell fresh locally-caught seafood but also cooked versions of the daily catch too.
From their food truck on Pitt Street, you can purchase cooked coral trout, red emperor, or sweetlip for lunch or early dinner on the go.
For everything from coffee through to cocktails: Lightbox Espresso and Wine Bar
Looking for a venue that will take you from your first drink of the day to your last? Enter Lightbox Espresso and Wine Bar whose menu is truly progressive, taking you from breakfast through to late-night charcuterie snacks.
Their share-plate mentality even starts at breakfast time, with a board for two including eggs your way, two types of meat and all the sides – aka roasted tomato, spinach, mushrooms, haloumi, avocado, hash browns, house beans and sourdough.
You’ll find Lightbox at the entrance to the Gladstone Entertainment and Convention Centre. It’s easy to spot with its industrial fit-out, indoor plants and fairy lights that make this joint feel a little more capital city than Central Queensland town.
For decadent desserts: Savour the Flavour
If you’re the sort of person who reads a menu back to front (to ensure there’s always room for dessert), look no further than Savour the Flavour in the Tondoon Botanic Gardens.
Case in point: There’s deep-fried choc-chip cookie dough on the menu. While it might not come with the Heart Foundation tick of approval, it’s downright delicious – homemade cookie dough, lightly battered and dipped until golden brown.
If you’re going down the deep-fried dessert route, you might like to opt for one of the salads on their menu rather than a burger or wrap, but who are we to judge?
For front row seats to Gladstone’s views: Cafe Spinnaker Park
Make like a local and catch morning magic hour with one of their meal deals. You’ll walk out full from the likes of eggs bene and coffee with change from a $20 note.
You’ll notice seafood shines on their lunch menu, with their signature fish burger served with chips and salad.
The icing on the cake? Spinnaker Park is dog friendly so if you grab a table right at the front, you’ll be in for Gladstone’s version of Best in Show.
For local craft beer: Baffle Beer
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Gladstone, drink like they do, sampling their very own craft beer, Baffle Beer.
This is no ordinary medley of water, malt, hops and yeast. These brewers (who incidentally hail from Bavaria) source everything locally with no additives, preservatives or artificial stuff.
Small batches of beer mean these brewers keep an eye on the quality control, so what you taste is a fresh, crisp, taste of what Southern Great Barrier Reef beer is all about.
Pssst – For more great Queensland beer stories, hop (or should that read, hops) over here for more.
For a pub meal with a cracking aspect: Gladstone Reef Hotel
If it’s been a while between visits to Gladstone, prepare for a new look Gladstone Reef Hotel following a 2016 renovation.
Not just one venue but four, you can make your night progressive between the main bar and deck, bistro, roof-top pool area or, Gladstone’s newest nightclub, Industrie.
The a la carte bistro is where you’ll find locals most nights of the week with dinner specials like a Sunday Roast that are as delicious as they are easy on the hip pocket.
We’d recommend getting in early to nab a position on the deck to watch the sun go down over the harbour for the best seats in the house.
For a picture-perfect picnic
When you’re visiting a destination that faces on the Great Barrier Reef, it would be remiss not to make like Yogi Bear and have a picnic overlooking it.
You won’t need to stay up all night packing your picnic either. The Deli Plate, has a selection of speciality cheeses and deli range from their shopfront in Goondoon Street.
If you’re thinking your picnic packing should take a sweet rather than savoury turn with the picnic, stop into Gecko Valley Winery for delicious home-made cakes, a takeaway coffee or perhaps a drop of the local vintage.
Looking for more things to see and do in Gladstone?
- Try this 5 day itinerary from the reef to the Sapphire Gem fields
- Visit these 8 places you’ve never heard of around Heron Island
- Pack your cryptocurrency, did you know the Southern Great Barrier Reef is bit-coin ready?
PS. If this list has whet your appetite for Gladstone’s food scene, just wait for August when Wilson Island will launch the only five-star glamping resort on the reef complete with the food and wine experience to go with it.