10 Gold Coast restaurant institutions

Shiny, new things are always a good time but let’s not forget the faithful old things that got us through a time when said new things weren’t demanding everyone’s attention.  

For the sake of respecting our elders, we’ve compiled a list of local restaurants that have been around for as long as anyone can remember and are more than worthy of a revisit.

Ashmore Seafood and Steakhouse
Next time you’re so hungry you think you might pass out, take a trip to Ashmore Seafood and Steakhouse. The meals are large, the menu is as long as your arm, the garlic bread is unlimited and you’re pretty much guaranteed to roll out the door as happy as can be. Eat the Hot Chilli Mud Crab and thank us later.
Where: 528 Ashmore Rd, Ashmore

Mandarin Court
One of the longest running local faves, Mandarin Court opened in 1979 and is both a Chinese and Yum Cha restaurant because heaven is a place on earth. It would be silly not to order the Peking Duck which is carved at the table right before your eyes (and tastes absolutely ridiculous to be honest). There’s live music and friendly staff and what more could you want really.
Where: 2374 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach

George’s Paragon Seafood Restaurant
If you haven’t been to George’s, you best rectify that little error in judgment quick smart. Found in Coolangatta, Mt Tamborine and Sanctuary Cove George’s is (still) dishing up the seafood GOODS. There’s an all day, half price dining menu and everything on it is a taste sensation. The Lobster Mornay is a house fave and even better, affordable.
Where: 110 Marine Parade, Coolangatta and 141 Long Rd, Eagle Heights

Alfresco Italian Restaurant
There aren’t many things in the world that compare to authentic Italian food and in a delightful twist of fate, you can find exactly that at Alfresco’s. Owned by a family who are more than happy to adopt you as their own, this little place has been around for over 25 years and there’s no doubt food is their passion. They’ve got a secret, family recipe pizza and MAMA MIA, it’s the goods.
Where: 3018 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise

Food Fantasy
It may just be the Gold Coast’s most popular buffet restaurant and for good reason – there’s a LOT of tasty food to be devoured. There are over 80 dishes to try (bring your mates) and Friday and Saturday nights are a seafood feast of epic proportions. Oh and it’s at The Star so you can dance your feast off afterwards if you feel so inclined. 
Where: The Star, Casino Drive, Broadbeach

Chiangmai Thai
So good, there’s two of them on the Coast. Both the Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach restaurants boast some of the most delicious Thai food you’ll ever eat AND the staff are super lovely and want you to have the best time ever. Which you will, especially if you get involved in the Choo Chi Curry. Look for the purple neon lights on the highway! 
Where: 5-19 Palm Ave, Surfers Paradise and 2779 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach

Mike’s Kitchen
For 21 years we Gold Coasters have been lucky enough to sample the tasty meats at Mike’s Kitchen. The team serve up “homestyle” meals (which are nothing like you’re able to cook at home) with a focus on steak and ribs. The flame-grilled ribs are worth their weight in gold and if they don’t fill you up, do yourself a favour and try the steak! 
Where: 2 Gooding Drive, Merrimac 

The Aztec / Montezuma's
How fun is it to say (and eat) Chimichanga’s. Thanks to the good folks at The Aztec you can eat all the Chimichanga’s you desire in Surfers Paradise (since 1993), Broadbeach and Coolangatta and you can find Montezuma's in Burleigh and Labrador (Mexi-bike crawl anyone). There’s half price lunch deals daily and dinner specials on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s . Oh and there’s tequila. Sold.
Where: Victoria Square, Broadbeach Mall, Broadbeach and 152 Griffith St, Coolangatta

Valentino’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria
If you’re never been to Naples, about mid way down the Italian Coast, you really should. But if you cannot, your second best option is Valentino’s in Broadbeach (it's been around since the 80s). Owned by the Covino family, who (luckily for us) moved to Australia from Naples over 50 years ago, the food at Valentino’s is as authentic as it gets, made with all the love and passion Italians are famous for. Eat the Fettuccine Pescatore, you’re welcome.
Where: 29A Victoria Avenue, Broadbeach

Romana's Nobby Beach
Nobby's is generally all about the shiny new things but there's one little gem that's been around for many a moon. Romana's serves up the tasty, authentic Italian foods that you'd probably lay down your life for. Everything is fresh and filled with flavour and the staff are passionate and absolutely lovely. There's weekly special and takeaway options and definitely add it to your list. 
Where: 2233 Gold Coast Hwy, Nobbys Beach

Words by Kirra Smith