Quite obviously the Gold Coast is home to a growing number of epic eateries that will keep your Instagram feed filled for the rest of time. However, sometimes it’s nice to step outside your comfort zone and taste something slightly further afield.
Upon investigation, it seems there are plenty of epic eateries just outside our pretty city that are guaranteed to knock your socks off (should you be wearing socks due to these slightly chilly temps) now that border restrictions are easing.
Also, how fun are road trips (miss you!). Grab your gang and get out on the open road, your tastebuds will thank you.
Not even where to start to be honest. Harvest is THE GOODS. They weave fresh, local and organic produce into dishes that are the equivalent of Chris Hemsworth in the looks department and as tasty as anything you’ve ever eaten. Anything. Found in a renovated weatherboard cottage and with a deli, bakery and coffee shop on the premises, it’s an absolute must-visit. You need never eat elsewhere again. Where: 18-22 Old Pacific Hwy, Newrybar Village
The Mez Club, Byron Bay
It’s Mediterranean magic at The Mez Club with high ceilings, all of the white walls, wooden furniture and on point rattan seating and light fittings. The vibe is laidback sophistication, the food is share plate style and the cocktails are all the best things in the world. How does a Peach & Thyme Collins sound? Gin, peach liquor, fresh thyme, lemon juice and soda – it sounds like a party in your mouth does it not. GO NOW. Where: 4/85-87 Jonson St, Byron Bay
Federal Doma Café, Federal
It’s Japanese food in the Byron Bay hinterland and it’s some of the best you’ll ever put in your mouth. From hand-rolled salmon cones to the tastiest miso soup there is and Japanese-style burgers, you’d be crazy not to eat one of everything. The produce is fresh, there’s live music on weekends and you can sit outside under the trees, sampling stunning food and contemplating why it is you live in the city when apparently the country is where it’s at. Where: 3-6 Albert St, Federal
Mavis’s Kitchen Restaurant, Uki
Nestled at the base of the Mt Warning is a 25-acre former dairy farm, home to a relaxed country-style restaurant where as much produce as possible is sourced from the organic kitchen garden. The breakfast and a la carte lunch menus are filled with beautiful dishes that taste like your loving Grandma cooked them (if your loving Grandma is Nigella Lawson). If you over-indulge, which you will, you can stay overnight in a pretty little log cabin surrounded by sweet, sweet serenity. Where: 64 Mount Warning Road, Uki
TOWN Restaurant And Café, Bangalow
It’s the quaint little town known for fresh air, mountain vibes and epic weekend markets but were you aware there is also quite a lot of good food to be taste-tested? Probably since you’re reading this, but let’s power on. TOWN is a modern, one-hatted (for their degustation) restaurant offering next-level contemporary eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Cute as a button too (who decided buttons were cute). Where: 33 Byron Street, Bangalow
Spice Den, Casuarina
Oh guys, Spice Den is the business. Just 25 short minutes down the road, it’s an Asian fusion-style establishment serving share-style dishes you definitely won’t want to share though. There’s ridiculous curries, sashimi, whole snappers, scallop shooters – all of the good things. One visit is definitely not enough. Do yourself a favour and order the Grilled Spice Lamb Roti and report back (with samples if you don’t mind). Where: 9 Dianella Drive, Casuarina
Fleet, Brunswick Heads
The tiny Brunswick beauty is perhaps the most stunning venue on the NSW north coast. The ever-changing menu is made up of a series of smaller dishes, each with a focus on a few primary ingredients and each is sleek, refined and packing a flavour punch. Produce is sourced sustainably, as is the wine menu of course and there’s a degustation menu if choosing becomes too much. It’s authentic, local, incredible food that must be tasted to be believed. Where: 16 The Terrace, Brunswick Heads
Words by Kirra Smith
Sometimes the best way to figure out your life is to just run away and hope for the best. Pretty sure Buddha said that. He’s right of course, life can be super overwhelming and if you’re anything like us, come Sunday you’re keen to escape those day-to-day dramas via either wine or naps.
We’ve got another solution though pals and you may not be surprised to read that solution is Sunday drives. Yep, just like the ones your parents used to take you on except now you get to choose where to go and yes, now there’s also wine.
Here are five spots to set off to next time it’s Sunday. Seeya on the open road.
Farm & Co. Kingscliff
No doubt Instagram has informed you there is a field of sunflowers just a short 25 minute drive away where you can frolic, take selfies, pick said sunflowers and generally pretend you don’t have a care in the world. There’s also a coffee shop where you can sink into an oversized lounge chair while gazing at the sunflowers and contemplating a new career in farming, live music of a weekend, a tasty array of brunch eats and fresh veggies you can take home too.
Where: 529 Cudgen Road, Cudgen
Also known as Chinderah Tavern, The Chindy boasts a big old deck overlooking the widest river in the world (not a fact) and supplies all the cold beer, wine and tasty eats you could wish for on a Sunday afternoon. There’s live music, sunsets if you time it right and just general non-city good times. Right next door is Cubby Bakehouse so you can get yourself some dessert for the drive home.
Where: 156 Chinderah Bay Drive, Chinderah
Kooroomba Vineyards and Lavender Farm
More floral fun but this time WITH WINE. You can drink said wine overlooking said lavender farm and eat delicious foods while you’re at it. The stunning onsite restaurant (haing recently won a Chefs Hat Award in 2020) uses local produce from the Scenic Rim and within the Brisbane Valley. See you Sunday lovely lavender (in season from November).
Where: 168 FM Bell Road, Mount Alford
Slightly more general than those others but impossible to leave off a list of places to drive, is Mt Tamborine. There’s a whole treasure trove of goodies up there guys. Fudge, cheese, wineries, distilleries, breweries, waterfalls, pubs with views over the entire Gold Coast and temperatures that don’t reach 450 degrees Celsius like the rest of this city.
Where: It’s the big mountain out west
Moo Moo Roadhouse
Soo there’s a café that is painted in the way of a dairy cow and what a time to be alive. It’s in a town called Mooball (does anyone know how to pronounce that properly) where pretty much everything resembles a cow for obvious reasons. Anyway. The café. There’s sweet vintage memorabilia in there and you can grab yourself a burger and a milkshake and enjoy the towns’ abundant good vibes.
Where: 5875 Tweed Valley Way, Mooball
Words by Kirra Smith
Being a Gold Coaster, you’re no doubt aware that a bike crawl is the perfect mix of a bike ride and a pub crawl complete with a personally curated crew and hopefully a whole lotta laughs.
Plus, you get to drink beer while also exercising and that, friends, is the Aussie way. Grab the gang and get on board our route from Palm Beach to Broadbeach, with stops at all the very best spots along the way.
To start the day off and to build a proper exercising foundation, meet at one of Palm Beach’s delightful brunch joints. We love Watson Bloom, Highline and Custard Canteen, all of whom offer quite unique and super yummy breakfast options.
Once you’ve fuelled up and consumed a coffee or two, it’s time to saddle up and spin those wheels along Jefferson Lane, en route to Burleigh admiring all the fancy pants beach houses along the way.
Definitely stop in for a dip at Talle Creek, maybe check out some cute pups at the dog beach, snap an Insta pic (because if you don’t, were you even there) and off you go.
After cruising around Burleigh Hill you’ll find yourself in beautiful Burleigh Heads and here your options are endless.
If you’re lucky, Burleigh Heads’ Village Markets will be in full swing (they’re on the first and third Sunday of the month), so why not check out some local designers and shop up a little storm before drink time.
If you’re after something a little bit different to eat Osteria del Mare is serving up epic Italian eats Mr Hizola’s has modern Cantonese dishes covered. On a budget? No problem, try Wahoos for some fish tacos or just pull up some grass on Burleigh Hill with a few takeaways and watch the surf roll in.
Back on your bike and you’re off along the esplanade to Nobby’s.
By now it’s probably early arvo and Nobby’s is sure to be in full swing. Park your pushies and head into The Arc for pizza and live music or Bine Bar & Dining next door for a pint or two of specialty craft beers (happy hour runs daily from 4pm to 6pm).
If you’re not up for a sneaky Sunday drink and more into the physical benefits of a bike crawl, The Backyard offers nourishing eats that’ll fill you right up. If something more fancy is up your alley, try Ally Chow, perhaps you fancy a rooftop cocktail. Split has you covered for those and i like ramen will prepare you some AMAZING vegan ramen.
Once you’ve had your fill, it’s back on your bike and on the way to Mermaid Beach.
Trek along Hedges Avenue through Mermaid and choose from a HUGE range of spots to stop along the way. Along the Gold Coast Hwy, Alfred’s Diner is always a fun time with affordable eats, tasty tipples and good vibes galore. Goccia is serving up all the very best Italian eats (carbs for energy) while Poke Poke has tasty poke bowls and curries for days.
Up for a little after dinner treat? Heven-yah Gelato is serving up the absolute best gelato around in all your fave flavours.
A little further along, the Mermaid Surf Club has all of the icy cold beers to enjoy while overlooking the ocean and, once you’re suitably refreshed, it’s time to pedal on.
The final destination is in sight, Broadbeach (if you’ve made it this far), with a HUGE array of eating and drinking holes to satisfy any desire.
They say that six beers is a meal, so who needs food if you can have beer? Skip dinner and head straight to The Broadbeach for a huge, high vibin’ Sunday session.
If you’re after something more relaxed, Kurrawa Surf Club has big meals and lots of cold drinks again, overlooking the ocean.
And you’re done! What a time. Make sure you’ve locked up your bikes, share an Uber home and pick up your loyal companion Monday arvo.
*Bicycles are considered vehicles under QLD Law, so are subject to alcohol laws. Make sure to check out the QLD Laws here before undertaking a Bike Crawl.
Words and photography by Kirra Smith
Dining out can be a mixed affair. From finding yourself excitedly catching up with friends over share style plates to sitting down in a sophisticated environment with huge explorations of flavours — and no doubt courses. There is undoubtedly an eating-out experience for every occasion. Boutique dining room-style destinations offering polished and carefully orchestrated dishes are growing in popularity; offering diners the chance to take part in a culinary journey from the moment they sit down until the moment they wave goodbye.
How do nine luxuriant courses of utter seasonality and divine savourings sound to you? Like something you need in your life, we think you’ll agree. Brought to you by renowned Sydney Chef Alex Munoz-Labart, Restaurant Labart provides one of the most on-point submersions into culinary wizardry you’re going to find outside of a capital city. Once you have taken your seat, enjoy the pared-back wooden furniture and muted colour accents permeating serene yet urbane feels. Seriously: what is there not to adore about this place?
Where: 8 West Street, Burleigh Heads
The North Room
A sophisticated and contemporary dining room in Mermaid Beach, The North Room made its debut in mid-2017 introducing locals to share-style dining. The ever-changing menu focuses on seasonally inspired dishes served in a clean and minimalistic space. For wine lovers out there, rejoice. You’ll be treated to exceptional and lesser-known wine producers hand-picked to accompany the exquisite flavours of whatever chef/owner Tim Stewart has opted to curate for the day’s menu.
Where: 2527 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach (between Ventura Rd and Cronulla Ave)
If the backdrop is something you consider heavily when choosing a destination for eating out, how does a world-class art gallery sound? Home of the Arts (HOTA) brand spanking new Gallery building would not have been complete without an astounding place to eat and drink, right? Enter Palette. With the talented and much experienced Dayan Hartill-Law as Executive Chef, the ethos is simple; high-quality produce with amazing provenance underpinned by knowledgeable yet approachable staff. Book in for an evening visit and be amazed by a degustation menu directly inspired by neighbouring art installations.
Where: The Gallery, 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise
Glenelg Public House
One for the meat lovers out there: what these guys don’t know about preparing and serving up mouth-watering steak isn’t worth knowing. The menu cleverly hinges on incredibly diverse, quality produce — both from the paddock and the ocean — with old-school yummy dishes served with a contemporary Australian flair. For those who feel like something a bit special, there is an additional section for oversized select pieces of meat which can be sliced and brought out ready to share. Be sure you come with drinks on your mind, as the back bar and wine selection are another strong point at this Mermaid Beach ode to good food.
Where: 9/2460 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
Eddy + Wolff
The décor and styling of this tucked-away Robina hotspot will inevitably make it hard going if you intend on ordering anything quick. A central island bar with wrap-around high seat dining is the epitome of modern, sophisticated eating, and we reckon you’ll fall for it in a big way. A fusion of Asian flavours awaits you from an uncomplicated share style menu with its devoted section to BBQ: Octopus Tentacle with tangy nashi pear glaze is the absolute highlight here. Another eatery with a ‘distinction’ in Instagram profiles, showing off some mighty sexy-looking cocktails you just must try — all with subtle but considered nods to the orient.
Where: 44 Commerce Drive, Robina
When you’re yearning for top-notch Japanese eats within a small and intimate setting, then this under-the-radar restaurant in Currumbin Waters, we think, fits the bill to a tee. From the moment you arrive, the cheery staff will bring the specials blackboard over to your table and talk you through what delicious edible sensations are on offer. If it’s available, we recommend the black sesame crusted Salmon or any one of the baos — they’re all fabulous. Pair up whatever you opt for with a selection of sakes and Japanese beers to round off a great experience of Japanese cuisine on the southern Gold Coast.
Where: 10/27-31 Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Waters
Being one of the longest-standing — and most celebrated — restaurants in our city, Little Truffle most certainly has a piece of our heart. But what is it about this unassuming Mermaid Beach haven of flavour? Is it a European-inspired menu filled with the most deftly put together mouth-watering dishes, or a dazzling wine list, perhaps it’s the exceedingly polished service? You know what, we think it’s all three — and a whole lot more!
Where: 2444 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
From the same folks behind the ever-popular pizza restaurant, Francie’s, this newly opened Mediterranean delight is already bringing all things delicious to the people of Coolangatta. Aesthetically, this bolt hole with a fresh white interior is the kind of place you’ll want to settle into and be in no hurry to leave. With a menu centred around some incredible handmade pasta — with a separate vegan menu — we think you’ll join us in agreeing Griffith Street just got a whole lot better. The textbook spot to pop in for an afternoon wine — or fall in love with the menu and stay late into the night.
Where: 14 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
Lupo arrived at Mermaid Beach to a whirlwind of rave reviews, and here now, nearly four years later, the adoration hasn’t stopped. The comfortable space offers a homestyle Italian menu with lashings of love and an atmosphere to match. Made up of the very best produce around, if you take a look at their Instagram anytime soon: beware. It’s plausible you’ll be lost to the world scrolling their drool-worthy photos for a while. The Pork Cotoletta is crumbed pork that will ruin the humble Chicken Schnity for you forever.
Where: 2460 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
When the prospect of visiting the cutest little Italian eatery comes your way, you should be keen as can be. The newly opened Bottega on Chevron Island features handmade pastas to hand-rolled and stretched pizzas, fired right on the spot in their pride of place pizza oven — beside the entrance, no less. Sprinkle into the equation some out-of-this-world imported wines, which you won’t find on the high street every day, and Bottega is the answer to your pasta-induced prayers.
Where: 58 Thomas Drive, Surfers Paradise
The Little Plate
Another hidden in plain sight gem, The Little Plate manages to pack a punch in the flavour department by taking Euro and Asian favourites and turning the taste up to 10! You’ll consistently find a large selection of as-fresh-as-possible specials, giving this Burleigh restaurant the ultimate replay value — no two visits will ever be the same. We suggest you give their tasting menu a go at least once and let the experts take care of the rest.
Where: Shop 11/3 Deodar Drive, Burleigh Heads
Words by Alex Mitcheson.