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11 Gold Coast restaurants to impress your friends

Restaurant Labart by Andy Macpherson Studio (image supplied)
Restaurant Labart by Andy Macpherson Studio (image supplied)

EVERYBODY loves to be the guy/gal who knows all the best places to eat, drink and be seen. Preferably before every other guy/gal and mostly so they can boast about how good said places are, even though they had absolutely zero to do with it.

Regardless, we want you to know what it feels like to be that guy/gal (in case you don’t already), so here are eleven places to take your friends that’ll impress their pants right off.

From north to south, here we go.

Gotham Grill & Rooftop Bar
A newbie up Runaway Bay way, Gotham Grill & Rooftop Bar is a two-level venue offering two styles of dining. Downstairs you’ll find a more formal steak and sit down dinner style service while up on the rooftop it’s all pizza, cocktails and chill vibes. Owner Daniel Ridgeway is the man behind Little Truffle so you know the food is the goods. The wine menu is very impressive too so we recommend getting involved in that.
Where: 6 Bayview Street, Runaway Bay

Yamagen Japanese Restaurant
Japanese food is our favourite thing and so it makes us happy that Yamagen Japanese Restaurant is alive and well. The stunningly decked out, Japanese style space allows you to watch the master chefs at work while enjoying an absolutely delicious cocktail or a fancy whisky. The menu is absolutely incredible, filled with intricately created dishes more akin to works of art than food. We heart you Yamagen.
Where: QT Gold Coast, 7 Staghorn Ave, Surfers Paradise

The North Room
An intimate little beauty tucked away in Mermaid Beach, The North Room came to us a few short years ago with a seasonal menu, sophisticated fitout and some of the loveliest folks around running the show. With a focus on fresh, ever-changing dishes made from the highest quality produce, this is one venue that is certain to blow everyone’s minds.
Where: 2527 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach (between Ventura Rd and Cronulla Ave) 

The Glenelg Public House
If you’re a fan of perfectly cooked steak of the very best quality and the tastiest possible sides to accompany, look no further than Glenelg Public House in Mermaid Beach. The vibe of the lowlit space is relaxed and welcoming and we highly recommend settling in for as long as possible with a glass of red in hand while you sample some of the best food the Coast has to offer.
Where: 2460 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

Lupo
The intimate little space quickly became a firm favourite when the doors quietly opened not too long ago. Recently Lupo has undergone somewhat of a change in character becoming an Italian-style eatery and wine bar complete with refined dishes, a stunning selection of tipples and the type of vibe you won’t often find on the Coast. We absolutely adore this place and you will too.
Where: 2460 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

Glenelg Public House

Etsu
Oh sweet mother of all things food and beverages let us give thanks for Etsu, the eatery of our dreams. From the freshest of sashimi to karaage chicken and Miso soaked cod, the gang at Etsu knows WHAT’S UP when it comes to eats. Also, there’s a cocktail called She’s Sweet but Shiso Sour and good grief, it’s a party in your mouth. The vibes are always a good time in there too, loud music, happy folks and the like. So much love.
Where: 2440 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach

Restaurant Labart
Ten stars all round for this Burleigh gem. It’s the work of husband and wife team Alex and Karla Munoz-Labart who moved up from Sydney to gift us with their foodie goodness. Offering a seasonal, share-style menu made with stunning produce and a sustainable wine list to match, Labart is fine dining at its well, finest. Not only that, the vibe is always high and the team are one of the most onto it around. Prepare to blow your friends minds.
Where: 8 West St, Burleigh Heads

Rick Shores
Hello pretty beachside situation. Not even beachside, this place is at one with the ocean, right up in there etc. Overlooking beautiful Burleigh and serving up some of the very best eats around, Rick Shores will definitely impress. Order 57 bug rolls and maybe the Roasted Sichuan Lamb and don’t be surprised if you cry with happiness. Wash it down with a Rick’s Martini and happy days friends.
Where: Shop 3, 43 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads

Justin Lane
The Gold Coast’s first and arguably most popular rooftop bar, Justin Lane is perched atop Burleigh for bulk people watching opportunities. The open air space offers many a good vibe as well as the tastiest pizzas and some of the best cocktails in the biz. We’re quite a fan of the Passionfruit and Chilli Margarita because sweet and saucy combos are always a good idea.
Where: No 1708-1710, Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads 

baskk at Kirra Point
Next up is is baskk, the Coast’s southern belle overlooking Coolangatta beach and boasting all the breezy, laidback cool vibes. They’re all about the share plates with a few pizzas thrown in for good measure and while we highly recommend everything, the Peanut Crumb Eggplant with Miso Caramel is something you must consume at least once in your lifetime as are all of the cocktails with flowers frozen into ice cubes. Yep.
Where: Shop 2, 52-58 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Tasca
Coolangatta’s finest is Tasca, an intimate venue with a big heart boasting share-style eats that are some of the tastiest around. The wine menu is equally impressive and the cocktails unlike anything you’ve taste before. Wednesday’s are pasta night and that is a good time let us tell you. Get down to Cooly for one of the Gold Coast’s best dining experiences.
Where: 114 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Words by Kirra Smith

Baskk (image supplied)

Restaurant Labart

Photo credit: Andy MacPherson
Photo credit: Andy MacPherson

Burleigh Heads is on absolute fire with venues swinging open their doors left and right, much to the delight of locals who apparently can’t get enough of tasty eats and bunkering down somewhere warm with a wine in hand (same to be honest).

The latest eatery to grace us with its’ presence is Restaurant Labart (opening tonight), a stylish space on Burleigh’s West Street, where Burleigh Chinese once lived. It’s simple sophistication at its finest and unlike anything the Gold Coast has seen before.

Which is of course, due to the fact that Restaurant Labart is the work of Sydneysiders Karla and Alex Munoz Labart who bring quite the impressive rap sheet to our beachside city.

But first, the interior. The narrow space is beautifully designed with walnut leather bench-style seating lining the walls and not-quite-khaki paneling with dark wood furniture and low-hanging lighting completing the picture. The vibe is earthy, refined and understated and we quite like it thank you very much.

The menu is, happily, the star of the show and that is a concept close to our hearts (and tummies). It’s made up of snacks (best) and both small and large share plates all of which are absolute taste sensations.

To share we recommend the BBQ King Prawns with shellfish butter, crème fraiche and finger lime and the Veal Tartare with sun-dried tomatoes, tarragon and potato crisps.

The large plates are all kinds of goodness and in particular the Seared Mulloway with peas, dill and horseradish and the Grilled Lamb Rack with charred turnips and green herb sauce should make you happy.

For dessert (OUR FAVOURITE) Chocolate Mousse with popcorn ice cream and salted popcorn is probably the most exciting dish there is in the world. Keep that one coming please.

You may also indulge in a cheese plate and if that’s not enough to have you making a reservation right this minute, please explain.

To compliment the stand out menu, a carefully curated selection of wines (including biodynamic and natural choices) along with Australian craft beers and seasonal cocktails are on offer to delight your tastebuds.

As mentioned owners Karla and Alex made the move from down south where Alex was the Head Chef at famed Sydney venues Monopole and Cirrus Dining, both of which were awarded Chefs Hats during his tenure.

Restaurant Labart is their first venture and, with the philosophy of aiming to simply make people happy, they’re sure to fit in just fine around these parts.

Excuse us, we’re off to consume all the chocolate mousse before the rest of you get your hands on any.

The end.

LOCATION: 8 West St, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: Dinner Wednesday to Saturday 6pm until 11:30pm. Lunch Friday to Sunday, 12 until 3 pm

Words by Kirra Smith. Photos supplied – interior shots by Andy MacPherson – food images via Restaurant Labart.

Gotham Grill & Rooftop Bar

If you’ve been considering a trip to New York but don’t have a spare million dollars (yes, hi), forget about it because NYC is coming to you baby.

Well, Runaway Bay to be precise. Yes, the northerners are about to get their very own fancy pants rooftop bar and it comes in the form of Gotham Rooftop Bar & Grill and we should all probably pack up and migrate north for the winter.

It’s not just any newbie though; it’s the creation of serial restauranteur Daniel Ridgeway (of BiN, Rivea Italian Dining and Little Truffle fame) so you know it’s going to be a goodie.

Details please. So Gotham Rooftop Bar & Grill is a three-tiered Manhattan-style extravaganza featuring two restaurants and bars and one of the most stunning fitouts the Coast has ever seen.

Red velvet carpet will lead you up a winding staircase to the rooftop where you’ll find decadent wooden paneling and golden highlights. It’s a 1920s art deco dream and we feel some sparkly, tassly dresses might be our latest wardrobe additions.

On level two, you’ll find Gotham Grill, an intimate dining space drawing inspiration from high end American steakhouses with a huge selection of steaks from across Australia and New Zealand along with a huge choice of cold seafood.

Hot tip: the Gotham Seafood Tower is where it’s at.

The rooftop will offer a relaxed indoor and outdoor setting with views over Bayview Street and across to the Biggera Creek inlet. Sounds like the perfect sunset cocktail setting if you ask us. We’ve heard the Fruit Bat and Alfred’s Tonic are your new best friends.

There’ll be pizza, lobster rolls and burgers, which are, pretty much all of our favourite things.

The northerners have taken a bite out of the big apple and things are about to get fruity on the Gold Coast. Break out the punch bowl, it’s party time as of Saturday March 17th.

LOCATION: Bayview Street, Runaway Bay
HOURS: Monday to Thursday 5pm until late and Friday to Sunday Midday until late

Words by Kirra Smith.

A new, Moroccan-inspired rum bar opens in Kirra

In our opinion there aren’t enough dedicated bars on the Gold Coast. Obviously the ones we do have are five-star and we love them very much but the more the merrier when it comes to drinking holes.

Particularly ones that come with a side of salty ocean breezes in one of the most beautiful beachside destinations in the world (biased, but also true).

If you’re keen on exactly that kind of bar too a. let’s be friends and b. here’s some good news for you.

A brand new rum bar opened in Kirra just last week and it does indeed come with a side of salty ocean breezes, not to mention it’s pretty as a picture and the perfect spot for those summer Sunday sessions that make our lives that much sweeter.

The BASKK Rum Bar is yes, located within the stunning Kirra venue that has been a fave of everyone’s since it opened in 2017 and, in keeping the delightful theme, the new bar is all dusty pink hues, flowing fabric curtains and Moroccan-inspired furnishings. So all of the things we most adore.

It’s a private little area offering an array of rums from around the world along with selected spirits, wines and local beers.

The drinks list will be carefully curated and include tipples like the Caipirinha Sticky Finger made with Husk Pure Cane rum, finger lime and honeycomb, the Mr David with Husk Pure Cane rum, Davidsons plum and blended lychee and The Myrtle with spiced rum, ginger beer, orange peel and lemon myrtle.

Baskk (image supplied)

YUM. We’ll take one of each please.

There’s also an array of tasty bar snacks on offer including a BBQ pork rum-glazed bao, spiced rum chicken wings and a sailor’s fruitcake dessert with spiced cherries and vanilla rum custard. Again, all of those please.

Of course, if you’d prefer something more substantial, BASKK Kirra Point offers exceptional woodfired pizzas, stacked seafood platters and some of the prettiest charcuterie platters you’ve ever laid eyes on.

So there’s epic rum cocktails and some of the very best eats around in a beautiful setting and those salty sea breezes, what more could you want?

Pencil in a date with BASKK Rum Bar this weekend and get those Insta-snapping fingers ready.

LOCATION: 2/52-58 Marine Pde, Coolangatta
HOURS: Friday to Sunday 5pm until late

Words by Kirra Smith

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