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11 impressive Gold Coast sushi restaurants

Sushi makes miso happy.

Etsu Izakaya (image supplied)
Etsu Izakaya (image supplied)

Sushi is no doubt a food group (kinda) that is loved by the people. So many varieties, so many tasty flavours, so convenient, reasonably good for you, what’s not to love?

In the interest of bringing a range of food-related articles to your lives, here’s a list of 11 impressive sushi restaurants on the Gold Coast. 

Shogun Japanese Restaurant
A Southport fave, Shogun is both an a la carte and Teppanyaki restaurant and they produce some of the best sushi around. They’ve been around for many a moon and won plenty of awards in that time too. Definitely pay these guys a visit quick smart.
Where: 117 Ferry Road, Southport

Yamagen Japanese Restaurant
With a dedicated sushi bar and some of the best sushi masters around creating the goods, these guys certainly deserve a place here. In exciting news, you can choose to be seated at said sushi bar to watch said masters at work. That is a good time, let us tell you. The food is absolutely top notch and you’ll find yourself returning again and again.
Where: QT Gold Coast, 7 Staghorn Ave, Surfers Paradise

Found amidst the sloping greenery that is RACV Royal Pines Resort, Arakawa is a delightful Japanese venue serving up even more delightful eats in traditional style. The sushi is some of the most intricately hand crafted there is and there’s so much stunning variety on offer. Why not treat yourself to a little spa time while after you’ve sampled the goods. RACV One Spa is perfection.
Where: RACV Royal Pines, Ross St, Benowa

Found at The Star Gold Coast, Kiyomi is another award winner upping the sushi stakes. Their menu, created by internationally renowned Head Chef Chase Kojima, is modern but traditionally Japanese and includes some of the most intricate and tasty sushi around.
Where: The Star Gold Coast, Casino Drive, Broadbeach

Cha Cha Japanese
Cha Chas, as its affectionately known, is one of the most popular restaurants on the Gold Coast and it has been for many years. The food is tasty, affordable and there’s plenty of it. The place is always packed out, so there’s good vibes aplenty and it’s BYO so that’s always a good time. Plenty of vegan and vego options too.
Where: 6/2705 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach

Project Tokyo
One of the most recent of the bunch, Project Tokyo is bringing all the very best Japanese eats to the people of Mermaid Waters. The somewhat hidden gem is not only a delight to behold, it’s also got a menu jam-packed with exceptional dishes and yes (obviously) including a big old plate of sushi. Don’t miss this one.
Where: 10a/90 Markeri St, Mermaid Waters

Itsoshin Japanese Restaurant
A little Mermaid miracle is Itsoshin Japanese. Found on the highway, these guys are serving up the sushi goods among other things. It’s been around for quite a long while, so it’s safe to say they know their stuff. Itsoshin fly in the freshest of seafood from around the world too, so that’s always a tasty time. So popular is this restaurant, there’s Little Itoshin nowadays too, find that one in Miami.
Where: 2484 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

Oi Izakaya

Etsu Isazkaya
As you well know, Etsu is an all time favourite of ours and with good reason. The food is exceptional and the atmosphere always pumping. Everything is artfully prepared and we have never not fallen in love with a dish we’ve consumed there. Of course, the sushi is out of this world along with everything else.
Where: 2440 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach

Okazu Sushi Bar
Okazu make some serious sushi. Their rolls are larger than your usual and they’ve got a range of tasty flavours to tickle your tastebuds. Head in to sample the lot we say. Grab yourself a bowl of teriyaki while you’re at it because, delicious.
Where: 1/2223 Gold Coast Hwy, Nobby’s Beach (underneath Mexicali)

Oi Izakaya 
One of the latest additions to the Burleigh eating scene, Oi Izakaya quickly became a firm favourite due to their very impressive menu, with a few unique dishes you won’t find anywhere else. Their sushi is of course, the goods too but everything in there is worth eating.
Where: 4/30 James Street, Burleigh Heads

A slightly hidden gem in West Burleigh, the quality of the food at Wazen, cannot be overstated. It is just that good. The menu is extensive and we love every single thing on it, but since we’re talking about sushi, grab that goodness to go, or enjoy it outside under the fairy lights.
Where: 1/33 Tallebudgera Creek Road, West Burleigh

Words by Kirra Smith.


Burleigh Heads scores an epic new Japanese eatery

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Japanese food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. So when a new, perfectly curated eatery bringing the traditional tastes of Japan to Burleigh Heads opens up, we are obviously all about it.

The newbie, Oi Izakaya can be found in the little alleyway off James Street where the Mexi-goodness that is Hail Mary also resides.

It’s the work of local lads Troy Olsen and Stephen Thompson who, along with renowned Gold Coast design genius OJ Thompson (of Ally Chow and Etsu fame), have created something the Gold Coast is going to absolutely love.

The newbie is a low-lit, moody space reminiscent of back alley, Tokyo-style Izakayas with all burnt wood paneling, dark intimate corners and an open-style kitchen, so you can watch the magic unfold.

The bar, at one end fits snugly into the corner and is jam-packed with an impressive array of whisky’s (love you), sake and Japanese beers. Tiny samurai fight for attention on one wall, while a (really quite magical) golden orb shines out from another.

The vibe is the perfect combination of old school Japanese and modern sophistication and we’re big fans.

Menu-wise the eats are refined and authentic, infusing mind-blowing flavours into dishes you’ll never want to stop eating.

To start, sashimi, always. The freshest of tuna and salmon for your tasting pleasure. But also Edamame Cheese Chips, a thing we have never before had the pleasure of sampling but will now order at any and every opportunity. Don’t ask, just order.

The Squashed Cucumber is not only one of the great dish names, it is a great dish. Basically it’s cucumber in plum sauce but the flavours defy that overly simplistic description. Eat it.

Oi Izakaya also have a Sushi Burger on the menu and yes it is indeed stacked like your run-of-the-mill burger but made with sushi. Genius and so very tasty.

Of course, the menus’ pièce de résistance is Okonomiyaki, the dish that made Troy and Stephen fall in love with Japanese eats and the reason we now get to spend all our time at Oi Izakaya.

If you’ve not yet had the pleasure Okonomiyaki is made up of many things including egg, cabbage, flour, Japanese spices and your choice of meat. The dish we sampled was Hiroshima-style (with noodles) and it was the very best variety we’ve ever tasted.

We ate the entire thing and you should order it and subsequently be impressed by how good we are at eating.

To drink, we suggest getting involved in one of the MANY Japanese whisky’s on offer but if straight up isn’t your thing, the Brown Rice Old Fashioned is as good as it gets.

Oi Izakaya

All in all, Oi Izakaya is quite a treat and the perfect addition to Burleigh’s foodie scene and we suggest you get down there at the earliest available opportunity and give the boys some love.

And if you need someone to mentor you in the art of whisky drinking, you know where to find us.

LOCATION: Shop 4-6, 30 James Street, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: Wednesday and Thursday 4.30pm until late, Friday to Sunday 12pm until late

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

Mermaid Waters welcomes a new, must-try Japanese eatery

Here we are again to discuss a few of our absolute favourite things –you guessed it – exceptional eats and interiors we would like to replicate in our own homes immediately thank you very much.

The latest combination of the two and our most recent eatery crush, can be found in a little place we (and everyone else) like to call Mermaid Waters, where many a great little venue lives and a spot we will now be visiting a LOT more regularly.

It’s called Project Tokyo and it’s an intimate space found in the precinct where Lucky Bao and Nude Sisters Kitchen also reside, bringing the aforementioned exceptional eats and interiors, Japanese-style.

It’s the work of Franz and Geoff, a hospitality guru and chef who have long wanted to open a venue of this variety and we’re pretty happy they did.

The interior is the work of one OJ Thompson, the genius behind Oi Izakaya, Goto Restaurant in Southport and Double Barrel Kitchen (to name a few). It’s made up of moody blues and natural wood with beautiful, authentic artwork painted onto the walls and flags marking the entrance.

It’s pared back, perfectly put together and exactly the type of space we Gold Coasters love.

Menu-wise you can expect modern Japanese dishes from snacks and starters including the always-loveable Edamame, Lotus Root chips and tasty salads to signature dishes and some absolute stunners off the grill.

The Fried Lotus Chips with Miso Kingfish and Salmon Tataki were a standout and one of Chef Misa’s creations so don’t miss out on that one.

We of course, recommend all of the sashimi – Seared Tuna, Kingfish and Seared Salmon, fresh and delicious, yes please. Next up, the Gyoza is some of the best we’ve sampled, so definitely choose a few of those too.

The Duck Harumake was a standout, a crispy little package filled with duck, carrot and wombok and served with sticky Hoi Sin sauce. Loved it.

There’s also sushi, some very delicious tempura dishes, chicken yakitori (skewers) and grilled scallops you’ll definitely want to taste.

For dessert don’t go past the Chocolate Fondant with Green Tea ice cream, it’s next-level.

In conclusion, you should probably try everything and maybe go back the next night to do it all again.

Project Tokyo is that good.

LOCATION: 90 Markeri St, Mermaid Waters
HOURS: Open for dinner Wednesday to Monday and lunch Saturday and Sunday

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

Little Itoshin

They say the little things are actually the big things and that is certainly the case around Miami these days. Everywhere we look, small businesses with big hearts who want to make our city an even better place are opening (to rave reviews mostly) and it’s a really good time to be alive.

The latest little addition to the Miami dining scene is Little Itoshin, literal younger sibling to one of the Coast’s most-loved venues, Itoshin in Mermaid Beach.

It’s quite the institution around here and, when asked their favourite spots to dine, local chefs and restaurateurs always mention the little Japanese gem.

Which is why it’s very exciting news that we now have Little Itoshin in our lives and having been open for just a few short days, the love is already rolling in.

You’ll find the intimate space at the Miami Village Shopping Centre on Mountain View Ave where local legends like That’s Amore, Hide and Seek Espresso and The Good Wolf also reside. It’s a hidden foodie paradise and you know the hidden ones are often the best ones.


Little Itoshin, which we want to but won’t call Little Itty, is raising the precincts’ bar even higher with an eclectic, colour-filled space and a whole lot of soul. Adorning the walls is the stunning work of Claudio Kirac, local artist and co-owner of Art-Work Agency.

Owner Hibiki Ito, a master of the art of Japanese cooking, designed the space himself finding vintage chairs and tables and eclectic little decorative pieces to enliven the space. The floor is tiled in black and white and a bar takes up one corner, overlooking Hibiki at work.

Little Itoshin

We recommend perching there if possible because watching him work, with precision and a unique artistic flair is quite the mesmerising experience.

Japanese are some of our absolute favourites and the Little Itoshin menu is a special one. Hibiki has created it with the intention of making every dish both healthy and (of course) extremely tasty. Which they certainly are.

The Beef Tataki was a firm favourite with perium (melt in your mouth) eye fillet, Celtic sea salt, button mushrooms, shiso, yuzu kosho, GF ponzu and garlic chips – to name a few ingredients.

We also loved the Okonomiyaki which is a pancake made out of shredded cabbage, spring onion, chikuwa fish cake and fresh corn with dashi butter and topped with mushrooms and prawns. The toppings for this one will change seasonally so you can order it every time you go. Taste sensation.

There’s also a dish called Temaki, or open sushi, and you may choose your topping and either lettuce or nori as a wrap, dip it into your soy sauce (or Wasabi if you’re brave) and away you go.

Hibiki is also using gluten free soy sauce and his (epic) Karaage Chicken is also gluten free in the interest of everyone getting to taste all the epic things. Oh and you can both eat in or takweaway all of the goodies.

Drinks-wise there’s a perfectly paired wine menu and a list of exceptional mocktails for those who don’t want a drink but also want to feel like they are drinking.

All in all, it’s the perfect new addition to our little foodie scene and we think you’re gonna love it.

LOCATION: Shop 6/110 Mountain View Ave, Miami
HOURS: From 11.30am until 2.30pm and 5.30om until 8.30pm Wednesday to Saturday

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

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