Chats with the co-owner of Mario’s Italian Restaurant and Beachside Pavilion.
Chats with the co-owner of Mario’s Italian Restaurant and Beachside Pavilion.
Andrew Dimattina is a local restauranteur who has played a huge part in two of Broadbeachs’ most successful, longstanding restaurants and a third that’s hot on their heels.
Having been a part of the much-loved Alto’s for 13 years and family-friendly Mario’s Italian Restaurant since 1989, he’s a man who knows food. We sat down for a chat with Andrew about Beachside Pavilion and why he thinks Mario’s has stood the test of time in Broadbeach.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
On and off for 15 years.
What do you love most about our beachside city?
The weather and the beach of course.
How long have you been in the restaurant business?
Since I was born! My family have had restaurants in Melbourne for over 40 years and I’ve been working in them since I was eight years old.
Why do you think Mario’s Italian Restaurant has stood the test of time in Broadbeach?
It’s a family friendly place that people feel comfortable in because of the friendly staff, the comfort food and the overall vibe of the venue.
How did Beachside Pavilion come about?
Alto’s had been an amazing venue for 13 years but we wanted to change the bar feel of it and make it more of a beach-vibe restaurant focusing on fresh seafood, the best quality steaks and amazing breakfasts while overlooking the beautiful beaches we have here.
What’s unique about each of your venues?
Mario’s is an institution that people have been coming to for years and Beachside has great beachy décor and incredible food, perfect for long, lazy days in the sun.
Do you have a favourite dish from each?
Mario’s – Spaghetti Marinara and Beachside – the Seafood Platter has it all.
What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
The harder you work, the luckier you become.
Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Cafe: Paddock Bakery
How does your weekend usually look? Work, work and more work with the occasional beer after work.
Click here for your chance to win a $100 voucher to either Mario’s Italian Restaurant or Beachside Pavilion.
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that anyone who doesn’t go mental at the mere mention of pizza, is, in fact, a weir-dough.
And no, we didn’t just say that for the pun, because in our eyes, pizza is a cocktail in edible form.
In other words, a ‘slice’ of heaven and we could never have too many, irrespective of the contribution to our love handles.
To pay homage to our numero uno nosh, here is list of local pizza joints in whom we eternally crust.
Transporting diners to the heart of Italy, this Paradise Point newbie does THE most traditional Nona-endorsed wood fired pizzas. Another quality Euro eats destination from GC Hospitality Group’s Jack Chaglasian and Mark Geraghty, our northerners are running, not walking, to wrap their jaws around these bad boys. Award-winning Head Chef Youseff brings both flavour and passion-a-plenty to the table and guys, its B.Y.O. Nuff said.
Our pick: The signature La Casetta Pizza
Where: Shop 9/2 Grice Avenue, Paradise Point
La Bella Cellar
This hidden gem knows how to woo a crowd! Back open for business, they are launching a brand spanking new menu in a few weeks’ time, and we are drooling in anticipation! Using the freshest seasonal and locally sourced produce (bravo), the only thing yummier than the nosh is the gorgeous Palm Springs-esk fit-out! Definitely one for the Insta feed.
Our pick: Garlic Prawns Pizza
Where: 3 Deodar Drive, Burleigh Heads
When you see the red and white umbrella’s opposite the beach on Pacific Parade, park and enter immediately! This two-storey cutie serves up multi-million dollar ocean views and mighty fine pizzas to match (and cocktails…because nothing says happiness like a slice of Italy in one hand and a margi in the other). The staff are incredibly smiley and friendly, and you would be too if you were here every day!
Our pick: Tartufo Pizza
Where: 818 Pacific Parade, Currumbin
If you haven’t been to Gemelli Broadbeach (or one of its sibling restaurants), are you even an actual Gold Coaster? Cooking up real Italian food made with love, their traditional methods combined with modern flair mean all the meals are a ten-outta-ten. With a cosy yet cool rustic vibe, there are always bums on seats and the atmosphere is lit.
Our pick: Pescatore Pizza
Where: Mantra Broadbeach on the Park, 2685 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach
If simple Italian flavours done exceptionally well toot your horn, then make a date with the Star Gold Coast’s Cucina Vivo. Chef Fabio has gained quite the cult following, affectionately known as the best Pizzaiolo Chef outside of Italy. This man is the master of the wood-fire oven, and the ever-popular venue’s secret weapon. After your pizza fix, pop up to Nineteen at the Star to dance it off!
Our pick: Fabio’s Pizza
Where: The Star Gold Coast, 1 Casino Drive, Broadbeach
This joint is all about slinging pasta, pinot, and playful vibes with impressive coastal views. I mean, is that not everything we hold dear?! Whether it’s date night, catching up with mates or mustering the family for that long-overdue lunch, their friendly, laidback staff will make you feel at home. Using loads of deliciously fresh local ingredients, they feature some must-try unique combos. Challenge accepted!
Our pick: The Coolangatta Supreme
Where: The Strand at Coolangatta, Level 1, 72-80 Marine Parade, Coolangatta
Another Cooly beachfront Italian stallion, the pizzas at Bassk are on-point. In addition to the nosh, they also do a mean (good mean) Friday arvo/evening sesh with a candlelight dinner and live tunes, then invite you to back it up with more live music and boogying on Saturdays from midday. Add two-for-one cocktails from 3pm-5pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and we are so there!
Our pick: Queen of Stracciatella Pizza
Where: Beach House Seaside Resort, 52/58 Marine Parade, Coolangatta
Fans of pizza and beer (aka, everyone), this one’s for you! Boasting a brewery, taproom and a mouth-watering menu to boot, it’s a locally operated GC fave. Striving to connect with their ingredients, the land they were grown on, and the people that plant, pick, deliver and pour, the team is full of passionate souls who genuinely dig what they do #respect.
Our pick: Pulled BBQ Beef Pizza
Where: 17 Christine Avenue, Miami
Aviary Rooftop Bar
This 2022 Open Table Diner’s Choice award recipient nestled on top of the Mantra at Sharks hotel is known for its delicious handmade pizzas, cocktails, and sharing tapas-style dishes. Tuck into $15 pizzas on a Thursday and take in the sweeping views of our glitter strip’s skyline and the Hinterland. Oh and the fit-out – perfect for a selfie or 25.
Our pick: Hot Mess Pizza
Where: Mantra Southport Sharks, 5 Melia Court, Southport
Mediterranean and Moroccan vibes collide at Toro’s, with a whole lotta pink and panache! The spread here is quintessentially Italian, but with a healthy dose of tasty modern accents to keep us interested. It’s super relaxed yet chic vibe is right up our alley, and the pizzas will delight even the most discerning pizza connoisseur. Yep, she’s a winner on all fronts.
Our pick: Di Toro Pizza
Where: 7/2 Eighth Avenue, Palm Beach
Surfers Pizza & Kebab
Come on admit it – we’ve all lined up at the iconic SPK for a dirty kebab and/or giant slab of pizza at stupid o-clock after a night of boozing and boogying. With fresh and authentic pizzas, kebabs, snack packs and more, they’ve got your late-night hunger pangs sorted. Also open in Arundel, the hours may be slightly different, but the pizza quality is the same!
Our pick: Pepperoni Pizza
Where: 24 Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise & Corner of Napper Road & Daintree Drive, Arundel
Franc Jnrs Famous Pizzeria
This Cooly newbie is bringing back the old school with simplicity, authenticity, and good times. A gimmick-free traditional pizzeria rocking a non-pretentious 90’s dining vibe, you haven’t lived until you’ve sampled their Detroit style Sicilian pan pizzas. A reinvention of the insanely popular Francie’s (which will also make a comeback), we’ll see you there. Like, every night.
Our pick: Sicilian Square Detroit Style Pizza
Where: 2/102 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
You’ve seen it. We’ve all seen it. The big, modern rustic stunner on the highway in Palmy is a traffic-stopper and we’re pleased to confirm that what’s inside is as epic as the outside. IYKYK the nosh is amazing and if you don’t – get down there stat. In particular, the pizzas are #goals, divided into red and white sauce bases. Try them all because carbs, shmarbs.
Our pick: Carnivore Pizza
Where: 1069 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
Another long-standing GC winner, Justin Lane is the king of pizza. It’s come a long way from its humble beginnings, growing from a wee little pizzeria into a packed, multi-level restaurant, bar and event space. The perfect spot for a casual slice and catch up with your crew, you’re bound to run into at least 35 people that you know. And that’s just on a Monday.
Our pick: Margarita
Where: 1708-1710 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Okay so we’ve given savoury pizza’s a good ‘ole plug in this list, so now it’s time to give our inner sweet tooth a little bit of a thrill and talk dessert pizzas! Using ingredients like fairy floss, M+M’s, toasted marshmallows, fruit, nuts and even cornflakes, it’s a guaranteed sugar high – and your dentist’s worst nightmare.
Our pick: Strawberry Blonde Pizza
Where: Oracle East Building, 1 Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach
Words by Bianca Trathen.
First of all, if there’s a feeling that eating pizza evokes, it is stoked and second of all, Burleigh Heads has a new pizza joint and you will indeed be stoked upon sampling every single slice
Who also, as it turns out, are the owners of Stoked (so you know it’s the goods).
It’s a corner spot, all glossy white tiles and a pink neon sign (our fave) but the pièce de résistance is the pizza oven itself, all the way from Tuscany and tiled (by the team) in an array of pink, gold and copper hues that we would like for our house thank you very much. Might also need a pizza chef to go with it though.
Speaking of pizza chefs, Stoked’s are two of the best around – Ollie who once owned a pizza caravan (surely the best kind of caravan) and Gervin, who has whipped up tasty eats from Europe to Melbourne and now, right here on the Gold Coast. Good news for us.
Also, remember Slurping Panda, the epic little venue in the Burleigh Arcade that is no long with us (RIP)? Well, the man behind that venue is also one of the owners of this venue. So double good news for us.
On the menu are a Romano style of pizza with crispy bases and well-proportioned amounts of toppings for each slice (which isn’t considered enough in the world of pizza making).
Let us discuss a few faves, which we, of course sampled, so we could bring you the very best story. Somebody gotta do it.
The Margherita though it may seem simple is in fact, not. Made with cherry tomatoes, Bocconcini and sweet basil and is a delightful little flavour-packed pizza. The Prosciutto is also the goods with, yep, prosciutto di parma, roquette and soft mozzarella.
Our favourite though is the Seafood pizza with Aussie prawns (fresh off the trawler), calamari, green mussels, roast garlic, chilli, parsley and cheese and it is the perfect balance of flavours, not too oceany and it looks pretty too.
The dessert pizza is of course, a must-try, it’s got all of the Nutella, plus bananas, strawberries and marshmallows and not one person will judge you if that’s your actual dinner.
One of the very best aspects of the new foodie space at Stockands’ is that the entire area is BYO and there is a bottle shop a mere ten steps away so you may pop in there while your pizza is cooking in the sparkly oven.
What a time to be alive.
Yes, you may also take the pizzas away and indulge in the privacy of your own home should you so wish.
Either way, do yourself a favour and go get Stoked.
LOCATION: Stockland Burleigh Heads, West Burleigh Rd, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: 11.30am until 8pm daily
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
There are very few things in life better than a traditional pizza straight out of a woodfired oven and made with a whole lot of Italian love. Except maybe a smorgasbord of cheeses and also handcrafted pasta topped with all of the Parmesan. Actually, we love them all equally.
Which is why it absolutely warms our hearts to bring you news of a brand new Italian deli that recently opened in Palm Beach by people whose work you already know and love.
It’s Pepé Italia Deli by yes, the team who gifted us Burleigh’s Pepé Italia in early 2017, so you know it’s going to live up to your highest expectations.
The newbie can be found in Palmy’s brand new refurbished shopping precinct Pavilions, on the highway and it’s the first restaurant to open its doors there. With street frontage, plenty of natural light and happy Italians scattered throughout, it’s a place you’re going to want to spend a bit of time.
Inside you’ll find cabinets filled with a variety of cheeses and dried meats (both local and imported form Italy) and fridges packed with homemade pasta and pre-prepared meals like lasagna and meatballs (oh my) you can take home and pretend you made. Which is exactly what we’re going to do.
The deli is a more casual, pared back version of the Burleigh restaurant but the dishes on offer are quite similar.
On the Antipasti menu, everything was a taste sensation but we particularly loved the Wagyu Bresaola with Wagyu beef, shaved parmigiano, reggiano, rocket and lemon juice – so so tasty.
Pasta-wise, everything is made in-house and while you should probably sample every single dish, we were quite partial to the Ricotta e Spinaci with spinach and ricotta, agnolotti, butter, sage and parmesan cheese and Paccheri Positano with clams, mussels, baby calamari, prawns, barramundi, cherry tomatoes and Napoli sauce. Both absolutely stunning.
In terms of pizza, you obviously can’t go wrong especially where Pepé Italia is concerned. If we had to choose one, it would be the Tropea with San Marzano tomato, fresh buffalo mozzarella, prawns, basil, garlic and chilli. Very fresh and very delicious.
Let’s not forget the desserts and if you’ve ever had an Italian dessert you’ll know they cannot be skipped. There’s homemade Tiramisu, Cannoli Siciliana and Semi Frozen Dark Chocolate to name a few and they’re the perfect accompaniment to a pizza and pasta feast (obviously).
Of course there isn’t a single thing on the menu we would eat over and over again so choose your own adventure and prepare to be wowed.
If you’d like a little tipple to go with your experience, all your favourite cocktails are on offer as well as beer and wine of both the Australian and Italian persuasions.
Perhaps the best news of all though is Sunday Apertivo – a tradition in Italy where everyone gathers on a Sunday afternoon for drinks and the venue provides the food. Which is exactly what’s going to happen at Pepé Italia Deli every Sunday. It’s the Italian version of a Sunday session and everyone’s invited.
Perfection has moved into Palm Beach Gold Coasters, get down there for some good old fashioned hospitality.
LOCATION: Pavilions Palm Beach, 10 Fifth Avenue, Palm Beach
HOURS: 11am until late Wednesday to Saturday and 11am until 8pm Sunday
Words and photos by Kirra Smith