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16 family-friendly Gold Coast restaurants

TGI Friday's (image supplied)

At some point during the week (usually Monday for us) you get sick of preparing dinner, so you pack up the fam and head out on the town. In a frantic, find-something-everyone-can-eat without too many tears kind of way though.

So without further adieu, here is a list of family-friendly Gold Coast restaurants next time you’re in need of a reprieve from slaving over the stove for a night.

From north to south.

The Wattle Hotel
A hidden gem in Upper Coomera, The Wattle Hotel is the perfect playground for parents and kiddies. The adult menu is filled with all your fave pub-style dishes while the littlies menu has all their favourites and they’re all only $8, which is pretty much unheard of. There’s also a sweet playroom and the whole place is quite lovely to spend an evening in. Everyone will agree.
Where: 1 Reserve Road, Upper Coomera

Charis Seafoods
Found in Harley Park, Labrador, Charis Seafoods offers a family-friendly atmosphere with a sweet view to boot. Enjoy your fish and chips by the Broadwater while the kids play in the park or swim in the lagoon. There’s a huge variety of seafood on offer and everything is of the freshest and highest quality. This Gold Coast icon is also renowned for its pelican feeding at 1:30pm daily where close to a hundred pelicans gather for their special feed of fish!
Where: 371 Marine Parade, Labrador

Southport Sharks
Not only is there a buffet so everyone can eat pretty much anything they like and go back for more, there is also a kids area filled with play things where you can let the small ones frolic while you enjoy a frosty beverage. Plus there’s a stunning fish tank (with real sharks) the kiddies can stare at for awhile. Frenzy Food Court boasts lots of tasty dishes and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.
Where: Olsen Ave and Musgrave Ave, Southport

Southport Sharks (image supplied)

Café Catalina
Found in Southport, overlooking the Broadwater is Café Catalina; now open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pop in for a bit to eat, treat yourself to some tapas and a wine or two, let the kids enjoy some tasty Spaghetti Bolognaise off their designated kids menu and then wander down to the giant playground and let them run rampant before bedtime. It’s win win.
Where: Broadwater Parklands, 10/11 Gold Coast Highway, Southport

Historic Rivermill
Experience Gold Coast dining at its’ finest at Historic Rivermill. The outlook from the Cafe is breathtaking with views to the bushland beyond and plenty of spots for the kids to explore. Visit the animal farm, check out the wild turtles and explore the beautiful landscape surrounding the cafe. Of course, you’ll want something to nibble on and the cafe boasts plenty of yummy goodies. There’s coffee too. Do yourself a favour and take a drive out there with the whole family.
Where: 950 Beaudesert-Nerang Road, Mt Nathan

CHOP CHOP
The market-style foodie precinct is the perfect place to take the family for a laidback night out. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from, all of the Asian street food variety, so every fussy little palette is catered for. From sushi to dumplings and tiny little sweet pancakes, we recommend sampling a bit of everything to make your night out worthwhile. There’s even a table tennis table to work some of that energy off before bedtime.
Where: 3113 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Cowch
A dessert bar with a difference, Cowch in Pacific Fair boasts a menu absolutely packed with decadent goodies. From a Nutella Waffle Sandwich to super shakes that will blow your mind, a Party Pizza absolutely stacked with goodies and plenty more sugary delights to indulge in.
Where: Shop 1606, Pacific Fair, Hooker Boulevard, Broadbeach

Cowch (image supplied)

Outback Steakhouse
Outback Steakhouse has a casual atmosphere and plenty of good vibes for everyone to enjoy. Steaks, grilled chicken and ribs make up much of the adults menu but there’s also plenty chicken fingers, mac & cheese, grilled chesse toasties, sliced sirloin and mini ribs for the little eaters. All the kids meals are just $10 and include a side and unlimited beverage refill too!
Where: Pacific Fair, Hooker Boulevard, Broadbeach

Mermaid Beach Surf Club
Surf clubs are family friendly on principle but the Mermaid Beach Surf Club in particular has got the goods in the form of a playroom that will keep the kids entertained for hours. Some of us here have been in there and can attest it’s a good time. Of course, they have lots of child-friendly menu options AND if you go on Thursday it’s Parmy night and you can choose from Parmy’s such as Mexican, Indian and Aussie to name a few. They’re very tasty.
Where: 172 Hedges Avenue, Mermaid Beach

BSKT
Beachside in Nobby’s is BSKT, mostly a breakfast and lunch venue but open for delightful family dinners on Friday and Saturday nights. All the food there is healthy and nourishing which is GREAT for everyone involved but there is also a gated play area so the kids can shovel in their dinner and then go run around with their new friends while you kick back and enjoy yourselves. Not to mention the balmy ocean breeze floating across from the very nearby ocean.
Where: 4 Lavarack Road, Nobby Beach

Miami Marketta
Less a restaurant, more a market-style dining situation is Miami Marketta. Open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights with food stalls and (often) live music, kids absolutely adore running around, dancing and eating all the things. Same. There’s a ridiculous array of next-level desserts and a bar so that’s pretty much all your bases covered we think. Always a fun time.
Where: 23 Hillcrest Parade, Miami

Miami Marketta (image supplied)
Miami Marketta (image supplied)

TGI Friday’s
With all of the epic US-style eats you could hope to demolish in the one sitting, TGI Friday’s at Robina Town Centre is the perfect place to take the family for a night out. With everything from their famous ribs and burgers plus a kids menu packed with goodies like Macaroni Cheese, Chicken Fingers and a Cheeseburger to name a few, everyone will leave happy and very satisfied.
Where: Robina Town Centre, Robina

Woodchoppers Inn Mudgeeraba
Family owned since 1995, Woodchoppers Inn launched a reimagined menu in 2017 to bring North American BBQ to the Gold Coast. With a dedicated kids play area and special kids menu, think BBQ Wings and Junior Steaks, just like Mum & Dad’s but mini. All kids meals come with a kids drink and ice cream with topping for dessert too. The entire family will love the locally prepared dishes and there are plenty of beers on tap for the oldies.
Where: 64 Railway Street, Mudgeeraba

The Barn
Found in the idyllic foothills of Springbrook, The Barn boasts paddock to plate dining, a beautiful rustic vibe and their own sustainable gardens. The menu is filled with Japanese slash Italian delights and there’s a pen with baby animals and the resident dog to keep the kids entertained.
Where: 5 Boomerang Road, Mudgeeraba

The Collective
A well known family-friendly spot on the highway in Palm Beach, The Collective has a HUGE menu for the kids with five types of cuisine on offer including Mexican, Greek, Asian, American and Italian eats. Everything is reasonably priced and the bar is pumping out some of the tastiest cocktails around for Mum and Dad’s enjoyment. Highly recommend for a night out with the team.
Where: 1128 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

Dune Cafe
Enjoy everything the Gold Coast stands for at Dune Cafe. There’s beautiful views, a laidback atmosphere, top quality local produce and delicious coffee plus it’s found right at Palm Beach Parklands where there’s plenty of space for the kids to run around, Currumbin Creek for a quick dip and the huge Pirate Park playground will provide hours of entertainment while Mum and Dad kick back.
Where: 945 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

Words by Kirra Smith

The Barn baby animal pen (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

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