As some of the world’s most highly revered cuisine, it’s little surprise that Japanese food is loved worldwide. The depth of flavours and incredibly focussed and precise cooking techniques are the foundation for some damn tasty food — and that ain’t no lie.
Finding exceptional examples of far eastern delicacies isn’t as easy as you may think. Sure, there are a great many good Japanese restaurants out there, except here we are only eager to discuss and dissect the exceptional ones!
We’re talking about the kind of places with that undeniable ‘X’ factor and take your taste of the orient to an entirely new level. Lucky for us, there are a mustering of such venues here on the Gold Coast, so start practicing your chopstick skills as we run you through the places that are exceptional odes to Japan — minus the 10-hour flight.
Often regarded as the flagship Japanese restaurant on the Gold Coast, you might think their inclusion on this list required little thought. Yes, Executive Head Chef Chase Kojima has created amazing mouth-watering dishes on the robata grill, and the tempura menu is a tantalising read as any menu you’ll come across. But here, the finer things and the premium setting speak for themselves, like highly sought after Beluga Caviar and Char-grilled Queensland grown Wagyu, which are lovingly dished up and are sure not to disappoint.
Where: Lobby Level, The Star Gold Coast, 1 Casino Drive, Broadbeach
What these folks don’t know about ramen simply isn’t worth knowing. After opening their first Queensland venue, in blissful Burleigh, we were a tad excited earlier this year. The team behind some of Sydney’s best-received ramen bars takes their noodle and broth game extremely seriously, so much so there was a severe amount of time spent in Japan learning and researching the craft before their first bowl was even served. Atmospheric, welcoming and stacked full of great drinks: go ahead and slurp as if nobody is watching!
Where: 21a/50 James Street, Burleigh Heads
Tucked away in Carrara and simply waiting for you to discover it is the small and quaint Japanese-style eatery of Kumeri. They dish up nothing short of authentic flavours and unadulterated Japanese dishes. How do crispy hand-rolled gyozas matched with incredible examples of European wines sound? A little too good to be true, perhaps. However, let owner — and qualified sommelier — Hiro guide you through his extensive collection of European and boutique Australian wines for a well-rounded and unique dining experience.
Where: 3/124 Pappas Way, Carrara
Everyone’s favourite Japanese restaurant is still the light of our lives and knocking out superb food in Mermaid Beach. It was certainly groundbreaking a few years back, and now it seems a slew of other Japanese restaurants have caught up to the party — however, the dedication to service, great seasonal produce, and an impeccable drinks offering has never wavered one bit. Ideal for a midweek escape and perfection for a weekend feast; the standout features of this establishment are, without a doubt, its down-to-earth and charming decor and an ever-evolving cocktail list worthy of anyone’s attention.
Where: 2440 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
For a while now, the locals of Palm Beach — plus those in the know — have been quietly enjoying the spoils of this Osaka-style back alley Izakaya all to themselves. But we think it was about time it was shared! Deeply authentic and brimming with a menu of carefully constructed and drool-inducing dishes, including the ever-famous Okonomiyaki savoury pancakes. What sets this place apart is the dedication to cultural accuracy — oh, and the fact you can book out the entire restaurant should you have the occasion that calls for it (and enough friends)!
Where: 6 Fifth Avenue, Palm Beach
When it comes to a hearty combination of flavour and showmanship, teppanyaki-style dining is a surefire way to beat hunger — with a slice of entertainment thrown in there for good measure. One of the best in the business, and an unsurpassed way to experience this highly revered form of Japanese cooking, is Misono at JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort and Spa. Let their talented and affable chefs delight you and your friends with an abundance of flames and flavour.
Where: Level 3, JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort and Spa,158 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Words by Alex Mitcheson.
Oh Vietnam and Japan. Besides being two of our favourite Asian vacay destinations, they’re also responsible for two of THE most drool-inducing soupy faves eternally on our to-eat list. Pho and ramen, we salute you, never tire of your slurpy flavoursome goodness and we are getting one helluva craving right now #getinourbellies.
Thankfully, there are several Asian gems right here in our GC ‘hood who can help us get our ‘phomen’ (pho and ramen) fix, so let’s do this – from north to south.
Pho Vietnamese Kitchen
With a name like this, there really is no mistaking what you’re going to find here. With authentic flavours from the Saigon region, it’s the place to stop in when you’re mid-shop and in need of a healthy, yummy energy hit to recharge the batteries. There’s pho-a-plenty, plus other Viet wonders like their scrumptious grilled pork vermicelli noodles salad. Yummo.
Where: Westfield Coomera, 103 Foxwell Road, Coomera or Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, Hooker Boulevard, Broadbeach Waters
Can Tho Kitchen
A northern GC institution, Can Tho Kitchen has it all. Ridiculously delish meals, share platters, awesome service, and a super cool fit out and ambience which one may not expect from a northern GC suburban restaurant. Booking out regularly, people travel from far and wide to experience this husband-and-wife team’s traditional home kitchen recipes. Oh and the cocktails – legendary (and yes, we speak from experience).
Where: 5/465 Oxley Drive, Runaway Bay
Phở Việt (8 Street Harbour Town)
The Harbour Town Eats precinct offers its fair share of high-quality multi-cultural eats, and this is one of their bangers. Fresh, delicious and always consistent, it’s a sure-fire winner every day of the week (literally). The Tofu Pho Noodle Soup is a fave, as is the Combination Pho with rare beef brisket, chicken and beef balls.
Where: 147-189 Brisbane Road, Biggera Waters
If you’re a ramen fan in Southport or Surfers, let us give you some advice; get yourself a hit of Ramen Danbo stat. Their Tonkotsu broth is all time and is the secret base making the ramen so next level lush. But don’t just take our word for it!
Where: Kiosk 8.01, Chop Chop Cavill Lane, 6 Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise or Shop 24, Mercato on Ferry, 59-73 Meron Street, Southport
Muso Ramen + Gyoza
Muso is oh-so famous for its ramen and gyoza goodness and is conveniently located in not one, but three suburbs. In other words, there’s really no excuse whatsoever not to chow down and fuel your ramen addiction. Cooked to perfection and nailing all the authentic flavours, it’s the best you’ll try outside of Tokyo.
Where: Shop1/58 Brooke Avenue, Southport or 2b/2484 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach or Shop 4248c “The Kitchens” Robina Town Centre
O-Me-Ly Vietnamese Restaurant
Pho doesn’t get any better than this! A humble fave that has stood the test of time, O-Me-Ly is a long time local hit for darn good reason. The Chicken Rice Noodle Pho is amazing, as are the Rice Paper Rolls which are the pinnacle of fresh, clean eating. Next time in you’re in Broady and channelling an unpretentious feed with flavour-o-plenty, this is the place.
Where: 15-24 Queensland Avenue, Broadbeach
I like ramen
This is legit Australia’s very first plant-based ramen shop, and that in itself deserves a hearty round of applause. The perfect spot for a bowl and brew, founders Bobby and Dom have hatched a vegan beauty here with the tastiest ramen you ever did eat. Also serving up some special Japanese whiskeys, signature cocktails and a range of our natty wines, what’s not to love?
Where: 2251 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
If you’re fanging for ramen, a rice bowl, karaage, gyoza or a famous Goukai roll, make your way to this Burleigh hot pot spot. Known for their sensational food – and cool staff sporting equally cool baseball caps which BTW, you can buy one too – this hidden gem never disappoints. If you like a bit of spice, here’s the hot (pardon the pun) tip: order the Red Hot Spicy Ramen.
Where: 3/1837 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
If it’s authentic hand-crafted ramen you want, it’s precisely what you’ll find at RaRa Ramen. With a few RaRa’s getting around NSW, it was high time we northerners were also privy to the jaw-droppingly delicious authentic Japanese flavours. With handmade noodles, broths and some serious know-how on the art of ramen, this one is a must.
Where: 21a/50 James Street, Burleigh Heads
My Saigon Tuckshop
If only our school had a tuckshop like this! Looking for a cheap and REALLY cheerful Vietnamese hit? Call off the search – you’ve found it! My Saigon Tuckshop serves up the best-tasting pho with change left over to sample the other delectable offerings, like their infamous Banh Mi or the food of the moment, Rice Paper Rolls.
Where: 1/45 Taree Street, Burleigh Heads
Words by Bianca Trathen.
A traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice with additions of water, yeast, and koji, the legend of sake surrounds the story of a prince who once used the beverage to intoxicate a dragon to save a princess. Not your average fairy tale, but a clever prince nonetheless.
Originating in Japan over 1,300 years ago and traditionally revered as an offering to the Gods, it has become popular worldwide thanks to its unique hot and cold varieties and its ability to enhance the tastes of our beloved Japanese food. Always on the hunt for flavour, we found the 11 best sipping spots of sake on the Gold Coast in honour of the sacred brew.
Misono Japanese Steakhouse
An in-house speciality, sake is much loved at Misono. Served solo in six varieties and with detailed explanations of each on the menu, Misono’s sake options all fall within the range of the four main designations of the drink (dependent on how much the rice grains are polished). Not only can you drink it straight, but Misono also specialises in cocktails incorporating sake for something totally unique. Try the Kiwi Sparkler with sake, muddled kiwifruit and lime on ice topped up with sparkling wine.
Where: JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa, 158 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Eddy + Wolff
The intimate little venue hidden away in Robina, Eddy + Wolff are the masters of contemporary Asian eats, tasty tipples and an interior like no other. You’ll love the rounded, polished concrete ceiling, neon sign and soft pink hues that make up the stunning space. Of course, the team have chosen only the very best sakes to complement their menu, including one reminiscent of Limoncello that we can’t get enough of. The perfect spot to share a sake with your pals.
Where: 12/217-219 Ron Penhaligon Way, Robina
Masters in the art of sake service, the team at Kiyomi have been through a rigorous training program to ensure they know their stuff. Offering a sample from each sake category, flavours range from earthy mushroom to citrusy and floral in both still and sparkling varieties. Kiyomi serves their warm sake at 46 degrees, the traditional temperature, and present it in a stone Tokkuri, handmade in Japan. Cold sake comes in a mouth-blown Tokkuri made with a large divot for holding ice spheres to keep it at the correct temperature. If sipping sake on the Gold Coast is a must for you, you have to visit Kiyomi.
Where: Lobby level, The Star Gold Coast, Broadbeach
Iku Yakitori Bar
Iku Yakitori Bar is a Burleigh favourite boasting many a delicious Japanese dish cooked over Binchotan coals and with lots of extra smoky flavours. Of course, there’s a handpicked selection of sakes on offer of the absolute highest quality possible, as is the way of the Iku team. Ask for the story behind each and prepare to be dazzled by their knowledge and the unique flavours on offer.
Where: 1730 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Tucked away in Robina Quays is Cocotte offering a fusion of Japanese and French dining and plenty of sake options to complement the delicious dishes. Eight opportunities await from the popular Hyogo, Yamaguchi and Fukui regions, both by the glass and the bottle. A favourite is the Dassai Junmai Daiginjo, made with rice milled to just 23% of its original size and boasting flavours of grapes, flowers, strawberries and the freshest mineral water.
Where: 16A Robina Quays Shopping Centre, Corner of Robina Parkway and Markeri Street, Robina
At Etsu, they say sake has something to give that wine can’t, most notably texture and umami (the flavours that’s neither sweet nor sour). With over 16 varieties of sake from seven different regions of Japan on offer, Etsu has one of the most diverse ranges on the Coast. Keen to try them all? Ask for a Sake Flight – three, 40ml samples of selected sakes. Add a little fun to your dinner with a selection of one cup sake, take-home souvenir cups printed with popular classic Japanese cartoon and Disney characters.
Where: 2440 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
If opulent plates of the freshest hunks of sashimi matched elegantly with crisp and refreshing sake sound like a flavour party you want a piece of, then may we suggest you look no further? Cafoo has been wowing Palm Beach locals for a while now with excellent displays of off-the-charts Japanese cuisine and is often booked out. If you manage to grab a spot, you must try one of their signature sake cocktails — to freshen your palate, of course — or an ingenious twist on a European favourite: Sakegria.
Where: Shop 6, Fifth Avenue, Palm Beach
A hidden gem out the back of Burleigh, Wazen is serving up incredible Japanese eats at VERY affordable prices. The menu is extensive, so go there at a starving time of the day and, of course, don’t forget to sample a few sakes while you’re there. There are several authentic varieties to try, and the staff know exactly what they’re talking about: ask what will best go with your favourite dishes, and you’ve got yourself a tasty time.
Where: 1/33 Tallebudgera Creek Road, Burleigh Heads
Tucked away in the residential backstreets of Miami should by no means put you off dropping into a haven of Japanese delicacies. And when you do drop in, be sure to try some of their fantastic fresh oysters or deftly made nigiri with a crisp and well-matched sake that will leave your tastebuds all shook up. It doesn’t end there. If you have the space, be sure to ask about their desserts not found on the menu: if you know — you know!
Where: Shop 6, 110 Mountain View Avenue, Miami
With playful vibes of Tokyo’s most notable suburb throughout their Broadbeach venue, crispy gyozas and the freshest Japanese craft beer are eternally flowing at Harajuku Gyoza. But it’s the hard-to-find sakes — served both warm and chilled — that round out a taste adventure not worth missing. Grab your gang and request a cheeky round of sakes to up the ante on your evening out — kampai!
Where: G66 The Oasis Shopping Centre, Victoria Avenue Broadbeach
Mamasan Kitchen + Bar
This Gold Coast favourite specialises in an enticing blend of modern and traditional tastes, and offers a range of sakes from house to premium and speciality sweet blends. Ranging from dry to delicate and fruity to floral, flavours include apricot and marzipan, mandarin and lime, tropical fruits and banana and savoury and nutty — to name a few! Mamasan also offers a Sake Flight served chilled and made of three 30ml choices from the menu.
Where: 3 Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach
Words by Alex Mitcheson.
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
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
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)
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.