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It’s party time at Burleigh Mexi-joint Margarita Cartel

An authentic Mexican experience right here on the Gold Coast.

 Many curious Mexi-loving locals have been patiently waiting to find out what’s in store for Burleigh Heads since Margarita Cartel’s sign went up on the Lower Gold Coast Hwy a few weeks ago.

Well the wait is finally over with the new venue sliding open their doors this week to reveal an intimate, high vibe venue boasting an authentic menu filled with tasty variations of all your favourites and a cocktail list to rival any other.

Margarita Cartel has moved into the space where much-loved Willow Dining Room once lived and we have a feeling the newbie will be just as popular.

It’s every bit the Mexi-experience from the tall cactuses perched on either side of the entryway to bright seating, a stunning mosaic-style bar and a Sugar Skull mural painted across one wall. You need never pay top dollar to travel halfway across the world for a Mexican experience again.

Now as you know, there are very few people in the world who do not love margaritas so let’s begin there today.

The list as you’d expect, has quite the variety of margies on offer, from the Classic (made with orange liqueur though), to Coconut, Watermelon (five please), Cucumber and Chilli, Smoky Pineapple, Grapefruit and El Patron and we obviously suggest sampling one of each (maybe over the course of a week or so).

There is also a section of the list called Mexican Twist and that includes goodies like the Mexican Espresso (made with tequila), the Negronito, Sangria Bubbles and a Peppery Southside to name a few Mexi-infused favourites. Plus of course, you may indulge in the classics and an array of mojitos too.

You’ll need to visit a few times, see.

Eats-wise the dishes are being whipped up by none other than a Mexican and a Columbian-born chef so everything is absolutely flavour-packed with lots of char-grilled goodness incorporated and there are a few things on there we’re willing to bet you haven’t tried.

To start, we recommend the Coliflor – crunchy cauliflower with salsa cartel, Maiz La Parilla – char-grilled corn with queso fresco and cilantro salsa and Papas Y Chorizo – chunky skinned potatoes with chorizo and queso fresco. To die for.

Of course the taco versus burrito debate rages strong and Margarita Cartel’s selection won’t help with that. There are plenty of mouthwatering variations of both plus quesadillas and La Parilla – char-grilled meats in varieties like Black Angus Porterhouse, Chicken, Chilli and Lime Salmon and Agave Sticky Pork Belly. YUM.

So that’s about 45 reasons to book yourself in this very second and save a seat at your table for us pretty please.

LOCATION: 2/1840 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: 5pm to 10pm

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

La Diosa Mexicana

La Diosa Mexicana interior

Hola. We’ve got Mexi-news and it is this; a brand new Mexi-joint opened up in Surfers Paradise just a few short days ago and it’s bringing all the good time vibes you don’t want to miss.

Found in the bustling little space that is Circle on Cavill, La Diosa Mexicana is the perfect addition to the eatery-filled area and if you’re a fan of high quality, flavour-filled feasts, you’re in for a treat.

The fitout is colourful and inviting with rattan-style furniture, wrought iron tables and raw concrete accents. Everybody’s new favourite indoor greenery, (cacti and succulents) are dotted throughout and ocean coloured tiles complete the pretty picture.

Big bay windows open out into the street and we highly recommend choosing one of the corner tables because there are tan leather cushions that are as soft as can be and also, bulk people watching opportunities. Not your typical Mexican eatery guys.

La Diosa Mexicana bar

Food-wise, also not so much the Mexi-goodness you’ve become accustomed to.

La Diosa Mexicana co-owner Danny Azzi is a Gold Coast restaurateur and chef with over 20 years experience. He’s a lover of clean, fresh flavours and, coupled with his Lebanese heritage, has created quite a unique take on the food of Mexico.

The main player on the menu is the tacos, which we are pretty happy about. They’re made with an Al Pastor-style meat – a traditional way of cooking developed in central Mexico and based on the shawarma spit-grilled meat. It was introduced to Mexico by the Lebanese so there’s your link. What a combination.

La Diosa Mexicana Carne Asada

The entire menu is a dream come true if you ask us, filled with all your favourites including Tostadas, Enchiladas, Quesadillas, Nachos and, of course, the beloved Burrito.

We recommend starting with a share plate or two, the Grilled Mexican street corn with coriander crema, paprika, queso and lime because they are the absolute goods and the Albondigas is meat balls with house beans and queso fresco. Flavour sensations.

Taco-wise go the fried cauliflower with eggplant jam, tahini, smoky paprika and pepitas or the Al Pastor pork with crispy onions, slaw, grilled pineapple and jalapenos. Try all of them though.

La Diosa Mexicana Nachos

The Nachos are some of the prettiest we’ve ever seen and you should also fit in a burrito or two. Good luck.

Now, let’s talk booze. The specialty bar menu features all of the margaritas (obviously) along with traditional cocktails, local and imported beers, ciders, wines, tequila (also obviously) and mezcals.

Margaritas, La Diosa Mexicana (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)

Because you’re obviously dying to know, there are 11 margaritas on the menu including flavours such as Chilli Chocolate and Cucumber Fresca (we tried that one, it was really great). Oh and the Orange Tamarind is one of the great margaritas too.

Maybe stop reading now and go try it out for yourselves. It’ll knock your little sombreros off.

La Diosa Mexicana Empanadas (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)
La Diosa Mexicana Empanadas (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)

LOCATION: Shop 11, Circle on Cavill, 3184 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise
HOURS: 11.30am until 10.30pm

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

Say Hola to International Margarita Day

Margarita, Panchos (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Margarita, Panchos (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

No, you’re not dreaming or hallucinating, International Margarita Day is a thing (although warning, too many margs or ritas may in fact result in dreaming and hallucinating). Friends, stick an annual reminder in your phone for 22nd of February which this year, falls on a Wednesday and whatta way to celebrate hump day #ArrebaAreeba!

As regular readers will know, we’re rather partial to a margarita or (twenty)two and *cough cough* feel a sick day coming in hot next Thursday…

Being self-declared connoisseurs of this Mexican fave, here’s a list of 17 local places you can enjoy a celebratory tipple this International Margarita Day. SALUD!

Margaritas at Palm Springs Burleigh (image supplied)
Margaritas at Palm Springs Burleigh (image supplied)

Palm Springs Burleigh
Palm Springs Burleigh is a Southern Californian inspired café, eats and drinks heaven on earth. With All.The.Things you’d expect from somewhere with Palm Springs in the name, you’ll find arches, cacti, Slim Aarons, plenty of green, mint and white hues and of course, M.A.R.G.I.S! A tried and tested Burleigh fave, extra points awarded for the get-in-my-belly-good nosh.
Our pick: Chilli Margarita – Chilli infused 1800 silver tequila, Cointreau & fresh lime juice.
Where: 1878 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads

Cocktails from Pablito's Mexican (image supplied)
Cocktails from Pablito's Mexican (image supplied)

Nested in Sanctuary Cove, you’ll find this intimate quintessential modern Mexican cantina with a slight Caribbean influence and srsly, what more could one ask for?! Think terracotta, venetian walls, exposed concrete, Virgin Mary statues, and a cactus at every turn. The house tequila is made with wild agave and they only use organic, freshly squeezed lime in all their cocktails…including their cult worthy ritas. Gimme gimme!
Our pick: Watermelon Margarita
Where: Sanctuary Cove, 39 Masthead Way, Hope Island

One for the burbs! If you can’t be arsed driving to the more tradish margi-slinging spots, Mudgeeraba’s Panchos delivers the sweet and salty-rimmed goodness like a boss. With its bright flashes of searing yellow, pastel blue, warm pinks and hot reds, take a seat on the front deck, in the dining room for a feed, or on the large deck and garden out back which boasts its own bar #noice.
Our Pick: Their frozen margi’s – especially in this heat wave!
Where: 581 Gold Coast Springbrook Road, Mudgeeraba

Rita Colada, El Camino Cantina (image supplied)
Rita Colada, El Camino Cantina (image supplied)

El Camino Cantina
Die-hard fans of El Camino Cantina’s legendary Margaritas have a month to celebrate the Top 10 Ritas of 2023 when ten all-time great flavours hit the bar on Monday. Served Cadillac-style (cool) with a smooth, rich float of Grand Marnier, on the rocks or frozen, indulge in Watermelon & Chilli, Fruit Tingle, Lychee, Skittles, Mango, Sour Apple, Classic, Rita Colada, Strawberry and Marshmallow.
Our pick: Rita Colada
Where: 19-33 Robina Town Centre Drive, Robina & 2 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Bonita Bonita
As you’d expect from one of the most loved Mexi-venues around, Bonita Bonita’s margarita list is off the chain good. As is the chow and the vibe, hence why it continues to pull a sizeable crowd year after year. If you’re going to line your belly coz #tequila, go with the banquet and get the best of everything this GC fave has to offer.
Our pick: Tom-Yum Margarita – 1800 Coconut tequila, fresh lime, habanero, lemon grass & ginger syrup, grapefruit juice and a salt rim.
Where: 2460 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

Margaritas at Bonita Bonita, Mermaid Beach (image supplied)
Margaritas at Bonita Bonita, Mermaid Beach (image supplied)

It’s always margarita mania at Nobby’s Mexicali! Served on the rocks and made using fresh fruit and house infused tequilas, all margis are crafted using 100% Blue Agave tequila or mezcal, freshly squeezed lime juice and agave syrup. Choose from classic, watermelon, strawberry, passionfruit, chilli, cucumber & jalapeno, mezcal and coconut. And we’ll take the lot #thx.
Our pick: Passionfruit Margarita
Where: Level 1/2223 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach

Hail Mary (image supplied)
Hail Mary (image supplied)

Hail Mary
With no less than 14 (that’s one-four) ritas to choose from, we’d be here all day listing them all and srsly, just get down there and drink people! Colourful and bold like the staff, everything they do is inspired by the vivid heritage of Mexico, with a nod to our coastal home. With a juicy taco in one hand and a salty margi in the other, life made and happy International Marg Day!
Our pick: The Illegal – Illegal Joven mezcal, triple sec, blanco tequila & lime juice
Where: 6/26 James Street, Burleigh Heads

Frida Sol (Image: © 2018 Inside Gold Coast)
Frida Sol (Image: © 2018 Inside Gold Coast)

Frida Sol
Another one with a cracking margarita list, Frida Sol is the baby sister of Bonita Bonita and naturally, has ‘excelente’ genes.  Paying homage to the legend herself, Frida Kahlo, Frida Sol oozes a delectably sultry vibe. Feel like you’re livin’ life up in Tulum and immerse yourself in a wonder of textures, traditional Mexican decor and all things Frida…particularly the ritas!
Our pick: Frida Margarita – Herradura tequila, triple sec, fresh lemon & cucumber juice, jalapeños, agave syrup & a chipotle rim
Where: Level 1, 1176 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

Margaritas, The Collective, Palm Beach (image supplied)
Margaritas, The Collective, Palm Beach (image supplied)

The Collective
There’s no better place to celebrate margarita month than at The Collective in Palmy! Kicking off on International Margi Day, the venue will be offering its own exclusive Patrón margarita menu…and you had us at Patrón! Enjoy specialty flavours until the end of March, including the Classic Patrón Margarita, Tropical Patrón Margarita, and the Hole Patrón Cup Margarita.
Our pick: Tropical Patron Margarita – Patrón Silver, lime juice, coconut syrup & pineapple juice.
Where: 1128 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

Cocktails at Baskk, Coolangatta (image supplied)
Cocktails at Baskk, Coolangatta (image supplied)

Just because the joint’s Italian, doesn’t mean they can’t do a mean margi! The stunning, naturally inspired surrounds are enough for us but since it’s Margarita Month, we won’t say no to a tasty tipple or two either. The cocktails are next level, along with everything else on the menu. Line a few of those bad boys up, order a couple of pizza’s and it’s the definition of living your best life.
Our pick: Classic Margarita
Where: Beach House Plaza, 52-58 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Margaritas, Steampunk Surfers Paradise (image supplied)
Margaritas, Steampunk Surfers Paradise (image supplied)

Steampunk Surfers Paradise
With modernised Victorian era décor, this glitter strip fave is always packed…and packing a darn good time. The best day to visit is in fact Monday because each week, it’s Margarita Monday! Now whilst this year, International Margi Day happens to fall on a Wednesday, we have full confidence that the legends at Steampunk will celebrate just as hard, with the likes of a classic Margarita, Chilli Margarita, Frozen Margarita, Passionfruit Margarita and Watermelon Margarita.
Our pick: Chilli Margarita
Where: Cavill Lane, 3113 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

White Oat
Because the team at White Oat can do no wrong, they naturally nail Gin Margaritas! With three to choose from including the OG Margy, Novara Margy and the Mango Margy (make it spicy), don’t hurt your head trying to choose – order all three! Bringing good times and freaking amazing gin to the north side, the bright, open, and inviting space screams ‘grab a crew’, and srsly, the stand-out copper gin distilling equipment is a vibe.
Our pick: Mango Margy (make it spicy) – Mango gin (Chilli mango gin), Cointreau, lime juice & agave syrup.
Where: 13-14/211 Brisbane Road, Biggera Waters

Palm Court, The Langham Gold Coast (image supplied)
Palm Court, The Langham Gold Coast (image supplied)

Palm Court, The Langham Gold Coast
Margaritas and good times go together like Maracas and Tambourines (see ‘our pick’ below to understand what we’re banging on about). The prestigious Palm Court may be famous for its bespoke take on the traditional Afternoon Tea, but its Lobby Bar mixes up signature cocktails and top shelf beverages from 4pm daily. What better way to take in the lagoon pool views and luxe coastal space.
Our pick: Maracas — Cenote Blanco tequila, Tamborine Mountain guava & lime liqueur, lime, agave, and orange blossom.
Where: The Langham Gold Coast, 38 Old Burleigh Road, Surfers Paradise

Nahm Talay Thai
Nahm Talay Thai doesn’t just bring high-end Thai nosh to Surfers, it also brings some chuck-a-sickie worthy cocktails too. One of which is of the Margarita persuasion and naturally, it’s our go-to when we’re in that neck of the woods. With multi-million dollar ocean views, this is the spot to be on International Margi day.
Our pick: Bird’s Eye Margarita – Birds eye chilli, tequila, orange liqueur, simple syrup, lime juice & Tajin chilli salt.
Where: Paradise Centre, 2 Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise

Coco-Marsh Margarita, Cowch (image supplied)
Coco-Marsh Margarita, Cowch (image supplied)

If you’ve been to Cowch, you’ve indulged your sweet tooth and eaten your body weight in lush desserts every day of the week and twice on Sundays. But did you know you can also indulge in epic cocktails? At Inside Gold Coast, we’re well aware and never knock back an opportunity to enjoy a margi with our Milky Way Crepe. Do yourself a favour and get stuck in!
Our pick: Coco-Marsh Margarita with tequila, marshmallow liqueur, coconut and lime served with coconut rim and toasted marshmallows.
Where: Oracle East Building, E111/1 Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach

Cocktails at Edgewater Dining, Isle of Capri (image supplied)
Cocktails at Edgewater Dining, Isle of Capri (image supplied)

Edgewater Dining
Keeping their eats edgy and their sips edgier, Edgewater Dining certainly never fails in the wow factor stakes. This is particularly true for the margaritas section of the cocktail menu, featuring Margi’s Passion, Spelling Coconut, Sex in an Hour (#WideEyedEmoji), and Coming in Hotch. Pull up a pew on the gorgeous deck, take in the stunning waterfront views and work your way through the list. 
Our pick: Sex in an Hour – Blueberry infused Espolón Blanco, 100% agave tequila, Joseph Cartron Watermelon liqueur, fresh watermelon juice, a touch of Joseph Cartron Crême de Cassis and Fiorente Elderflower liqueur, fresh lime juice and organic agave nectar with a pink Himalayan salt & sugar rim.
Where: Capri on Via Roma, Isle of Capri, Surfers Paradise

The Exhibitionist Bar, HOTA (image supplied)
The Exhibitionist Bar, HOTA (image supplied)

Exhibitionist Bar
Sitting high on the striking HOTA Gallery, The Exhibitionist Bar delivers great flavours and explosions of tastes you won’t forget in a hurry…both in edible and drinkable varieties. Whether you want a light lunch with friends, a cocktail at sundown or a nightcap, this is where it’s at. And we can tell you first-hand (far too many times over) that the resident Margi unpacked below is one of the best.
Our pick: House Hot Marg – Herradura Blanco tequila, marionette orange, lime & house made hot sauce
Where: HOTA, Home of the Arts, Top Level, 135 Bundall Rd, Surfers Paradise

Words by Bianca Trathen.

Dracula’s colourful, new Mexican carnival-inspired show

Exciting news for all you theatre cabaret lovers, Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant launched their brand new show just a few short weeks ago and the creepy crew are back at it again.

The newbie titled Muertos; which means dead in Spanish and the latest carnival de carnage is set to be a wild celebration that absolutely explodes on the Broadbeach stage.

It’s a tribute to Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations, moving at the bone-rattling pace you’ve come to know and love from Australia’s long running dinner slash theatre show.

There’s carnival-inspired acts, death-defying aerial acrobatics, live tunes from the clever crew and of course, the hilarious brand of comedy only Dracula’s can provide.

Muertos is all vibrant colours and hip-gyrating flamenco meshed with high energy Latin dance. Add dancing skeletons, galloping corpses, rocktacular live music, big wigs and lots of bare skin and you’ve got quite the time.

The Mexican theme has crept into every part of the iconic venue, including the menu, wine list and décor. How good.

Delivering the ultimate entertainment and live music experience, the show appears across five stages, as well as mid-air above the audience.

The talented cast lineup features crowd favourite, Coco Inia Dewar, renowned acrobatic adagio duo Lauren Skapalova and Bray Garcia, señorita deliciosas Amber Dawn-Finch and Sarah Douch, backed by the amazing live music talents of Viola Skyes and Tomi Gray.

Muertos, Dracula's Cabaret Restaurant (image supplied)

For the uninitiated, Dracula’s is a world of nocturnal decadence, with mouth-watering dinner treats and tequila laced cocktails – presented by waiters with unrestrained lip-service.

Plus there’s a ghost train ride that’ll get you every time.

Packages start $59 per person for supper club, show only tickets with optional tapas menu, or $95 per person for a succulent three-course dinner and show experience.

Get on it.

LOCATION: 1 Hooker Blvd, Broadbeach
WHEN: Five days a week, Tuesday to Saturday

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