We are of the opinion that there can always be more restaurants dedicated to the much-loved culinary group that is seafood.
Perfecting it is an art and one we are very happy to leave to the absolute professionals and also celebrate when it’s done well. Which it certainly is at Isle of Capri newbie Moana Restaurant and Bar.
Taking up space where (sadly) now closed Italian venue Cicchetti once lived at Capri on Via Roma, the newbie is the work of renowned (celebrity) chef Alex Kaihea who hails from our beloved neighbouring country, New Zealand.
The emphasis here is on the freshest of seafood, all locally sourced and with a focus on the flavours of the Pacific Rim and let us tell you Gold Coasters, there is many a tasty morsel on the menu.
But back to Chef Alex for a sec. He has been the owner of several successful NZ restaurants, appeared on a few food-style TV shows (our favourite) and since making the move to our shores, worked at famed seafood venue George’s Paragon before turning his attention to his very first Aussie venue. Lucky us.
Moana Restaurant and Bar is a 150-seat space with lots of glass and with a sparkly chandelier hanging from above, it’s every bit the sleek, sophisticated venue you’ve come to know and love at Capri on Via Roma.
As we mentioned, the menu is focused on seafood with fresh catches the order of the day, every day. There are small plates to start and the Ota Ika is the go with snapper fillets marinated in lime, cucumber, capsicum, spring onions and with cherry tomatoes, coriander, coconut cream and taro chips. A true Pacific Rim-inspired dish.
Of course, there are MANY types of oysters and mussels in flavour variations but the big plates are where it’s at.
We’re quite partial to dishes that highlight the magic of the Pacific Rim and highly recommend the Tahi, made up of the fish of the day, juicy prawns, scallops, bugs on rice and with white wine buerre blanc sauce. SO good and only $37.
Of course, there are tasty treats that don’t come from the sea, if that is more your jam.
Plus, of course, a drinks list that will having you sipping tipples and sampling succulent eats as the sun goes down every single day.
There are many a lunchtime special on offer too so if a lunchtime treat is something you feel like you deserve (which you do), pop on into Isle of Capri’s delightful newbie and prepare to feast on some of the very best seafood around.
How good is the Gold Coast.
LOCATION: Capri on Via Roma, Isle of Capri
HOURS: 11am until late daily
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
If excellent eats with a side of water views is on your Christmas list this year, get excited, because Christmas has come early to Isle of Capri and you’re on the good kid list.
Madam Fu, sister venue of (also excellent) Fu Manchu Oriental Kitchen on Chevron Island, opened just last week and (since we’re talking about Christmas for some reason), it is all your Christmases come at once.
Found at Capri on Via Roma, right on the waterfront at Isle of Capri, Madam Fu can be found right at the back overlooking the sparkly boats and offering sophisticated but also laidback dining vibes that’ll ensure you never want to leave.
If you’ve ever visited Fu Manchu, you’ll know the menu is packed with modern flavours combining Asian and European influences and Madame Fu offers up exactly the same level of goodness.
The dishes are all share-style (not that you’ll want to share) with a focus on local produce and native ingredients, a lot of which are foraged by the head chef from local areas. We love it when ingredients are foraged.
If you’re not familiar with the term, it means ‘obtained by searching’ and that is exactly what the team do, with their very own hands, to ensure the very best quality makes it to the plate.
All produce on the menu is sustainably caught and farmed and the team ensure they know everything can be reproduced at a sustainable level before taking anything. Which is the way of the future you guys.
Let’s chat about the dishes though because, like we said, all of the Christmases.
First up, the Hiramasa Kingfish with ginger dressing, apple and nasturtium is both sharp and melt-in-your-mouth and an absolute must-try. If you love an incredible dumpling, the Spanner Crab with prawn and ginger dashi is one of the very best we’ve tried.
Grilled King Prawns with green papaya som tam and toasted coconut is also exceptional with some of the plumpest prawns there has ever been.
Bao are also on the menu and Crispy Ssamjang Chicken with kewpie and cucumber pickle was our favourite (although we loved them all).
Also, for something green, the Fried Local Shishito Peppers with sambal mole and Manchego cheese (LOVE) were probably our favourite. One in 20 peppers is hot and the rest and sweet and delicious and yes, of course, we got a hot one. WORTH IT.
There are plenty of vegetarian dishes on offer of course and a wine and cocktail list that will ensure you don’t go thirsty.
All in all, a new favourite has arrived and soon enough you’ll be able to get the ferry to Isle of Capri from Surfers and Chevron Island and there are plans for some fun double-header dinners at Fu Manchu and Madam Fu in the works.
Oh Madam Fu, how we love you. You’re welcome.
LOCATION: Capri on Via Roma, Isle of Capri
HOURS: From 11.30am for lunch and dinner, Wednesday to Sunday
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
They’re soft, silky and filled with the tastiest of goodness and they are quickly gaining popularity as the perfect snack on the go. Luckily for Isle of Capri goers, BAO Burgers has recently opened and they are serving some of the best baos around.
In case you’ve never had the pleasure of putting one in your mouth, baos are a kind of Chinese sandwich made with a pillowy steamed bun and filled with anything from bacon and eggs to soft shell crab.
Found inside Capri on Via Roma and set against a sparkling, boat-laden backdrop, BAO Burgers is a street food style of venue with both dine in and takeaway options, a first for the complex.
If you’re a boatie, it’s a great takeaway option for cruising the high seas or a canal cruising picnic. Moor up and hoe down captains.
Owner Shane McDowall (former owner of The Boatshed in Currumbin) aimed to open something unique to the area that would be seen as an easy takeaway option but could also be enjoyed as a sit down meal, paired with fries and a gelato milkshake (yes please).
Obviously though, the most important thing is the baos themselves and the many delicious flavour options there are to choose from.
Starting with a breakfast bao. Choose from fillings of bacon, egg and tomato chutney or something a little bit fancier like the smoked salmon, Japanese egg, spinach and orange aioli.
Stick around until lunchtime and opt for the fried Szechuan chicken bao with coleslaw and sriracha aioli or a vego option featuring salt and pepper mushroom or halloumi.
For those who aren’t keen on the gluten side of things, baos are also available as sweet little salads.
Oh and in perhaps the greatest bao-related news of all time, there’s soon to be dessert baos on offer including a deep fried bao with mango, pineapple, toasted coconut and vanilla bean gelato.
It’s time to bao down to the tasty little morsels that are about to take over Isle of Capri. How many can you do?
LOCATION: Capri on Via Roma, 15 Via Roma, Surfers Paradise
HOURS: 9am to 5pm daily
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
Hoisting the kids into the back of the car to grab something to eat can be a varied experience. Some venues are without a doubt better at catering for and looking after your little ones in comparison with others, and there is nothing wrong with that; kids need to feel entertained and excited by a setting and the kids menu. When it comes to where to take them to dinner, Surfers Paradise is a great choice with plenty of options. Here’s our rundown on the places we see as your very best choices when eating out with the rug rats.
Citrique at JW Marriott Gold Coast
We don’t mind saying that if you decide to take the family to Citrique, the kids best know they have a variety of options at this fantastic buffet. Located within the JW Marriott Resort and Spa, the recently refurbished venue is perfect for a sophisticated family get-together. The kids’ menu includes decadent inclusions like the Bees Knees Burger or the Hide & Seek Pizza (with a hidden five veggies pizza sauce), and to finish it all off, a make it yourself ice cream cart with all of the toppings! They will go bananas for this – in a good way!
Where: JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa, 158 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Alfresco Italian Restaurant
Italian food has our hearts and especially when it comes fresh out of Alfresco Italian Restaurant. The good people of the Gold Coast — and tourists — have been frequenting the family-owned venue for over 30 years, namely because the food and the welcoming vibes are some of the best around. Why not get the kids the best spag bol they’ve ever had? Apart from yours, of course…
Where: 2/3 3018 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co.
It’s a burger shack with a difference because, let’s face it, there are burgers, and then there are burgers. When they are good, they are one of the tastiest treats around. Not only do Betty’s Burgers excel in their juicy burgers (including kids sized one’s), Betty’s house speciality is a thing called Concretes. Which, if you aren’t aware, is frozen custard – and we IDOLISE this because in our eyes there’s nothing better than a big ol’ burger, followed by an epic dessert, we know the kids love it too!
Where: Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre, 12-14/3240 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise
Pancakes on the Rocks
There is no mistaking; pancakes are a good time — period. And most notably, when they’re being pumped out of specialty restaurant, Pancakes on the Rocks, in the heart of Surfers Paradise. This chain of venues is ALL about family dining, plus there are pizzas, salads, crepes, pancakes and the now famous beef and pork ribs. Children will adore the creative pancakes. Smiley faces included.
Where: Shop T1.31, The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise
Hogs Breath Café
The very pinnacle of family-orientated eating venues has to be the original and much-loved Hogs Breath Café. You’ll find consistently yummy and unassuming food served up in a friendly atmosphere — setting the benchmark high for other family restaurants to follow. Your little ones are completely taken care of with their own sizeable Hogster’s Kids Menu, which offers uncompromised value for money, as each dish comes with its own drink and even dessert! Sorted!
Where: Soul, Building T2/9 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Surfers Paradise Surf Club
Not far off celebrating their centenarian year, this humble surf club was recently brought into the present day with a fresh refurbishment enhancing the already prime location. Wander in on any given evening with the family, and there is a plethora of options for the kids for just $9.50 for all kids meals ages 12 and under. Taking the littlies out has never been easier.
Where: Corner of Hanlan Street and The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise
Crazy Cat Café
This cute setup is the purrfect place to drop by for an afternoon pit stop and, of course, to mingle with some feline personalities. Apart from a mob of the friendliest cats you’ve ever met, with a hefty café style menu of appetising treats to boot. Worth noting is the setup also has a separate section if you just want to witness the cats from paws length – which is a great option for the kiddies who need a slow introduction to the furry cuties.
Where: 3131 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
Imagine yourself strolling off the beach just as the sun dips and the evening shadows are beginning to creep their way across the sand — and finding yourself slap bang right in front of MOS Burger. With centre stage views of Surfers Paradise beach and being just moments away from the hustle and bustle of everything else, the venue is truly in a prime spot to grab a quick bite to eat and get the kids fed asap! Japanese infused burgers offer a family dining experience like no other. The kids won’t be disappointed.
Where: 4 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise
Fresh hot churros slathered with rich chocolate sauce are the type of treatment only well-behaved littlies deserve, so San Churro could very well be your bargaining tool next time someone refuses to do their chores! The vegan-friendly house recipe is impeccable for all the family, with various flavours and even some savoury dishes thrown in there for good measure.
Where: Circle on Cavill South Tower, 47/48, 3184 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
Longboards Laidback Eatery and Bar
After an afternoon with your head in the clouds, why not hit the elevator down a few floors (77 to be precise) and drop into Longboards at the base of the Gold Coast’s most famous building, the Q1. It’s fair to say this unique venue might just be the Coast’s most renowned surf-themed restaurant and bar, with memorabilia and photos everywhere you turn. Little ones are taken care of with a selection of kid’s meals that even coming with a drink…. plus the option to upgrade them to a classic milkshake.
Where: Q1 Resort & Spa, Corner of Hamilton Avenue & Northcliffe Terrace, Surfers Paradise
Hard Rock Café
Who doesn’t love a Hard Rock Café? All over the world, they are known for their tasty, affordable eats and live music all underlined by an upbeat, fun vibe. We’re happy to preach our love for their baby back ribs and chicken wings in a choice of Buffalo or BBQ sauce. As far as the kids are concerned, they have an entirely devoted menu: no brainer!
Where: Surfers Paradise Boulevard & Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise
Words by Alex Mitcheson.