An authentic Italian eatery opens in Burleigh Heads.
An authentic Italian eatery opens in Burleigh Heads.
It’s no secret that there can never be enough Italian food in ones’ life. Pizza, pasta, Aperol Spritz’, give us every thing on every day. It’s lucky then, that Osteria del Mare opened in Burleigh just a few short days ago bringing authentic Italian food to your grateful mouth.
And what food it is. Owner and Chef Andrea Riva was living the good life alternating between working in Italy and Australia for years before settling down in Bondi and opening Osteria Riva in 2009. After visiting Burleigh recently, he and his wife decided on a sea change and let’s all thank the Italian food Gods for that.
Osteria del Mare, meaning hospitality by the sea, can be found in the space where Euro Grill once was and its’ bright, laidback vibe will transport you straight to a European summer of sunshine and cocktails by the sea (not literally unfortunately).
A vibrant watercolour mural adorns one wall while the other is set with high wooden tables and pendant lights reminiscent of fishbowls and thus, the scene is set.
Originally from the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, where apparently all the best Italian food originates, Andrea says his is an authentic, old school style of cooking and we are 100% okay with that. Most of the produce is imported from Italy and all of it is absolutely delicious.
Pizzas take up the majority of the menu and they’re all handmade, naturally risen for 48 hours and cooked on stone. Guys, they’re so good.
The Piggy (haha) is tomato, mozzarella, sausage, ham and bacon and so very tasty. The Patate e Salsiccia is made with mozzarella. desiree potatoes, Italian sausage and rosemary and is, quite frankly, one of the best pizzas we’ve ever devoured.
Pasta-wise, the Spaghetti ai Gamberi is made with the freshest local prawns, garlic and chilli in a light tomato sauce and oh my, taste sensation.
The Lasagne del Mare is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted, made with activated charcoal and all of the seafood inside.
Oh and entrees, probably should have started with those. Anyway, the Fritto misto pesce is a dish typically eaten during the Italian summer after a day on the beach and paired with an aperitif. How good is Italy. It’s lightly fried calamari, prawns and zucchini with lime mayo in a cone and don’t share it, it’s way too good for that.
The dinner menu is filled with meat, fish and vegetable dishes and you might never want to leave to be honest.
Dining at Osteria del Mare is exactly what you’d expect from an eatery in the heart of Italy, except all you need to do is make your way to Burleigh and let the good times roll.
LOCATION: 2/1718 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: From 7am until 10pm Tuesday to Sunday
Words and photos by Kirra Smith.
Oh Burleigh you little beauty, what’s not to love right? Since the dawn of time (or the dawn of the GC at least) Burleigh has been one of the most-loved suburbs amongst a slew of strong contenders.
Sure, the beach is beautiful (that Hill is iconic for a reason) and James Street boasts all the best eats and acai bowls galore but it’s more than that, Burleigh has a soul of its own born of cruisy, barefoot, salty seabreeze vibes you simply won’t find anywhere else.
Gushing aside, we’ve found the best of Burleigh so you don’t have to.
We say when in Burleigh do as the locals do, so here’s our guide to the best eats, bars, shopping spots and places to visit so you can see why the locals love it and you should too (or else).
The fine dining venue has become part of the fabric of Burleigh’s bustling heart, but it’s also become one of the Gold Coast’s premier dining destinations. Tucked away on West Street, the five-star, seasonal produce-led restaurant is an absolute must-visit and your dining experience there is one you won’t long forget. The produce is sustainable and the wine list is filled with some of the most stunning natural wines in the world. The service is impeccable too, but in a fun, not-too-formal way. We LOVE.
Where: 2A/8 West Street, Burleigh Heads
Literally opening out onto the sand at Burleigh beach, Rick Shores is loved (not only locally) for its stunning sunset views and those tiny little taste sensations otherwise known as Bug Rolls. If you’ve never tasted one, you’ve been wasting your life, make a booking RIGHT NOW and order them all. Wash them down with one of Rick’s signature cocktails and you’re a bonafide Burleigh-ite.
Where: Shop 3, Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads
Yum, contemporary Cantonese food, we love you. Mr Hizola’s is dishing up the goods in the form of tasty share-style dishes and we are here for it. Particularly the sizzling steak dish that is all kinds of delicious and an array of epic cocktails to match.
Where: 1730 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
If you’re looking for fancy food but with the relaxed vibe that’s quintessentially Burleigh, look no further. The stunning space offers incredible Vietnamese dishes inspired by Head Chef Jake’s trip through Vietnam and a desire to eat some of the very best street food in the world every single day. Same. It’s a refined style of dining paired with mouthwatering cocktails and a sleek, paired back vibe. Jimmy Wahs is one of the Gold Coast’s most impressive eateries and we are big fans.
Where: 1724 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Town Hotel
If you haven’t seen this new reno, then where have you been? One of the best glow ups on the GC recently (in our humble opinion), Burleigh Town Hotel has nailed the pub-style menu and good vibes. The perfect place to set up for the arvo with your besties and the kids, there’s loads of space for the little ones to roam and plenty to keep them entertained while you kick back with a beverage in hand. Say less.
Where: Tsipura Drive, Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Gelato Co
We’re softies for the sweet deliciousness that is gelato. Burleigh Gelato Co know how to deliver on flavours worth melting for, they’ve got all the classic Italian flavours you know and love along with their own signature specials. Guaranteed you’ll love them un-cone-ditionally.
Where: 9 Connor Street, Burleigh Heads
The guys behind Seadog know coffee. Starting as a humble little hole in the wall – literally – Seadog has become the go-to for a quick bite and a brew. And don’t worry, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you – you really are seeing double because you’ll find the crew on the bustling James Street or down the other end at the old faithful Burleigh Bowlo, perfect spot for a piccolo and park hangs.
Where: 8/50 James Street, Burleigh Heads and 1, Bowls Club, Connor Street, Burleigh Heads
Tarte Bakery & Cafe
There’s good reason this gem is heaving at all hours, the home of the iconic muffin top (IYKYK) and some of the best coffee in town, it’s not just locals who love it – you’ll find Gold Coasters and beyond flocking here for a taste of the goods. Come for a coffee and to get around their huge menu with something for everyone – literally, it’s impossible to not love something. Plus, we’re pretty sure it’s mandatory to leave with a pastry in tow – go on, you deserve it.
Where: 1748 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads
Social by name, social by nature – Social Brew is one of Burleigh’s best coffee hangouts whether you’re looking to catch up with the crew or a spot to work for the day, there’s a reason these guys have stood the test of time. A staple spot to visit in Burleigh for their signature iced coffee, come for the caffeine and stay for the bites.
Where: 34-36 James Street, Burleigh Heads
The baked goods that come out of this friendly little bakery are honestly something else. Owners Geoff and Lisa are passionate about baking and opened Burleigh Baker to provide us with the best tasting and most nutritious Artisan Sourdough and boy do they deliver. They use only the finest ingredients and the traditional process of fermentation. Do not buy bread anywhere else. You’re welcome.
Where: 13/50 James Street, Burleigh Heads
Something To Drink
Paloma Wine Bar
From the brains that brought us Labart is the one and only Paloma. This small but mighty wine bar has one of the largest selections of boutique wines (we mean, it is in the name) with some seriously epic eats to accompany. We can’t go past the steak frites – seriously, don’t sleep on this – and if you don’t know where to start on what to sip the expert team always nail the reccos. Pop a Pet Nat on your must-try for something a little bubbly or if you’re more of a red drinker, their signature chilled reds are the ultimate for a hot summer’s day.
Where: 12 James Street, Burleigh Heads
It’s the good time, slightly fancy Australiana bar of your dreams and it is perfectly at home in Burleigh Heads. Rosella’s very quickly became a firm local favourite when it opened last year and with both a drinks and food menu made up entirely of Australian produce, we are in love. There are cocktails made with Nutri Grain, some of the tastiest toasties around and all the very best Aussie beers. It’s refined, beautifully decked out and created by a couple of absolute legends. Love.
Where: 6/1734 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Justin Lane Rooftop
Don your finest frock and rally up your girlfriends for a Sunday session and a spot of people watching on the roof at Justin Lane. With cocktails in hand and a balmy breeze blowing in through the windows, you need never go anywhere else again. After a few hours, pop downstairs for one of Justin’s famous pizzas and that’s your Sunday sorted.
Where: 1708 – 1710 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
A somewhat hidden little speakeasy in the heart of Burleigh Heads, Lockwood Bar specialise in all of the very best varieties of whiskey along with many a local tipple transformed into tasty cocktails. It’s a laidback, jazz bar kind of vibe, low lit, often with live music and once you’re inside, you likely won’t want to leave. We dig it.
Where: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Brewing Co.
If there’s one thing Burleigh deserves (the big legend), it’s a brewery and Burleigh Brewing Co. certainly delivers. After opening in 2006, Burleigh Brewing Co. has produced nine delicious drops with delightful names such as ‘My Wife’s Bitter’ and ‘FIGJAM’ – perfectly Burleigh. Get a sixer for Netflix and chill or head into the brewery from Wednesday to Sunday afternoons to get amongst it. There’s live tunes too, what a combination.
Where: 2 Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads
Something To Do
Well hasn’t this simple little piece of Mother Nature become a local legend? No matter the day of the week (but particularly Sunday arvos) “the hill” as it’s affectionately known is packed with picnic rugs, ball games and groups of revelers basking in the sunshine. Looking out over the ocean and with the city in the distance, it’s the perfect spot for a late afternoon lemonade or early morning coffee date with the crew. If you’re feeling energetic, take a stroll around the hill to Talle Creek for some Insta-worthy scenery or if you’re into hill and chill then order some takeaway and perch up on a picnic blanket to soak up the scenery.
Where: The south end of The Esplanade, Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Bowls Club
A relaxing little beachside club loved by young and old alike, Burleigh Bowls has been around since 1937 and is certainly a prime piece of real estate these days. Barefoot Bowls roll on from 12 to 5pm every Sunday and it’s a measly $5 per person including coaching and bowls (AKA ball whipper snappers). Live music can be heard on Sunday arvos from 2 to 6pm. Get down and support your local while sipping on a schooner.
Where: Connor Street, Burleigh Heads
David Fleay Wildlife Park
Nestled in the heart of Burleigh Heads, David Fleay’s is a wildlife park with a difference. Stroll through the tranquil surroundings to experience some of Queensland’s most iconic natural habitats and meet the resident wildlife — all in just one day. Explore the park solo or join the dedicated Park Rangers at the daily wildlife shows.
Where: Corner of West Burleigh Road and Loman Lane in West Burleigh
Shop With Us
If you’re in need of some retail therapy then James Street is the only place you need to go. The range of shopping has everything you need whether you’re looking for some new additions to your home from Maison & Maison or to update your wardrobe at Emte you’re guaranteed to leave suitably more stylish. If you’re looking for the perfect piece of art to dress your walls at work or home, Art Yarramunua is our pick for their incredible collection of indigenous art, expertly curated to celebrate the rich cultural history of Australia’s indigenous communities.
Where: James Street, Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Farmers Markets
Everyone’s favourite Saturday morning market adventure. Get up early, grab your basket and set out in search of fruit, veggies and of course, your first coffee of the weekend. These days the farmers market also boast locally made clothing and homewares, flowers, meat and seafood and delicious breaky and lunch options. There’s also live music and plenty of laughter floating around. Happy days.
Where: Burleigh Heads State School, Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
The Village Markets
Our beloved boutique fashion and lifestyle market, The Village Markets, is home to hundreds of local makers and has helped to launch the international careers of countless creatives. Head down for an early morning coffee and breakfast while wandering through the stalls until it’s time for lunch. Oh, and there’s always live music if you need a breather. It’s the best way to spend a sunny Sunday
Where: Burleigh Heads State School, Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Over the last year or so we have reported on many a game-changing venue swinging open their doors to offer us, the good people of the Gold Coast, tasty eats and even tastier tipples. Until now though, there has been not one single Cantonese cuisine-themed restaurant to report on but HAPPY DAYS folks, the time has come.
Opening on Thursday (June 28th), Mr Hizola’s is the new kid on the Burleigh block, brought to you by the (surely very tired) team behind Hideaway Kitchen, Bine Craft Beer Bar, Soho Place and Nightjar (love you) and it’s a good one.
A low-lit, moody vibe is what you’ll find upon entering the 100-seat space and, as you’d expect from Scott Imlach, Simone Turnbridge, Michael Craighead and the crew, there are plenty of eye-catching features. The ceiling is covered in greenery with colourful paper lanterns dotted throughout, artwork depicting traditional scenes adorn one wall and a dark, somewhat magical laneway is your new favourite spot for Insta-snaps.
Most excitingly of course, is the food. Unlike anything else on the Gold Coast, the menu is straight from the creative mind of Mr Jon Hizola, formerly of Hideaway Kitchen and Etsu Izakaya fame (plus, you know Nobu in Perth) and yes, the man behind the venues’ name.
So the deal is share-style dishes, and good luck because there are way too many to taste. Luckily there’s a banquet for $50 per person so you don’t have to choose if you don’t wanna.
Cantonese food traditionally comes from China’s Guangdong Province (south west) and it would seem the food is quite a treat.
Mr Hizola’s menu is organised into sections including Dim Sum, From the Sea, From the Coop, Noodles and Rice etc. making for ease of ordering.
From the Colds section go the Kingfish Boucit in pickled chilli and aged black vinegar and the Pig’s Ear and Jellyfish salad with celery, cucumber and coriander. We know, but trust us.
Sizzling typhoon shelter Mooloolaba prawns is a dish drawing inspiration from the Mongolian-influenced areas of northern China and it’s laden with chilli and nuts and the prawns are as big as your face. Yes please.
The Chicken Gai Jik Pang (chicken drumstick) with sweet sour sauce has been described by someone who apparently knows a thing or two on the topic as “the moistest wing you’ll ever pop in your gob”. So there’s that.
We could literally list every single thing on the menu but instead, recommend you book yourself a table under the sky garden and eat until your pants pop.
For lunch, it’s a yum cha-style situation with plenty of delicious favourites to fill your belly.
The wine list has been carefully curated with choices made to complement the dishes and of course, a creative cocktail features the usual suspects plus some Chinese-inspired treats you’re gonna love.
Oh, one more thing. The menu has been designed to ignite all five of your senses so expect fire, theatrics and plenty of good times.
Cheers Mr Hizola, see ya Thursday (and every day after that).
LOCATION: 1730 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: Open 12pm to 4pm and 5pm until late, seven days
Words and photos by Kirra Smith.
I think we can all agree Japanese food is a gift from the Gods. Particularly when it’s consumed in a floating, recycled railway sleeper booth and with the sweet smell of charcoal wafting through the air.
There probably aren’t enough words to describe the sensory experience that is Burleigh’s new back alley Japanese Yakitori Bar, but in the name of delivering the news, we’ll give it a crack.
Iku Yakitori Bar is the latest baby of local restaurant dream team Mitch and Nerissa McCluskey (of Etsu Izakaya and Commune fame) who will soon be welcoming an actual baby into the world (because sleep is overrated yo).
The vibe is dark and moody with the aforementioned booths floating a foot off the floor opposite the Binchotan (grill) and decked out with leather cushions and cosy, up-close-and-personal feels. At the alley end of the venue, a low-lit bar and velvet corner lounge await and you may dine in any area that tickles your fancy. With an authentic, somewhat massaging cobblestone floor, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d just stepped off the streets of Tokyo. Alas, work tomorrow.
In case you’ve never heard of a yakitori bar, the gist is this – yakitori quite literally translates to grilled chicken and no part of the chook will escape the Binchotan uncooked. That’s right foodies, your boundaries are about to be tested and you should not be sad about it. Thighs, liver, skin, cartilage and hearts will all be skewered for your tasting pleasure.
Tenderloin, seafood and veggies will also be stuck on sticks and there are other delightful things such as edamame dip and raw fish to consume too.
Bar manager extraordinaire Adam Bastow was brought down from Etsu to work his magic in the Japanese whiskey-focused space. He and the team will also be creating a new, fresh produce focused cocktail menu each week to keep you on your toes. Ambitious lot aren’t they.
Charcoal for the Binchotan is imported from Japan and everything from the plates to the leather menus and napkins have been handmade by the team (read: Nerissa). It’s tiring just reading that.
So many words, so many reasons to go. Thanks for reading.
LOCATION: 1730 Gold Coast Hwy (front entrance) or head in through the back on Justin Lane (next to Lockwood Bar).
HOURS: 5pm until late daily.
Words and photos by Kirra Smith.