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The real Italian taste of gelato has made its way to Coolangatta

Wolf down some of Ottimo's authentic gelato.

Ottimo Gelato (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Ottimo Gelato (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Gelato has to be one of the few items you can eat at pretty much any time of the day. Give yourself the chance and before you know it, you’ll be concocting reasons why it’s a good idea to be wolfing down mint choc chip straight after breakfast or savouring ‘fior di lattejust before dinner — and to be perfectly honest, we can’t see any problem with that at all.

If you find yourself in Coolangatta with a gelato itch that simply needs to be scratched, the newly opened Ottimo on Marine Parade is the place you have to head for.

Slightly tucked away, yet just off the beach and easily strolled to from either The Strand or Griffith Street makes this charming little gelateria a place you can come back to time and time again. And there’s little doubt that you will.

Ottimo Gelato Pastries & Coffee (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Ottimo Gelato Pastries & Coffee (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

The approach by owner David was to create a modern diner style space but with carefully considered fittings and art, as well as a respectful nod to Italian culture.

The main counter is made up of recycled wood and was put together by the same hands behind the Dust Temple, behind it you’ll notice a mural depicting the old days of Italy, whilst overhead there’s a futuristic light installation by local artist Clayton Blake.

All this makes for an eye-catching and cool space which could potentially distract you from the most important thing at hand — the gelato!

Now, you know you’re in safe hands when the owner has his diploma from the Gelato University of Carpigiani in Italy hanging on the wall. No joke. The result? One of the best gelatos you are likely to wrap your tongue around outside of Italy, topped off by the fact all of that sweet goodness is made fresh on-site, in-store, every day.

Ottimo Gelato Exterior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Ottimo Gelato Exterior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Flavours include all the usual suspects, but we insist you have to try the Aussie Dream: Macadamia, banana and caramel as well as the Oreo Menta: Oreos with mint choc chip. Shucks, why not have them together?

Italians are famous for their coffee and Ottimo serves up the real deal. Italian roasted beans from Julius Meinl as well as Organic Teas are served throughout the day, beside a selection of tasty pastries for a lighter take on breakfast. Because on some days, eggs, bacon and all of the sourdough are just a bit too much, right?

Hours: 7 days, 8am – 9.20pm
Where: Shop 18/52 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Words by Alex Mitcheson

Little Cooly

16 reasons locals love Coolangatta

Rooftop of The Pink Hotel, Coolangatta (Image: © 2017 The Undercurrent)
Rooftop of The Pink Hotel, Coolangatta (Image: © 2017 The Undercurrent)

Coolangatta is our southernmost suburb and it’s almost like stepping back in time for a taste of the good old Gold Coast, a little slower and sleepier (the way we like it) but with a sprinkle of some seriously epic eats for good measure – dreamy.

If you’re a fan of chill coastal vibes and pumping surf, where you can soak up the sunshine all-day long and hop from beach to bar as your heart desires then Cooly’s good your name written all over it. The laidback lifestyle is just one of the reasons why locals love this little beachside suburb, but we’ve found another 16 for when you want to go exploring.

Dining at Franc Jrs. (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Dining at Franc Jrs. (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

Franc Jr’s
I’ts called the famous pizzeria for a reason, Franc Jr’s have gotten a rep for dishing up the best pizzas on the Gold Coast – maybe even Queensland. Big call, I know but IYKYK. Home of their signature Sicilian square pizza, pop down for takeaway or dine in with a bottle of pinot to wash down your pizza. Our pick is the red strip with a pickled grape salad on the side (sounds weird but trust the process) and a frozen marg if you fancy a tipple.
Where: 2/102 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)
Pipi's Restaurant, Rainbow Bay (image by Brooke Darling)

Pipi’s Restaurant
Cooly brought in the big guns with Brisbane hospitality mavens, the Gambaro Group bringing Pipi’s to life and it’s something Southern Gold Coasters have been waiting for. Pipi’s is the newest seaside sensation to call Cooly home and you best believe our tastebuds can’t get enough of it. Nothing to be crabby about with a Mediterranean-inspired menu – Chargrilled Mooloolaba King Prawns and Freemantle Octopus Carpaccio just a couple of the stars of the show. If you’re feeling boujee then treat yourself to a Kaviari Caviar Bump – served with a shot of Belvedere or glass of Tattinger.

Special mention to the cafe-style sequel to this suave new seafood nosher, Awaken Cafe. Situated underneath Pipi’s Awaken thos caffeine-slinging counterpart is giving girl-next-door (but, y’know, downstairs) in the very best way.
Where: Level 1/275 Boundary Street, Coolangatta

Kefi Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)
Food at Kefi Cafe, Coolangatta (Image: © 2024 Inside Gold Coast)

Kefi
Kefi popped up on the café scene in late 2023 and their suitably summer vibe has been gracing our social channels here, there and everywhere. With coffee and food as delicious as the interiors are gorg it’s the kind of spot we could just spend all morning long at. With a Mediterranean twist on your classic brekky favourites, fuel up with a feed or pop in for the viral strawberry matcha and take a stroll on the beach because, wholesome.
Where: Corner of Griffith & McDonald Street, 2/110 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Interior of Cooly Breeze Restaurant and Bar, Coolangatta (image supplied)
Interior of Cooly Breeze Restaurant and Bar, Coolangatta (image supplied)

Cooly Breeze
There’s something about being beach side and on a rooftop that just hits different, throw some fine dining into the mix and that’s our kind of trifecta. Executive chef Marcondes Almeida Neto has combined gastronomy with the flavours of the Medierranean Coast for bold flavours you’ve never tasted before. A feast for your eyes and your tum, the dishes are almost too pretty to eat… almost.
Where: Level 13 of Beachcomber International Resort, 122 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Coolangatta Pie Shop
This iconic Gold Coast pie shop has been around for more than 50 years, so it’s no wonder they’re serving up some of the tastiest pies around. We’re partial to a baked good and fortunately, the Coolangatta Pie Shop have them aplenty – perfect for that post surf carb load.
Where: 50 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Maverick Hair & Art (image supplied)
Maverick Hair & Art (image supplied)

Maverick Hair & Art Studio
If you’ve been looking for a place to tame that mane then say less, because Maverick Hair & Art Studio’s got your back. Or hair, I guess. The award-winning salon and of course, their stylists, know their way around the locks and can we just say – they do one of the best blondes we’ve seen on the GC, and that’s no easy feat. The refined industrial feel is a pretty little paradise to sit back and relax while you’re pampered, which is exactly what you want when you’re investing hours in those tresses – t’s the crown you never take off, after all. No bad hair days here
Where: First Floor, 1/17 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Bar Evelyn
This place has been a hotspot for locals and visitors ever since it popped up on Marine Parade a couple of years ago. Cooly’s home of antipasto and pasta, you best believe we want a pizza that. Our picks? If you’re a seafood lover like us then the bug bucatini and pickled mussels with bottarga mayo, cucumber and dill are a must try. Sweeten the deal with their house-made tiramisu – do as the Italians do, we say – and one of their season sours.
Where: Shop 20/58 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Clay Cantina (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Clay Cantina (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

Clay Cantina
One thing about us is that we are always down for a Mexican moment. Now let’s taco-bout the margs, specifically the Laneway Marg – just trust us when we say their signature agave inspired bev is everything you’ve been looking for in a marg and more. Taste the flavours of all your fave Mexican fare, or if you’d rather a hands on approach to your dining experience, get the crew together for their signature cooking classes where you’ll get up close and personal with their most-loved recipes. Gracias!
Where: 2/16 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Greenmount Beach Surf Club (image supplied)
Greenmount Beach Surf Club (image supplied)

Greenmount Beach Surf Club
With unsurpassed views in a northerly direction, you can take in everything overlooking the spectacular Greenmount Beach right up to the skyline of Surfers Paradise and, on some days, beyond. If the surf’s up, watched the surfers below shred waves or wipe out with an ice cold schooner in hand.
Where: Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Cinebar Licensed Cinema, Coolangatta (image supplied)
Cinebar Licensed Cinema, Coolangatta (image supplied)

Cinebar
Forget that there was a ripper cinema in Cooly? How could you! It’s time you get acquainted with Cinebar, a restaurant-style movie experience where you can get the full dinner, drinks and show vibe without having to lift a finger – or leg for that matter. Because we’re all about efficiency, kick back and catch up on the freshest flicks while you’re wined and dined for the ultimate date night with your special someone or your gal pals.
Where: The Strand at Coolangatta

4 Pines Coolangatta (image supplied)
4 Pines Coolangatta (image supplied)

4 Pines
On the brew-tiful beach front you’ll find one of the vibiest beachside breweries we know, the ultimate for whether you’re escaping the surf or just looking for a spot to kick back with live tunes and a beer in hand. You’ll find all your 4 Pines favourites, like the classic Pacific Ale for a fresh and fruity finish or the Pale Ale for a more crisp and citrusy taste, on tap and calling your name. Well, what are you waiting for – hop to it!
Where: The Strand, 28/72 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Ottimo Gelato (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Ottimo Gelato (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Ottimo
If you want the inside scoop then here it is – if you want to be served up gelato the Italian way, Ottimo know that sticking to tradition is anything but boring. Having studied at the Gelato University of Carpigiani (yes, that’s a thing), owner Davide let’s his Italian heritage swirl through each delicious morsel whether it’s Ferrero Rocher or passionfruit flavoured. We give it an High Distinction!
Where: 18/52 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Timezone
Nothing like a bit of healthy competition to get the heart rate up, blitz your bestie with more than 200 classic arcae games to choose from. With full-sized bowling lanes, dodgem cars and laser skirmish there’s something for all ages – including the big kids at heart.
Where: Level 1, 72-80 Marine Parade, The Strand, Coolangatta

The Pink Hotel exterior (Photo by @sydneygirl63)
The Pink Hotel exterior (Photo by @sydneygirl63)

The Pink Hotel
Not a Cooly local? No problem, because one of our most aesthetic hotels just happens to call Coolangatta home! It’s impossible to miss the iconic pink glow of the Palm Springs inspired Pink Hotel, if it weren’t for the fact that you can spot the GC’s glorious skyline from it, we’d forgive you for thinking you were in the California desert. Originally a motel, the legends behind The Pink Hotel lovingly restored it to its current glory so now we gorg destination for the ultimate staycation – love that for us.
Where: 171 Griffith St, Coolangatta

Eddie's Grub House (Image: © 2017 Inside Gold Coast)
Eddie's Grub House (Image: © 2017 Inside Gold Coast)

Eddie’s Grub House
Rock ‘n roll meets fried chicken, burgers and whiskey: does it get any better than that? Get a mouthful of naughty but nice American classics in this soul food dive bar. They regularly have live music and karaoke nights if you’re feeling brave, it’s long been a Cooly institution for good grub and good vibes – for good reason!
Where: 171 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Cooly Rocks On (image supplied)
Cooly Rocks On (image supplied)

Cooly Rocks On
It’s got to be one of the most colourful creations that Cooly has brought us, each and every year we love seeing Cooly transform into the home of motors and music with a dedicated festival to celebrate the lifestyle of yesteryear. Think Hot Rods, Elvis Tribute Artists, Swing Dancing, Pin Up Pageants and so much more,
Where: Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Words by Jacqueline Bojanowski.

12 places to get lick-worthy ice cream

Dark Chocolate gelato, lemon sorbet, and Pistachio gelato, La Macelleria, Mermaid Waters (Image: © 2023 Inside Gold Coast)
Dark Chocolate gelato, lemon sorbet, and Pistachio gelato, La Macelleria, Mermaid Waters (Image: © 2023 Inside Gold Coast)

Ah, ice cream, you dreamy, heaven-sent creation, you. A treat that transcends all ages, there’s no denying it is one of – if not *the* – most iconic summer foods going. And here on the GC, our (usually) balmy climate is more suited than most to indulge in (several) scoops of creamy, churned ice cream or gelato goodness any old time we please…

Which is just as well, with all of the fabulous Gelaterias and frozen dessert purveyors gracing our city. It’s a near full-time job trying to keep tabs on them all… and, side note – new dream profession unlocked.

Let’s dig in (y’know, with one of those adorably tiny, and mildly impractical ice cream spoons) to some of the best spots to cool off with a cup, cone, or even a fully-loaded sundae –stacked, sprinkled and swirled within an inch of its life. Who’s hungry?!

Rose Gelateria (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Rose Gelateria (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Rosé Gelateria
Artisanal gelato slinger, Rosé Gelateria dons its telltale blush accents across two lush GC locations – Tedder Ave and Sanctuary Cove – which in itself, is a pretty decent clue as to the boujee, boutique style approach at these pretty-in-pink creameries. Besides a delicious assortment of crafted ice creams, they pour some fantastic coffee, including an affogato that’ll knock your socks and/or crocks off (hopefully not ‘and’, though). The signature Rose flavour, which comes sprinkled in petals, is a treat for the peepers and the palette. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a prettier gelato fix on the Coast!
Where: Shop 39a, Masthead Way, Sanctuary Cove and Shop 6/19-21 Tedder Ave, Main Beach

Gelato at Shiro Gelato & Snack, Southport (Image: © 2023 Inside Gold Coast)
Gelato at Shiro Gelato & Snack, Southport (Image: © 2023 Inside Gold Coast)

Shiro Gelato & Snack
The concept of a friendly neighbourhood noshery specialising in snacks is one we can wholeheartedly get behind, and Shiro Gelato & Snack has your cravings covered with a Japanese take on all things to nibble, slurp, and lick. If it’s the lickable variety you’ve got your heart set on, house-made gelato flavours like Black Sesame, Matcha White Chocolate, Miso Caramel, and the vegan friendly Yuzu and Lemon flavour are all a common sight here. Take it to the next level and make it a Mochi-wrapped gelato scoop –served perfectly encased in the gelatinous Japanese dessert.
Where: 50 Nerang St, Southport

Gelato Messina (image supplied)
Gelato Messina, Paradise Centre (image supplied)

Gelato Messina
We’ve been living the ‘cream’ ever since Gelato Messina returned to our shores, now slinging their famed flavours out of Surfers’ slick new Paradise Centre precinct. The Messina name is one known for taking this gelato business seriously… everything from the dulce de leche to the gelato base – and even the chocolate – is made from scratch, down to their very own dairy farm to keep them plied with the creamiest jersey milk. There’s a reason that their… *checks notes* – literally every flavour – is what ice-cream dreams are made of.
Where: Paradise Centre, 2A Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Yo-Chi, Surfers Paradise (image supplied)
Yo-Chi, Surfers Paradise (image supplied)

Yo-Chi
With a line that stretches around the corner on the ‘reg (like, every single weekend) – locals have been going wild for Yo-Chi’s signature tangy and tantalising fro-yo goodness since the cult fave first swanned onto our scene in 2022. Now the proud owners of two GC locations in Broadbeach and Surfers, punters can get their probiotic fix in the most delicious of ways with a signature, soft serve style frozen yoghurt selection available on tap. The core range of year-round flavours are complemented by seasonal cameos, the majority of which are 98-percent fat-free.. and 100-percent mouth-watering.
Where: 11/3240 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise and 89 Surf Parade, Broadbeach

The Gelato Shop, Broadbeach (image supplied)
The Gelato Shop, Broadbeach (image supplied)

The Gelato Shop
Cup, cone, or even sundaes – no matter your preferred method of consumption, Broadbeach’s The Gelato Shop has got you covered when it comes to all things chilled, sweet and creamy. The legendairy lineup of award-winning flavours includes the likes of Chunky Chocolate Cheesecake and Snickers gelato, a slew of fruit-based sorbets and decadent vegan options like Coffee Crunch or Peanut Butter. For an all-out indulgence, there’s locally made Warm Cookies & Gelato, Waffles and an array of fully stacked Sundaes.
Where: Shop 8 Aria building, Cnr Surf Parade & Albert Ave, Broadbeach

Dark Chocolate Gelato and Lemon Sorbet, La Macelleria, Mermaid Waters (Image: © 2023 Inside Gold Coast)
Dark chocolate gelato and lemon sorbet, La Macelleria, Mermaid Waters (Image: © 2023 Inside Gold Coast)

La Macelleria
A spot that’s a stickler for tradition, La Macelleria is kitted out with all the best Italian gelato-making gear. You can watch on as the crew whips up their artisanal, chilled confections daily… *drooling intensifies*. Wrap your lips around stalwart flavours like Bacio and Salted Caramel, gelato shakes and out-of-this-world affogato – for those who prefer their desserts to come with a kick. One taste, and your love for this place will be un-cone-ditional.
Where: 90 Markeri Street, Mermaid Waters

The Oxley, Nobby Beach (Image: © 2023 Inside Gold Coast)
The Oxley, Nobby Beach (Image: © 2023 Inside Gold Coast)

The Oxley 1823 Sub Station
Not only has the team at The Oxley brought us a gorg new Nobby Beach hangout spot, but they’re also keeping us cool with delicious gelato at the Sub Station. Along with juices and milkshakes that will def bring the boys to the yard, they’re dishing delicious gelato. Word to the wise, we highly recommend clocking early and ducking in for the $3 Happy Hour scoops. Surely the boss will understand.
Where: The Oxley, 2217 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

Burleigh Gelato Co, Burleigh Heads (image supplied)
Burleigh Gelato Co, Burleigh Heads (image supplied)

Burleigh Gelato
Picture the scene: you find yourself in the southern end of town (wandering off of one of those world-class beaches, no doubt), when you’re hit with a hankering – not quite hunger – but you could most definitely eat. The answer is Burleigh Gelato! Now with a second location in Palm Beach, the array of flavours is enough to earn the affection of even the frostiest-at-heart. The cookie-inspired creations, such as M&M Cookie Dough gelato or Biscoff gelato are alone enough to get dessert fans swooning. They’re also handily available on major home delivery apps and open late — perfect for those late-night sugar cravings.
Where: 9 Connor Street, Burleigh Heads and 3/10 Palm Beach Ave, Palm Beach

Scoop Gelati
Here’s the scoop… if you’re in and around Burleigh and find yourself in the mood for gelato, sorbet or ice-cream shakes – do not pass go – head directly to Scoop Gelati. The hand-crafted, small-batch recipes include refreshing revelations like ANZAC Biscuit, Banana Honeycomb and Apple Crumble, all made fresh on-site. Got an ice cream connoisseur in your life? Their frozen cakes are a treat for the eyes and the tastebuds – perfect for every occasion, or ‘just because’ works too.
Where: 23 James Street, Burleigh Heads

Ice Cream (image via unsplash)
Ice Cream (image via unsplash)

Tango Gelato
Palm Beach’s turquoise sensation, Tango Gelato, serves up sweet scoops daily out of its Pavilions Shopping Centre location. The icy creations include inventive combos like Ginger & Dark Chocolate, Strawberry Cookies & Cream and Blackberry Sorbet – so if you think you’ve ‘been there, licked that’ when it comes to ice cream flavours, we’d suggest you pay them a visit to have your mind blown immediately. They also offer delivery, so if you’re lucky enough to live nearby, you can always opt to have the the ‘mind blown’ come to you (in your jim-jams, obvi).
Where: Pavilions Shopping Centre, 1102 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

Ottimo Gelato (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Ottimo Gelato (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Ottimo
What do you have if you take yourself a devoted Italian and then send him to study a diploma from the Gelato University of Carpigiani in Italy? You have Davide, the owner of Ottimo, of course! Promising superior gelato and coffee – rest assured, whatever flavour you settle on taking from this premium iced-goods purveyor is going to be the goods — it’s all made fresh and on-site daily, after all. Stroll in after an afternoon on the beach and let him and his friendly staff scoop you happy. And their signature ‘Sicily’ flavour, made with Mandarin Custard with Pistachio and Almond Caramel, sure does just that.
Where: Shop 18/52 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Tamborine Gelato, Mt Tamborine (Image: © 2023 Inside Gold Coast)
Tamborine Gelato, Mt Tamborine (Image: © 2023 Inside Gold Coast)

Tamborine Mountain Gelato Co
Serving only the most authentic Italian gelato – the rainforest-studded surrounds of Tamborine’s mountainside community are the only reminder that you are, in fact, not strolling the streets of Sicily whilst sampling your delicious scoop of choice. At Tamborine Gelato, the iced goods are served old school – hidden behind the lids of a traditional Pozzetti gelato cabinet in the name of freshness. Seasonal, house-made flavours are rejigged every couple of days, with the chance to catch creamy creations like Mint Stracciatella, Banana Custard or Lemon Myrtle and Honey. They recently teamed up with Franquette to bring us ‘The Gelaffin’… a freshly baked cruffin loaded with small-batch gelato – aka the most glorious ice cream sandwich you’ve ever laid eyes upon. Officially our new favourite franken-food obsession for summer.
Where: 4/15-17 Main Street, Tamborine Mountain

Words by Kellie Leader.

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