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

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

15 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 an uncomplicated little town. Apart from when in summer (and outside lockdowns), you can travel between two time zones — by simply crossing the street!

Time travelling aside, Coolangatta has long been loved for its laidback, beachside vibes and of course, pumping surf when the elements align and the swell fills in. These days, there is a multitude of reasons to visit other than amazing beaches and world-class waves. These include outstanding food venues, lively bars and a few other businesses worthy of your attention. So here are some worthy reasons for a nip into Cooly town.

Have a beachside coffee at Vanilla Lily
Quite possibly Coolangatta’s prettiest cafe, Vanilla Lily is serving up solid coffees and fresh eats in a beautiful setting opposite Greenmount Beach. Chill with the local community who love this hangout and enjoy the delectable fare. Our pick is the Avocado Toast with sliced radish, dried chilli flakes, pomegranate and drizzled with raw honey and lemon on a slice of sourdough.
Where: Shop 2, 110 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Avocado Toast, Vanilla Lily (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
Avocado Toast, Vanilla Lily (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

Drink a beer at the Coolangatta Hotel
The Cooly Hotel is an absolute must-do. This well-known bar is opposite the town’s main stretch of sand and is often the place folks find themselves towards the latter part of the day. The attractions are world-class live music and great vibes aplenty. Pull up a chair and make an afternoon of it with salt-licked breezes blowing and uninterrupted beach views.
Where: Corner Warner Street & Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Enjoy some good food at Choofas Smokehouse & Seafood
Conveniently located on the town’s main street, the guys at Choofas offer some exceptional fresh and cooked seafood alongside BBQ style smoked meats, ribs, buffalo wings, burgers, steak, chicken and salads able to fill all hungry-bellies. The BBQ smoked meats are rubbed with Choofas own dark dry rub, then cooked long and slow to ensure tenderness and flavour. Choofas Horn Bar is also stocked with over 60 top brand rums, otherwise enjoy a cold beer on tap while overlooking Coolangatta beach as the sun goes down.
Where: 150 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Grab a pie from the Coolangatta Pie Shop
This iconic Gold Coast pie shop has been around for over 50 years, so it’s no wonder they’re serving up some of the tastiest pies around. You can also get some outrightly delicious caramel slices while you’re at it. Perfect for a mid-morning fuel up or after a big afternoon session of surfing. Fun fact: they’re open 24 hours on weekends.
Where: 50 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Francie's Pizzeria (Image: © 2018 Inside Gold Coast)
Francie's Pizzeria (Image: © 2018 Inside Gold Coast)

Eat pizza at Francie’s Pizzeria
Francie’s is some of the best pizza you’ll ever sample, so without hesitation, it quickly became the local’s favourite pizza bar. As purely a walk-in and no reservations style venue, swing by ahead of the crowd for delicious and inventive toppings. Our pick is the Pears Brosnan: Gorgonzola, pear, Prosciutto, and Mozzarella. YUM.
Where: 2/102 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Take a stroll through The Strand
The Strand at Coolangatta is a great respite from all the action at the beach. Filled with all you retail needs (ALDI, Woolies etc), dining (the views from the upstairs restaurants are outstanding) and entertainment (hello Timezone and Cooly’s only cinema). Spend some time strolling around the boutique shops in the air-con; you’re sure to find something you love here.
Where: 72-80 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Scoop your way through all the flavours at Ottimo
Ottimo serves up great coffee and makes all of their moreish gelatos in-house, but why are their plethora of dazzling flavours so damn good? Likely because the owner and head gelato maker Davide is Italian and has studied for a diploma from the Gelato University of Carpigiani — we didn’t make this up, it’s true!
Where: 18/52 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

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

Release your inner child at Timezone
Have the heavens opened up? Or are you simply up for a bit of fun? Timezone Coolangatta features full-sized bowling lanes, over 200 video games, dodgem cars and laser skirmish. Not just one for the kids!
Where: Level 1, 72-80 Marine Parade, The Strand, Coolangatta

Start your day with brekky at South East Espresso
A Cooly favourite for a tasty breakfast and excellent poured Paradox coffee, find South East Espresso tucked a block back from the majestic Rainbow Beach. It’s the ideal spot to satisfy those early morning hankerings, and if you fancy visiting again (which you will after a surf), they’re open for lunch too.
Where: 5 Dutton Street, Coolangatta

Indulge in an Italian feast at Little Cooly
Little Cooly is serving up some mind-blowing handmade pasta alongside a 100-strong Italian wine list that reads like a love letter to Italy itself. If it’s date night, look no further — and if you’re desperate for great pasta, well they have you covered on all bases. In an ode to the local area, dishes have been named after Gold Coast icons and suburbs and shine a light on local produce, for instance The Snapper Rocks features Tweed River prawns, mango, cashews and avocado or The Greenmount features Bangalow bacon, spicy chorizo, a fried egg and mozzarella.
Where: Level 1, Shop 120/72-80 Marine Parade, The Strand, Coolangatta

Little Cooly signage (image supplied)
Little Cooly signage (image supplied)

Get your art on at Maverick Hair & Art Studio
Pop into this tucked away gallery for a fabulous hair spruce up or to enjoy some fresh local art including that of Cooly local Byron Coathup. You’re sure to find sweet, locally designed souvenirs to take home. Your favourite local brand, The Undercurrent is stocked here too. Grab a Cooly tee to remember your time.
Where: First Floor, 1/17 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Take in the view at 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 is good, you can also be entertained by surfers as they jostle with each other and generally tear waves apart — the level here is high. Our favourite is an icy schooner in hand and an amber sunset: perfection.
Where: Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Eat a burger at 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 and are one of the best spots to catch up with mates before a night on the town.
Where: 171 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

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

Shop local at Cooly’s Beachside Markets
On every second and fourth Sunday of the month, Queen Elizabeth Park comes alive with plenty of local traders selling anything from raw produce to clothing and accessories. The perfect place to take a stroll with a coffee in hand and the sun on your face — be prepared to spend some money.
Where: Queen Elizabeth Park, Coolangatta

Have a sunset cocktail at Moxy’s Rooftop Bar
This Griffith Street rooftop bar is always packed with sunset and weekend revellers sipping on cocktails living their best lives, and this should include you. Regular DJs and insta-worthy drinks mean this venue is a top place to see in the weekend or alternatively help you get over a hump day from hell. Either way, head upstairs and let the good times roll.
Where: 2/152-154 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Moxy's Rooftop Bar (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)
Moxy's Rooftop Bar (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)

8 places to get lick-worthy Ice Cream

Lemon Lovers Gelato (image supplied)
Lemon Lovers Gelato (image supplied)

Yes, we know it’s only just turned spring, but we Gold Coasters get excited about anything leading into summer and ice cream always makes things better — so, here we are!

If you’re the kind of person to slowly lick your way through a waffle cone or gobble down a three-scoop tub in under a minute, we’re not here to judge. However, we’ve taken the liberty of finding the 8 best Gold Coast ice cream shops and gelaterias so you can devour their creamy goodness whatever way you desire! Happy licking, folks.

Lemon Lovers Gelato
Some things simply go together well — and gelato with amazing views is right up there. Lemon Lovers is tucked away in Tamborine Mountain with incredible nearby vistas for you to sit and spoil — not one, but — a multitude of senses at the same time! They also do occasional collaborations with nearby beer producers Fortitude Brewing for extraordinary flavour combos: Ginger Beer Gelato, anyone? Enjoy 10% off Gelato & Sorbet here!
Where: 3 Eagle Heights Road, Tamborine Mountain

Lik Lik Lik Gelato
Happiness comes in a cone in Nobby’s Beach, Lik Lik Lik gelato shop will tickle your tastebuds with lots of tasty treats. Go with the Salted Caramel or the White Chocolate and Raspberry in a white chocolate dipped cone with sprinkles. Not only gelato though, the sorbets are way too good and exactly what you need on a warm day. The Watermelon and Mint is actual Summer in sorbet form, and there’s a Lemon flavour that is a citrus sensation.
Where: Shop 2/2221 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby’s 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! Rest assured, whatever flavour you opt on taking from this Kirra beachside venue 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.
Where: Shop 18/52 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Golden Gelato
This hidden in plain sight gelateria provides a creamy treat every day of the week from early right through to late. Their gelato comes from Maleny and is often touted as some of the best in Queensland; after winning a bunch of awards across the Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show in recent times. You’ll also discover yoghurt fruit pots and sorbets, which are great for cooling you down and are a little kinder on the hips!
Where: 429 Golden Four Drive, Tugun

Rosé Gelateria
Finish a luxurious lunch off at Sanctuary Cove by dropping by this ever-so-cute gelateria, and you’ll be smitten straight off the bat. Their signature scooped cone-shaped into a rose is something to marvel at — but not for too long! Besides a delicious assortment of ice cream, they pour some fantastic coffee and dish up some knockout affogatos. The unsurpassed afternoon hangout on the northern end of the coast.
Where: Shop 39a, Masthead Way, Sanctuary Cove

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

Burleigh Gelato
Picture the scene: it’s late afternoon, and the shadows are growing tall as you head into Burleigh CBD after a majestic day on the beach. Not quite hungry — but you could most definitely eat. The answer is Burleigh Gelato! The array of flavours here is enough to raise the heart rate of even the hardiest gelato fan. Be it Snickers gelato or novelty Red Skin gelato, the selection here will satisfy every taste. 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

Heven-Yah Gelato
Owned by two lovely local sisters, Heven-Yah has been open since 2017 but quickly gained a cult following amongst Mermaid locals. The girls create their gelato in-house using only the freshest and highest quality ingredients to produce some incredible flavours. Raspberry Jam & Crema with Sour Candied Lemon? Get down there.
Where: Shop 2/2387 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach (next to Alfred’s) 

Heven-Yah Gelato, Mermaid Beach (Image: © 2017 Inside Gold Coast)
Heven-Yah Gelato, Mermaid Beach (Image: © 2017 Inside Gold Coast)

Ungermann Brothers
When the runner-up of Australia’s MasterChef — hailed as the king of ice cream — decides to open a gelato shop in Main Beach, then you know it’s going to be good. Located in the retail oasis of Marina Mirage means you can mix a shopping spree with ice cream at ease. Flavours are certainly adventurous with such gelatos as Blue Cheese with fig and Salted caramel with crispy bacon. Let your curiosity get the better of you: be sure to check them out!
Where: Shop 11, Marina Mirage, Seaworld Drive, Main Beach

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Ungermann Brothers Marina Mirage Shopfront (image supplied)
Ungermann Brothers Marina Mirage Shopfront (image supplied)
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