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9 reasons locals love Surfers Paradise

The original icon of the Gold Coast.

Surfers Paradise Beach - Photo by Will O (Image from Unsplash)
Surfers Paradise Beach - Photo by Will O (Image from Unsplash)

Ah, Surfers Paradise. The jewel in the crown that is our fair city. The place visitors first picture in their minds and have done for the last several decades. While it is the most tourist-dense part of our Coast, what is it local’s love about it? Here we fill you in on the six best reasons locals love Surfers Paradise.

Belt out karaoke at Tune Up
The definition of karaoke, Tune Up is THE place to test out your vocal cords after you’ve had a few cocktails at bar instution The Avenue or a few schooners of ale from House of Brews. It’s an intimate environment that feels much like a house party where you can choose to mingle with everyone in the main bar or take up residence in your own little private room and sing your heart out. Count us in!
Where: Level 1, 23 Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise (above Gold Coast Real Estate)

Have a Guinness at the D’Arcy Arms
Wet your whistle with a pint of Guinness at D’Arcy Arms where the historic first Guinness keg was brewed in Queensland (and arguably Australia), tapped onsite in 1988. This locals’ Irish pub fave offers a welcome change of pace if you want to take things slow, keep warm by the fireplace or if last night happened to get the better of you. There’s always great home-style food to be had, live music and a few friendly faces with some good craic.
Where: 2923 Gold Coast Highway, Surfers Paradise

Surfers Pavilion (image supplied)
Surfers Pavilion (image supplied)

Have a luxe afternoon at Surfers Pavilion
Aptly positioned with ceaseless waterfront views and boasting a substantial mooring site of 400sq metres, means if locals would like to arrive GC-style by boat or jet ski — so be it! Setting and glam aside though, the new arrival is perfect for enjoying our fantastic year-round weather with an outside frosé bar, and for those with a discerning palette, a dedicated oyster and Champagne station keeps the crowd more than occupied.
Where: 30-34 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise 

Hit 9 pins at Strike Bowling
Prepare to lose a few hours when you step into this space which is a literal smorgasbord of entertaining activities and feast for the senses. The highlight is the 10-lane glow in the dark bowling alley where competitive urges can be settled with groups big and small. But, it doesn’t stop there either. If you fancy further fun, then a 15-person karaoke room, cocktail bar, two escape rooms, and pool tables should do it.
Where: Circle on Cavill, Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Sip cocktails on The Island Rooftop Bar
Rooftop bars are one of the greatest things that ever happened to the Gold Coast. Period. Now, take this sentiment and couple it with this — the Gold Coast’s largest open-air rooftop bar — and voila, you have one of the best places to drink delectable cocktails, watch live music, and live your best life at the stream of ever-changing events (drag queen brunch anyone?). You are promised great times and vibes when you head to The Island.
Where: 3128 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

The Island Rooftop (image supplied)
The Island Rooftop (image supplied)

Grab breaky at Cuppa on 41
If you find yourself in Surfers Paradise before the afternoon, then you need to head to Cuppa on 41 to energise yourself for the day — as well as for all the other inclusions on this list! The café is an excellent concept that allows local underprivileged youth to become experienced in hospitality, and coincidentally isn’t so hard on your pocket either! Our pick is the Bauernomelett, a German-style omelette straight out of heaven. You’ll leave with a satisfied belly and knowing you have contributed to a change in a Gold Coasters future.
Where: 41 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Indulge at Alfrescos Italian Restaurant
Creating picture-perfect pasta and pizza for the last 25 years, you might say what Alfrescos doesn’t know about Italian food and ambience isn’t worth knowing — and you’d be right! This charming family-owned and run restaurant has stood the test of time with locals and continually returning for great Italian classics and drinks to match. If you haven’t been in a little while, be sure to change that, the venue underwent a slight facelift late last year and is looking as enchanting as ever.
Where: 3/3018 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Retro's Surfers Paradise (image supplied)
Retro's Surfers Paradise (image supplied)

Boogie on down at Retro’s
When it comes to having a boogie along to cheeky tunes of yesteryear, you no longer have to hide in your bathroom in your towel to do so. All the locals know that Retro’s is the ultimate answer to having a fun night out and dancing the night away to the music you grew up with. With themed nights and drinks specials coming at you from all angles, you are destined to have a good time no matter what day of the week it is at this hotbed of a disco.
Where: 3 — 15 Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Take in the view at Surfers Paradise Surf Life Saving Club
After a swish refurbishment, this 100-year-old surf club is the faultless place to go for an ice-cold beer for a spot of people watching, seamless views across the Pacific Ocean and to chat to a local. The family-friendly atmosphere is full of locals after their early morning beach walk tucking into a big brekky (but they’re also open for lunch and dinner too!) — a great option straight off the sand and when you feel the need to escape the crowds with some uber-friendly Queensland hospitality.
where: Corner of Hanlan Street & The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Surfers Paradise Life Saving Club (image supplied)
Surfers Paradise Life Saving Club (image supplied)

14 must-dine Surfers Paradise restaurants

Citrique Seafood offerings, JW Marriott Gold Coast (image supplied)
Citrique Seafood offerings, JW Marriott Gold Coast (image supplied)

Surfers Paradise offers a lot more than just beaches, bikini-clad tourists and nightclubs. The eats scene has really taken off in recent years with locals rediscovering this hub for quality nosheries. It’s a melting pot for different cuisines and eats styles, so whether you’re after a casual, relaxed meal or something fancy-pants boasting award-winning chefs and hats, Surfers has you covered.

Here are 14 must-dine spots in our city’s most famous location, so you have somewhere new to try every day/night for exactly two weeks. And…go!

Citrique
Famed for its breakfast buffet, weekend long lunch, award-winning seafood market experience buffet, and exciting Modern Australian a la carte dishes, Citrique and Executive Chef Paul Smart serves up the ultimate fine dining experience. #HereForIt! Calling the beautiful JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa home, you would expect nothing less from this five-star favourite!
Our pick: Anything seafood!
Where: JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa, 158 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise

BOBs Beer (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
BOBs Beer (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

BOBs Beer
BOBs Beer is Surfers Paradise’s first and only brewery and is the perfect stop for a relaxing amber ale and meal post-surf with your posse. The kitchen is under the expert guidance of Head Chef Nathan Dennard, and trust us when we say you are in good hands! Oh and fun fact: BOBs Beer is an acronym for Best of Beers. Cue the “ah-haaaa’s”.
Our pick: Bannockburn chicken
Where: 10/2 Elkhorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise

The Langham
The brand new super-luxe GC hotel ‘it girl’ The Langham serves up the finest cuisine from the East and the West. Get your posh on and enjoy The Langham Afternoon Tea at Palm Court, and the finest meat, fish and poultry at Akoya. We’re counting down till the opening of T’Ang Court, the hotel group’s signature Michelin-starred destination for fine Cantonese Dining. You had us at Langham.
Our pick: The Langham Afternoon Tea at Palm Court
Where: 38 Old Burleigh Road, Surfers Paradise

Afternoon Tea at The Langham, Gold Coast (image supplied)
Afternoon Tea at The Langham, Gold Coast (image supplied)

Surfers Paradise Surf Life Saving Club
Nothing says Gold Coast like a meal by the beach at a surf club – and this one is a cracker. Grab a bite at the restaurant offering a modern, alfresco dining experience with a newly refurbished bar and dining area with casual coastal vibes. Or, swing into the Bistro which is always a hit with hangry ankle biters. Winner winner surf club dinner!
Our pick: $12 Lunch Specials
Where: Corner of Hanlan Street & The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise

Palette
With The Australian Good Food Guide awarding Palette 14 points and two chef’s hats, need we say more?! Situated in the stunning HOTA Gallery, Executive Chef Dayan Hartill-Law draws inspo from the artworks and exhibitions to show just how naturally art and food blend. There’s also a five-star menu for the plant-based folk, which is good enough to turn even the staunchest meat lover.
Our pick: Lady Musgrave Island Swordfish
Where: HOTA, Home of the Arts, 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise

Palette interior at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)
Palette interior at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

Pancakes on the Rocks
Who could eat pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the answer is everyone. It’s not all about pancakes though, with sweet and savoury crepes, salads, pizzas and their famous beef and pork ribs. They also do a drool-worthy ice-cream soda so warning, the kids will be buzzing on sugar for at least 48 hours but #WorthIt. Tried and tested – on repeat….
Our pick: Lemon Meringue Pancakes
Where: 4 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise

San Churro
If the answer isn’t churros then what is the question? With sister branches at Harbour Town and Tweed Village, this Spanish crowd-pleaser is famous for its to-die-for churros (obvs), croffles, gelato, desserts, hot chocolate, fairtrade coffee and shakes. For the non-sweet-tooths there are also scrumptious savoury eats, so everyone can #DiscoverDelicious. Served with only the best chocolate, you might intend to share…but you won’t.
Our pick: Cookie Butter Banana Churros Snack Pack
Where: Circle on Cavill South Tower, 3184 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Alfresco Italian Restaurant (Image supplied)
Alfresco Italian Restaurant (Image supplied)

Alfresco Italian Restaurant
Promising a full belly and a soul filled with love and happiness, say ciao to the much-loved Alfresco. Wowing diners for 30 years, this is where the Gold Coast meets the Amalfi Coast! With recycled timbers, textured walls and epic mood lighting, this place looks as good as it tastes. Everything on the menu is Bellissima, which also applies to the cocktail menu…especially the Long Island Limoncello!
Our pick: Schnitzel & Spaghetti Bolognese
Where: Wyndham Hotel, 3018 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Shiraz Persian Restaurant & Bar
Team Shiraz have given their newest location a major face-lift, with a completely new white and teal aesthetic fitted with over 200 seats, including interior and alfresco dining areas. Enjoy authentic Persian-style entrees, kebabs, lamb shanks, marinated lamb cutlets, chicken skewers, baklava, tiramisu and much more, with vegetarian options also available. Cue the drool.
Our pick: Shishlik
Where: Mantra Wings, 2893 Gold Coast Highway, Surfers Paradise

Shiraz Persian Restaurant & Bar exterior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Shiraz Persian Restaurant & Bar exterior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Surfers Paradise Beer Garden
It’s the heart and soul of Surfers and it just keeps on getting better. Notorious for its fresh menu and beer towers, it continues to cook up flavour-filled goodness with local seafood, meaty pizzas, pub classics and more.  Add the nostalgia factor with the infamous ‘adults playground’ offering Jenga, Connect Four, Foot-Pool, Shufl and more, and it’s the obvious choice to work on your ‘six-pack’.
Our pick: Chicken Parmi
Where: Paradise Centre, Corner Cavill Avenue and Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise

The Island Gold Coast
Goldie’s at The Island has gained quite the following with its impressive burgers, seafood, steaks, wood oven pizzas, fresh locally sourced produce, and off-the-chart good cocktails. And, why not pop up to The Island Rooftop Bar for views of the stunning Gold Coast skyline, plus a range of delicious cocktails, share platters and more wood-fired pizzas. The perfect spot to spend the day. Yes please!
Our pick: Italian Sausage Wood Oven Pizza
Where: 3128 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

The Island Rooftop (image supplied)
The Island Rooftop (image supplied)

La Diosa Mexicana
A modern Mexican restaurant with exquisite cocktails and lots (and lots) of tequila. Can we get a hell yeah?! With arches, cacti and all things cool for days, not to mention a menu jam-packed with Mexicana goodness, expect all the usual suspects like tostadas, enchiladas, quesadillas, nachos and burritos – it’s pure mexcellence. Oh and Taco Tuesdays here are a vibe!
Our pick: Burrito Super Bowl
Where: Circle on Cavill, 3184 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Seascape Restaurant + Bar
Perched above the hustle of the Surfers Paradise Esplanade, Seascape offers a multi-level venue with a chic Bistro and Bar and a fine dining restaurant, both with amazing ocean views. For those serious about their seafood (us), this is THE place for o-fish-ally the best eats from our pristine waters. If you have something to celebrate in the warmer months, book The Rooftop…you can thank us later.
Our pick: Lobster and Blue Spanner Carb Lasagne
Where: Level 1 & 2, Soul Boardwalk, The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise

Seascape Restaurant & Bar (image supplied)
Seascape Restaurant & Bar (image supplied)

Yamagen Japanese Izakaya
Tucked away in the QT, this is new generation Japanese for the discerning diner. Executive Chef Adam Lane brings a tantalising Omakase experience, offset by a whisky list filled with the most refined Japanese distillery drops, and an incredible sake selection. The glossy enamel black finishes frame the venue’s eye-catching details which scream “insta me”.
Our pick: Sushi and Sashimi Platter
Where: QT Gold Coast, 7 Staghorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Words by Bianca Trathen.

Yamagen Japanese Izakaya (image supplied)
Yamagen Japanese Izakaya (image supplied)

11 family-friendly restaurants in Surfers Paradise

Little Girl eating pizza (stock image)

Hoisting the kidlets into the back of the car to grab a feed can be a varied experience. And by varied, we mean #traumatic. But not at these Surfers Paradise restaurants which are tried and tested by many-a-small person, with a double thumbs-up both from kids and therefore, parentals.

Here’s our rundown on the glitter strip places to take the rug rats for a tanty/whinge-free meal.

Misono
If there’s one thing that’ll delight the kids (and the big kids), it’s teppanyaki! Situated in JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa, Misono’s teppan experience brings an inescapable energy and thrill from the highly skilled teppan chef’s intricate knife work and interactive theatrics. Make sure you have your smart phones at the ready to capture every catch….or not (spillage is part of the fun). There’s also a live sushi bar to discover and psst mum and dad – there’s even a sneaky whisky bar for ‘ron!
Where: JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa, 158 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise

 

Misono, JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa (image supplied)
Misono, JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa (image supplied)

Wahlburgers
Designed with good times in mind, the kids will go wild for Wahlburgers! The burger chain and sports bar baby of Hollywood superstars ‘Marky’ Mark, Donny, and the wider Wahlburg clan, expect high-quality, simple, down to earth eats! In addition to burgers there’s breakfast, salads, loaded sides, wings, calamari, dessert, shakes and spiders and so much more. It’ll give the whole family Good Vibrations!
Where: Paradise Centre, 2 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise

TGI Fridays
Tasty American Burgers, good friends and good times. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, it’s always a recipe for smiley faces. Serving up your all your fave dishes from the US of A right off the grill, we’re talking starters to share, wings, fresh mex, burgers, wraps, salads, ribs, steaks, desserts and a cracking kid’s menu. I mean, who wouldn’t want to go to a place where it’s always Friday?
Where: Paradise Centre, 2 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise

TGI Fridays, Surfers Paradise (image supplied)
TGI Fridays, Surfers Paradise (image supplied)

Steampunk
Kids will love the Victorian-era décor, friendly service and most importantly, wide variety of all the chow our small people dream of. The usual suspects like woodfired pizzas, loaded chips, burgers, steaks and ribs etc all make an appearance on the menu, plus there’s a kiddywinkle menu suitable for those up to 16. They’ll go loco for the supershakes and if you’re in a rush (isn’t EVERY parent), you can skip the queue and order via the app! Genius.
Where: 3113 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Longboards Laidback Eatery and Bar
If the kids are hungry, do not pass go, do not collect $200 – go to Longboards. One thing’s for sure, both you and your ankle-biters will leave choccas (no other meals required). The burgers here are legendary and dad, if you wanna impress the fam, give the 30 minute Phat Bastard Challenge a crack for your chance to win a $150 tab prize. There’s a kids menu to boot, plus $3 play packs to keep them entertained. Sold!
Where: Q1 Resort & Spa, Corner of Hamilton Avenue & Northcliffe Terrace, Surfers Paradise

El Camino Cantina, Paradise Centre, Surfers Paradise (image supplied)
El Camino Cantina, Paradise Centre, Surfers Paradise (image supplied)

El Camino Cantina
Mexican is the new Maccas in terms of universal appeal for kids, and El Camino is forever Mexcellent. Slinging tacos, nachos, loaded nachos, fajitas, wings and sombrero-filled party vibes, there’ll be no whinging whatsoever from the small folk. Head on down for $2 Taco Tuesdays, 10-cent Wing Wednesdays and half-price Fajita Thursdays. How spec-taco-ular!
Where: 2 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise

BMD Northcliffe SLSC (image provided by Destination Gold Coast)
BMD Northcliffe SLSC (image provided by Destination Gold Coast)

BMD Northcliffe Surf Club
Ok, so we all know kids love surf clubs – especially award-winners like BMD Northcliffe. For a start, it’s absolute beachfront making a pre or post-meal dip super duper easy. There’s plenty of room in the spacious restaurant, filled with sunlight by day and boasting a magical outlook by night, a stunning deck, and one of the best surf club menus you’ll ever find. All Little Nipper meals come with a small soft drink and a gelato. Winning!
Where: 51 Garfield Terrace, Surfers Paradise

Vapiano Restaurant (image provided by Destination Gold Coast)
Vapiano Restaurant (image provided by Destination Gold Coast)

Vapiano
Vapiano is Italian for kid-foody-heaven and whilst that’s a fib, it still rings true. We dare you to find a kiddo (and parent for that matter…#Don’tTellThePT) who doesn’t love a meaty, hearty pasta or a palette-pleasing pizza and yeah, nah, it’s not possible. Choose from the kids’ menu or the standard menu for small people with a BIG appetite! This is no impasta friends.
Where: Soul Boardwalk, Cavill Avenue, 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 will be loving life 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

Hogs Breath Restaurant (image supplied)
Hogs Breath Restaurant (image supplied)

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 friends. Apart from a mob of the friendliest cats you ever did meet, the hefty café style menu offers a host of appetising treats to boot. Worth noting is the venue’s setup which also has a separate section for those who want to witness the cats at paw’s length – a great option for the kiddies who need a slow introduction to the furry ones.
Where: 3131 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Pancakes on the Rocks
There is no mistaking; pancakes are a good time, every time, particularly when they’re being pumped out of specialty restaurant, Pancakes on the Rocks. Based in the heart of Surfers Paradise, they are a dead-set family vibe. All about family dining, you can’t go wrong with the obvs (pancakes), plus there are pizzas, salads, crepes, and the now famous beef and pork ribs. Littlies will adore this joint. Cross our hearts.
Where: 31 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise

Words by Bianca Trathen.

Kids Pancakes at Pancakes on the Rocks (image supplied)
Kids Pancakes at Pancakes on the Rocks (image supplied)
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