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Veggie scrumptiousness awaits at a new Ethiopian-based mecca

Zala's Place exterior (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Zala's Place exterior (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

Finding little hubs of gorgeous food and drink around the Gold Coast is a staple hobby of many of you out there these days. Little pockets of hard-working individuals who tirelessly create incredible food, often from scratch, for us to come along and savour. The newly opened Zala’s Place in Currumbin Waters is no exception to this rule; taking meat-free delectable dishes to an all-time high and rubbing off some seriously good vibes for those who decide to drop by.

The Traders Corner precinct on Currumbin Creek Road is fast becoming a go-to spot for all things delicious, and nestling in the back left-hand corner is Zala’s Place — entering the scene with a standout array of foods we know you are just going to love.

Heading up the kitchen is Zak Taylor, who has swapped fine-dining chef duties (ex Labart, Rick Shores) for an immersion into vegetable and plant-based delights — and for this, folks, we should be forever grateful.

Split Pea Stew with Roast Vege Mix & Coffee, Zala's Place (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Split Pea Stew with Roast Vege Mix & Coffee, Zala's Place (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

The menu has strong roots within Ethiopian cuisine and uses traditional dishes and flavours to create exciting and tasty fare, such as their Split Pea Stew and Spiced Pumpkin Stew. The menu will revolve and slowly change in time to keep things interesting for those who cannot help but come back time after time.

Other hot items such as a Spiced Sweet Potato Roll look and taste just like it’s meat equivalent — if not better. Look, we’re not knocking the humble sausage roll, no, but you must give one of these a try!

Quick and easysalads are made fresh every day and are the perfect accompaniment to something heavier or, if you prefer, just to have simply on their own. A jam-packed Falafel Wrap is also an easy option if the abundant choices are a bit too much for you!

The folks behind the space want Zala’s to be enjoyed across the day and will ensure coffee fans are catered for with Elixir coffee beans delivered via a very unique and not often seen brew bar-style coffee machine. Meaning when the crowds turn up for their morning fix, amazing coffee can be knocked out at speed and without hiccup.

And should you feel like something sweet (because, why not), you’re spoilt with a selection of gluten and dairy-free slices and cakes such as their Teff Lamington and All Spice Orange Slice. Sidenote: Teff is an ancient grain indigenous to Ethiopia and is your next favourite superfood!

Zala's Place interior (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Zala's Place interior (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

Currently, open six days a week, Zala’s caters for breakfast and lunch. Still, we hear a whisper they are looking forward to putting together opportunities to enjoy their food in the evenings also: watch this space.

An essential aspect of the space is community, and eats aside, you’ll also discover a small selection of locally made artisan goods such as hand-poured candles by Girls That Brunch and vegan made soaps from Little Loving Things, as well as others. Drop in for a bite, and you may just end up taking away a little something for yourself or a gift for that somebody special.

With a core choice of vegan dishes and a spattering of vegetarian options in there also, there’s no excuse not to enjoy the spoils of this Ethiopian-based mecca of veggie scrumptiousness.

When: Mon – Fri: 7am – 2pm, Sat: 7am – 12pm
Where: 4/27-31 Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Waters

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Coconut Jam Drop, Teff Lamington and All Spice Orange Slice, Zala's Place (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Coconut Jam Drop, Teff Lamington and All Spice Orange Slice, Zala's Place (Image: © 2022 Inside Gold Coast)

12 vegan Gold Coast restaurants

Plants and Me (image supplied)
Plants and Me (image supplied)

Vegan eats have certainly had a glow-up in the last little while. Not particularly surprising when you consider the number of hard-working venues serving up epic plant-based dishes even the most intense meat lovers among us will adore. Because of this, it was only a matter of time before full-blown vegan restaurants on the Gold Coast were a thing. Whether you’re a carnivore at heart or vegan by nature, that’s beside the point: these eateries are for everyone — creating knock-out tasty food. Period.

Here’s a list of the very best so you may indulge your inner plant lover anytime you please.

Plants and Me
When it comes to eating a delicious plethora of vegan eats — which you’re hard pushed to discern from their meaty equivalent — Plants and Me is a place you need on your radar, stat. Operating primarily as a café, you’ll also discover a lunch menu worth dropping everything for with multi-coloured burgers (think green and red brioche-style buns) dyed with veggie colouring, all the way to a kaleidoscope of the very best looking fruit juices and smoothies. They have also just started making their own selection of incredible meat (free) pies — so good you won’t even know the difference.
Where: 4/20 Scarborough Street, Southport 

i like ramen (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
i like ramen (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

i like ramen
Serving up more mouth-watering vegan dishes than you can poke a chopstick at, i like ramen is one of the most beloved venues (vegan or otherwise) on the Gold Coast. They’ve created ramen dishes that are as good as (if not better than) any other you’ll sample, plus goodies like baos, burgers and personal faves Panko Crusted Mushrooms and Kimchi Potatoes we’d sell our souls for. Oh, and there’s a slew of epic cocktails too.
Where: 2251 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach

Greenhouse Canteen
One of the OG vegan restaurants on the Gold Coast, Greenhouse Canteen’s menu is as good as it gets. They’ve got a botanical bar so that you can order a selection of vegan cocktails, wine or beer and the space is always packed with good vibes. To eat, we’d go for the Jackfruit Enchiladas or the Eggplant Moussaka. Also, if you feel like eating at home, Greenhouse has takeaway packs along the lines of Kentucky Fried Jackfruit. Ohhh yesss!
Where: 1916 Gold Coast Highway, Miami

Goodness Gracias (image supplied)
Goodness Gracias (image supplied)

Goodness Gracias
Goodness Gracias has long been a vegan favourite on the Gold Coast, serving plant-based Mexican food in a vibrant Palm Beach space. Eat-in or takeaway and choose from delicious eats like burritos, tacos, nachos and plenty of tasty sides and salads. We’re regulars here, and it’s always tasty and of the highest quality. Plus, who doesn’t love Mexican food? Nobody is who!
Where: 1114-1116 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

Lord of the Fries
If there is one thing we can get behind, it is a fast-food venue made up primarily of potatoes. Precisely what is happening at Lord of the Fries – all of the vegan fries, peeps. Not only those crispy, delicious gifts from God, though, Lord of the Fries is also serving up Veggie Burgers, Onion Rings (Lord of the Rings), Vegetarian Nuggets and Vegetarian Hot Dogs and everything is kosher and Halal. One taste, and you’ll be a big fan: no contest.
Where: Paradise Centre, 8 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise

The Hidden Cherub (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
The Hidden Cherub (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

The Hidden Cherub
After close to 2 years of operation, a relative newbie to the vegan Gold Coast scene is a little tucked away laneway bar/plant-based eats venue: The Hidden Cherub. The Miami bar is decked out with a sleek, industrial-esque look, greenery dripping from the walls and black and white striped bench seating. While the drinks here are the main event, the entirely vegan packed food menu is filled with delicious share plates, burgers, tacos, salads and sides. In terms of burgers, there’s a Spicy Fried Chick’n, The Californian, and The Classic. Tacos come in combos like Tempura Cauliflower, Chick’n in Abodo sauce and Three Bean. Mouth-watering goodness.
Where: 2/29 Lemana Lane, Miami

Cardamom Pod
Cardamon Pod at Southport and Broadbeach has long been a favourite amongst Gold Coasters (and influencers), offering both vegetarian and vegan choices. On the menu, you’ll find dishes like Apple Pie Pancakes, a Snickers Acai Bowl and a Blinged Out Avo Benny, to name a few, plus plenty of raw treats, organic coffee and gluten-free options too. All dishes are almost too pretty to eat.
Where: 1/2685 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach & 3/3 Brolga Ave, Southport

Plant Based Cafe (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
Plant Based Cafe (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

Plant-Based Cafe
This cafe opened in Paradise Point last year and quickly became a massive hit amongst the locals. Every single dish is stunning, and — yes, you guessed it — you’re going to want to sample them all. For example, the California Dreamin’ burger is next-level with a stacked crispy ‘chikn’ fillet on a bed of American-style slaw with all the trimmings. So tasty. There are smoothies, coffee and acai bowls, too, and it’s the perfect spot for a brunch date, vegan-style.
Where: 1/2 Grice Avenue, Paradise Point

Easy House Vegetarian Restaurant
Easy House has been around for some time and is as much-loved as it’s always been. The menu consists of Asian vegetarian and vegan dishes, and it’s all flavour-packed and fresh. The XO Noodles are to die for, and the dumplings are one thing you could eat every day forever. Don’t miss out on this one.
Where: 90 Markeri Street, Mermaid Beach

Doko Demo V (Image: © 2018 Inside Gold Coast)
Doko Demo V (Image: © 2018 Inside Gold Coast)

Doko Demo V
Offering an entirely vegan wholefoods-based menu, Doko Demo V is the work of Head Chef Jared Peck. The menu ranges from breakfast through to lunch and dinner and is bursting with beautifully prepared dishes that are both healthy and of the eyes-are-bigger-than-your-belly variety. The Lamb Souvlaki is a fave with marinated greek plant-based lamb, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, smokey bbq, mint yoghurt in a wholemeal wrap. YUM.
Where: 1908 Gold Coast Highway, Miami

Izakaya Midori
You’ll find a trove of plant-based Japanese food at Izakaya Midori in Reedy Creek. There are dishes like Tofu Chocolate Gâteau, Creamy Corn Croquettes, Spicy Lime Karaage and Tempura Tofu to name a few. You can also grab things to takeaway. Should we mention their vegan cheese Party Animal Platter? Need we say more?
Where: 50 Woodland Drive, Reedy Creek

Lovechild Kitchen and Bar
REOPENING 4TH NOVEMBER: Stay tuned to see what the team at this popular vegan spot in Mermaid Beach have been working on! You’re promised to be impressed with the tasty selection of burgers, tacos and cocktail selection very soon…
Where: Shop 1C / 2375 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

11 epic vegetarian restaurants on the Gold Coast

Plant Based Cafe

The Gold Coast restaurant scene has been quick to catch up to the increasing number of people jumping on board the vegetable train.

While everyone is dishing up tasty meatless treats these days, there are plenty of veggie only venues the locals are loving. Here are 11 of the best from north to south.

Plant Based Cafe
The newest on the block, Plant Based Cafe is both aptly named AND slinging some absolutely incredible vego eats. The kitchen is headed up by former Masterchef contestant Christine Laker and she has nailed every single dish. Of course. The Zucchini and Corn Fritter Stack is next-level with a stack of low-fat, baked fritters served with tomato relish, smashed avocado and a lightly-dressed petite salad. So tasty and perfectly presented too. Try them all for yourself.
Where: 1/2 Grice Avenue, Paradise Point

Giri Kana Café
Southport’s famous vegetarian and vegan café is just as loved by meat eaters as it is by vegos. Their emphasis is on fresh and wholesome foods that are good for the body, mind and spirit – and to this end, their food is cooked with love and devotion. With salads, burgers, breakfast, juice and smoothie options you’ll be spoilt for choice at this welcoming little café. P.s they now do breakfast too.
Where: Ground Floor, H2O Broadwater, Corner Nind Street and Gold Coast Highway, 82 Marine Parade, Southport

The delightful folk at Blendlove believe nothing is worth eating, if it hasn’t been created with love and let it be known that everything they create there, is worth eating. Co-founders Ricki-Lee and Sharlene pride themselves on serving the tastiest, freshest and healthiest plant-based food on the Gold Coast. Everything in their space is made fresh daily without the use of refined sugars, artificial colours or preservatives. One of the very best.
Where: 253 Ferry Road, Southport

Cardamom Pod
For many years it’s been a firm favourite amongst lovers of a delicious vegetarian dish. So much so that a second Pod opened at The Brickworks on Ferry Road. They offer creative, colourful eats and the most magical of mocktails. In a first for the Gold Coast, Cardamom Pod also offers a vegan high tea made up of a selection of their finest raw desserts. There’s a reason this place has been around for years, go discover it for yourself.
Where: Shop 1/2685 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach and Brickworks, Ferry Road, Southport

i like ramen

Easy House
It’s a little eatery tucked away in Mermaid Beach serving vegetarian yum cha on the daily. The locals love it and it’s easy to see why. They also offer regular meat-free meals like the yummiest of stir-fry’s. Don’t go past the dumplings, there are many kinds so save it for a day when you’re absolutely ravenous, trust us, you won’t want to stop.
Where: Markeri Street, Mermaid Waters

i like ramen
If there is a perfect food for keeping you warm and nourished in winter, it is ramen. Particularly ramen by the boys at i like ramen. Which is vegan honestly but that also means it’s vegetarian and you should eat some ASAP. We love the Spicy Kimchi Ramen with a side (or three) of Panko Mushrooms and probably also a beer to wash that down. Big fans of everything about this place.
Where: 2251 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach

Greenhouse Canteen
The holy grail of health food. With the motto ‘anything you can do, we can do vegan’ they’re onto something. In the short time they’ve been open they’ve amassed a huge following of both vegans and meat eaters who can’t go past the flavour-filled foods. All produce is sourced from trusted suppliers and farmers markets with the belief that food is medicine and it should nourish the mind, body and soul.
Where: 1916 Gold Coast Highway, Miami

Tian Ran Vegetarian
Meaning nature in English, Tian Ran provides the purest of vegetarian and vegan Asian cuisine. Their meals are free from meat, dairy, alcohol, garlic, onions and MSG and they also offer a gluten-free menu. The team are passionate about providing quality food and make their meat substitutes with soy, wheat, yam, seaweed and mushrooms. The restaurant is run by authentic, loving people who strive to provide full of goodness and flavour. Make this one a must visit.
Where: Shop 8/ 2462 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

The Milkman's Daughter

The Milkman’s Daughter
The funkiest little vegetarian joint around is Mermaid’s The Milkman’s Daughter, tucked away on Alfred St and serving up some of the very best (and most stacked vego food). The interior is as cool as they come filled with cascading greenery and terraniums built into tables, you’ll be Insta-snapping up a storm. The entirely vegetarian menu is made up of both all day breakfast and lunch options and my word, will you be hard up to make a choice. The Housemade Lemon Pancakes are a real treat. Get excited for this one gang.
Where: 43 Alfred Street, Mermaid Beach

Doko Demo V
One of the most diverse eateries on the Gold Coast vegetarian scene is Doko Demo V in Miami. The menu is both breaky and lunch all day, as of just recently, dinner too and it’s filled with beautifully prepared dishes that are both healthy and of the eyes-are-bigger-than-your-belly variety. We’d go the  Mexican Chicken* Brown Rice Poke Bowl because it’s a fresh, tasty option with Spanish beans, smashed avocado, ‘chicken’ made from tofu protein and a corn and coriander salsa. Plus, Mexican always. They’ve got a little bit of everything and the produce is super fresh and super delicious. So good.
Where: 1908 Gold Coast Highway, Miami

It’s a vegetarian institution on the Coast and if you haven’t been there, you haven’t lived. With options from potato bake and lasagne to an array of salads and desserts, there’s always something tasty to try and a line up of people waiting to get in on the goodness. Eat in or takeaway and definitely don’t forget to indulge in the lemon, mint and ginger refresher, it’ll make your day.
Where: 20 James Street, Burleigh Heads and 72 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Words by Kirra Smith.

Doko Demo V

Lettuce introduce you to Nobby’s new salad bar

Dalas Kitchen exterior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Dalas Kitchen exterior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

If you’re anything like us, taking an active interest in what you eat — and making sure only the best produce makes its way onto your plate — is a way of life. It’s also a way to mitigate all of the glorious (but naughty) food and cocktails you may have overindulged in over the weekend. Yet finding your way into a sumptuous and nutritious bowl of freshly made salad can be a difficult feat sometimes — until now.

Dalas Kitchen is a salad bar with a difference and just opened its doors in Nobby Beach, and by the looks of things, the adage ‘you don’t win friends with salad’ is well and truly out the window.

Front of house and behind the scenes, bubbly husband and wife team Jess and Michael are the owners behind Dalas, and were so inspired to pull out the stops and create the business after considering the lack of fresh and affordable salad bites out there. After all, getting your hands on fabulous healthy salads shouldn’t be so hard when you consider all of the fantastic produce we get from the hard-working farmers from our hinterland.

Za Carrots, Curried Totts, and Klassic Kale & Cherry Bomb drink, Dalas Kitchen (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Za Carrots, Curried Totts, and Klassic Kale & Cherry Bomb drink, Dalas Kitchen (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

The shop is a salad bar on the simplest terms, with a selection of seven signature salads for you to choose from and three different sizes for you to buy them in. And for those who see themselves having friends over or want to double down on a serious sized order of salads, Dalas also offers a 24-hour pre-ordering service. Have as many folks over as you please and let some pre-arranged and lovingly made salads complete any gathering/meal with ease.

The main focus is on providing vegan salads, but there will also be a spattering of rotating vegetarian salads with the inclusions of cheese. No meats will feature throughout the range now or in the future.

For those who like carrots, try your way through their Za Carrots salad with Za’atar roasted carrots, garlic sautéed kale, and toasted buckwheat, or if you prefer keeping things a little more classic, then you can’t look past the Klassic Kale with olive oil and lemon massaged kale leaves, white beans, parsley garlic croutons and tahini dressing. Yum!

All of the salads on offer have gone through a rigorous 12-month tasting and testing period before the business even opened — so you can rest assured, these nutrient-dense bowls of goodness taste the goods.

Dalas Kitchen interior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Dalas Kitchen interior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Salads are not all you will find here though. There’s also a small selection of sweet raw treats courtesy of local Nic Dimond and a small assortment of baked-in-house baguettes. To keep you amply hydrated between mouthfuls of delicious greenery, you’ll discover a variety of house-made sodas on offer with flavours like Gingery Orange and Cherry Bomb. And should you feel like a bit of kick to your day, they also pour up iced coffees with cold press coffee from Two Amigos Cold Brew.

Apart from delicious food and thirst-quenching drinks, Dalas is also doing some good by having all their natural waste being collected daily by the Miami Compost Hub and also using only compostable containers and takeaway vessels. Every little bit helps, right?

If you’re looking for a guilt-free and tasty lunch or a little something to spruce up dinner time at home, look no further than Dalas Kitchen in Nobby Beach. And if you have big plans for Christmas Day lunch, why not save yourselves the hassle of preparing salads? Because after all, spending more time with family and friends is all that matters. So pre-order your festive salads through these guys pronto!

Hours: Weekdays 8am — 6pm & Weekends 9am — 4pm
Where: 2247 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Raw treats & Pous Pous salad, Dalas Kitchen (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Raw treats & Pous Pous salad, Dalas Kitchen (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
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