The year in review: the Gold Coast’s best new openings of 2019
This year, the Gold Coast welcomed a little bit of everything – 2019 was truly the year of contrasts. From small 30-seat eateries and tiny hidden bars to mammoth 200-seat restaurants, the coast’s dining and bar scene has received a hefty injection of stellar new arrivals over the past 12 months. We’ve hand picked a few of our favourite new openings of the year to give you a splash of inspo for when you’re looking to try somewhere new.
Eddy+ Wolff, Robina: The owners of Runaway Bay’s Can Tho Kitchen sure created some hype in early 2019 when they announced a second venue in a ‘hidden’ Robina location. In March, Asian-inspired eatery and bar Eddy + Wolff was finally unveiled, tucked far out of view on Commerce Drive. Once you’ve found it, settle in for Asian bar snacks, barbecued bites, wines, cocktails and share plates galore – and prepare to roll out with a big smile and a full belly.
Rosella’s, Burleigh Heads: The arrival of Australiana-themed bar Rosella’s on Australia Day 2019 (easiest birthday to remember) generated a massive stir in the city’s bar scene – and its popularity really hasn’t wavered since. Its innovative native-inspired cocktails, rotating collection of natural wines, Aussie bar snacks (think Vegemite jaffles and Jatz with creamy onion dip) and convivial vibe will have you snapping out of that ‘I’m only staying for one drink’ attitude, very quickly.
Little Itoshin, Miami: Tucked away in the backstreets of Miami is where you’ll find some of the best Japanese in town. Hibiki Ito of long-standing restaurant Itoshin in Mermaid Beach opened his second restaurant in the Miami Village Shopping Centre in May. The 25-seat Little Itoshin serves a seasonal menu that puts a contemporary lean on traditional Japanese comfort food, while retaining the level of quality that the original Itoshin has become renowned for. Albeit still fairly new, Little Itoshin has quickly become known as a true hidden gem.
Gallura, Tweed Heads: Perched just a hop, skip and a jump south of the border (right behind Cooly’s main drag), Gallura’s arrival brought a fresh new wave of Italian tastes to the southern end. Seafood lovers are in the right place here, with Gallura focusing on plating up the best trawler-fresh catches from the local seaways – just like you’d find in the coastal town of Sardinia. Go here with your best (sea)foodie friends.
Mr., Nobby Beach: Bringing a touch of sophistication to the Nobby Beach dining scene, Mr. is all about modern share-style eats with a strong focus on seafood. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the busy strip, Mr. also ups the ante with its sips, pouring a fine series of top-notch cocktails, quality wines and high-end spirits until late.
Hyde Paradiso, Surfers Paradise: Boasting uninterrupted 180-degree views of Surfers Paradise, a striking 12-metre-long bar, an exclusive 14-person private dining room and its own dedicated Venetian-inspired sgroppino bar, Hyde Paradiso’s arrival marked one of the most significant additions to the beachside precinct for some time. Its Mediterranean-style menu, quality beverage offering and mesmerising views have made it a popular spot for sipping and snacking by the sea.
Miss Moneypenny’s and Fat Freddy’s, Broadbeach: Located side-by-side beneath the Avani hotel in Broadbeach, these two contrasting venues marked the first Gold Coast foray for hospitality firm The Good Time Group, headed by Ben Walsh. The expansive 200-seat Miss Moneypenny’s is the sibling to the popular Noosa venue of the same name, with its share-style menu overseen by renowned chef Brayden White. Next door at Fat Freddy’s, you’ll find a reimagined take on classic American diner eats and drinks – think cheeseburgers, barbecue-spiced popcorn tossed in bacon butter and boozy milkshakes.
Light Years, Burleigh Heads: After making its mark in Noosa and Byron Bay, Light Years finally made its way to the Gold Coast in 2019. Cutting a striking figure along the Lower Gold Coast Highway (just next to Commune cafe) the modern-Asian bar and diner dishes up a vibrant spread of share-style fare – like fresh ceviche, curries and DIY baos – alongside a fun collection of cocktails. Plus, the fit-out will make all of your pastel-hued interior dreams come true.
Next Door Espresso, Burleigh Heads: With Mediterranean-inspired architecture, lush greenery and timber furnishings, you certainly don’t feel like you’re sitting in the heart of an industrial precinct when you visit Next Door Espresso. Adjoining homewares store St Barts, this bright and breezy breakfast, lunch and brunch hang (from the same owners of Next Door in Tweed Heads) is perfect for a coffee date away from the busy coastal strip.
Fig & Frankie’s, Broadbeach: Fig & Frankie’s is one of the coast’s few true laneway bars and is home to quality cocktails and refined bar snacks, as well as a concise list of natural wine and local beers. This quaint, peach-hued spot is perfect for afternoon snacks and sips, which will absolutely roll into the evening. The fried-haloumi with truffle honey and rosemary salt will complete you.
Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar, Benowa: Central-Gold Coast folk let out a little cheer when the owners of popular Mermaid Waters cafe Double Barrel opened a second location further north within the Marina Concourse development in Benowa (near Royal Pines). You can enjoy breakfast, brunch and lunch (the long, wine-filled type if you’re that way inclined) seven days, and dinner on Friday and Saturday nights.
Pepé Italia Deli, Palm Beach: Woodfired Italian pizzas, authentic handmade pasta dishes, Tuscan chianti by the glass, a cabinet full of cured meats shaved to order, wedges of crumbling cheese, salami sandwiches, cannoli-to-go and tubs of Sicilian olives swimming in oil. That’s what you’ll find at Pepé Italia Deli, a restaurant-meets-deli concept in the heart of Palm Beach from the owners of Pepé Italia in Burleigh Heads. While the menu mirrors that of its popular Burleigh sibling, the concept in Palm Beach shifts to incorporate a deli and grab-and-go element into the restaurant – hellooo shaved-to-order mortadella.
i like ramen, Nobby Beach: In early 2019, noodle bar i like ramen temporarily bowed out of the Gold Coast, stepping away from its kitchen within (now-closed) plant-based marketplace The LC and turning the focus to delighting Brisbane diners with its delicious vegan ramen. The unfortunate departure from its Fortitude Valley location came with a silver lining for Gold Coasters – i like ramen came back home in late 2019 with a new ramen dispensary and whisky bar in Nobby Beach. You’ll find a raft of different ramen varieties, tasty Asian-style bar snacks, ice-cold beers, cocktails and plenty of Japanese whisky.
Suga, Palm Beach: There’s no sign out the front of suga – when you know, you know. Tucked in along the Gold Coast Highway (okay, we’ll give you a hint – it’s next door to Little Maisy and Hachi) this speakeasy bar is all about rum and cocktails. Just pull up a stool, tell the bartenders what you like, and leave the rest in their capable hands. There’s always live music, including a party-starting-pianist, to get you in the mood, too.
Crew Cafe, Burleigh Heads: Crew joined the ranks in November 2019, and has quickly earned its rep’ as a must-do breakfast and brunch spot on the coast. Owned by a bunch of Melbourne cafe operators, Crew serves up specialty coffee, eye-catching eats and fun vibes (oh, and really good music) right in the heart of Burleigh, just metres from the beach. Expect dishes like cheddar-infused cornbread waffles topped with fried chicken and dollops of sriracha-laced honey butter.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.