The round-up: new places to eat and drink on the Gold Coast this summer
How long has it been since your last Gold Coast trip? Days, weeks or months? If your answer is in years, then you need to stop and take a good look at yourself … and then take our advice when we say that sometimes it’s a good thing to venture out and, you know, break the weekend routine. If you’ve got a bit of time up your sleeve over the festive season and were contemplating heading south for a sneaky day-trip or weekender, then we’ve got you covered. From the backstreets of Broadbeach to the Burleigh Heads oceanfront, we’ve taken the liberty of putting together a handy hit list of the top new restaurants, cafes and bars that have opened on the Gold Coast this year.
Rockleigh Cafe: If you haven’t ventured south of Burleigh or Palm Beach for a while, then do yourself a favour and spend an extra ten minutes in the car and soak up the relaxed beach vibes of Coolangatta. The Rockleigh baristas pump out a seriously good brew, the produce is completely local and everything that can be made in-house is, including the jam and peanut butter. You should also know that there are house-made crumpets here, with caramelised pear, saffron honey, mascarpone and honeycomb. Pack your things, get in your car and and start driving south – now.
Randy Wallhole: We heart Randy and the way he transports us back to our youth. It’s certainly not your regular cafe – this is the go-to for delicacies (yes, delicacies) like Coco Pop lattes, Fruit Loops and milk, Snack Packs and Heinz spaghetti and cheese jaffles. Anywhere with 90s hip-hop heavyweights on the walls and Connect Four on the tables is our kind of jam.
Society of Florida: This is the younger sibling of the popular Burleigh Social – it’s a little off the beaten track, but make your way through the back streets and you’ll be in for a treat. By day, it exudes the casual warmth of a neighbourhood cafe where you can bring your four-legged friend and sip an Allpress coffee in the sunshine but as the sun descends, it transforms into a delightfully unpretentious suburban wine bar. Tuck into fancy pork belly or ditch the silverware altogether and get a tasty pizza down the hatch.
Rick Shores: This is literally beachfront dining – you cannot get closer to the beach anywhere on the Gold Coast. Perched on the rocks at Burleigh Point, Rick Shores walks a fine line between fine and casual dining, with its modern Asian fare, unique colonial styling and killer fried bug rolls making it a must-visit. The popular beachside gem is the handiwork of the same owners as Fortitude Valley’s Southeast Asian eatery, LONgTIME, who also have a new Brisbane venue in the works.
Harry’s Steak Bistro & Bar: The Gold Coast went a little crazy when the door to Harry’s finally opened. It’s the latest notch in the belt of Justin Lane owner Adam Haralampou, featuring his own take on Parisian steak frites. You choose from four cuts of top-quality beef served with bread, house-churned butter, salad and endless frites. That’s right – endless frites. Harry’s is all about the steaks, natural wines and tap beers – and there’s a little bit of fun in the air too.
Balboa Italian: So, the Palm Beach dining scene went off the charts this year, with a swag of new restaurants and bars to keep the southern foodies content. You wont’ miss Balboa’s striking red-brick exterior along the Gold Coast Highway, but if you do, just follow your nose – there’s everything from woodfired pizza to roasted octopus and pillow-soft gnocchi. Get a gin and tonic with chilli and lime or an Italian red in your palm and you’re set.
The Kitchens: It’s a $160-million foodie playground and it’s well worth the drive. George Calombaris decided to put his first Jimmy Grants venue outside of Melbourne here, so you know it must be good. The Kitchens at Robina Town Centre is also home to Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co. (she’s spreading her burger love to Newstead in May), Byron Bay’s Naked Treaties, Honeyeater Kitchen, Mr Pigs Bakehouse (from the owner of Pigs and Pints), Mark Daniel’s Patisserie plus loads more, all under one gigantic fancy timber roof. Get a load of the full foodie line-up here.
Garden Kitchen & Bar: A sunny afternoon at Garden Kitchen & Bar with a frosé in hand – that’s pure happiness right there. The Jupiters Hotel & Casino eatery and bar has been turning heads since it opened in January with its refreshingly uncomplicated fare and mesmerising fit-out filled with greenery and natural light, which overlooks a sprawling green lawn. Pull up a beanbag in the garden and let the afternoon turn into evening as you sip a Belvedere spritz (or three).
Backbone Bar: The new southern hang has quickly made a name for itself – made-to-order bao and dumplings served alongside a solid line-up of local craft beers, local small-batch spirits and minimal-intervention wine. Everything behind the bar is as local and as natural as possible. Seriously, bao is king and everyone is vibing on small-batch alcohol – so Backbone has really nailed the ‘give the people what they love’ concept.
Aloha Bar & Dining: This is a hidden gem. We mean that literally – it’s a little hard to find if you’re not acquainted with the Broadbeach alleyways, but look down and follow the golden palm trees on the pathway behind The Phoenician building and you’re in. Aloha is beautifully and elaborately decked out with retro cane furniture, pin-up girls, nautical pieces, pink flamingos and faux palm trees all around. If you like simultaneously sipping and slurping rum and ramen, and like your cocktails served in giant pineapples with a hefty dash of tropical vibes on the side, then you’re on winner.
Now folks, what we’ve put together is merely a tiny slither of what has been a huge year of rad new openings from all corners of the Gold Coast, meaning there are countless new places for you to try. If you’re keen to read more, then grab a coffee and jump over here.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 1800 places to eat, drink, shop and play.