The round-up: pasta houses to Greek gems – must-try restaurants in Coolangatta
Our friends on the border are going through a tough time at the moment due to COVID-19 lock-downs, border closures and a drop in tourist numbers. We thought it was prime time to highlight some of the sublime sun-soaked spots in the seaside hub. Dripping with personality, the area is known for its pristine beach (which wraps around to Rainbow Bay and Snapper Rocks) and laid-back vibe, making it a popular hang for locals and tourists alike – all while boasting some seriously impressive eats. The bonus to all of that is that Cooly, which is the southernmost suburb on the Gold Coast and is also dotted with some top-notch eateries – and a lot of them fly under the radar. So, for those searching for restaurants in Coolangatta, here’s a handy list of must-try spots.
There’s often a line-up of local pizza fiends clamouring for a taste of Francie’s woodfired goodness. The pizzas here are kept simple and authentic, accompanied by a handful of small shareable bites (including vegan options) and a fun list of wines. Gear up for good times and great pizza when heading to Francie’s.
Enjoying stunning ocean views and a dreamy fit-out, dining destination and bar Baskk has all of the ingredients for memorable beachside long lunch, an intimate dinner for two or a fun-filled feast with the brood. Simple, honest and traditional Italian food made using quality all-local produce is what it’s all about – think relaxing cocktail-filled lunches, aperitivos and snacks in the afternoon sun, and long-table dinner feasts (with all of the vino) at night.
Eddie’s Grub House
Sometimes, a double-beef burger, a basket of onion rings, some fried chicken, a few whiskies and some rough and raw blues music is all you need to feel great again. Eddie’s is a longstanding fixture in Coolangatta’s casual-dining and bar scene, delighting burger lovers with a mouth-watering menu of towering delights and hand-held bar snacks that will leave you licking your fingers.
Radici Pasta House
If it’s pasta you’re craving, get yourself acquainted with this local Italian gem. The casual dining spot, tucked in along Griffith Street, is well known for its delicious handmade pastas – from spaghetti to tagliatelle and tagliolini. Be sure to kick off with the pizza bites and finish with Sicilian-style cannoli.
Cross Eyed Mary
The small-but-mighty Cross Eyed Mary is a charming pasta-and-wine bar that is modernising tradition with good, honest fare, crafted cocktails and some seriously impressive sips of vino. Cross Eyed Mary is here to leave a big impression with pasta that is handmade from scratch – every single piece of fat pappardelle, plump ravioli or pillowy gnocchi that makes its way onto a plate has been kneaded, rolled and shaped by hand without a single piece of machinery.
If you want to soak up the beach views with great food, minus the elements (we all have a love-hate relationship with the Gold Coast humidity), then Bin72 is the ideal place to park. You’ll find share-style eats and larger plates on offer, from prawn-stuffed zucchini flowers with jalapeno dipping sauce to braised beef cheek with wild mushroom gnocchi, plus a fine selection of wines. All of that is made better with dreamy views over Coolangatta beach.
Greek food is best enjoyed by the seaside, and that’s exactly how it’s served up at Xenia Grill. The menu is designed to share, with everything from smaller meze plates to belly-busting Greek banquettes brimming with succulent meats and fresh seafood. There’s also favourites like moussaka, spanakopita, saganaki, housemade dips and a menu of street-style souvlaki filled with chicken, lamb or pork with crackle.
4 Pines X Boardriders
In late 2019, the original Boardriders cafe morphed into a day-and-night hub as part of collab with 4 Pines brewery. The overhaul and introduction of an entirely new venue meant a new dinner trade was introduced, offering tasty pub fare like an array of tasty burgers, to fish tacos, grazing boards and vibrant salads. As you’d expect, there’s a wide range of tap beers on offer, alongside a fun series of cocktails and shades of wine.
For tasty tacos, tiki vibes and live music, you can’t look past Tupe Aloha. Described as ‘when Hawaii meets Mexico and has a holiday in Kirra’, this personality-packed eatery and bar is were you’ll find delicious bar bites and tropical-inspired shareables, ice-cold tap beers and a fun collection of cocktails. Plus, there’s always a killer line-up of local musos providing the tunes.
If you’ve got the munchies for burgers and wings, and are thirsty for a cocktail or three, St Helens will sate your appetite. With a raft of bar snacks (including plenty of vegan options) on offer alongside its burgers and bigger bites, you’ll surely roll out of here with a full belly and an ear-to-ear grin. You’ll get to enjoy prime views of Kirra beach while you’re at it and there’s always live music to keep your toes tapping.
Bread N Butter
Do you love nothing more than a warming bowl of gnocchi and a glass of wine? Or a piping-hot pizza and an ice-cold beer? If it’s a ‘yes’ from you, then grab a table at Italian kitchen Bread N Butter and satisfy those cravings. There’s cocktails, a fun vibe and live music on most nights – all enjoyed just metres from the pristine ocean.
Beach Burrito Company
Beach Burrito at The Strand, Coolangatta slings fresh Californian-style Mexican flavours in a location with killer views of one of Australia’s most iconic beaches. It’s the perfect place to sit back with a bunch of mates, chill with an ice cool drink and a burrito and enjoy the surf.
Bo’teku is bringing Bali vibes to Coolangatta with a bohemian-inspired bar and eatery featuring a worldly selection of fare ranging from baos bursting with crispy pork belly through to chicken drumettes with blue-cheese sauce. Seafood weighs heavy on the menu with the venue’s owner Matt personally procuring the freshest catch daily from the trawlers, while Bo’teku also offers a mighty tempting selection of cocktails.
Coffee, breakfast, lunch and ocean views – what more could you want? At Vanilla Lily, you can treat yourself to top-notch coffee, delectable bites and even a killer happy hour on Friday and Saturday afternoons. Picture-perfect acai bowls and smoothies also roll out across the day to cool you down during those sun-kissed beach sessions.
If you love tacos, tapas and tequila, we have just the spot for you: HolyJala is a colourful Coolangatta gem slinging a delicious fusion of Spanish tapas and Mexican bites. Perch up in the area for a charcuterie board in the afternoon sun or make your way inside to feast on cheesy chimichangas (yum!) and prawn-topped tostadas.
Moxy’s Rooftop Bar
Prefer to sip your cocktails in the sunshine? You’ll want to pay a visit to Moxy’s Rooftop Bar. The casual bar is located on Coolangatta’s Griffith Street and features a with a fun collection of concoctions ranging from the classic cocktails (margaritas, mojitos and more) to its 12-strong list of signature creations.
Venture down along Griffith Street and you’ll eventually stumble upon Rockleigh Cafe’s crisp white facade. The coastal farmhouse-inspired cafe offers a simple one-page menu filled with breakfast and lunch classics, made with produce sourced as locally as possible and everything – including the jam and peanut butter – is made in-house.
Ottimo Gelato and Coffee
Once you’ve eaten your way around Coolangatta’s finest, bring your feast to a sweet finale with a scoop (or two) of Ottimo’s gelato. Nestled on Marine Parade, Ottimo is one of those places when you know, you know. The sweet gelateria opened its doors in December 2020 (next door to Xenia Bar & Restaurant) and is dishing up amazingly authentic gelato, flaky croissants, delightful danishes and top-notch brews of the caffeinated kind. There are 30 tastebud-tingling flavours to choose from including Biscotto and Stracciatella (Italian choc chip) through to the crowd-favourite OMG (rich salted caramel with a thick layer of gooey Nutella on top) and Hint of Sicily (mandarin custard with pistachio-and-almond caramel).
That’s just a handful of spots to check out, pals! There is a lot more goodness in the Coolangatta-Kirra precinct – take a peek at our Stumble Guide to explore the area a little more.
Got a favourite Cooly spot that we need to check out? Send your tips to [email protected]
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Gold Coast dining guide with more than 870 places to eat, drink, shop and play.