The year in review: fifteen of the Gold Coast's best restaurant openings of 2023
The year in review: fifteen of the Gold Coast's best restaurant openings of 2023
The year in review: fifteen of the Gold Coast's best restaurant openings of 2023
The year in review: fifteen of the Gold Coast's best restaurant openings of 2023
The year in review: fifteen of the Gold Coast's best restaurant openings of 2023

The year in review: fifteen of the Gold Coast’s best restaurant openings of 2023

It feels like an understatement to say it’s been a gargantuan year on the foodie front. It seemed like everywhere we looked there were venues popping up like mushrooms after a storm. From new neighbourhood nosheries to massive multi-million-dollar showstoppers, the Gold Coast has seen it all. Before we turn the page on the year and roll merrily into the holidays, we thought we’d take a quick trip down memory lane and revisit some of the year’s best new restaurant openings in 2023. 

Kirra Beach House, Kirra: As soon as we heard whispers of Kirra Beach House we knew it would be something special, and friends, Kirra Beach House did not disappoint. Four years in the making, the landmark 800-seater venue is undoubtedly one of the Gold Coast’s largest and most ambitious openings. Envisioned by hospitality entrepreneur Dave Galvin from SITE Hospitality, who is also behind Broadbeach beauty kōst, Southport’s vibey Mozza MozzaCrafty’s Sports Bar and chook nook Bird Royale, Kirra Beach House features multiple bars, curious cocktails and uninterrupted ocean views. We’re calling it, this is the sip spot for summer.

Blowfish Ocean Grill + Bar, Broadbeach: Having reached the pinnacle of protein with steak-centric destination Moo Moo The Wine Bar + Grill, esteemed restaurateurs Steven and Autumn Adams turned their attention to seafood in 2023 when opening their third, and arguably, most impressive, hospitality venture. Blowfish Ocean Grill + Bar has completely transformed the former The Bavarian into a sophisticated, two-level seafood-focused venue that seats 150. As for the menu, diners can expect things to change regularly depending on what the team can source from their exclusive suppliers, but you’ll always be able to enjoy some menu staples including Moreton Bay bug rolls, caviar bumps, fresh sashimi and a show-stopping seafood tower.

kōst, Broadbeach: Having one entry in the year’s hottest restaurant openings is impressive, having two is nearly unheard of (and possibly crazy). kōst opened in August and promptly won over the entire foodie population of the Gold Coast with its irresistible flame-cooked fare and gorgeous interior. The slick new spot is the handiwork of Dave Galvin (Kirra Beach House, Mozza Mozza, Crafty’s Sports Bar and Bird Royale), who is delivering a contemporary bar and grill concept that promises a smorgasbord for all of your senses. A hint of smokiness lingers in the air as a constant (and very welcome) reminder of the two-metre Mibrasa charcoal grill and oven that underpins kōst’s drool-inducing culinary offering.

Little Truffle Dining Room & Bar, Mermaid Beach: Okay so this one isn’t technically a ‘new’ opening, having been operating for 13 years, but this jaw-dropping floor-to-ceiling renovation is well worth a spot on the list. Over the years Little Truffle has been instrumental in redefining the Gold Coast’s interpretation of fine dining, but signs of wear had begun to show. Taking advantage of the timing of the light rail works, Daniel and Ruggie Ridgeway decided the time was ripe to embark on the most significant renovation in the restaurant’s history. After closing its doors for almost a year, the brand-new Little Truffle Dining Room & Bar opened in October. Although sexy isn’t usually the adjective that springs to mind when describing a restaurant, that’s the only way you can characterise Little Truffle 2.0.

Tayta Bar & Restaurant, Nobby Beach: Credited with introducing Nikkei cuisine to the Gold Coast, Tayta Bar & Restaurant has captivated taste buds since opening in August with zingy ceviche and pisco sours. Tayta is the handiwork of Adriano Antonini who has spent the last 15 years in hospitality in London, Rome, Dubai and Cayman Islands. The dark and moody casual fine diner promises a culinary journey unlike anything you’ve experienced before, with the likes of Tiraditos (sashimi-grade fish served with dipping sauce) and nigiri, okonomiyaki, potato croquettes and beef eye-fillet tacos with sushi rice. From the grill, diners can munch on yakitori threaded with chicken before moving on to larger servings of slow-cooked pork ribs. Do yourself a favour and give this one a try.

Billy Chow, Kirra: The culinary spotlight has well and truly shone on the southern suburb of late. The latest to join the foodie fold is Billy Chow, a sibling spot to Nobby Beach’s popular Ally Chow. The coastal-cool venue offers a sense of familiarity with punchy Pan-Asian flavours elevated to suit the breathtaking beachfront location – think handmade bao, delectable dumplings, ocean-trout crumpets and a tantalising beef-short-rib curry with banana chilli. If good food, good vibes and stunning ocean views sounds like your ideal summer vibe, get acquainted with Billy Chow.

La Bella Cellar, Burleigh Heads: When La Bella Cellar first opened in 2020, nabbing a seat was quite the challenge – the tiny 26-seater was booked to capacity almost nightly. For the last little while, however, La Bella Cellar’s beautiful timber door remained closed, providing nothing more than a pretty backdrop for photos as people passed by. In October, at long last, the quaint venue reopened with a fresh new culinary team at the helm who has reimagined the wine-centric bar to deliver a focus on elevated dining. From crab and caviar to melt-in-your-mouth beef short ribs, the new La Bella Cellar is a treat for your senses.

Lenny Pizzeria & Bar, Mudgeeraba: Credited with invigorating the quaint suburb of Mudgeeraba after dark is this perpetually pumping pizza place. The venue is the latest culinary offering from Robert Morwood and Oliver Botha, two alumni of Burleigh Heads institution Justin Lane. In terms of the menu, there’s a succinct scattering of small plates, but the hero, however, is the pizza. Made using a 72-hour fermented dough, the base is super-light and fluffy and there are 11 different combinations to choose from (the pepperoni drizzled with hot honey is a taste sensation). Oh, and if your name is Lenny (and you can prove it), you can score a spot on the Lenny wall of fame.

Nude Amigos, Broadbeach: Big, bold flavours, colourful dishes and tequila, it’s little wonder why Mexican food is an eternal crowd favourite. In September, the Gold Coast welcomed Nude Amigos, a space dedicated to fun and flavoursome Mexican. The charismatic venue is the latest from Sara Hawkins, who also owns Kin in Burleigh Heads, and transformed the former Cardamom Pod overlooking the park in Broadbeach. There’s a charming casual cordiality about Nude Amigos that draws you in, but it’s the next-level menu that will have you coming back time and time again.

Crispy Italian Bar, Burleigh Heads: There are some venues that capture our heart right from the start, Crispy is one such place. The tiny eatery is the handiwork of mates Matteo Tricarico and Riccardo Proserpio, who wanted to share their cuisine and culture, and fill the panini-shaped void in our collective hearts with mouth-watering Italian cuisine, coffee at any time of the day and aperitivos at sunset. While you won’t find pineapple atop any of the pizzas, you will find a selection of locally sourced ingredients such as prosciutto, Calabrian chilli and salami.

Alamat Gold Coast, Southport: If you were asked to list your favourite Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese and Asian-fusion restaurants, you could probably rattle off ten different joints ranging from the cheap and cheerful suburban spot to the fine-dining destinations you go to for special occasions. If you were asked to name your favourite Filipino restaurant, however, how many could you name? This distinct underrepresentation of Filipino fare was precisely the motivation Jon Hizola (Mr Kojima and Burleigh’s Masu Izakaya) needed to open Alamat. When it came to creating the menu, Jon dug deep into his own heritage to elevate Filipino cuisine and culture and present familiar flavours in a new and innovative way. If you’re new to Filipino cuisine, it’s very much a social experience – so gather your nearest and dearest and treat yourself to the Fiesta Feast option. Trust us.

Luna’s Pizza & Wine, Broadbeach: If you’re an avid reader, you’ll know that we have a penchant for pizza. If you too have a soft spot for a slice, check out Luna’s Pizza & Wine, the sibling to Sofia’s Restaurant & Bar. The Broadbeach beauty slings perfectly charred wood-fired pizzas that sit somewhere between the super-thin Napoli style and the slightly crispier Roman style. The menu has been designed to encapsulate the Italian way of dining, with every meal a cause for celebration.

KatsuCo, Southport: Proving that it’s not always the venues with the multi-million-dollar fit-outs that leave a lasting impression, KatsuCo in Southport is as unassuming as they come. Nestled on Nerang Street in Southport, KatsuCo isn’t necessarily a place you would simply stumble upon, but rather seek out. In fact, if you were to survey each of the diners across a busy lunch service, it’s not uncommon to find people from all over the Gold Coast who have travelled for the promise of perfectly crisp katsu. KatsuCo is the handiwork of chef Louis Seo, who is no stranger to the hospitality game, having trained at Le Cordon Bleu before moving on to various stints as executive chef before winning over Brisbane’s katsu-loving crowd. As much as we’d love to describe the culinary experience in granular detail, some things are best experienced first hand.

Valyn Thai Restaurant & Bar, Isle of Capri: Opening ten restaurants in nine years across three states, hospitality veterans Pattaree (Pat) Jiranuchaiwattana and Vitchaya (Alex) Hasitawet have learned a thing or two about creating successful venues. Valyn Thai Restaurant & Bar is the culmination of this incredible experience, earning it a place in the year’s top openings. Whether you’re in the mood for a cheeky takeaway massaman curry and spring rolls or something a little more elevated, Isle of Capri’s Valyn Thai Restaurant & Bar is an excellent choice.

Isla Cantina, Isle of Capri: Dishing up devilishly crisp snapper-filled tacos, melt-in-your-mouth eight-hour slow-roasted lamb and flavour-bomb croquettes, Isla Cantina was a very welcome addition to Capri on Via Roma in April. The waterfront venue delivers a casual-yet-cool dining experience that features seating for up to 100 people across the main dining area, the alfresco deck and cocktail bar.

2023 has been a bumper crop on the foodie front, meaning we cannot possibly list all of the amazing places we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing this year. If you’re still on the hunt for some top-notch Italian spots check out Modo Mio at Pacific Fair, La Calabrese and Enzo’s Cucina in Surfers Paradise and T’amero in Burleigh Waters. Tide Bar & Restaurant and Nahm Talay Thai raised the bar for elevated Thai cuisine, while D’ La Rosa gave us a taste of some tasty tapas. Still want more? Pop over to our round-up of 2023’s best bars and best cafes

The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Gold Coast dining guide with more than 870 places to eat, drink, shop and play.

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