The round-up: pizza to pappardelle – we’ve uncovered some of the Gold Coast’s best Italian restaurants
There’s something deeply satisfying about plunging a fork into a bowl of freshly made pasta topped with just the right amount of sauce, that first eagerly anticipated sip of a slightly chilled red or wrapping your mitts around a sizeable slice of pizza straight from the oven – it’s the culinary equivalent of a big, warm hug, which sounds pretty darn great right now. To point you in the right direction, we’ve put together a handy list of some of the Gold Coast’s best Italian restaurants, all for your eating pleasure.
Goccia Italian, Mermaid Beach: This is a true neighbourhood gem. You’ll smell the traditional pizzas from miles away, so follow your nose and you’ll be greeted with a hearty ‘ciao’ from owners Anna and Goccia before settling in for a truly authentic feast. Pizza is the hero here, and there’s also a handful of starters and share plates, alongside daily specials. Just so you know, the ‘bosco’ pizza (mozzarella, porcini mushroom, blue cheese and prosciutto) is highly addictive.
Pepé Italia Burleigh Heads and Pepé Italia Deli Palm Beach: There are two locations to get your fix of Pepé pizza and pasta. The Burleigh edition is a cosy, dimly lit haven for authentic eats and wine by night, while down at Palm Beach the Pepé goodness is dished up over lunch and dinner, with the addition of a delicious deli offering slicing meats and cheeses to order, as well as take-home pastas and sauces.
Lupo, Mermaid Beach: While it originally identified as a European-style bistro, Lupo reinvented itself in mid-2019 as a solely Italian bar and ristorante, bringing handmade pasta, aperitif-style cocktails and neighbourhood vibes to Mermaid Beach. Think plates of mortadella and salami, porcini and ricotta cappelletti with a mushroom brodo and slivers of housemade Italian cakes to finish.
Cucina Vivo, Broadbeach: Inspired by the cliff-top restaurants of the Amalfi Coast, Cucina Vivo at The Star Gold Coast dishes up authentic classics and inspired favourites in a convivial and relaxed setting, which is centered around a giant woodfired pizza oven. It’s great for group dining, there’s an extensive wine list and the Italian desserts (we’re looking at you, ricotta-stuffed cannoli) are to die for.
Orzo, Broadbeach: A newcomer to the list, Orzo opened its doors in late 2019 much to the delight of locals. The Italian eatery is a new venue from the owners of nearby Social Eating House and Bar, with chef Matthew Jefferson’s coastal-inspired menu driven heavily by sustainable produce and local seafood, with lunch, dinner and in-between snacks (like cheeses and cured meats) served daily. Our pick? One of the delicate handmade pastas and a house negroni.
Baskk Italian, Coolangatta: Simple, honest and traditional Italian food made using quality all-local produce is what it’s all about for the new Baskk Italian. Think relaxing cocktail-filled lunches, aperitivos and snacks in the afternoon sun, and long-table dinner feasts (with all of the vino) at night. Bonus: they have a kick-ass selection of vegan pizzas!
Belvedere Stonemill, Burleigh Heads: Located beneath Swell Resort, the authentic Italian eatery is the handiwork of Italian-born Fabio Rocco Ricciardi, who was previously the chef for the Ferrari team in the Formula 1 racing circuit. Pizza and pasta are the hero here – everything from the stuffed tortellini to the spaghetti and the pizza bases are crafted daily from unbleached, organic grains that have been stone milled to create an earthy, rustic flour. The creamy gnocchi, served in a baby wheel of pecorino cheese, is an absolute must-try.
Gallura Italian, Tweed Heads: Inspired by the Italian island town of Sardinia, Gallura offers a menu of traditional Sardinian specialties, with a few subtle twists and modern adaptations. Local seafood from the Tweed region shines bright here, with dishes like chargrilled local octopus with cannellini-bean crema, pickled green tomatoes, baby radish and nduja and Italian favourites like spaghetti vongole (clams) and a lemon-butter risotto with king prawns pulled straight from the Tweed.
Gemelli (Broadbeach) and Gemellini (Nobby Beach): If it’s nonna’s cooking you crave, then you can’t go wrong with these two traditional Italian siblings. Gemelli in Broadbeach is larger and armed with a more extensive menu, while Gemellini brings a more intimate vibe to Nobby Beach – both keep it simple and authentic, serving pizzas, handmade pastas and more. There’s also Roy’s by Gemelli in Sorrento – a neighbourhood trattoria serving loyal locals with hearty Italian fare.
Salt Meats Cheese, Surfers Paradise: Pizza, pasta, cheese, charcuterie, wine – this is where you’ll find all of life’s greatest pleasures under one roof. The gnocchi is divine, the baked cheese is an absolute must try, and famed cheese-wheel pasta is what dreams are made of. Oh, and don’t get us started on the authentic woodfired pizzas …
Osteria del Mare, Burleigh Heads: If you’ve been daydreaming of basking in the Amalfi Coast sunshine eating antipasto and sipping an Aperol spritz, then Italian eatery Osteria del Mare is probably the next best thing. Here you’ll find all of your Italian favourites like light and crispy pizzas, hand-cut pastas, salads, seafood, antipasto, delicious housemade desserts and more – all dished up just metres from Burleigh Beach.
Costa D’oro, Surfers Paradise: ‘Costa’ (as it’s known to locals) has been serving authentic Italian food from the same premises in Surfers Paradise since 1987. The family-owned and operated establishment prides itself on creating traditional Italian dishes using fresh Australian produce, with grass-fed veal and beef and local hormone-free chicken forming part of an impressive menu of classics. Don’t leave without experiencing the tiramisu.
Balboa Italian, Palm Beach: This multi-level dining spot brings a little piece of Italy to Palm Beach, and is well known by locals for its delicious woodfired pizzas and handmade pasta. A new menu has just dropped, featuring the likes of roasted-lamb cannelloni with black-truffle mushroom sauce – drool.
Mario’s Italian, Broadbeach: When a restaurant has been operating for nearly 30 years, you can assume they must have the formula right. Despite its facelift in 2017, Mario’s retained its history and charm, while elegantly stepping into the modern day. The menu spans from pizzas, to handmade pastas, Italian share plates and more – and it’s all best enjoyed with a well-made negroni in hand.
Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers, Southport: This dedicated gnoccheria won over hearts and stomachs in Brisbane for years before making the move south, setting up shop in Southport in early 2020. Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers specialises in authentic handmade Italian gnocchi, all made from scratch on site. The menu is kept intentionally simple with a choice of six gnocchi variations, plus sides and snacks like marinated olives, Italian salad, truffle-salted potato chips, and golden salt-and-pepper calamari. Save room for a cannoli, chased with some limoncello.
Italian Kitchen Company, Mermaid Beach: Dishing up delicious handmade pasta, traditional woodfired pizzas, antipasti, seafood, share plates and more, Italian Kitchen Company’s authentic menu gives a respectful (and mouth-watering) nod to owner and chef Robert Santoro’s Sicilian heritage. The casual Mermaid Beach eatery top spot for a family feast or date night, and has plenty of offerings for vegan and gluten-free diners.
Ioesco, Sanctuary Cove: If you’re a firm believer that Italian food is best enjoyed on the water’s edge, then Ioesco will certainly tick that box for you. Steeped in tradition, Ioesco has been delighting diners with its modern Italian fare for more than a decade – it’s well known for its true Italian hospitality and contemporary interpretations of classic Napoli cuisine.
The Don, Burleigh Heads: It didn’t take long for The Don to stake its claim as a bona-fide godfather (heh) of Italian cuisine on the Gold Coast. This casual neighbourhood eatery dishes up comforting eats inspired by various Italian regions, with authentic woodfired pizzas and handmade pastas in the spotlight. Be sure to try a chocolate negroni and thank us later!
Hunting for pizza and only pizza? Check out these top spots for pizza on the Gold Coast for a few ideas.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Gold Coast dining guide with more than 870 places to eat, drink, shop and play.