The recap – the best new Gold Coast restaurants, bars and cafes this month
Is it just us or does time seem to be flying by at an alarming pace? With so much of our mental energy looking to Christmas and New Year’s, it’s easy to miss some things that are happening right now, like exciting new openings for example. This month alone the Gold Coast has welcomed a bunch of new places – from new-old favourites to a world’s first immersive seltzer brewery. ICYMI, here is a quick round-up of the best new Gold Coast restaurants, bars and cafes from November.
FIZZ HQ, Burleigh Heads
Okay, we’re calling it, this is not only one of the month’s most exciting openings but one of the most exciting this year. The Gold Coast-born seltzer brand has unveiled its brand-new HQ in beautiful Burleigh Heads in what is being hailed the world’s first immersive seltzer brewery. Founded by a motley crew of Gold Coast locals including international DJs Paul Fisher, Brooke Evers and Tigerlilly, surfers Laura Enever and Nikki Van Dijk, celebrity chef Hayden Quinn, as well as hospitality heavyweights, Billy and Jackie Cross, Hard FIZZ is the by-product of the founders’ collective experience across music, surf, culture and booze internationally – so suffice to say they’ve got some big things brewing. For now, sippers can swing by and sip seltzer from the source alongside a selection of local craft brews and artisan spirit distillers. There’s also a tantalising turquoise-hued FIZZ flavoured cocktail collab with Mr Consistent. What else can we say other than let’s get fizzy.
Paloma, Burleigh Heads
Paloma is, in many respects, the opposite of Restaurant Labart. While the latter requires a booking well in advance and takes diners on a carefully curated journey with a five-course set menu, Paloma is the kind of place you can pop in on a whim for a pre-dinner wine, enjoy a relaxed snack or two, or settle in for a nightcap. The idea has been rattling around in Alex and Karla Munoz Labart’s minds for a couple of years, but it wasn’t until the space formerly occupied by Burleigh Bar & Bites on James Street popped up that the powerhouse pair decided to go all-in. Envisaged as a quaint neighbourhood wine bar, Paloma makes for a welcome addition to the precinct’s stellar line-up of drinking and dining spots. Hitting the sweet spot between sunset dips and post-dinner drinks, the spunky newcomer is positioned as a relaxed and welcoming space for patrons to discover new drops and savour small plates. As the name would suggest, Paloma Wine Bar is heavily focused on vino. An extensive (and we mean extensive) selection of by-the-glass wines means that visitors can linger a little while, and perhaps more importantly, step out of their go-to wine comfort zones (sorry, no Marlborough sauvignon blanc here) to discover new sips.
Aperitivo Cafe & Panini Bar, Currumbin
Located a quick sandy-footed dash from Currumbin Creek (and Winders Park), it’s highly likely you’ll smell Aperitivo Cafe & Panini Bar before you see it. The quaint weatherboard-clad house has been transformed into a light and bright cafe that specialises in takeaway bites that are best enjoyed sprawled out by the glistening water. The neighbourhood noshery is the handiwork of husband-and-wife duo Matteo and Liana Secci, who sought to create a community-centric cafe that delivers a little taste of Matteo’s homeland. If you time your visit right, the display cabinet is brimming with freshly made focaccia pugliese sitting pretty next to buttery, flaky croissants and pastries, authentic sfogliatelle handmade in Mermaid (if you know, you know) and pistachio-topped cannoli. The venue’s true specialty, however, is its panini-style sandwiches. Aperitivo Cafe & Panini Bar is unpretentious, full of heart and definitely one to add to your must-try list!
If the beachside suburb of Tugun is not yet on your culinary radar, it’s about to be. Lucia has completely transformed the former Craft House along Golden Four Drive into a Spanish-inspired tapas bar that sets the scene for long, leisurely lunches and spirited sundowners. Here to whisk you away to San Sebastian, the menu has been meticulously crafted by Lucia’s head chef, Lucas Biffi, to celebrate bold and authentic Spanish cuisine. Prepare your tastebuds for traditional appetisers such as patatas bravas and croquetas alongside porciones (portions) of vodka-soaked flamed chorizo, escabeche de pulpo (baby octopus marinated and cooked in extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, onion and garlic) and paella de la casa (traditional paella with king prawn, mussels, chicken, peas and roast capsicum). In true tapas style, there’s a social component to each of the dishes, which are best enjoyed with a chilled beverage in hand.
Agave Rosa, Kirra
Nestled next door to Kirra’s iconic Bread and Butter, Agave Rosa is a bright and bold new taqueria and sip spot that specialises in fresh, flavoursome and healthy Mexican-inspired fare with an Asian twist. We have the pleasure of visiting a lot of places, but Agave’s menu has us genuinely excited – think tuna sashimi-topped tostadas and hibachi-grilled wagyu with spicy yuzu miso sauce. Plus, any bar that offers four different margaritas that range from mild to wild, is definitely one after our own heart. Agave Rosa is Mexican, but not as you know it.
Apres Surf, Burleigh Heads
It was a sad day when Apres Surf was forced to close its doors in Mermaid Beach for the final time. Thankfully, the much-loved bar has opened the doors to a brand-new drink slinger underneath Ambience On Burleigh Beach (neighbouring Macro Kitchen, Goukai Ramen, Rabbath and Oh My Waffle). The new sip spot features plenty of throwbacks to its original incarnation giving it a kind of been-there-forever feel, which makes you feel instantly at ease. The menu has had a bit of a spruce, too, with burgers, parmas, pork katsu sandos, Nasi goreng and truffle fries among the selections. If you’re keen to get reacquainted with an old fave, rally the crew for a brew (or two) and check it out.
If you’ve been lingering around the coast long enough, it’s pretty likely you have a story that involves Panchos. The long-standing Mexican institution originally opened its doors in 1982 and is lovingly etched in memories as the backdrop for birthdays, celebrations and cerveza-filled get-togethers. If you too have fond memories, go ahead and loosen that belt buckle because Panchos is back, baby! The colourful cantina is turning the page on an exciting new chapter with locals Lachlan Cuskelly and Madeleine Norton at the helm. In addition to an exciting new menu, the pair have rejigged the layout to feature a vibin’ new beer garden as well as a gig room for live music. Oh, and they now have EFTPOS – hurrah!
Harris Farm Markets, Isle of Capri
In news that will thrill local-produce procurers, gourmands and turophiles, the family-owned-and-operated Harris Farm Markets has opened its first store on the Gold Coast. If you’ve not yet had the pleasure of visiting one of their markets, allow us – it’s an epicurean wonderland of the freshest fruit and veg from local farmers, a grocery section brimming with boutique and locally made products, a dedicated cheese boardwalk that features more than 400 cheeses (not a typo), a premium butcher and a fish market brimming with the freshest selection of wild barramundi from Far North Cairns and Great Barrier Reef coral trout, as well as fresh tiger prawns from local waters, just in time for summer. As if that’s not enough deliciousness, Byron Bay and Tweed Heads’ Bread Social is also part of the venue’s cornerstone offering with an impossible-to-resist array of baked goods for you to devour daily. Did we mention self-serve nut butter stations as well as milk and honey on tap?
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Gold Coast dining guide with more than 870 places to eat, drink, shop and play.