If it’s authentic Japanese you seek, Itoshin in Mermaid Beach is where you will find it. Unassuming from the outside, it’s one of those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it places on the Gold Coast Highway at Mermaid Beach but the food here is anything but. Make your way through the cloth curtain and into the comfortable dining area that offers both traditional as well as Western seating options. Once settled, order a plate of the venue’s melt-in-your-mouth sashimi as you make your way through the a la carte menu that is filled with everything from tasty tempura to teriyaki as well as some of the freshest sushi you’ll find. If you’re really up for an authentic Japanese dining experience, order one of the bubbling hot pots, where you actually cook your meal at the table. The Itoshin Nabe is the venue’s signature dish and is the most popular among devoted regulars and includes thinly sliced beef sirloin, pork belly, diced chicken, tiger prawn, oyster, fish, scallop, chicken and duck meatball and vegetables in rich chicken stock. Wash it down with an Asahi or Orion beer on tap or get a little adventurous with the sake trio and you have yourself a damn fine dining experience. Itoshin in Mermaid Beach undoubtedly falls into the category of a true local gem.