The Gold Coast is a melting pot of different people from different places, and there’s nowhere that our diversity is more apparent than our impressive menu of culture cuisines. Take a trip around the world with these selections.
Venture to Vietnam, but still stay close to home, with these picks from around the Gold Coast! Lovers of authentic Vietnamese food can’t go wrong at Southport’s Quan 55, with its traditional menu offerings and impressive selection of delectable cocktails (the Viet Slip is our personal favourite). Vietnamese gets a modern twist at Burleigh hotspot Jimmy Wah’s. Their bursting bao buns and crispy spring rolls are just a few of the reasons why Burleigh locals and visitors love this spot so much, and the atmosphere on a Saturday night is as tantalising as the sticky pork belly on the menu – so much so that it lingers on throughout Sunday during their popular banquet. And, at Can Tho in Runaway Bay, you can tuck into your soft shell crab or rice paper rolls knowing they’re the real deal, the product of owners Vien and Thao’s childhoods in Vietnam.
Thai restaurants have become a staple in just about every Queensland suburb, and the Gold Coast is no different – there are hundreds on offer between Yatala and Coolangatta, so picking only three was quite the challenge. In Broadbeach, Chiangmai Thai Restaurant always draws a crowd for their authentic, flavoursome menu of traditional Thai dishes. Down the southern end of the city, Lam Lam Delicate Thai at Coolangatta is always a good option whether you’re dining in or taking away. Though it may be small – it’s hard to find if you’re not from the local area – Lam Lam’s commitment to serving up good, honest food will transport you to Thailand with one mouthful. And, if its quality Thai food in a quintessential Gold Coast setting that you’re after, you can’t go past Hope Island’s House of Siam – perched on the boardwalk overlooking the marina, the view is almost as good as the food itself.
If there’s one thing the Gold Coast does exceptionally well, it’s Japanese. There are so many places to wine and dine in Japanese style that it was tough to narrow down just a few, but it goes without saying that Mermaid Beach’s Etsu Izakaya couldn’t be left off the list. The impressive menu of Japanese share-plates and cool atmosphere are what keep customers coming back through its outwardly unassuming barn doors, and the owners have continued to expand their business with various food-focused ventures around town. Quirk meets quality at Yamagen, QT Hotel’s funky Japanese restaurant with a killer cocktail list that perfectly complements the share-plate style menu crafted by talented executive chef, Adam Lane. But, if you’re after a more low-key spot to dine on sashimi and miso soup, Currumbin Waters’ Zipang offers an authentic menu of Japanese favourites in a casual, friendly setting.
Good Italian food can be recognised by its fresh ingredients, kept simple to maximise the flavour of each individual element – and that’s exactly how you could describe the food at Mario’s. This Broadbeach icon has gained its reputation for serving up delicious Italian with a smile and is particularly popular for families seeking excellent value. On the other end of the spectrum, Burleigh’s funky Justin Lane has become a local favourite, dishing up award-winning pizza and pasta with a side of good vibes, particularly when eaten in the rooftop dining area. Back north at Nobby Beach, Gemellini certainly lives up to its ‘Italian at its best’ tagline. Enjoy handmade pasta, woodfired pizza and the best Italian wine, the product of both local and Italian-imported ingredients and generations of Italian cooking.
Australia has had a love-affair with American dining for decades, but only recently has the Gold Coast started to see more variety than the typical (we mean, classic) burger and fries. From Manhattan Island to Chevron Island, Tribeca NYC nails the New York-inspired menu. The space itself has notes of New York flair, but it’s offerings like the Oysters Kilpatrick and the pork ribs that will send you straight to the Big Apple. The Marina Mirage’s new seafood offering, King Crab Co, is a nod to the crab and seafood delicacies that are particularly popular in the north-east of the United States. Don a bib and prepare to get your hands dirty as you munch your way through the menu and Oyster Bar.Or, in funky Mermaid Beach, you can get your hands dirty in a different way – sampling the menu of saucy, juicy offerings at Easy Street Diner. With classics like pork belly nuggets, onion rings and every burger combo you can imagine, this is the place to go if you’re in need of a little southern hospitality.
Maybe it’s the temperate climate and the seaside locale that we both share, but for some reason, Mexican cuisine has really found its home on the Gold Coast. MexiCali at Nobby Beach is the obvious choice if you’re after full-on flavour tacos washed down with a blueberry and lychee margarita jug in a rooftop bar setting – you’ll be able to spot it by its iconic blue, pink and white wall art. Palm Beach’s Frida Sol serves up as much colour and intrigue as its namesake – the great Frida Kahlo, obviously – and its menu is no different. And, if you’re thinking that Frida Sol is reminiscent of another popular GC Mexican restaurant, Bonita Bonita, you’d be right – the genius behind Bonita Bonita (and heaps of your other favourite Goldy food spots) helped the Frida team with their fit-out, and it certainly shows. But, if you’re after something a little more low-key, Burleigh’s hidden gem California Tacos plates up award-winning Tijuana- inspired cuisine every day from 11 am. Post-surf shrimp taco, anyone?
Bring it back home with a sample of delicacies from our own backyard.
We’re not talking bug rolls at Rick Shores (although we could always go a few of them) – we’re talking true blue Aussie classics that will have you saying ‘strewth’ before you can polish off your schooner. It doesn’t get more Australian than a surf club, and the Gold Coast is home to dozens of them. You’ll find one in just about every coastal suburb and are always guaranteed to get a good deal on a jug of beer and a chicken parmy. If you want something a little bit unique, Apres Surf in Mermaid Beach bleeds Aussie surf culture, serving up a diverse menu of multi-culturally inspired dishes and, of course, ice-cold beer. What more could you want? An esky of oysters and a Bunnings-inspired sanga? Then you better head to Rosella’s, Burleigh’s latest Aussie bar. Australiana meets childhood nostalgia in this quirky watering hole, which has quickly become the talk of the town. Fair dinkum!