Whether it's tempura king prawns at Tweed Heads, or a Cuban beef sandwich in cosmopolitan Broadbeach, the culinary offerings of the Gold Coast have changed over time.
Many more international cuisines are on offer, with plenty of restaurants gaining deserved widespread attention. Decors have developed and menus matured to provide a much more lively experience than the old "surf and turf with a schooner" fare of yesteryear.
Sitting right by the beach in Coolangatta, Bellakai, is the perfect spot to sit with a cold drink and watch the illuminated high-rises sparkle in the distance. The Seafood Tasting Plate is their signature dish and being this close to the ocean, you simply can't go wrong with kaimoana - their tempura king prawns are seriously good. That said, they do serve a good steak and you can even choose between Aussie beef and kangaroo.
Run by British-born executive chef Steve Szabo, Seaduction hovers just above the Esplanade on the first floor of the massive Soul residential building. It boasts numerous awards and an incredible menu. The clams are the most popular entree for a very good reason and the wagyu beef is succulent and stylishly presented, served with three mustards and a red wine jus. Dessert is as opulent as the hotel lobby so don't skip it. The service is exceptional and the knowledgeable staff are adept at matching wine to your food, so relax, trust and enjoy.
A German-owned restaurant offering "subway style" Italian food in Australia. It's a little strange at first, but once you're familiar with it you realise why it's so popular. Personal chefs cook your pasta or pizza directly in front of you to your specifications. There's an impressive array of pasta types available and plenty of fresh herbs. My chicken fettuccine had just the right amount of chilli and it went down very well with a Stone and Wood pale ale, native to Byron Bay.
It's warm enough to be the Caribbean and it's right by the beach - why shouldn't there be a bit of Cuban culture on the Gold Coast? With flavours inspired by Latin America, Spain and the Caribbean, The Cuban is a slice of Havana in Broadbeach. Situated on the ground floor of the Oracle building, it's the place to go for paellas, mojitos and real cuban coffee. I had a Cuban beef sandwich, naturally, but the stuffed red bell pepper, or Fidel's Missile, looks dangerous.