The Gold Coast has everything to tempt your taste buds, writes Jessica Wynne Lockhart
Much like New Zealand's food scene, Australian cuisine can be difficult to define. That's why it may come as a surprise to learn that Australia is one of the top-ranked food destinations in the world. According to research conducted by Tourism Australia, visitors who have been to the country rate it second only to France for its food and wine experiences, and ahead of Italy.
The Gold Coast is one of the best places to experience this. While the southeast Queensland city might have once been known for its greasy takeaway shops, it's developing its own culinary identity. Now a foodie destination, the Gold Coast is known for its fresh local seafood and produce, and its whopping 16 "hatted" restaurants. With more than 500 restaurants and cafes (a number that doesn't even account for the breweries and wineries scattered through the region), there's no shortage of options for any occasion.
Here are just seven of the most popular places to sample everything the Gold Coast has to offer.
1. For cocktails bigger than your head: Hyde Paradiso
With locations in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, and appearances on shows such as Keeping Up with The Kardashians, it was incredibly fitting that American brand Hyde chose to open its first Australian outpost in glitzy Surfers Paradise in 2019. Every weekend, Hyde Paradiso takes full advantage of its seaside location with its beachside brunch (Chandon included, naturally), while the rest of the days of the week, it's the place to go for cocktails and tapas. Don't miss: Hyde's magnum and jeroboam-sized champagne and rosé options. sbe.com/nightlife/hyde/paradiso
2. For dinner and a show: Restaurant Labart
It was the Gold Coast's laidback lifestyle that beckoned acclaimed Sydney chef Alex Munzo to open his first solo venture in the seaside suburb of Burleigh Heads: Restaurant Labart. With just 60 seats, dining here is an intimate experience, where the set-course dinner menu focuses on everything sustainable and seasonal. It changes regularly, but you can anticipate dishes such as candy melon and Queensland scallops served with kumquat, or king oyster mushrooms with anchovy cream — all are served direct from the open kitchen with two Japanese barbecues. restaurantlabart.com
3. For the ultimate lunch: Miss Moneypenny's
Miss Moneypenny's opened in Broadbeach in only 2019, but in no short order it's gained both fans and accolades. In 2021, it was awarded a "hat" by the prestigious Australian Good Food Guide. There's an a la carte menu available seven days a week but the locals head here for a midday meal. Miss Moneypenny's Sunday afternoon "bottomless lunches" include a choice of two set menus and free-flowing cocktails, spritzers, beer, wine and sparkling beverages. On Friday and Saturdays, its "luxe lunches" pair premium champagne with seafood dishes, such as its signature Singapore chilli and truffle mud crab. Bookings are essential. missmoneypennysbroadbeach.com/
4. For award-winning pastries: The Paddock Bakery
You'll want to arrive early to score a seat at the Paddock Bakery in Burleigh Heads. Housed in a once-abandoned Queenslander villa, this popular breakfast spot is more than just a bakery — it's the most-awarded breakfast cafe on the coast. Not to be missed is the BLT sandwich, made with fresh wood-fired sourdough and hot streaky bacon, or the house made Jerusalem bagels, topped with herbed cream cheese. paddockbakery.com/
5. For your sweet tooth: Custard Canteen
There are plenty of drool-worthy breakfast and lunch dishes on the menu at Custard Canteen, but it would be a serious mistake not to leave room for the cafe's namesake: pastel de nata, or Portuguese custard tarts. Batched every 30 minutes — ensuring you'll always get a fresh one — these sweet puff pastry and yolky custard treats are made on-site daily. Custard Canteen is open daily from 6am and can be found in front of the Gold Coast Recreation Centre in Tallebudgera Creek.custardcanteen.com/
6. For award-winning beer: Black Hops Brewery
With two locations on the Gold Coast — the original brewery in Burleigh, and a newer taproom in Biggera Waters — a visit to Black Hops Brewery is a must for any craft beer enthusiast. Since opening its doors in 2016 after a successful crowdfunding campaign, the brewery has won five gold medals at the Australian International Beer Awards, and has its brews served in more than 1000 venues and bottle shops across Australia. Both locations are family-friendly, with on-site food trucks on weekends rounding out the experience. blackhops.com.au/
7. For proximity to a playground: Dune Cafe
Families ready to feast couldn't ask for a better location. Set in the Palm Beach Parklands and overlooking the Currumbin Lagoon, Dune Cafe is just a short hop from the Pirate Park, a favourite with local kids and their parents alike. (If the name doesn't give it away, it's a pirate-themed playground.) Dune's food, though, is the hidden treasure, so to speak. It includes a dedicated kids' menu with pint-sized pancakes, alongside adult-sized smoothies, bowls, and burgers. dunecafe.com.au/
CHECKLIST: GOLD COAST
For Gold Coast holiday packages, go to myqueensland.co.nz