Top 15 eateries on the Gold Coast every foodie must try

Loretta

When someone says Gold Coast, we automatically think Surfers Paradise and the crazy party scene. That was my impression anyway, so when my new boyfriend broke the news to me that he was moving to the Gold Coast I was devastated, not only because he was leaving Melbourne but because we both loved food and all our dates were centred around trying new places. The Gold Coast food scene wasn't something two Melbourne food snobs thought existed.

Luckily we were wrong, very wrong. The Gold Coast food scene is booming, and over the last 15 months we have eaten our way around many fantastic haunts. The only downside, it's become a bit like Melbourne, there are so many new places to try, it is hard to keep up.

Here are my top 15 eateries on the Gold Coast (outside Surface Paradise):

1. Elk Espresso - Broadbeach

I would have to say that Elk Espresso is one of the best cafes on the Coast for breakfast. The GC has a long way to go in competing with Melbourne on the breakfast front (brunch for us late Melbourne risers) but Elk is definitely on par. It's also why they experience Melbourne wait times on the weekends... you'll just have to sit in the sun and drink coffee while you wait for a table. The food is fresh and plentiful, you'll leave completely satisfied.

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2. Garden Kitchen & Bar - Broadbeach

It wouldn't be the Gold Coast if I didn't throw in a casino venue. Jupiters is going through a multi-million dollar transformation and one of the latest new food haunts to open is Garden Kitchen & Bar. I've only been there for after work drinks and can happily say it's the perfect place to wind down after a long week. It's interior is beautiful and on the outside, the extensive lawn invites you to chill out in a bean bag and sip cocktails long into the evening.

3. Skull & Bones Espresso - Mermaid Beach

If you're looking to grab a quick bite to eat, look no further than Skull & Bones Espresso for yummy bagels and good coffee. There's a huge selection of bagel fillings and all day breakfast to keep you going. I like to keep it simple with a GF mascarpone, berry and pistachio bagel. My advice, get takeaway and go sit on the beach and enjoy the sunshine.

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4. Easy Street Diner - Mermaid Beach

If you're a Melbourne hipster missing your Collingwood haunts, the Gold Coast dishes up its own Easy Street Diner. It might not be in an old tram car on top of a building but you will find groups hipsters seated in booths and all your American diner favourites - burgers, buffalo wings, cheesy fries and milkshakes. The only issue I have with Easy Street Diner is that it backs onto our favourite yoga studio and the smell of burgers drifting in during savasana is pretty hard to resist.

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5. Bam Bam Bakehouse - Mermaid Beach

Going to anywhere with the word 'bakehouse' in it is very dangerous for me. I love bread, I love pastries and I love cake BUT I am highly gluten intolerant. Luckily, I went to Bam Bam Bakehouse with my gluten taste tester boyfriend and watched him devour a beautiful pastry after we had a really yummy brunch (they have GF bread too). He assured me the pastry was as good as it looked. Get in early so you don't miss out on their famous croissants.

6. Etsu Izakaya - Mermaid Beach

If you're familiar with Melbourne's Izakaya Den then you'll LOVE Etsu Izakaya. What lies behind a large red door will take you by surprise. This very hip Japanese eatery has it all. We sat down the end and watched the chefs impressive skills in the kitchen. The food is incredible, and of course the sashimi menu is impressive. The charcoal grill offers up perfectly cooked Kushiyaki, we went back for seconds of the pork belly - I'm still thinking about it now!

7. Alfred's Diner - Mermaid Beach

After a tip-off from a local who said Alfred's Diner was the best coffee on the GC, on my last visit we went for a very early morning walk down the beach in a desperate search for coffee (warning the sun is up by 5am). Thankfully, Alfred's lived up to its reputation. We looked at the menu and ended up having breakfast there, cheap and delicious! We no longer have to drive past and wonder what it's like, this is our new local! Tip: BYO your own KeepCup even if you're dining in.

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8. Hellenika - Nobby Beach

As a foodie, I'm really lucky to call Nobby Beach my second home - It's not short on good food, and Hellenika is no exception. If you love Greek food, then Hellenika is for you. It's said to be the best on the Coast and rightly so. I don't think I've ever had better lamb cutlets in my life. With seats at the bar, it's the perfect date night spot, but if you're embracing your inner Greek and bringing the whole family, you can't go past Sunday lunch. Be sure to book!

9. Gemellini - Nobby Beach

I got very excited when I saw another food venue fit out in an empty Nobby's shop. I was even more excited when an incredibly beautiful Italian restaurant opened. Gemellini is a place that I miss when I am back in Melbourne.

Not only is the restaurant beautiful, the food is to die for AND they have plenty of GF options (including pizza) to keep me coming back for more. If you're a bit like us and want good food but also want a night in watching Netflix, Gemellini's conveniently offers takeaway and delivery. Bellissimo!

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10. MexiCali - Nobby Beach

If you're after cheap eats (especially on taco Tuesday) then you'll love MexiCali. Fresh, good honest Mexican food in a bright fun setting. It's easy to chill out on the deck drinking Coronas (or in my case Negra Modelo and margaritas) and slip into the evening.

MexiCali is very popular with the locals so it's wise to book, but if you have to wait, no problema, head down for a few cheeky pre dinner cocktail at the very hip The Cambus Wallace or if craft beer is your jam, head to the local hangout, Bine Bar & Dinning.

11. Sparrow Eating House - Nobby Beach

The owners of Elk Espresso make it easy to transition from day-to-night with their Nobby's local, Sparrow Eating House. We first stumbled upon this little gem when we thought we could get a walk-in table at Hellenika (rookie mistake). Sparrow is funky with its geometric decor, and delivers fresh seasonal food with plenty of GF options. On Wednesdays they do couples nights - 4 dishes for $50, amazing value and you can select anything off the menu including dessert. I completely forgot about ordering GF on my last visit and we shared the misty chocolate terrarium #noregrets.

12. Paddock Bakery - Miami

If Bam Bam Bakehouse left you wanting more, the owners have another venue to satisfy your artisan bread craving, Paddock Bakery. The beautiful rustic setting would make it easy to settle in for a lazy lunch. We've only ducked in for a quick takeaway coffee and a sweet treat - thankfully their gluten-free brownie kept me from feeling like I was missing out. It's top of my list for a lazy lunch next visit.

13. Marketta - Miami

If you're on the Coast on a Wednesday, Friday or Saturday night, join the locals at Marketta night markets. The markets host a great selection of food stalls (including a whole sweet section with the biggest lamingtons I've ever seen), a couple of bars and live music. This is the place to be for all ages and like any good foodie markets, you can eat and drink your way around it. They also attract well known bands to entertain the crowds, check the line up when you're next in town.

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14. Black Hops Brewing Taproom - Burleigh Heads

Ok ok, this isn't an eatery but with all this eating, you're probably a little parched. Black Hops is the creation of a few local lads who one day sat down for a few beers and dreamed up an eggnog stout. Like many good ideas over a few beers, they never thought it would go anywhere, but it did and eggnog stout soon became a reality.

I came across Black Hops when I was researching crowdfunding earlier this year. They are the first craft brewery to crowdfund in Australia and after a very successful campaign, they've opened their own taproom. The modest taproom has eight of their beers on tap, including the eggnog stout (which I am in love with), there's plenty of outdoor space to chill out and have a few beers in the sun... tough life I know!

15. Warehouse No.5 - Burleigh Heads

There are so many great places in Burleigh to explore but when work calls, there's one place that I love to head to, that's Warehouse No.5. It's a space where creatives, digital nomads and business folk gather under the one roof to work side-by-side. Not only is the space inspiring, it serves up really good coffee to fuel the creative juices. They also offer a healthy selection of salads, sandwiches and raw cakes to keep energy levels up.

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This was a hard list to write, there are so many more I could add. If there's a venue you love and think I should try next time I'm up there, contact me.