Food and views seem to be part and parcel of the Gold Coast gastronomy scene. Thankfully, the fare is as top-notch as the vistas on Queensland’s most famous stretch of coastline.
So, whether you’re in the mood for classic pub fare with a side of glistening ocean or a sky-high foodie experience over lush hinterland, here are the best Gold Coast restaurants with a view.
Burleigh Pavilion, Burleigh Beach
It wouldn’t be a Gold Coast restaurant round-up without mentioning this multi-venue institution. Even sunny winter days feel like summer with a platter of locally sourced seafood or one of the delicious woodfired pizzas. Take your meal out on the terrace and enjoy your lunch or dinner with nothing but beach ahead. If the weather’s warm enough, you can step straight onto the sand and back again for a post-swim sundowner.
The Tropic, Burleigh Beach
For the same views, but fancier fare (think: kingfish tartare and lobster frites), more discerning diners should book a table at the other on-site eatery, The Tropic. The kitchen is run by Guilliame Zika, formerly of the Michelin-starred Per Se in New York and Hibiscus in London. The glistening water views will have you wanting to stay a while - and you can, with a bottomless brunch held here on the last Saturday of every month.
Justin Lane, Burleigh
Pizza parties never looked so good. Just a short stroll up from Burleigh Pavilion is another star of the local foodie scene and the place to go for classic Italian. Do as the locals do and make tracks for Justin Lane, where you can eat your way through Napoli-style pizzas and house-made pastas, and stay for the water views - just make sure you ask for one of the booths on the rooftop when you book. The venue is a popular hangout on Sundays, which are often accompanied by live music. If you’re keen to stay a while, best to order off the ‘Feed Me’ menu and graze on antipasti and a selection of the kitchen’s pizza and pasta favourites.
Glass Dining & Lounge, Main Beach
Glass Dining & Lounge is surely one of the best spots for lunch with a water view on the Gold Coast. Located on the ground floor of the Marina Mirage, Glass exudes that luxury-meets-relaxed-coastal vibe. Views of glistening yachts bobbing on the water can only be paired with high-end Mediterranean tapas, including fresh lemon oysters or creamy burrata accompanied by tart fig and salty prosciutto. If you don’t feel like sharing (understandable), it’s hard to go past the Moreton Bay bugs with garlic, chilli and lemon butter, or the wagyu rump with red wine jus. If the call of the sea is too much to ignore, Glass also offers boat catering so you can combine your lunch with a little sightseeing.
Still enjoying those Broadwater views? You won’t have to travel far for dinner. A five-minute stroll from Glass Dining & Lounge will have you at Ladybird. Dinner here is best shared, with gyoza and crab bao sitting comfortably on the menu beside one-kilogram slow cooked beef brisket (accompanied by the best crispy duck fat potatoes you’re likely to taste on the coast). There’s plenty of food to help you balance out the extensive, inventive Asian-fusion cocktail list - the perfect way to toast harbour views.
Rick Shores, Burleigh Heads
A mainstay on any list of best restaurants on the Gold Coast, Rick Shores is a memorable dining experience to boot. Perched on the edge of Burleigh Heads, few water views are as impressive than the ones through the venue’s floor-to-ceiling windows. Take in the sweeping views back to Burleigh Beach as you feast on Pan-Asian delights such as lobster and garlic chive dumpling with black vinegar, and braised lamb shoulder rendang accompanied by cooling green papaya, coconut, and mint.
The Exhibitionist Bar at HOTA
Combine lunch with a side of art and incredible panoramic views at The Exhibitionist Bar in the Gold Coast’s arts and culture precinct, Home of the Arts (HOTA). Located on the rooftop of the HOTA Gallery, The Exhibitionist Bar is an ideal way to cap off a day or afternoon browsing the art (and the markets, if you’re here on a Sunday). Order a charcuterie board or other casual bar bites - think sliders, fries, and salads - and drink in the sweeping vistas of the surrounding parklands to Surfers Paradise. The bar is open late from Wednesday to Sunday, which means you can linger for an iconic Gold Coast sunset with a drink from the creative cocktail menu, which changes according to whatever major exhibition is on in the gallery below.
Mr PPs, Southport
Philip Palmer Agnew was Southport’s first post and telegraph manager, as well as an actor, playwright, illustrator, and photographer. He may not have a clue that his name is now attached to one of the most popular rooftop hangouts in Southport, but his legacy for creativity is alive and well here. Take the stairs straight to the sun-drenched rooftop, which offers more urban than ocean views, but is an ideal spot for soaking up the famed GC sunshine and good vibes. All that Vitamin D is sure to work up an appetite and there’ll be something on the Italian menu (dotted with a few of Mr PPs drawings and poems) to appeal, though it’s hard to go past the fresh antipasti platters and a glass Mr PP’s Breakfast: gin, St Germain, lime marmalade and lime juice.
O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards, Canungra
It can be hard to tear yourself from golden sands and endless ocean, but the Gold Coast hinterland is a sight to behold. One of the best ways to experience it is with a picnic spread at Canungra Valley Vineyards. It’s easy to while away a day here relaxing in the lush surroundings, touring the vineyards, and saying hi to the resident alpacas. After exploring the surroundings pick a spot along Canungra Creek to enjoy your spread of cold meats (vegan options available), salads, antipasto, ice-cream… and probably a post-lunch nap.
St Bernard’s Hotel, Mount Tamborine
Nowhere will you find more breathtaking hinterland views (and friendly St Bernards) than atop Mount Tambourine at St Bernard’s Hotel. Looking as though it’s been lifted from a sleepy British village, the hotel attracts daytime crowds all year round for the panoramas to be enjoyed from the restaurant. The terrace seems suspended directly above the Guanaba Gorge with views out to the northern parts of the Gold Coast and on to Stradbroke Island. It tends to be a few degrees colder here than on ground level, so bring some extra layers so you can make the most of those views and a classic British pub menu that includes Guinness pies and steak and chips.
Surfers Pavilion, Surfers Paradise
Since opening its doors a year ago, Surfers Pavilion has fast become a local favourite. Located right in the hub of Surfers, the Pavilion is the epitome of chic coastal vibes. Bright and airy interiors take full advantage of the 300-ish sunny days a year, while panoramic windows made it hard to miss Nerang River views, which are best enjoyed on the terrace with a drink and seafood platter, burger or salad. Feeling fancy? Treat yourself to a couple of other local favourites: Frosé (frozen rosé) and a plate of freshly shucked oysters from the Pav’s dedicated oyster bar. Oceanside dining doesn’t come fresher than that.
Palm Beach Surf Club, Palm Beach
Beachside eats don’t come as casual as lunch at Palm Beach Surf Club. The breezy bistro is open seven days a week and serves Aussie classics including chicken ‘parmy’ (parmigiana), grilled barramundi and ‘surf and turf’ (steak and prawns for the uninitiated). As for the views? As they say here, wherever you are in the club, ‘the big blue will find you’. That said, a seat on the terrace takes full advantage of the absolute beachfront ahead, so close you’ll be tempted to just jump straight in off the deck. The best part? Operations go to support the local surf life-saving club.
Seascape Restaurant, Surfers Paradise
Overlooking the always buzzing Surfers Esplanade, Seascape offers three dining options to choose from, each with incredible ocean views. Stay on ground level for casual bistro fare or take your dining experience up a level - literally - in the sit-down restaurant on level two, famed for its six fresh fish options, available daily. For some respite from the crowds, head up to the bar for small bites, Aussie beers and a prime seat to witness the action of Soul Boardwalk below.
La Luna, Broadwater
La Luna opened the doors to its waterfront restaurant earlier this year, bringing a touch of Greek Island luxe to Broadwater. Fresh, white interiors let the water views steal the show here. Ocean gazing goes well with grazing - on a Greek-inspired menu featuring a cold bar of oysters and Moreton Bay bugs and the like, and mains such as Souvlaki crispy chicken, and grilled ocean trout with creamed leek, fennel and citrus salad. The only thing missing from this Greek Island experience is a beach club, but you won’t have long to wait – the on-site beach club is opening its doors later this year.
Hyde Paradiso, Surfers Paradise
You’ll find Hyde at Peppers Soul hotel, a beachside spot with Miami-cool interiors and a seemingly endless party vibe, making it a great spot to start or toast the end of your Gold Coast trip. The Weekend Brunch with two hours of unlimited drinks and Mediterranean tapas draws the crowds, and they’re also open early for brekkie if you prefer to enjoy those uninterrupted beach views without the crowds.