Winner: Rick Shores
Boasting a supreme oceanfront location overlooking the iconic Burleigh beach (right below Burleigh Pavilion), Rick Shores is a clear local favourite, receiving the most votes in the EAT/drink Awards 2019 for the Gold Coast’s best restaurant. Chef James Brady oversees Rick Shores’ Pan-Asian-influenced menu that takes diners on a culinary journey through the land and sea. From the iconic fried-bug roll to the West Australian octopus grilled over coal and the signature curries, Rick Shores offers the ultimate eating experience – and the views are a bonus.
Simon Gloftis’ Greek dining spot Hellenika was hot on Rick Shores’ heels in the running for the coast’s best restaurant accolade. The Nobby Beach institution underwent a transformation in late 2017, revealing a fresh new aesthetic downstairs, as well as the addition of the rooftop Bar Hellenika. The Hellenika kitchen is driven by quality produce, with fresh seafood flown in daily featuring heavily on the menu. The 110-seat Greek restaurant has certainly earned its stripes as one of the Gold Coast’s best restaurants.
Cutting-edge Japanese dining space Kiyomi is one of the culinary jewels in the crown of The Star Gold Coast. Internationally renowned executive head chef Chase Kojima oversees Kiyomi’s authentic and innovative offering, taking Japanese cuisine to dizzying new heights. From fresh sashimi and intricate sushi creations, to caviar, binchotan delights and izakaya-style creations, a night out at Kiyomi is a must-do.
Modelled off the bustling izakayas found in Japan, Etsu Izakaya in Mermaid Beach has perfected the art of traditional Japanese cuisine whilst giving it an undeniably cool (and delicious) modern spin. It’s loud, it’s fun and the robata grills are searing until late at night. Plus, there’s an enviable collection of Japanese whisky and sake, and a quality list of cocktails.
The North Room
Since arriving on the city’s dining scene in mid-2017, this relaxed 28-seater has garnered a loyal following with its menu of refined share plates, superb wine list and relaxed vibe. Owner and chef Tim Stewart presents an ever-changing menu driven by the best local produce he can get his hands on to ensure diners are intrigued and delighted, visit after visit. The North Room is ideal for date nights, group gatherings or solo bar snacks (and sips).
Tucked in along the Gold Coast Highway in Mermaid Beach, this quaint neighbourhood bistro is armed with a woodfired oven, a horseshoe-shaped cocktail bar and a menu that’s all about good, honest food. It’s a real family affair here, with father-and-son duo Brad and Harry Pearce in the kitchen creating share-style eats and snacks, including favourites like house chicken-liver pate on toast, and the woodfired chorizo and white beans. You can always count on Lupo for new and exciting natural wines, too.
This is where you’ll find Vietnamese at its best. Locals fell head over heels for Jimmy back in 2016, and the love affair is stronger than ever as the sleek Burleigh Heads dining spot continues to delight diners with its modern Vietnamese fare. From banh mi rolls brimming with soft-shell crab to beef short-rib steam buns, dumplings and Vietnamese pancakes, Jimmy Wah’s delivers a flavour-packed experience.
The Fish House
A specialty seafood restaurant in its purest form, The Fish House offers one of the Gold Coast’s most renowned fine-dining experiences. With pristine views over Burleigh Beach, The Fish House is all about fresh seafood, with premium catches flown in daily to form part of a perfectly curated menu.
Social Eating House + Bar
Tucked beneath The Oracle Boulevard in Broadbeach, Social Eating House is a favourite among locals who enjoy fine dining in casual atmosphere. Grab a seat at the bar for cocktails, charcuterie and snacks, or settle in for a relaxed dining experience with a progression of share plates from chef Matthew Jefferson and the team.
Mamasan Kitchen + Bar
Also located in The Oracle, Mamasan Kitchen + Bar puts a modern lean on traditional South East Asian cuisine, with renowned chef Ray Choi crafting a menu that covers everything from small bites though to banquet-style feasts. Mamasan also shakes up a delicious range of specialty cocktails and offers an extensive selection of international wines, beer, spirits and sake.
Best New Restaurant: Restaurant Labart
Sydney chef Alex Munoz Labart’s flagship Gold Coast restaurant has been turning heads since it opened in mid-2018. Located in Burleigh Heads, the 60-seat Restaurant Labart takes a refreshing step away from formality, with its ever-changing menu circled around sustainability, seasonality and simplicity. The food is underscored by a polished cellar list featuring both smaller Australian producers and notable international winemakers, while giving a respectful nod to biodynamic and natural varieties. Labart has quickly become a local favourite.
Eddy + Wolff
While many of the coast’s top dining spots enjoy high-traffic coastal locations, Eddy + Wolff has created its hefty following from the backstreets of Robina. The hidden Asian-style eatery and bar, a new venture from the owners of Can Tho Kitchen + Bar in Runaway Bay, is all about bar snacks, barbecued bites and share plates. The menu at this 22-seater sure packs a punch, joined by a fun list of Asian-inspired cocktails, Australian wines, Japanese whisky and more.
Jafa Restaurant & Bar
The Gold Coast sure has a penchant for small, family-run restaurants. This humble pizzeria and wine bar, which emits a true neighbourhood vibe from its digs along Southport’s Ferry Road, is the brainchild of ex-Nobu Melbourne chef Michael Hopkinson, who set out to bring quality food, great wine and a good dose of personality to the city’s northern end. You’ll find it bustling with locals any night of the week, with its pizzas, snacks, share dishes and list of sweet puddings proving popular.
You can view the full list of category winners from the EAT/drink Awards 2019 over here.