This Ferry Road dining spot was named runner-up in The Weekend Edition’s 2019 EAT/drink Awards Best New Restaurant category – and for good reason. Owned and operated by ex-Nobu Melbourne chef Michael Hopkinson, Jafa is well known for its top-notch pizzas, share plates, killer wine collection, delectable sweet puddings, and its genuine neighbourhood vibe.
Mr PP’s Rooftop Deli and Bar
The tale of Mr PP certainly lives on within the walls of this popular rooftop bar and deli. It’s best to work your way though the menu with a cocktail in hand – you’ll be choosing from its signature pizzas, moreish pastas and tasty seasonal salads. Whatever you order, just be sure to start with the spicy ‘nduja meatballs, and throw a bowl of truffle fries on the side. Mr PP’s is located right at the tram stop, too – so you can stay for more than one negroni.
Those that love traditional Japanese cuisine can experience it without the plane ticket at Goto. Chef and owner Kozo Mitsuyama is in the kitchen delivering a menu that is heavily driven by trawler-fresh seafood and local produce, with colourful sashimi platters and intricate sushi creations headlining the offering alongside smaller bites like crispy karaage chicken, agedashi tofu and authentic ‘champon’ noodles – a regional dish from Kozo’s native Nagasaki.
Carmody’s Restaurant & Bar
Keen for a night away from the kitchen? Let chef Nathan Hay take you (and your tastebuds) on a journey. With a passionate lean toward organic, local and sustainable produce, the Carmody’s menu dances around the land and sea in delicious fashion. Think Ink Gin and kombucha-cured trout, cauliflower steak with a berbere spice rub, organic pork belly with seared scallops and goji-berry jus, and a delectable selection of steaks from the grill.
JFX Noodle & Tapas Bar
Southport locals may not like us spilling the beans on this neighbourhood gem – but we just can’t keep JFX’s buttered ramen out of the spotlight. Lovers of traditional Japanese katsu will be delighted with the JFX’s Bangalow-pork version (there’s katsu sandos, too!), while noodle fiends can go for the big-as-your-head bowls of authentic ramen, offered with a series of delicious toppings.
De Vito Waterfront
Prefer to be entertained while you eat? Here you can soak up the views of the Surfers Paradise skyline, enjoy delicious Italian fare and treat your ears to live music by the coast’s own singing chef, David De Vito! Be sure to try the confit duck and sample the hand-made pastas, and get yourself set for a night of fun and feasting.
Aviary Rooftop Bar
Like the sound of freshly fired mortadella pizzas? This popular rooftop bar and eatery is well known for its regional-Italian pizza offering, its tasty snacks and its extensive collection of cocktails. Boasting uninterrupted skyline views, Aviary provides the perfect vantage point for a share-style feast. You’ll need quite a few visits to work your way through that cocktail list.
You’ll often find this Southport noodle bar heaving with local ramen fanatics. Tucked in along Ferry Road, Ramen Danbo dispenses authentic ramen prepared with intricate traditional methods for lunch and dinner daily. There are also a handful of sides, like fresh-made gyoza and pork donburi, though, it’s well and truly all about the ramen here. Warm up the chopsticks and get ready to slurp.
Kubos Bar & Grill
One of Southport’s greatest attributes is its diversity – and Kubos Bar & Grill pushes the culinary mixtape even further by offering authentic Filipino cuisine to hungry locals. You’ll find an array of colourful dishes native to the Philippines, like giant crispy pork hocks, bengus fish wrapped in banana leaves and sweet eats like traditional halo-halo – aka purple yam ice-cream, macapuno string, jackfruit jelly, sweetened-banana and leche flan. Prepare to be intrigued.
While its renowned as a sun-kissed haven for coffee and eats by day, Cafe Catalina expanded its offering into dinner services on Friday and Saturday nights in early 2019. The dinner menu covers sea and sand-based eats with dishes like crispy skinned confit duck leg with potato gnocchi, crispy snapper and prawn dumplings, and roast pork with salt-baked celeriac. Head in a little earlier for a pre-dinner live-music session on the lawn.
Pals, we’ve capped this at a tidy list of ten – but Southport has a bunch more day and night spots to discover! Click over to our Stumble Guide to start exploring.
Main image credit: Thurtell Photography