There are a lot of things to love about the Gold Coast, like the fantastic weather, stunning beaches, fun activities and great events. But the Gold Coast has also become a brilliant destination for food-lovers, with loads of great restaurants popping up to offer delicious meals to hungry diners. Whether you’re a Brisbane or Gold Coast local or even a visitor from overseas or interstate, you’ll love the food on our gorgeous Gold Coast.
This week, Matt and I got the chance to head down to the coast and check out three places we hadn’t had the chance to visit before. Each spot offers something totally different but they all have one thing in common – really good food! Shout out to the amazing team at OpenTable for sending us out on the workday of a lifetime. Seriously, it was the kind of workday we’ve only ever dreamed about! So, here are our picks on three of the very BEST places to eat on the Gold Coast.
I absolutely loved The Collective! Located in Palm Beach, a short stroll from the beach, The Collective is home to five different restaurants, each set up market style with their own kitchen and storefront housed under the one roof. It’s like a food hall but super nice! The vibe here is really laid back, which we both loved as we immediately felt at ease.
The seating areas are really cool, you can sit undercover toward the front of the building or head out to the back where the roof peels back, opening up into an open-air dining area. There’s a large graffiti mural, festival lights, two bars, loads of comfy seating and even a rooftop bar upstairs.
Let’s talk about the food situation. What I loved MOST about The Collective is the huge range of food you get to choose from. The five different restaurants mean you get to choose food from all five menus! Yes, you read that right – you can eat from ALL five. You could get pizza and pasta from The Italian Job, tacos from Calavera, crispy duck pancakes from Umami, pulled pork and mac ‘n’ cheese from Luckies Diner AND Hawaiian tuna poke from The Kitchen.
Matt and I decided to go with a Mexican feast and we absolutely loved it! We both felt so comfortable and laid back, the food was delicious and fresh, the service was great and the cocktails were divine. I think it’d be the perfect spot for a laidback lunch or dinner with a few good friends, sharing different plates and enjoying some drinks together. Book a table at The Collective here.
Iconic Gold Coast dining experiences don’t come fancier than a meal at Rick Shores. If views could kill, Rick Shores would be under investigation. The dining room is perfectly positioned at Burleigh Heads, looking out over the surf, beach and onwards to the Surfers Paradise skyline with uninterrupted views. I love that, from your seat inside the restaurant, it feels like you’re making the most of the outdoors while sitting indoors, feasting! It’s the best of both worlds.
There’s no denying, the vibe at Rick Shores is classy and cool. It’s one of those places where you just expect to see a celebrity or two, which we did! The service was fantastic and I really liked the chatter of the place, the restaurant kind of feels like it has a life of its own and by simply being inside, you’re part of it.
With an absolute beachfront location like this, it’s no surprise the menu focuses on exceptional seafood paired perfectly with Pan-Asian flavours. If you’re a seafood lover, you’re definitely going to want to visit Rick Shores. You can sink your teeth into BBQ spiced rainbow trout or King Prawn yellow curry accompanied with charred roti bread. Savour freshly shucked oysters and Kingfish sashimi or indulge with Rick’s fried bug roll. If you like spicy foods, you can’t go past the grilled octopus ‘Som Tum.’
For a special dining experience with million-dollar-views and a lively atmosphere, you cannot go past Rick Shores. The fresh, locally sourced food is exceptional and it’s one of those decadent dining memories you’ll cherish forever. I think it’d be perfect for a special lunch date with your sweetie or a sunset dinner with friends, sharing plates and sipping cocktails. I also think it’s ideal for travellers! Book a table at Rick Shores here.
Justin Lane Establishment
Matt and I live for Italian food and Justin Lane did not disappoint. In fact, it flat-out wowed us both. You’ll find this super cool spot in Burleigh Heads serving authentic and downright amazing pizza and pasta. The trick, I’m told, is the pizza bases are made on 100% sourdough (oh my god!) and everything is created fresh and by hand. My only regret is that I couldn’t eat more.
I really loved the vibe at Justin Lane, the fit-out was just so cool but not in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable if that makes sense. It’s cool but not so cool that you feel like maybe you’re not cool enough to be there. We felt totally at ease at our table upstairs, the guys in the kitchen singing along happily to the music while making beautiful pizza and pasta.
The rooftop bar offers a great spot to hang out with a cold drink before or after your meal. You can soak in the amazing views of the Burleigh foreshore and Gold Coast skyline while sipping on a cocktail under the festival lights twinkling overhead. I enjoyed a few cocktails and can personally vouch for their deliciousness.
Now, the food. You guys… words cannot convey how good it was. I can easily say, I had one of the best pizzas of my entire life. The base was amazing, with crunchy and soft bits and some lovely charred spots dotted along the crust adding a smokiness. The sauce, oh god, the sauce – I could’ve drunk an entire sippy cup full of it. It was like eating a pizza on the streets of Italy! It was heavenly. Justin Lane is the ideal spot for a few afternoon drinks followed by a damn good pizza or bowl of pasta. I think it’d be perfect for a date night or catching up with a couple of good friends. Book a table at Justin Lane Establishment here.
WTF is OpenTable?
Now, look, the guys at OpenTable didn’t ask me to write anything about them or what OpenTable is and I really wasn’t expecting to. They simply invited us to head down to the coast, find some great food, photograph it and tell you about it. But, I used OpenTable to make each of our three reservations and it was awesome. I’m an introvert with social anxiety so I don’t really like making phone calls (ever). I really liked that I could take my time on OpenTable to see which restaurants had bookings available on the day and time I was after, then make the booking online without having to speak to anyone. It was just… easy! Kind of like Booking.com for food, if that makes sense?! Which reminds me, the reviews were great too – it was nice to see what others said about each restaurant before I booked it.
Because OpenTable is global, I will definitely be keeping it in mind when we travel as I often don’t make bookings, which puts Matt and me at the mercy of availability when we roll up to the restaurant. When we travel, we usually can’t make calls to book a table because our phones aren’t in service. Like I said, I didn’t go into it expecting anything but I really found it useful and it’s something I will use again! So, thanks, OpenTable, you’ve unintentionally upped my travel game.
Useful travel resources for your trip to Australia
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Agoda – our go-to site for booking hotels
Skyscanner – our go-to for booking flights
RentalCars.com – great search engine for car rentals
Booking.com – another go-to site for booking hotels
TourRadar – great search engine for tours
Uber – our go-to transport option