LOCAL EATS GUIDE ~ GOLD COAST QLD
Love food, wine and coffee? Us too!
Let's be honest, sitting at a table in a cafe or quiet restaurant isn't overly appealing when the tribe is in tow. So, we've curated a list of our favourite kid-friendly local haunts on the Gold Coast, Queensland, for eats, drinks and hangs with your tribe.
A childhood favourite, this beach is beautiful and has views of the whole coastline. Grab a coffee from Little Mali for breakfast. For lunch, opt for a barbecue or fish and chips on the beachfront or head to The Strand at the neighbouring Coolangatta for O'Sushi, Raw Energy or a Mexican feast from Beach Burrito Company. We also love Francis for casual pizza and a cold beer with the family.
We love Tupe Aloha for a casual lunch or an early dinner with the kids (this place gets busy and the beats are loud, so early is good with the family). It reminds us of Hawaii with it’s kitsch interior, fun tunes and of course the Hawaiian-Mex menu. They make a good margarita and serve cold beer on tap. Make sure you don’t go home without popping around the corner for a gelato at My Gelato. This place is an institution serving up authentic, delicious gelato by a lovely Italian family - our fave is the O.M.G.
Tugun Fruit and Flowers do a killer Acai bowl and have the best blooms on the coast, if that's your thing. Pop in to Good Day Coffee if you're heading south for a road trip and try their fancy take on a ham and cheese toastie - it's life changing! Officially considered Tugun but located right on the Tugun/Currumbin border is the new chic but child-friendly, Stable cafe. Tucked into the Cornerstone Stores, a cool boutique retail, cafe and office space, Stable is licensed, has a delicious menu of wholefoods, a courtyard and grassy area for the kids to run around.
The Salt Mill is our go-to for coffee, Acai bowls and pastries and it's owned by the nicest local family. Bring a blanket, you can sit across the road on the grass and watch the surf while you eat. There's plenty of space for the kids to explore and climb Pandanus trees.
We also love Elephant Rock Cafe for lunch (if you're game to dine-in with the kids). They also do great smoothies and falafel wraps to takeaway if you'd prefer to sit at the beach.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary runs a Friday night street food market, Sanctuary Markets. You can pop into the Sanctuary at 4pm for free lorikeet feeding and then finish with a street food dinner under the festoon lights. Not a bad Friday night plan!
If you feel like a drive over the weekend, head to Freemans Organic Farm. The produce is fresh, the air is clean and the view is spectacular. Kids can pick strawberries and they have food and live music on weekends. Currumbin Valley Harvest is biodynamic farm and has a farmers market every Saturday and Sunday. If you'd like to combine your weekly grocery shop with a delicious healthy breakfast you can also head to Currumbin Community Markets every Thursday
Another fave local spot is Dust Temple for coffee and a stroll around the gallery, pop next door for a peek at the beautifully curated Gather Store, which stocks greenery and handmade homewares. Other gems in this street include Panya Bakery and Portside Coffee. You can also try delicious Japanese for dinner at one of our favourites, Zipang.
Things are really happening in Palmy, with plenty of day and night options to choose from. The Collective is a cool, family friendly option for lunch and dinner. Dune Cafe next to the 'pirate park' is also a great spot for families with an grassed area for casual hangs while you wait for your food, a kids' area and live music on weekends. It's also right on Currumbin Creek if you fancy a little dip or SUP paddle after breakfast. We also like Hachi for Japanese food and Balboa Italian, who do takeaway pizza if you'd prefer to sit on the sand! Burgster is also a great little family owned option for dinner and a few drinks, just a short bike ride from the main drag of Palmy.
With its pumping point wave, national park, village-like atmosphere and beautiful beach, Burleigh is pretty special. It also happens to be a foodies haven! Our kids love a croissant from Burleigh Baker before a dip. For decent coffee and a takeaway bircher museli, head to Borough Barista on the esplanade. We love to grab a takeaway lunch or dinner from The Pocket (go for the mezze plate or haloumi pocket) or Red Hot Cod (hello, Nasi Goreng!) and plant ourselves at the headland to watch the surf. If the kids aren't in the mood to eat in, Justin Lane do take away and delivery and their pizzas are our fave on the GC. For yummy vegetarian food, we also like Govinda's on the James Street strip. On the first and third Sunday of the month, head to The Village Markets for boutique market shopping (not your average market, the likes of F+H Jewellery, Peony Swimwear, Dos Ombre, Kivari and Grace Bijoux have all traded there), delicious street food stalls and live music in a really relaxed family friendly atmosphere. Just north of the markets is Commune for a yummy salad and a game of Jenga or Connect Four; they also have a ping pong table on weekends.
If you can escape for a date night, or don't mind a fancy lunch with your kids in tow, we absolutely love Rick Shores for lunch. The bug rolls are insanely good and the cocktails, service and view are pretty hard to beat.
South of the Headland at Tallebudgera Creek is an absolute beauty and an essential visit for any wandering fam. Pack a picnic and spend the day swimming and exploring and for a coffee fix, Bam Bam Bakehouse run a little coffee nook serving pastries and coffee. There are showers, toilets and barbecues, too.
For a Melbourne style coffee - our favourite brew on the entire Gold Coast - and the friendliest baristas (Hola Mark and Rosie!) head to Hide N Seek It's hidden in the back streets but well worth the detour. They do a mean Acai bowl and their homemade treats and cold pressed juices are a winner with the bebes. It's also hard to go past Paddock Bakery for breakfast. This hidden gem is a little oasis on an industrial street.
Micro-brewery, Lost Palms Brewing Co, just opened their doors at Miami. We can never resist a pop of pink, food trucks and good vibes and this venue doesn’t disappoint. The outdoor drinking area is kid-friendly and the perfect spot to stand in the sunshine and try the six concoctions brewed onsite. Around the corner, night food market Marketta is also a fun night out with the tribe. They are open on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturday nights and have live music, face painting and a plethora of food options for the whole family.
For a caffeine fix and gourmet treats, head to Canvas. The Shack Superfood Cafe is also handy for a quick and healthy grab-and-go juice or salad. For casual and affordable Japanese food, eat at Hachi. The staff are super sweet and it's licensed but you can BYO vino. For really great Mexican in a fun environment, we love an early dinner with the kids at Mexicali.
For arguably one of the best breakfasts on the Gold Coast, it’s hard to go past Bam Bam Bakehouse. Located right on a park just off the Gold Coast Highway, you can pull up a blanket and eat under the trees – and they have Beach People carts for the kids to play with. Bam’s nasi goreng is the stuff foodies dreams are made of and their homemade goodies are insane. Caramel hazelnut cream puffs anyone?
We do love yum cha on the weekends and vegans and vegos don't have to miss out at our fave hidden gem, Easy House. Owned by the sweetest family and tucked into the shops on Markeri Street, Easy House looks basic but don't be mistaken - the food is delcious, healthy and they make all of your fave yum cha dishes vegan/vegatarian! Do try the mushroom or corriander steamed dumplings and the XO Noodles.
We also love Poke Poke in Mermaid Beach for their incredible poke bowls (we love 'fresh off the boat') and their Tumeke bowl (mango, tumeric, banana, coconut, almond milk with strawberries, granola, cacao nibs and yoghurt clusters).
If you're staying in Surfers Paradise or want something fun to do with the kids of an evening, you can catch the Light Rail into Surfers Paradise for dinner at Hurricanes Bar and Grill. The kids will enjoy a stroll through Cavill Mall at night with plenty of action happening. Hurricanes do amazing ribs and also have a kids menu and colouring-in.
OK so not quite on the Gold Coast but here are some sneaky faves just south of the border.
Farm & Co. at Chinderah is a gem - the kids can pick sunflowers (in season), there is coffee on weekends and you can take a picnic and make a morning of it. Our Currumbin local The Salt Mill have opened their very cool timber doors at Kingscliff and are trading every day from 6am for your coffee and Acai hit. Visit the Sheoak ShackGallery Cafe at Fingal, it's kitsch, super relaxed (barefoot? no problem), the menu is healthy and delicious (the margaritas aren't bad either) and they often have great live music. Dreamtime Beach is picture perfect and you can easily spend your day here. Bread Social (you may know they from The Farm in Byron Bay and Brunswick Heads) at Tweed Heads is a must for coffee and pastries. The Kingscliff Hotel has been revamped and has an outdoor area with a kids’ playground and live music at weekends.
If you'd like to ask us anything about eating, drinking and hanging out on the Gold Coast with your tribe, we'd love to hear from you.