Seafood and buffet dining enjoy a blissful marriage at Citrique. This place i located within the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa. Their buffet contains a vast trove of oceanic treasures, including locally caught prawns, sweet fleshed bugs, Tasmanian salmon, plump oysters and spanner crab. There is also sushi, antipasto, yum cha, curries and Indonesian satays – all of which are cooked right in front of you. Even regular fine diners will be wowed by the Mediterranean- and European-inspired a la carte dishes. Many of these are prepared in Citrique’s wood-fired oven, like their local reef fish wrapped in banana leaf and served with coconut rice. Other standouts on this menu include their signature pulled pork shoulder on sourdough, veal escalopes flambéed with brandy, cream and mushrooms, or barramundi pelle croccante with lemon butter sauce. The Citrique team of pastry chefs are also at your service whenever you need a handcrafted dessert – which, let’s face it, is always.
Citrique, 158 Ferny Ave, Surfers Paradise, Australia, +61 7 5592 9772
Seaduction Restaurant and Bar
Seaduction Restaurant + Bar is one of Queensland’s most illustrious, two-hatted restaurants. It is centered around the twin pleasures of quality ingredients and technical prowess. Under the stewardship of executive chef Steve Szabo, Seaduction has grown to include an intimate wine-tasting room, bar and private dining room. The restaurant operates with separate lunch and dinner menus. It also has a special degustation menu for diners looking for the widest possible sampling of Seaduction’s gastronomic magic. Notable house specialties include the entree of shaved Spanish, Iberico ham “Pata Negra” served with crusty bread. Other good picks are the handmade tortellini of goats’ cheese with baby beetroot gel, crushed walnuts, mandarin and burnt butter.
Headed up by Michelin-starred chef Meyjitte Boughenout, the talented team behind Absynthe have taken this modern French bistro to dizzying heights, earning five star ratings and the Gourmet Traveller’s vote for Queensland’s Best Restaurant five years running. Located within the Q1 building, Absynthe is also surely one of the more aesthetically pleasing entries on this list: its intimate lighting and creative decor frame an exclusive and extensive art gallery on the walls of the venue, and guest may also enjoy access to stunning views from the sky deck. Patrons will be equally seduced by the charms of the Absynthe bar, which holds over 1500 different wine labels – including rare vintages from the 1970s to the 1990s – and a list of boutique cocktails. The menu offers an adventurous modern fusion of French and Australian cuisine, featuring items such as slow poached New Zealand Kind salmon with parmesan custard and black olives, and chilled strawberry soup with yoghurt ice cream and wasabi pearls. There is also a degustation menu, “A Journey into Taste,” wherein diners can savor seven of the restaurant’s most sumptuous dishes. For those seeking weekend entertainment, live R&B, jazz and blues take place every Friday at 9pm.
Elston Restaurant and Wine Bar
Elston Restaurant and Wine Bar is one of the most relaxing and scenic dining spots in Surfers Paradise, thanks to its beachfront location. Nothing is more unwinding than the soundtrack of crashing waves accompanying Elston’s mouthwatering, rustic bites. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with friendly, easygoing service in operation all day. Elston combines a wine bar dining experience with deli-fresh meats and a chic urban twist. Alongside the strong selection of local beers on tap, including Blockos Pale Lager and White Rabbit Dark Ale, the lunch menu includes typical pub grub offerings. Served are burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads and share plates. The finer-scale dinner menu features 32-hour braised pork cheeks with master stock, star anise, cinnamon, soy, snow peas, and broccoli. There is also duck breasts served with crispy skin, confit beetroot, goats cheese, toasted hazelnuts, grapefruit pearls, breakfast radish and orange puree. Another good option is the pan-seared sweet potato dumplings with snow peas, kale, baby spinach, sugar snaps, shaved pecorino and green chili paste.
Since their 2010 opening at the QT Gold Coast hotel, Bazaar expertly recreates a traditional marketplace with a 21st-century twist. The ingredients here are given celebrity status. Upon entering, diners can peer voyeuristically into the cold room full of premium meats through a floor-to-ceiling glass window on the left hand side of the restaurant. The journey to your table subsequently involves trekking through reams of wood-fired pizza ovens, tables of classic pot roasts and organic salads, Asian wok stations, and a whole pedestal of gleaming fresh seafood. Attempting to choose a dish from this platter (and there are no rules on where to start or finish) is a head-spinning task. Fortunately, every dish is accompanied by a passionate chef, eager to guide you through their intricate creations. Many of the plates are made to order, as well. The regular waiting staff will also aid in the cohesion of your dining experience with their own wine and cocktail recommendations.
7 Staghorn Ave, Surfers Paradise, Australia, +61 7 5584 1200
Helm Bar and Bistro
Recently voted Queensland’s Best Casual Dining Venue by the Queensland Hotel Awards, Helm Bar and Bistro is a relatively new player in Surfers Paradise. However, their maiden voyage is making big waves. From their prime position on the Nerang River, Helm Bar and Bistro offers sweeping sunset views to accompany a romantic meal or an ambient round of after-work drinks. Their refreshing menu is full of fun, casual experimentation: seafoodies will fall for the Ocean Lover’s Plate, with fresh chilled prawns, oysters, herb crusted ocean trout, provencale mussels and salt and pepper squid. There’s also an exciting range of pizza, most notably the Peking Duck pizza. This is a customer favorite: it’s topped with Peking Duck, oyster mushrooms, green shallots, hoi sin sauce and chili oil, served with a fresh cucumber ribbon salad. There are also great daily specials all week long. Additionally, they offer entertainment from local and international artists every Monday to Thursday and Saturdays from 7pm. There are chilled-out Sunday sessions with two performers at 1pm and 5pm.
Helm Bar and Bistro, 30-34 Ferny Ave, Surfers Paradise, Australia, +61 7 5538 9677
Costa D’Oro Pizzeria
Found in the heart of Surfer’s entertainment hub, Costa D’Oro Pizzeria has been keeping the punters of Surfers Paradise plied with delicious fresh homemade pasta and crispy pizzas since 1987. Costa is reliable and economically friendly. The real draw here is their rustic yet elegant interior and al fresco, umbrella-shaded dining area. In this laidback atmosphere you can dine on Italian favorites such as steak and marinara pastas. You’d be remiss to skip their pizza. It is famously prepared in a cold fermentation process, lasting for at least 24 hours after the pizza has been mixed and before serving.
Costa D’Oro Pizzeria, 27 Orchid Ave, Surfers Paradise, Australia, +61 7 5538 5203
Black Coffee Lyrics
Located between Orchid Avenue and Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Black Coffee Lyrics started out as a coffee shop with a fair share of organic food options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. From there they’ve diversified and expanded into an all-encompassing dining experience, with beer, cocktails and a decent wine list. Their exposed window shutters, wooden ledges dressed in flower pots, and white curly wrought-iron table setting (think grandma’s patio) create a funky vintage chic vibe. It’s won several plaudits, including a place on The Australian’s Hottest 50 Restaurants. But let’s not distract ourselves from the serious merits of the food: we’re talking pizza topped with juicy prawn and spicy pulled pork, banana chocolate bread pudding, beef short rib and gnocchi with burnt butter. Black Coffee Lyrics has percolated into a local hotspot, especially with its new house-party atmosphere on weekends. Each Friday and Saturday night, the venue lines up some of the best live jazz and funk musicians on the Gold Coast. They deliver a quality music experience in the intimate venue.
Clifford’s Grill and Lounge
Clifford’s Grill & Lounge is a modern spin on the traditional grill house within the Watermark Hotel and Spa. Named after the street attributed to 19th-century world-class rower Thomas Clifford, this venue is infused with a strong passion for Gold Coast heritage. They offer a tempting menu of rustic, down-and-dirty meats and seafood. They’re served with the modern flair of an inner city bar. Clifford’s’ centerpiece is its 10-burner grill, set alight daily to fire up fresh cuts to their juiciest, most flavorful dimensions. Some of the most scintillating items off the grill include the panko-breaded Sicilian arancini (with pumpkin and buffalo mozzarella, truffle and rosemary mayo). There’s also the Urban Milly Hill lamb cutlets (with deconstructed green curry, aromatic herbs and crispy eggplant chips). Another tasty pick is the triple coral trout sliders (with preserved lemon mayo and Tamborine organic watercress). The menu encourages social grazing with an emphasis on interaction, relaxation, and taste, so make sure to share the love (and a bite or two) around the table.
Salt Grill is the signature restaurant at Hilton Surfers Paradise, where celebrity chef Luke Mangan uses his renowned culinary flair to craft the definitive Modern Australian dining experience. A high degree of creativity and vibrancy also pervades the Landini Associates’ design of Salt Grill’s 157-seat dining room. Looking out, diners have a view of the buzzing Orchid Avenue through dramatic, circular windows; looking inward, they’ll find an equally lively view in the culinary action and theatre of the venue’s open kitchen. Also of note is the wine cellar, housing a comprehensive selection of vintages hand-selected by renowned sommelier Hiro Okubo. This promising atmosphere follows through with powerhouse plates, like the Jamón Serrano crumbed bone marrow (with truffle oil, parmesan, and parsley), and the twice cooked blue eye trevalla wrapped in pancetta (with crushed peas and preserved lemon). There are also five- and seven-course degustation menus, for a truly memorable night of fine dining on the Gold Coast.
Salt Grill, 6 Orchid Ave, Surfers Paradise, Australia, +61 7 5680 8000