Sometimes all we need is a relaxing short break or a fun weekend getaway to unwind. The last time I visited the Gold Coast was when I was 16 years old, old enough to enjoy the stunning beaches and thrills of the many theme parks, but too young to fully embrace and discover the local eateries, local markets and lively nightlife. So when given the opportunity to take a mini three day break to soak up the Gold Coast food and dining scene – it would have been silly to refuse.
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner or a simple snack, when it comes to finding the best food and drinks on offer, the locals knew the ins and outs and hidden locations of the GC foodie scene. So during this food filled weekend, I allowed myself to experience the Gold Coast lifestyle and in doing so, found some incredible local street food venues to indulge in.
Lola and the Chef
Parked in Broadwater Parklands in Southport for our welcome lunch is Lola and the Chef – a mobile restaurant, food truck and catering business. Described as ‘fine dining in a food truck’, Lola and the Chef has proven to be a hit amongst the locals, and is unlike any food truck I’ve come across. Having been in business for only two years, owner Malcolm Hope looks to designing his menu around the seasons and uses only the freshest local produce and ingredients.
For starters, we enjoyed a smooth and creamy Prawn Bisque shot; while our main meal was a delicious Lobster roll filled with good amounts of Moreton Bay bug, Japanese mayonnaise, carrots and pickled daikon. Both prawns and Moreton Bay bugs were bought fresh from Gold Coast Fisherman’s Co-Op down the road, which added to the delightful experience of this classic seafood soup and gourmet roll!
Lola and The Chef
Food Truck Feast, Broadwater Parklands
What I love the most about street food markets is having the opportunity to taste different cultures, and sample all different kinds of food in one place. If you’re searching for a family friendly outdoor dining experience – look no further than Miami Marketta. A hidden local treasure in an open air private laneway precinct in Miami, this night market is open every Friday and Saturday evening, complete with food, desserts, local craft beer and wine, local designers, and live music.
With plenty of food stalls around, deciding what to eat took a while. After walking down the laneway a few times, I ended up at Rango BBQ Ribs. For $18, I was served pork BBQ ribs with coleslaw and a slice of corn. The sweet and tangy BBQ sauce complimented the tender ribs that easily fell off the bone. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m always up for good BBQ ribs; and after devouring this meal, I’ve never been so happy with my decision.
For refreshments we headed over to the wine and cocktail bar, where we sipped on Piña Coladas and Mojitos. The fun and relaxed atmosphere at Miami Marketta was addictive, and you couldn’t help the urge to dance to the music of local band, Bullhorn.
As we walk into the dessert hall, a new section of my stomach opens up to make room for something sweet. No matter how full I am, there will always be room for dessert. What catches our attention are these giant, fluffy Salted Caramel Lamingtons and rich Raspberry White Mini Mud Cakes from Reid Street Kitchen. Pop up dessert stalls always take me back to my childhood days, and there was no better way to end a night than reminiscing memories with great company and delectable desserts.
23 Hillcrest Parade, Miami QLD 4221
Phone: +61 488 590 599
Open Friday & Saturday from 4pm-10pm
Located in Mermaid Beach is an interesting building comprising of a men’s clothing store, barber shop and outdoor diner. Welcome to Alfred’s Apartment. Specialising in coffee and gourmet street food, head around the side of the building to the grassy area with picnic benches to be greeted by the busy morning rush of Alfred’s Diner.
Settling for Alfred’s Burrito (egg, bacon, tomato relish, diced tomatoes, aioli, spinach and cheese) from the breakfast menu, I was really happy with how decently sized and juicy the burrito was. I’m not much of a breakfast person, but these burritos will make a breakfast person out of you.
Looking around it was clear why this place was popular with the locals. Not only is the food delicious, but the place itself emitted the laid-back and relaxed feel that the Gold Coast is known for – which makes it the ideal place to catch up with your friends!
2389 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach QLD 4218
Phone: (07) 5575 2001
Open Monday to Sunday from 6:30am-2:30pm
It’s the Gold Coast’s newest cultural and entertainment precinct – a 164 shipping container city in Helensvale, incubating the best of food, fashion, music, and arts of the Coast. If you’re somebody looking to experience and try something different, Nightquarter is the place to be.
We found ourselves gravitating towards the food stalls first, where we were greeted by the many aromas of local and international cuisines. The ultimate foodies dream. I decided for the Bangkok Kaa Moo (caramelised pork belly, steam Asian greens served with Thai jasmine rice) from Crying Tiger. If you’re a meat lover, this street food dish is a little gem you should try.
For dessert, we made a pit stop at the highly recommended Sticky Dee‘s stall to try out their gourmet caramelised apples. Dunked in kettle caramel with a selection of toppings, I couldn’t pass the ‘Rocky Road’ flavour, which lived up to my expectations as a deliciously sweet masterpiece.
Something is always bound to catch your attention at Nightquarter. The smell of food, an eye-catching dress by a local designer, or the catchy music by a local band at The Paddock. Make a night of it and explore this mini, bustling city every Friday and Saturday from 4pm onwards.
1 Town Centre Drive, Helensvale QLD 4212
Phone: 1800 264 448
Open every Friday and Saturday night from 4pm-10pm
The Village Markets
If your idea of a Sunday morning is looking through boutique market stalls, indulging in delicious eats and listening to live local music – you need to visit The Village Markets. Dubbed ‘Gold Coast’s Best Market’, The Village Markets are held in two different locations, Burleigh Heads and Paradise Point. The moment you walk into the vicinity, you’re surrounded by positive, laid-back vibes and sunshine – which made it the perfect place to relax and hang out with friends.
Breakfast was first on the agenda, and with a line-up of food trucks and gourmet food, it’s always a struggle deciding what to eat when you’re at the markets. I headed over to Mama Wonton’s Handmade Dumplings for their Pork and Chicken Dumplings with Noodle Salad; and to quench my thirst, I ordered a refreshing Mango Lychee Tea. We sat underneath a tree and ate our meals, before deciding to split up to browse the stalls.
Walking around you’ll come across 100 fashion, food, arts and creative stalls. Expect to find unique pieces, bargains to add to your collection, and leaving with completely satisfied stomachs. If you’re both a shopaholic and a food lover, I highly recommended this local treasure!
The Village Markets
Burleigh Heads: 1750 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220
Paradise Point: 74 The Esplanade, Paradise Point QLD 4216
Open first & third Sunday of the month 8:30am-1pm (BH); fourth Sunday of the month 8am-1pm (PP)
Located inside QT Hotel in Surfers Paradise is a traditional marketplace with a 21st century twist. Walk into Bazaar and your mouth will instantly hit the floor as you set your eyes on the global buffet in front of you. Behind each individual counter, you’ll find chefs constantly preparing and cooking meals with the freshest produce available – including vegetables grown from QT’s own secret garden!
You’ll find counters of cooked premium meats, wood-fired pizzas, organic salads, cheese and charcuterie boards, a seafood bar and Asian wok station. The best thing about it all – it’s a tasteful mix of meals from all around the world!
Don’t go pass trying the seafood on offer, you’ll instantly taste how unbelievably fresh the prawns, scallops, oysters and crabs are. The Asian station doesn’t disappoint, with its steaming woks full of curries, stir fry and rice dishes. If you love your salads, the salad counter spoils you with every kind of salad you can think of. And of course, don’t miss the dainty bite-sized desserts for a sweet end to a satisfying lunch.
QT hotel may be known for its quirkiness, but when it comes to food they are experts. Bazaar isn’t your average buffet – it’s your passport to eating your way through different cultures.
7 Staghorn Ave, Surfers Paradise QLD 4212
Phone: 1800 264 448
I Ate My Way Through travelled as a guest of Gold Coast Tourism.