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Where to eat in Surfers Paradise - Bountiful buffets and Honest Aussie fare

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Surfers Paradise attracts an eclectic mix of holidaymakers, and the culinary scene reflects this diversity. It’s easy to spend substantial sums at flashy restaurants, but there are also plenty of characterful places that offer quick bites at reasonable prices. Seafood dominates menus, and for good reason: the local catch is amongst the most impressive in the country. Australia’s culinary love affair with Asia is also well represented.

Typical dishes


The quintessential Surfers Paradise meal is the seafood buffet. Also popular are decently priced “club meals” - the Australian equivalent of British pub lunches - which often feature local calamari alongside chips and salad.

Seafood buffets in downtown Surfers Paradise


If you’ve come to Surfers to indulge, these all-you-can-eat experiences are mandatory. Competition between the area’s main hotel-restaurants is fierce, so the standard is uniformly high; the seafood is incredibly fresh, and there’s lots of it. If you can’t decide which buffet restaurant to try, there are two standout options, both centrally located on the Gold Coast Highway. Citrique, at the Marriott Hotel, serves a greater variety of dishes than many of its competitors, and Four Winds, at the Crowne Plaza, offers knockout views from Queensland’s only revolving dining room.


  • Citrique, Marriott Hotel, 158 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217; Tel: +61 7 5592 9772; Website: Citrique

  • Four Winds, Crowne Plaza, 2807 Gold Coast Highway Surfers Paradise QLD 4217; Tel: +61 7 5592 9907; Website: Four Winds


Club meals on the beachfront


Every Australian town has at least one RSL (Returned Servicemen’s League) Club. These low-key spaces originally catered to military personnel, but are now open to all, offering cheap drinks and meals for locals. In beachside suburbs, there is always a Surf Life Saving Club too; it forms a focal point for local sea safety efforts and also serves as a social hub. Those looking for inexpensive, authentic meals in Surfers Paradise will find them at these two beachfront venues. Both offer Aussie club classics like steak, deep-fried calamari, and chicken schnitzel, all served with generous helpings of chips and salad.



Fine dining south of Surfers Paradise


Surfers Paradise was never traditionally known as a fine-dining hub, but in recent years several restaurants have opened that cater to those who wish to indulge. Little Truffle, located just south of Surfers Paradise in Mermaid Beach, kick-started the trend in 2010: it offers true “Mod Oz” cuisine (seasonal European-style food with Asian influences) and nostalgic desserts like vanilla bean panna cotta with raspberry jelly and raspberry and rose granita. A couple of kilometers further south in Burleigh Heads, The Fish House does a gourmet take on classic dishes like fish pie and oven-baked ocean trout.


  • Little Truffle, 2444 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach QLD 4218; Tel: +61 7 5526 5033; Website: Little Truffle

  • The Fish House, 50 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220; Tel: +61 7 5535 7725; Website: The Fish House


Asian options in Broadbeach


Australians love Asian food, so it’s no surprise that chefs from overseas run some of the area's best restaurants. Ten Japanese Restaurant in Broadbeach is a local favorite: it serves sushi, and teppanyaki cuisine in a sleek, upmarket environment, and stocks one of the Gold Coast’s best wine cellars. For a more humble - but no less satisfying - meal, Chiangmai Thai in Broadbeach is a reliable choice, offering classic “Australian-Thai” dishes. In a lively setting, expect flavors and combinations that have been modified over the decades to suit Australian palettes and take advantage of local vegetables.


  • Ten Japanese Restaurant, 2669-2679 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach QLD 4218 ; Tel: +61 7 5570 1010; Website: Ten Japanese Restaurant

  • Chiangmai Thai, 2779 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach QLD 4218; Tel: +61 7 5538 2144; Website: Chiangmai Thai