Fine dining has come a long way from its snobby, velvet-curtained origins. Now much more accessible to the masses, fine dining has become less about being posh and more about having a carefully crafted menu, packed with clever flavour combinations, and largely featuring seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients where possible.
Gold Coast fine dining has a character of its own: Packed with gorgeous views, fresh seafood and plenty of Queensland charm, it’s a sophisticated yet fun take on the top shelf dining experiences to be had around the country. Here are twelve of the best fine dining restaurants on the Gold Coast in 2023.
A Gold Coast fine dining venue that likes to keep guests on their toes is the uber-contemporaryRestaurant Labartin Burleigh. Head chef and owner, Alex Munoz Labart tries to keep things as local as possible, with a small, frequently changing menu that starts with sourdough from Burleigh Baker (with caramelised butter—drool), continues through locally sourced, simply served prawns, mackerel and scallops, and ends with a dessert menu that will see you saying ‘one of each, thanks.’While the chocolate mousse with popcorn butter and nectarine sorbet with white chocolate cream have us pretty darn tempted, you don’t know heaven until you’ve tastedLabart’smango ice cream with coconut and mint. Oh, and did we mention the spiced duck fat potatoes?
Nineteen at the Star
You’ll feel on top of the world when you treat yourself to the chic, modern rooftop dining experience at Nineteen at The Star. Sip tasty cocktails while overlooking the glittering Gold Coast skyline and enjoy an exquisite fine dining meal curated by the appropriately named Chef Mitch Tucker.
If you want to leave things totally in the team’s hands then your group can nab Nineteen’s set menu with wines carefully paired by the in-house sommelier. Otherwise, choose from the classic, French-based a la carte delights such as shallot tarte tatin with goat’s cheese, steak tartare, rock lobster done three ways, or even a 50g tin of Belugo caviar for $650, if you’re feeling extra fancy.
The flagship dining experience within Gold Coast’s uber-luxe Palazzo Versace, two-hatted Vanitas takes sophisticated food to the next level. The spectacular dining area is nothing short of sumptuous, featuring an exquisite 13-metre painting presenting the life of Gianni Versace, with the glass wall opposite overlooking the sparkling lagoon.
Once your eyes have feasted, it’s time to dive into Vanitas’ nine-course degustation menu which serves up a delicate blend of modern Italian classics, fused with native Australian ingredients. Authentic Italian flavours are prominent; a nod to Head Chef Rodolfo Maliverni and Sous Chef Stefano Pennucci’s heritage. It’s both delicious and sustainable, with the Chefs ensuring they utilise every component of their produce.
Best described as casual fine dining, Burleigh’s most talked-about pan-Asian restaurant Rick Shores offers carefully crafted, beautifully presented dishes with quality ingredients with a seriously stunning waterfront (literally) location. The famous Moreton bay bug roll has certainly had its moment in the sun, but there are shareable morsels a-plenty on offer, including banana blossom salad; Wagyu pot stickers; ham and truffle spring rolls; and even a crispy octopus and bone marrow green curry.
If you’re after a meal with a view, you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere more impressive than Rick’s. On a sunny day, you can enjoy watching the waves crash mere metres away from your table, with a view of golden beach and glittering waves as far north as you can see. Location, location, location.
They say we eat with our eyes first, so it makes perfect sense to have a fine dining offering within Gold Coast’s premier art gallery at HOTA, Home of the Arts. Since opening in 2021, two-hatted Palette has dished up several incredible fine dining menus with a strong focus on Indigenous Australian ingredients, and art-on-a-plate visuals.
Executive Chef, Dayan Hartill-Law takes diners on a journey through a menu that includes such unique offerings as an Australian Bay Lobster BLT with swordfish bacon, kombu and native tomato; and Borrowdale Pork Belly with quandong, scallop, cauliflower and Pedro Ximenez. One for adventurous fine diners.
Social Eating House + Bar
Rustic, comfortable and intimate, Social Eating House lures you in with its unassuming façade then blows you away with its sublime food and top shelf service. Executive Chef Matt Jefferson and his team have created a dining experience that sees their waiting list for a table frequently blowing out to months at a time.
This multi award-winning restaurant in the heart of Broadbeach features a range of bar snacks, charcuterie, small and large share plates, all boasting the finest Australian ingredients, paired to perfection with a range of elegant wines. If we had to choose some of our favourites from a menu bursting at the seams with mouthgasms, we’d have to say we can’t go past the puffed sesame rice cracker with fish tartare; BBQ sugarloaf cabbage with macadamia miso (trust us); and the chargrilled Moreton Bay bugs with brown butter. But really, with a menu like this, you can’t go wrong.
Kiyomi is one of the Gold Coast’s most lauded Japanese restaurants—honestly, it's one of the most lauded restaurants, period. And with good reason.
When you’re tasting a menu created by visionary Executive Head Chef Chase Kojima, you know you’re exploring the boundaries of contemporary Japanese cuisine, without losing any of the classic flavour combinations that make it so mouth-watering in the first place. Indulge in melting foie gras, the highest quality sashimi, binchotan, tempura and sushi on the a la carte menu, or make it a night out to remember with the nine-course set menu.
The North Room
The North Room is something of an enigma. This intriguing, intimate space holds very few guests, and serves up an ever-changing set menu that diners decide on the night by choosing five of the eight dishes on offer. And good luck with choosing.
The bone marrow crumpet with spanner crab, salted egg yolk and cultured cream has become an Insta food porn star over the years, alongside the veal tongue with black garlic; shaved sprout salad and salty pretzel bread with cultured butter. The North Room team’s focus on a handful of primary, seasonal ingredients keeps things fresh for returning diners and creates a true foodie adventure. Head north for an exploration. Hands down, one of the Gold Coast’s best fine dining restaurants.
The Paddock Restaurant
This sprawling restaurantwithin the Beechmont Estate aims for hyper-sustainability with unpretentious, wholesome fare that truly celebrates local produce. The Paddock Restaurant is the perfect winter retreat with much of the menu cooked over coals or a blazing open fire.
Snuggle up and enjoy the panoramic hinterland vistas thanks to floor-to-ceiling glass walls, while you’re served up a menu that includes pork, burnt honey and sweet tomatoes; white lamb, sunflower seed tahini; confit lamb fat carrots; roasted butternut pumpkin, whipped yoghurt, pumpkin caramel and sprouted seeds; and bottlebrush custard with flower syrup and a donut. This multi-hattedhidden hinterland gemmight be off the beaten path, but it’s worth every second of the journey.
The hattedCitrique Restaurant, nestled within theJW Marriott Surfers Paradise, is home to one of the longest-standing and most successful seafood buffets on the Gold Coast. Citrique adopts the ocean and paddock-to-plate philosophy that is crucial to so many socially conscious modern diners.
At the same timeCitriqueoffers a huge range of dynamic food experiences to suit every foodie, including their famous seafood buffet, five course degustation, a la carte options, Sunday long lunches and a wealth of International cuisines. Watch your food be prepared at the live interactive stations or have it prepared at your very own table. Think—fresh and locally sourced Australian contemporary food, expertly paired with wine, and delivered with flair. What’s not to love?
La Luna Dining
The newest kid on the block in this fine dining list, La Luna Dining is the sister venue to the much-grammed La Luna Beach Club. It may be the finer dining sibling, but it still serves up the same gorgeous Broadwater views. The décor and menu at La Luna are a perfect pairing: Think ultra-modern Mediterranean and glittering coastal panorama chic. Freshly caught seafood and mouth-watering flavour combos are the name of the game.
Kick off your meal the right way with a few treats from the extensive cold bar, like the massively popular fresh fig salad with buffalo feta and rainforest honey, before diving into the mains. La Luna’s signature confit duck leg with charred pear puree is a tender bite of heaven, while the more traditional souvlaki, pizzas and pastas are generously heaped with quality ingredients and just enough pizzazz to keep things extra lush.
Moo Moo The Wine Bar + Grill
Often cited as the home of the best steak on the Gold Coast, Moo Moo’s is definitely one for the carnivores among us. And what is any fine dining list without a perfect steak? Multi award-winning Moo Moo’s is the brainchild of Steven and Autumn Adams, and boy, does this couple know their beef.
The Adams have built up terrific relationships with the Aussie beef industry over the years and handpick their own cuts—some of which are exclusive to the restaurant group—so you know you’re getting the best quality on offer. Think dry aged; pasture-fed; all natural; grain-fed; Wagyu and Angus. It’s all there. Just take your pick. The bar teems with incredible cocktails and an award-winning wine list, and there are seafood, poultry, game and vegetarian options on offer too.
Looking for more top-notch Gold Coast restaurants? Here's exactly where to find the Gold Coast's best restaurants in 2023.
Image Credit: Brooke Darling Photography, Kaitlin Maree Photography & Supplied