Starting today, Australia’s picturesque Gold Coast will play host to athletes from 71 nations for the 21st Commonwealth Games. Fans can enjoy 275 different events over the two-week competition, with sports ranging from swimming and squash to beach volleyball and badminton. As the region looks to welcome visitors from across the world, top Gold Coast restaurants are preparing to impress both locals and newcomers with the best of Queensland eats. While you’ll find world-class dining throughout the Gold Coast, we’ve picked out the top places to dine as part of your Commonwealth Games experience.
The Cuban, Broadbeach
Cuba may not be part of the Commonwealth, but the island nation’s distinctive brand of hospitality is well-represented at the Cuban Oracle. Just a short walk from the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, The Cuban is where guests can wrap up a day of netball and basketball watching with an expertly crafted mojito and some traditional Caribbean cuisine. Menu highlights include Ropa Vieja, a Cuban classic of melt-in-your-mouth tender shredded beef, served with herbs, tomato, and capsicum. Beyond the athletic events, the Cuban is steps away from the Commonwealth Games Festival taking place at Kurrawa Park, featuring artistic creations from Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and First Nations artists and communities. Make a reservation at The Cuban.
Ally Chow, Nobby Beach
As the new kid on the block in Nobby Beach, Ally Chow packs a one-two punch of elevated Asian shared plates and a Sunday Session menu worthy of daytime indulgence. Consider fueling up for the Games’ April 15th closing ceremonies with six decadent courses complemented by all-you-can-drink beer, bubbles, and Thai basil caipiroskas. Celebrate the Games’ spirit of global solidarity with a menu that pays homage to Vietnam, Thailand, China and Japan.You’ve never had a better reason to order everything off the menu. But, if you’re there on a weekday or going a la carte, check out the saddle tail snapper, prepared in a tangy ginger broth and served with rice noodle sheet, shitake mushroom, baby corn, and garlic chives. Make a reservation at Ally Chow.
Rick Shores, Burleigh Heads
For the Games’ out-of-town visitors, Rick Shores should check off plenty of Gold Coast bucket list items. Breathtaking ocean views? Check. Tactful, but unpretentious service? Check. Fresh Queensland seafood, beachy cocktails, and Asian-inspired plates? Check, check, and check. For a truly iconic Gold Coast experience, tuck into the fried Morton Bay bug roll, slathered with kaffir lime mayonnaise and sriracha and presented on a buttery brioche bun. Before you know it, you’ll be practically a Gold Coast local. Make a reservation at Rick Shores.
Pepe Italia, Burleigh Heads
If the athletes are carbo-loading for competition, it only seems fair for spectators to do the same (in the name of solidarity!) Fuel up accordingly with handmade pasta, traditional-style pizza, and satisfying antipasto at Pepe Italia. If you’re partial to a particular Italian classic, take advantage of Monday Spaghetti Night, Tuesday Pizza Night, or Thursday Gnocchi night, where you can binge on your indulgence of choice. Keep the carb frenzy going with fried arancini balls served with mozzarella and bolognese, or mix it up with a seafood calzone filled with prawns, calamari, and fior di latte. You may not be running the triathlon, but you can eat like you are. Make a reservation at Pepe Italia.
Hellenika, Nobby Beach
Since the Gold Coast abuzz with Commonwealth Games festivities, consider Hellenika a cozy sanctuary when you need a break from the hustle and bustle. Opening just in time for the Games, the new Bar Hellenika is the ideal spot to catch your breath over a crisp gin and tonic or nibble on a plate of mezze. Once you’ve built up an appetite, head downstairs to the main restaurant and select from an assortment of family-style Greek dishes, from refreshing sea scallops in ouzo and butter to hearty Junee lamb with a generous helping of tzatziki. No matter how far you traveled for the Games, you’ll feel right at home. Make a reservation at Hellenika.
The Collective Palm Beach, Palm Beach
Unless you’re a competitor, you probably won’t be able to visit the international dining hall in the athletes’ village. You can, however, replicate the experience by eating at the Collective Palm Beach, a five-restaurant dining complex that maximizes variety without sacrificing quality. Patrons can sample wood-fired Italian pizzas, soft-shell Mexican tacos, fluffy Asian bao, American comfort food, and local Australian staples, all within the same venue. Not hungry? Take a peek at the encyclopedic drink menu. For every diner who’s ever struggled with restaurant FOMO, the Collective has you covered. Make a reservation at The Collective Palm Beach.