Whether it be a hot steamy night after a day at the beach or a blustery evening when the cold seeps into your bones, there’ s nothing like a cheap night out, a ‘ slurp your way to goodness’ heaven with a hot Asian eat.

Tasty and nutritious, many of these ‘ layers of meaning’ meals give you a bang for your buck – fresh, affordable and cheerful, as well as BYO.

Here’s a list of the Coast’s Hottest Asian Eats…enjoy!

Bac to Nam

Burleigh Gold Coast Motel, 1910 Gold Coast Highway (Cnr Christine Ave), Miami Ph: 0455 031 412

The Bac to Nam menu features Vietnamese favourites: Summer rolls (or Spring rolls if you prefer) to start, of course there’s Pho, (the stock boiled and skimmed for hours, freshened by the addition of Vietnamese mint, chilli and lime at the table), Vietnamese Pancake, Green Papaya or Vietnamese Beef Salad, and our new favourite – Tien’s Coconut Chicken Curry. Try out the Corn or Banana Sago for dessert or the Coconut Pandan Jelly and don’t skip the Bac to Nam Lotus Tea, either hot or cold. It’s amazing!

With well-priced food, and BYO wine for a small charge, it’s a highly affordable taste of an exotic cuisine.

Read the full restaurant review A Taste of Vietnam

Can Tho Kitchen & Bar

5/465 Oxley Drive, Runaway Bay Ph: 5529 0098

When Tara and Vien decided to renovate their restaurant Can Tho Kitchen in Runaway Bay, they travelled back to their roots. It was a journey that they decided to share with their patrons.

Their home town, Can Tho, is ever present. Besides the restaurant’s name, there are Mekong Delta echoes in the menu: our food arrives in little courses to share, there’s an abundance of seafood as well as pork, the flavours of Vietnam accenting every dish.

Softshell crab served with pickles and dipping sauce, handmade Chilli steamed dim sim smothered in a tangy sweet sour chilli sauce, ‘Viet taco’ (the traditional Banh Xeo or Vietnamese pancake, this one the ‘beer added’ version), Pork and prawns slow simmered in caramel palm sugar with fish sauce and chilli in a clay pot…

Modern takes on traditional Vietnamese food, it’s a feast to enjoy, all hands in, sweeping up the dregs of sauce with some rice, not willing to let any of it go back to the kitchen.

With a Beer Hanoi in hand and a Saigon Mojito, steamy nights in Saigon come flooding back.

Read the full restaurant review A Taste of Vietnam

Can Tho Kitchen and Bar

Viet Baguettes Restaurant

New Saigon

2798 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach Ph: 5538 7588

New Saigon arguably serves the most authentic, ‘un-westernised’ national food you’ll find here. While there are many other dishes on the menu, such as stir fries, curries, sizzling meats, green papaya salad and even the famous phō, we’re most interested in the Nguyens’ national dishes we can’t find elsewhere.

In pride of place are three dishes which Hai says are most typical of South Vietnam: Banh Xeo – a crisp Viet pancake wrapped around a filling of prawns, onion and bean sprouts with accompanying herbs and salad, served with sweet chilli sauce; Banh Khot (Khot Cake) – small round crispy coconut cake filled with cooked prawns, coconut sauce, green bean and salad; and Banh Tam – rice noodle with shredded pork and coconut cream. They are generously sized meals, fabulously fresh and exotically intriguing in flavour, and of course they’re made to order by Hue, as Hai covers the service.

Thankfully, it’s quiet in New Saigon but as you dine to intimate conversation over an imported beer, close your eyes and the flavours may just transport you back to Vietnam.

Read the full restaurant review A Taste of Vietnam

Agnee Indian, Robina

Suite 28 – 29, 137 Scottsdale Drive, Robina Ph: 5575 8365

It has long been recognised that Mr Inder Jaiswale is one of the best Indian chefs on the Gold Coast. After arriving in Australia in 1971, Inder opened restaurants in Melbourne and the Gold Coast: House of India in Broadbeach, The Indian in Robina (2004), and Agnee Indian (2010) in Robina with his son Arjun.

It’ s the rich exotic flavours of the East that draw us to Agnee: dishes fresh from the tandoor, still smoky from the clay oven, and curries which are morearomatic than fiery. The menu covers a diverse selection of Northern and Southern India: the north famous for its complex curries aromatic with saffron and spices and made thick with yoghurt and ground nuts, breads fresh from the griddle and tandoor, tandoori platters, fruit and nut laden pulao and sweet gulab jamun. The cuisine of the south is less known – rice dishes such as biryani, meen moilee, tomato-based curries, and masala dosa (a pancake-like dish) and idlis which at Agnee are served at lunchtimes.

The food is well complemented by Arjun’ s attentive and charming service. This is a place where timeless recipes handed down through generations are cooked by a master chef and served in a modern setting by experienced staffwho put the customer first. With food and service right on the mark, it’ s little wonder that Agnee Indian is a favourite for locals and curry lovers from further afield. It’ s an understated gem! Agnee is licensed with BYO wine only.

Sashimi from Amimoto


Amimoto, Surfers Paradise

Shop 13 Lido Arcade, 24 Orchid Ave, Surfers Paradise Ph: 5538 7816

It’ s easy to get lost inthe grunge culture of the Lido Arcade, Surfers Paradise. You can get a buzz haircut, choose your latest tattoo, buy a surfboard, or eat a meal at Amimoto. A rare reminder of the golden age of Japanese tourism, this hole-in-the-wall restaurant is worn in from over fifteen years of travellers’ use, frayed around the edges, but still fulfilling its core purpose: providing an authentic Japanese meal to passers-by.

Don’ t look at the clutter of boxes and containers at the front entrance. Take aseat at a vinyl-clad table under the gaze of the kimono-clad prostitute. The real action’ s at the sashimi bar, as owner-chef Hidekatsu Fujino ceremoniously sharpens his knives and begins to carve pieces of shiny sashimi. Sold! It’ s easier than choosing from the pages of menu items which confront me: the popular chirashi sushi, bento boxes, rice dishes, noodles, katsu curries, à la carte grilled, fried and combination dishes. My sashimi arrives shimmeringly fresh, topped with huge glistening pearls of roe that demand attention. Pick me! Pick me! The first sac pops open in my mouth, a little Pandora’ s surprise of salty tanginess, a suitable entrée to the fishy delights and gyoza to follow. Somehow, when I look up, my surroundings seem irrelevant. The well-worn cloak shrouding Amimoto simply fades away with the tang of salmon roe.

At Thai on Frank, Labrador

1/ 97 – 99 Frank Street, Labrador Ph: 5531 1799

Jon and Tuk Brady are well known to the Gold Coast dining public, winning many awards at their former restaurant, Kin Kao: Best Thai and Best BYO onthe Gold Coast and contender for Best BYO in Australia. Tuk’ s aromatic Thai food and Jon’ s hospitable service gained them a loyal following of local patrons.

At Thai on Frank, opened with partner Apple Leighton (owner of Thai House, Sanctuary Cove) is a modern fresh take on Thai food. Venture into the specials and you’ ll find Whole plate-sized barramundi in a rich Sam Rod curry and a deliciously rich Pad Pong Kari smothering a plate of softshell crab (or Choo Chee Moreton Bay bugs when they’ re on special)! There are great vegetarian options on the menu, most dishes are gluten-free, and the restaurant is BYO.

Lunch is more adventurous, catering for seasoned travellers. Our favourite lunch dish is Khao Soi, a rich coconut curry noodle soup with chicken. Exotic yet delicious, it has become Northern Thailand’ s de facto signature dish. With its street food inspired menu, casual yet classy dining room and friendly service, At Thai on Frank is a great find – delicious food, fabulous value –a real bonus to the north side dining scene!

Moilee Curry at Agnee Indian

At Thai on Frank

Owner/Chef Hidekatsu Fujino at Amimoto

Gyoza at Cha Cha

Teriyaki steak at Hachi

Nagahama Ramen at Hakataya

Curries and Naan Bread at the Indian Hut

Hainanese Chicken at Ipoh Satay House

Cha Cha Japanese, Broadbeach

2705 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach Ph: 5538 1131

Cha Cha in Broadbeach is our other dining room. There’ s a saying in our house, ‘ Let’ s eat at Jack’ s tonight’ – our ‘ home away from home’ with tasty quick meals, enjoying owner Jack Suzue’ s hospitality.

If you’ re new to Japanese food, Cha Cha provides a great introduction – not traditional, but all food is freshly made to order. We have our favourite dishes: agedashi tofu (a generous serve of six pieces in Japanese wine sauce), takoyaki served with BBQ sauce or ginger chicken for entree, fillet steak Japanese style with seafood, ginger, lime, teppan, garlic butter or wasabi,either with rice on the side or ‘ don’ style for main. Friends swear by the seafood, and there are lots of vegetarian choices as well.

Tuck into a bowl of ramen, or ask Jack for his special recommendation. We like to have a large pot of Japanese roasted wheat tea with our meal. ChaCha is BYO and there’ s a bottle shop just down the road.

Daichi by Ten


Daichi by Ten, Broadbeach

Shop 1, 2669 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach Ph: 5538 3133

Daichi by Ten, owned by Bob Jones, who brought sushi trains to Australiaover twenty years ago with The Sushi Train chain, gives us casual dining with impeccable food quality, including tastes from Ten’ s kitchen.

Chef Yusuke Ito, Sous Chef from Ten’ s kitchen, brings French and Japanese influenced classics to Daichi: wagyu beef rillette with oven-baked baguette; handmade gyoza still sizzling on the hotplate; soft shell crab with rich tangy homemade tartare; rice paper rolls filled with wagyu beef and sashimi-grade salmon and avocado (my standout dish). The dishes appear quickly with little attempt to pace their arrival, each one plated with a simple garnish such as microherbs, or a slice of lemon. Not fancy-looking, but all pretty damn delicious and polished off without ceremony…Order a couple of dishes at a time to pace your meal, working through from cold to hot, or fresh to fried, depending on the specials.

A sidekick for Ten it may well be, a strange juxtaposition of haute cuisine and takeaway, a cultural experience which is sometimes a little lost in translation, but there are culinary treasures to be enjoyed at Daichi if you are patient enough to overlook some of the ambiguities. Daichi (dai-ichi) means number one, so perhaps it provides a worthy introduction to fine Japanese food in an informal setting while you save up to indulge in the gastronomic experience of Ten…which by the way is a ‘ must do’ wining and dining experience!

Hachi, Nobby Beach

Shop 1B, 2249 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach Ph: 5572 6251

Following seven years in Palm Beach, Nam Sukhyum has opened Hachi in Nobby Beach, adding variety to the already popular highway front strip. It’ s an ambient space with its two-piece floating ceiling and smart bar, the open kitchen showing off the chefs hard at work.

There are lots of izakaya (tapas) dishes to share, such as Vegetable or prawn tempura, a deliciously generous Agedashi Tofu, Sashimi, Chicken yakitori, and Nam’ s Mother delicious pancake. Salads and stir-fried vegetables with meat and rice are great value, or order a main course or the Bella Donna, which combines steak with tempura vegetables served over soba or udon noodles. Feeling hungry? Then why not splurge on a Hachi Gozen, a feast of eight dishes or a Hachi Hotpot feast for two.Service is obliging and genteel, our used chopsticks and plates whisked away unobtrusively as the wait staff glide past. As expected, this licensed bar specialises in Japanese beverages but Hachi also allows BYO wine for $2 per glass/person, giving us the best of both worlds. Hachi is casual, comfortable and stylish; a very pleasant place to meet up with friends or to enjoy a good value dinner for two.

Hakataya Ramen, Surfers Paradise

Shop 26 Centre Arcade, 3131 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise Ph: 5526 7055

How can a restaurant survive with only six items on the menu? Yet Hakataya’ s trade is the envy of many other local establishments. Open for 14 hours a day every day, Hakataya’ s on every traveller’ s list of ‘ must do’ places, highly recommended as the ultimate cheap and cheerful diner.

Don’ t expect somewhere grand, however. Instead, the Surfers Paradise Hakataya is a tiny shop in the distressed ‘ 60s Centre Arcade, crouching below paint peeling wrought iron handrails. Yes, this is it! One of the most reputed ramen shops in Queensland. If you patiently endure the queue you’ ll be seated amongst students and travellers from diverse cultures, bound together by canteen laminate, orange chairs and the love of ramen.

Don’ t miss the gyoza. Served with motodashi sauce, vinegar and chilli oil, they’ re a great intro to this menu, but the ramen is the real hero. Nagahama Ramen is Hakataya’ s classic pork noodle soup. They claim that their pork bone broth has been simmered for 39 hours. The result: a thick collagen-rich ‘ Tonkotsu’ soup. Full of flavour, it’ s packed with thin ramen noodles and tender Char Siu (pork slices) which have been slow-cooked in soy and mirin. Add some extra chilli oil, takana and ground sesame seeds and you’ re in soup heaven! (Hakataya is now also open at Pacific Fair.)

Indian Hut, Burleigh Waters

3/221 Christine Ave., Burleigh Waters Ph: 5576 7255

Indian Hut, the family restaurant of Manmohan (Mani) and Parina Bagga, has been serving up quality Indian cuisine since 2004. Mani’ s insistence on fresh vegetables and his traditional cooking techniques grinding spices from whole and excluding oil mean that the flavours are full, the vegetables crunchy and the meat lean. Chef Sukhraj Singh works beside Mani, managing the clay tandoor oven.

Indian Hut’ s menu is extensive – lots of choices, and varieties of dishes, for example, six rice dishes, including biryani and Kashmiri pulao, and a dozen breads including different naan, roti and paratha. While most of the dishes are from North India, there are a few from Southern India, such as Madras Curry. We notice lots of choice for vegetarians, (about half the menu, in fact). Chicken Tikka is succulent and sweet – among the best we’ ve tasted, and ourLamb Nawabi falls apart with the touch of a fork. Every single dish we’ ve had at the Indian Hut has been exotic, aromatic and deliciously fresh. This is food to share. With each curry so different, it’ s great to savour each taste, to choose complementary flavours and textures, noting their difference.

Indian Hut has a keen price point, and there’ s a three course ‘ All you can eat’ Sunday buffet for under $20 per person. Beer and wine are extremely keenly priced, but BYO is also an option. Despite Indian Hut’ s affordability, it’ s the consistent quality of their rich aromatic curries made by an owner chef that brings back the locals.

Ipoh Satay House, Mermaid Waters

Shop 5, Waterways Village, Cnr Karbunya St & Sunshine Blvd., Mermaid Waters Ph: 5572 5911

If you’ re looking for excellent Chinese Malay food on the Gold Coast, look no further than Ipoh Satay House – one of our oldest and arguably our best Malaysian restaurant. Thomas and Meelin Hoi came to the Gold Coast from Malaysia in 1980, establishing their first restaurant, Banga Raya, then Ipoh Satay House over twenty years ago. Ipoh (named after the second largest city in Malaysia) has recently enjoyed a new lease of life with the shopping centre renovation improving the ambience of the alfresco dining area.

Ipoh has an extensive menu of Chinese and Malay favourites with some Thai food thrown in for good measure. Mains of Roast duck with star anise scented sweet plum sauce and Rendang Beef are delicious, but the restaurant’ s ‘ pièce de resistance’ is Hainanese Chicken, cooked to melt-in-your-mouth perfection in a soy sauce with ginger and shallot and chilli sauce accompaniments. It’ s arguably Thomas’ bestselling dish. There are so many influences in Chinese-Malay cuisine that there’ s something to please everyone. The venue is licensed, with BYO wine a simple task due to a bottle shop almost next door.

BBQ Beef Don at JFX


JFX – Japanese Food eXpress, Southport (2 venues)

Shop B5, 56 Scarborough St., Southport Ph: 5528 1616

“Ira shai mase! Welcome!” There’ s something undeniably heart-felt about this small diner. It may be hidden around a corner in Southport Central, but when you find it, you know that you’ ve stumbled across a special place. You’ re not only greeted warmly, but in true Japanese style you’ re made aware of the values of the restaurant: energy, smile, greeting, passion, gratitude and cooperation.

JFX is a favourite haunt of local workers and students who indulge in deliciously authentic Japanese food at the lowest price – a good range of Japanese side dishes to share, such as gyoza, teriyaki karaage and takoyaki, or you may just feel like a rice bowl or set meal. Enjoy a standard lunch box (or add in sashimi) with meat, mixed salad, miso soup and rice. Other options include BBQ meat in a bowl with rice, noodle dishes (such as the famous chige ramen), or our favourite grilled teriyaki beef stone pot. Waygu beef and ramen are also available. All lunches are very well priced, but for students there’ s also a 10% discount. The food service is fast and friendly, and you can help yourself to a free miso soup while you wait. Express it may be, however it’ s not rushed.

Kampung Malay, Bundall, Robina, Mudgeeraba

Shop 6 & 7 Bronberg Plaza, Slatyer Ave., Bundall Ph: 5539 2899

Kampung Malay fills a niche on the Gold Coast for Asian cuisine at a family price: Malaysian/Chinese food, consistency of product, friendly service andBYO. Regulars enjoy the lunch specials, or you can dine there any night of the week for the price of a takeaway.

Chef Jason Tan found his niche adapting Malaysian dishes to better suit the Australian palate. His food shows the influence of many other Asian cuisines, is more subdued and less than that of his homeland, but tasty nonetheless.

We cannot begin a meal without the roti chanai, a flaky short pastry-type bread bundled onto a plate, which you tear off and dip into the flavour-filled curry sauce. From there, choices vary, with everyone having their own favourite main course: sizzling duck, honey king prawns, chicken satay or yon ya chicken. All meals are well priced and generous in size. There’ s something for everyone on this menu, so families dine in a comfortable environment without straying too far from their comfort zone.

Pork Ponzu at Nozomi

Gyoza at Muso

Moreton Bay Bugs at Miami Rice

Roti Channai at Kampung Malay

Miami Rice, Miami

2007 Gold Coast Highway, Miami Ph: 5535 2112

Miami Rice is named in tribute to the now demolished iconic Miami Ice (next door), a tongue-in-cheek reference to Miami Vice as well as the owners’ Chinese Malaysian heritage.

Seasoned restaurateurs Alan Yap and his daughter Shoko do not need to choose salubrious premises to gain customers. Moving from Highland Court, they carried their reputation with them. Alan’ s food is renowned for being excellent quality at a highly affordable price, and Shoko’ s service is charming. We usually choose dishes from the specials board, with seafood a highlight and no expense spared on the quality of bugs and prawns.

Some dishes are exceptional, such as Chilli Bugs and Black Bean Pepper Steak, while some fusion dishes led to a variety of opinions at our table. What we all agreed upon was Alan’ s innovative approach to Chinese and Malay food, the delightful service from Shoko and her waitresses, and the outstanding value for money this restaurant provides. Red feature walls, black chairs and white tablecloths brighten the dining experience. Miami Rice is licensed, but BYO wine is also allowed. Lunch is also available daily.

Muso Ramen Noodle and Gyoza Bar, Mermaid Beach

Shop 2B/2484 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach Ph: 5679 3779

Muso Ramen Noodle and Gyoza Bar serves two dishes: ramen and gyoza ina few varieties – specialty dishes done well. I accept that ramen has a cult following, but I’ m a recent convert, still learning to appreciate the ‘ soul and depth’ of the dish. Great gyoza? Now that’ s another matter…

Muso is usually packed with Japanese diners and deservedly so. It’ s spotlessly clean and you’ ve got to love that everything is made from scratch by Chef Akira Takagi: noodles made in house using a machine especially imported from Japan, tonkotsu pork broth cooked for hours to develop the rich flavour, even bamboo shoots prepared in the traditional way! There’ s pretty laid back music filling the airwaves and the service is cheery.

Dine under the mouth of Muso, a giant mural by illustrator Go Suga. As Muso splatters his soup across the wall, carefully slurp up a bowl of muso tonkotsu original with miso, the noodles perfectly cooked, the marrow broth glutinous in consistency and so tasty it must be good for you! Then feed your addictionwith a plate of pan-fried gyoza as well, the dumplings tender and sweet,served with a spicy chilli oil. But is one plate of gyoza ever enough?

Nozoni Japanese, Parkwood

1/280 Olsen Avenue, Parkwood Ph: 5574 4262 Nozomi

Japanese Restaurant is a bit of a gem in a suburb not renowned forits cuisine. Although the restaurant is small, they’ ve made the most of the space, closing in the under roof veranda with plastic blinds. Welcoming service is a real bonus!

We could dine all night from the Izakaya menu, Japanese bar snacks to accompany our drinks, tempura and sashimi. For mains, there’ s a choice of meat prepared in Teriyaki, Katsu, Ponzu or Miso style or you can choose a Don (on rice) for under $20.. Our Pork Ponzu was the dish of the night –succulent and tender. We’ ll go back next time and order steak or eat a meal of tapas, Japanese style! Not only is Nozomi a great affordable weekday nosh place, it’ s a pretty good watering hole as well. There’ s a small but well-chosen wine list, a good range of imported beers, Japanese plum wine, Sake and Shochu for reasonable prices.

‘ Nozomi’ means ‘ hope’ in English we’ re told, or ‘ best always’ . It’ s certainly a bit of Japanese cheer for those who live in the Ashmore/Parkwood area. It could easily become one of your ‘ go to’ dining haunts!

Pho at Pho VietNam


Pho VietNam, Southport

Shop 67, Australia Fair Shopping Centre, Marine Parade, Southport Ph: 5591 5746

Pho. My eyes roll back, nostrils sniffing, in memory of dusky evenings in Hanoi, food carts propped up on a corner, diners sitting on crates. It’ s hard to describe the layers of meaning in a good pho, achieved by hours of stewing and skimming beef flank, reusing some of the master stock from batch to batch, loading with slices of cooked beef, noodles and bean sprouts, therichness of the stock cut through with mint, chilli and, most of all, squeezes of tiny native lime.

Pho on the Gold Coast? Truly, there’ s not much competition! Pho Vietnam, in Australia Fair, is arguably our best version of this dish. It’ s not as ‘ dirty’ as street fare, no doubt due to food regulations as well as food varietal differences, but add some chilli oil from the counter and it’ s got a fair punch! This shop also sells a good range of other soups (sour soup, laksa, egg noodle soup) as well as rice paper rolls, crispy skin chicken with vermicelli, grilled tofu, rice porridge, chicken salad, and another of my favourites – the delicious Viet pancake! As always, we recommend that you order food made to order rather than from the cabinet. A fresh coconut juice or Vietnamese coffee will go well with your meal.

The Noodle House, Chevron Island (and Paradise Waters)

Shop 7/64 Thomas Drive, Chevron Island Ph: 5538 1699

The Noodle House is Rose Morton’ s gift to the next generation of her extended family, where she teaches them her own recipes perfected over years of owning over twenty restaurants and cooking professionally.

“If you’ re going to serve people, it has to be fresh,” says Rose. “When you cook, you must be honest about it, and put love and care into your cooking. No cutting corners. You have to be genuine, not greedy. If you say your fish is barramundi, then it has to be barramundi, not something cheaper.

”The kitchen may only be ‘ hole in the wall’ in size, but the meals are quickly and efficiently prepared and served. If you walk past the restaurant before opening hours, the sound of chopping drifts out to the street, as vegetables are cut ready for dinner, the tiny kitchen overflowing with eager young chefs, toiling under Rose’ s ever watchful eye.

From soon after 5pm, patrons start appearing to buy their take away meals, and not long after, the first diners arrive. There’ s a large choice of Thai regional dishes: entrées and mains, soup, noodles and rice dishes, as well as house specialties and a specials board. With main courses keenly priced, it’ s fantastic value for such tasty food.

Barrumundi with vegetables at The Noodle House

Soup Dumplings at Top Noodle

Okonomiyake at Zipang

Moreton Bay Bugs at The Noodle House

Top Noodle, Coolangatta

Shop 59, 72-80 Marine Parade, Coolangatta Ph: 5536 2300

Top Noodle is the unglamorous sister of the exclusive Ten Japanese Restaurant in Broadbeach, and part of Bob Jones’ hugely successful Sushi Train group who brought sushi trains to Australia over twenty years ago.

Underwhelming? Yes, the venue is, but don’ t write off the food! The menu boasts about ninety items: small izikaya-type share dishes such as takoyaki, gyoza and tempura; some of the best ramen, udon, and soba on the Coast; main meals in bowls or on plates, many including rice and salad. There’ s a take away menu, with vegetarian and spicy dishes clearly marked.

Our favourites are the sui gyoza (five soft dumplings in a delicious broth, served with chilli on the side. Cheap and cheerful, it’ s absolutely addictive), salmon caviar (the glistening roe balls explode in your mouth), tuna andsalmon sashimi: very fresh and cheap and the eel bowl which features the best eel we’ ve tasted on the Coast – mild and moist without any fishy after-taste at all. Judging by the quality of these dishes, Top Noodle deserves many return visits!


1/33 Tallebudgera Creek Road, West Burleigh Ph: 5520 2433

Wazen is an ambient little Japanese restaurant run by Katsu and Aki. Fairy lights beckon, but walk inside and it’ s restrainedly cosy. Better still, you’ ll receive a warm welcome. There are no set rules for dining at Wazen, so you can choose a selection of tapas and sides or mains from the Sashimi, Sushi, Nigiri, Curry bowl or Main meal plates section. All dishes are MSG free.

The Tapas menu has some interesting choices, but beware – the mains are large, so it’ s a good idea to share the starters. Main Course section plates have common sides, a time-saving formula for a one chef kitchen, however it also ensures that all patrons are well fed! Want more? You can upsize the rice, or upgrade to organic brown rice for a little extra. We’ re dining with gluten-free friends, who are obligingly catered for, a quick swap of freshly steamed veg in place of the tempura beside the free range Teriyaki chicken, rice and salad and everyone’ s happy!

In line with the rest of our night’ s experience, service is charming and nothing seems like a fuss. Watch out for the chef’ s specials. They provide exciting excursions off the menu. Wazen is a charming little restaurant in an accessible location. It provides value dining and delightful service; and you certainly won’ t go away hungry! Although licensed, Wazen accepts BYO wine.


Shop 10, 31 Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Waters Ph: 5521 0061

Named after the ancient title of Japan, Zipang, this café has a split personality. By day, it’ s a tiny ‘ dine in’ or quick ‘ grab and go’ eatery where workers stop in to get lunch, by night it’ s the local izakaya, BYO Currumbin style.

As the sun sets, the atmosphere changes from necessity lunch pit stop to funky eatery. Dim lighting, BYO and blues on the airwaves help create an awesome atmosphere, the stools and little tables cluttering the path outside soon to be filled by locals.

Owner/chef Atsu tells us that he wanted to introduce real Japanese food to the Currumbin community. We dine on specials of Crumbed oysters rich with mayo, perfectly Seared scallops with fried lotus chips and fish roe, Gyoza, and Seafood Hotpot. The seafood is stunningly fresh, seafood bought directly from a fisherman. Everything except gyoza (from a boutique local maker) is made in house. Little wonder that the restaurant sometimes turns tables three times in a night. It’ s not upmarket or flashy, ultra-comfortable or fashionable, but that’ s the point. It’ s the tiny place you’ d love to have around the corner; the place where you could just pop down with a couple of friends and spend the evening downing a few drinks and some good fast nosh. Be sure to book!

Feeling like something more upmarket or exotic? What about…

Etsu Izakaya 2440 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach Ph: 5526 0944 – read our restaurant review of  Etsu Izakaya

Kiyomi Jupiters Gold Coast, Broadbeach Island, BroadbeachPh: 55928443 – read our restaurant review of Kiyomi

Mamasan Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach Ph: 5527 5700 – read our restaurant review of Mamasan

Misono, 158 Ferny Avenue, Surfers ParadisePh: 5592 9770 – read our restaurant review of Misono

Dining with vegetarian friends? Try:

Easy House Vegetarian Shop 8, 90 Markeri St., Mermaid Waters Ph: 55728808

Kuan Yin Tea House 2/152 Scarborough St., Southport Ph: 5511 5121

Read our review of 16 Vegetarian, Vegan and Organic local food haunts


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