FIVE not-to-be-missed restaurants you need to visit in Burleigh Heads

WORDS: Karen Inglis @goldcoastfoodandwinetours PHOTOGRAPHY Images by @sensorysavours

Burleigh Heads is beautiful by day and just as spectacular at night. It boasts some of the best restaurants, cafés and bars on the Gold Coast, bringing a range of outside influences and cultures from around the world to this thriving, laid-back beachside suburb. Here are a few hidden gems for you to try when you are next looking for a great meal in Burleigh Heads.

Osteria del Mare

2/1718 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads 

Osteria del Mare is an authentic Italian restaurant and pizzeria that serves fresh pizza and pasta made by hand daily using the best local and imported ingredients from Italy. The pizza dough is naturally risen for up to 48 hours and cooked on stone, giving the dough a delicious, light texture and traditional taste.

Osteria del Mare’s The Short Board Pizza is a great way to try a variety of flavours. This pizza lover’s delight is served on a board with your choice of three toppings. Crowd favourites include the Del Mare with tomato, mozzarella, prawns, calamari, scallops and garlic and the Tartufo with mozzarella, mixed mushrooms and truffle paste.

Tuna lovers need to try the Tuna Carpaccio, thinly sliced tuna smothered in chef’s secret dressing and served with hot pizza balls for dipping. Another winner is the popular Ravioli Ai Funghi, mouth-watering handmade ricotta and parmesan filled pillows of pasta smothered in a fresh mixed mushroom and cream sauce.

Pink Monkey Bar and Grill

1712 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

Pink Monkey Bar and Grill offers a modern dining experience in the heart of Burleigh Heads, serving mostly Mediterranean-style food and shared dishes accompanied by sensational cocktails. It is the perfect place for a long lunch or an afternoon sundowner, with views of Burleigh Heads from the rooftop restaurant and bar.

Seafood lovers need to try the freshly shucked Sydney rock oysters with finger lime dressing and the Coral Coast Barramundi served with peperonata and Salsa Verde. This fish is accompanied by a very tasty but not overpowering mix of capsicums, onions, tomatoes and a good splash of quality extra virgin olive oil. This dish is a fabulous representation of the Coral Coast.

Follow this up with the passionfruit vanilla whipped cheesecake with passionfruit curd served with mandarin granita. This dessert is light, refreshing and moorish — a perfect ending to a fabulous meal.

Belvedere Stonemill

1a/1638 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

This family owned and operated Italian restaurant serves traditional northern Italian cuisine. Chef Fabio and wife Federica use organic grains, lovingly stone milled on site, to produce a highly digestible and less-processed product.

Their freshly made soft and fluffy potato gnocchi with porcini mushroom and truffle sauce, served in a baby wheel of pecorino cheese, is not to be missed. It’s the perfect marriage of cheese and truffle served with melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi.

Hot tip: Chef Fabio hosts a monthly Italian experience where he presents a cooking show using his imported Big Pan, accompanied by live music.

Iku Yakitori & Whisky Bar

1730 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

The five-course Japanese omakase menu (leave it up to the chef), which changes weekly, uses seasonal ingredients from small, local suppliers.  Iku boasts an extensive range of whisky, sake and cocktails available both in the restaurant and in its hidden bar, accessible via the Justin Laneway entrance.  It’s definitely the perfect place to visit for an authentic Japanese Yakitori experience in Burleigh Heads.

On the night of our visit, we had the pleasure of sampling the confit salmon served with a side of scallop and udon salad as part of our omakase menu.  This melt-in-your-mouth salmon was sensational and paired perfectly with a sake sour cocktail from Iku’s very interesting cocktail list. Our Chicken Yakitori was perfectly cooked on skewers over prized Japanese Binchotan charcoal.

Hot tip: Japanese whisky fans need to try the whisky tasting flight, which includes Iku’s own whisky, blended in-house.

Pepe Italian 

11 Connor Street, Burleigh Heads

There have been some new and exciting changes to Pepe Italian in Burleigh Heads. The décor has had a bright and fresh facelift and the menu is now a little less mainstream with a range of delicious new dishes, all prepared with a southern Italian influence.

The Byron Bay Burrata, served with zucchini and heirloom tomatoes, is the perfect starter, especially when accompanied by the Pepe Pampelle Spritz. Lobster lovers should not miss the best-selling homemade black squid ink tagliatelle, served with a sweet, juicy lobster tail bathed in a rich seashell bisque. It’s like a taste of the sea on a plate.

Hot tip: Check out the locals’ hour Fridays and Saturdays from 5pm-6pm and treat yourself to specially priced cocktails, wines and beer.