Good Food Guide Awards 2016

It’s official: the Gold Coast is HOT!

The Brisbane Times Good Food Guide Awards for 2016 were held this week in Lightspace, Fortitude Valley and we are happy to announce that the Gold Coast is officially HOT!

Sponsored by Vittoria Coffee and Citi, it was an evening celebrated with Salumi Australia smallgoods and lavish platters of cheese presented by Fino Food and Wine, Pol Roger flowed freely and black was ‘de rigeur’!

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Good Food Gold Coast attended as guests of Vittoria Coffee, excited to celebrate the achievements of our fabulous Gold Coast restaurants. Leo Schirato, Chief Executive of Vittoria Food & Beverage spoke of the honour of working in such a hard-working industry, reminding us of the dedication and commitment recognised in these awards.

There was a significant increase in the total number of hats awarded, with 61 compared to 50 last year. For the first time in the hat stakes, regional restaurants outscored urban kitchens, with 32 hats awarded to non-city venues compared with Brisbane’s 29.

“The performance of the Gold Coast this year has been particularly strong,” Brisbane Times Good Food Guide editor, Natascha Mirosch, says. “Out of the 32 regional hats awarded, 22 were from the Gold Coast, and a lot of these were new entries such as Kiyomi, Room81, Moo Moo and Verve.”

A huge congratulations to the Kiyomi team in particular for becoming a hatted restaurant in their first year of operation. Such a huge achievement reflects the team’s commitment to quality and service!


Here’s the list of our Gold Coast hatted restaurants (linked to those we’ve reviewed):

2 hats:

The Fish House

1 hat:

Allure on Currumbin
Kiyomi  (gained a hat)
Moo Moo
Ristorante Fellini Fellini
Room 81 (gained a hat)
Salt Grill
Social Eating House  (gained a hat)
Ten Japanese
Verve (gained a hat)


The major overall awards went to:
Esquire was the only restaurant awarded three hats and it was once again named Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year.
GOMA Restaurant chef, Josue Lopez, was awarded Citi Chef of the Year. (He is also the representative of the Scenic Rim’s Eat Local Week.)
The Catbird Seat Bistro was awarded a hat in its first year and also named Best New Restaurant.
The Santa Vittoria Regional Restaurant of the Year went to Noosa’s Wasabi Restaurant & Bar.
Wine List of the Year was awarded to Aria, Brisbane.
Vittoria Coffee Legend Award was awarded to Philip Johnson, Eçco Bistro.

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Summarising restaurant trends, Natasha Mirosch said that it’s the first year that the Good Food Guide has included Top 10 Burgers as well as Top 10 healthy food, demonstrating the diversity of food choices and trends. Paleo, raw and vegan in particular have an increased presence on mainstream menus. She noted the emergence of bulletproof coffees, but added that fresh juices served in mason jars are still in fashion!

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Breakfast has become hugely popular as a meal to dine out, with a price creep evident per plate. The $14 smashed avo on toast is alive and well.

“In house” is the phrase of the moment, one application of this being the increase of in house curing and fermenting in Brisbane, (a trend not yet evident on the Gold Coast). Kitchen gardens are also more common.

Fine dining is not healthy and there’s been a drop in the standard of service overall. We’re being asked more often to hand over our credit card or to make a deposit to make a booking, tables are getting smaller but we need to queue up at popular no-bookings casual venues, Mirosch says.


Mirosch says she has also noticed more hidden and rooftop bars, and cafés in unlikely spaces due to rent costs. (On the Gold Coast, we’ve seen further development of our own food scene with an increase in casual outdoor venues which reflect our lifestyle.)

Shooting before you eat has become a mainstream activity, with many diners capturing their own food memories, posted on Instagram.

Alistair McLeod summarised by saying that these are all part of “a vibrant food journey”.

The full list of winners and judges’ comments can be found in The Brisbane Times Good Food Guide 2016, available for $7.99 from participating newsagents or online at for $9.99 including delivery.

NOTE: This review has also been published on More Gold Coast.