Dining in Paradise

Dining in Paradise

There are few more iconic beaches in Australia than the pristine white sands of Surfers Paradise. The birthplace of the bikini, it represents Queensland’s casual outdoors-driven lifestyle.

The Paradise Centre’s new dining precinct

The Paradise Centre, just across the road from Surfers Paradise Beach, offers diners a beachside shopping location, entertainment, enhanced by its new $40-million dining precinct opened in September 2022. Its two levels of dining precinct look across a courtyard to the crashing surf beyond, bringing a new meaning to ‘Dining in Paradise’.

Surfers Paradise at dusk from the Paradise Centre

Eight diverse restaurants and food outlets span day and nighttime dining: El Camino Cantina, Wahlburgers, TGI Fridays, Gelato Messina, Nahm Talay Thai, Enzo’s Cucina, La Playa and Hero Sushi.


When the surf stirs up a hearty appetite, head to Wahlburgers for a taste of Hollywood. The first Queensland store founded by international chef Paul Wahlberg, his brothers Donnie and famous actor/director Mark, Wahlburgers has scored a front corner location looking straight out to the beach. An American-style family restaurant come sports bar, entertainment is laid on with NBA, NFL, and cricket running on the big screens.


Burgers are the main event. However, this 140-seat restaurant caters for the hungry public from breakfast to late night cocktails. From tots, tenders and bites as starters, the menu moves through salads and burgers to ‘Mom’s Favorites’.

Fun with friends at Wahlburgers

Strong connections to the Wahlberg family roots can be seen throughout the menu: “Growing up in a house with 9 kids, things were tight. Back then, blocks of cheese, known as ‘government cheese’, were given out to folks who needed a hand up. And we were so thankful,” the brothers say on their website.

There’s a bit of gratefulness to spread around Australia, it seems, the Surfers Paradise venue the first of a national rollout of the brand.

Wahlburgers captures the vibe of Surfers Paradise

Hero Sushi

Many people, like us, are big fans of sushi as a fast nutritious lunch. Hero Sushi, tucked in the downstairs corner of the dining precinct, gives you the options of grab and go rolls from the front counter or your selection of rolls, nigiri and sashimi available from the sushi train, all well above average in quality. You can also order sushi directly from the chef along with boxes, hand rolls, don buri bowls, salads and rice paper rolls.

Hero Sushi

Made fresh daily, Hero Sushi ranges from popular classics to fusion favourites. Their made to order platters of sushi are a great addition to any party.

TGI Fridays

The Paradise Centre’s dining precinct houses the latest in TGI Fridays’ 931 restaurants that can be found in more than 60 countries across the world! It’s a place where ‘you are invited to spend Fridays the way they were meant to be spent, enjoying good times with good friends,’ and we have no arguments with that!

Serving up classic American grill fare with a modern twist, the extensive menu is made from scratch using local ingredients. Meeting the market with plant-based and gluten-free, such as the Vegan Cheeseburger, many other dishes can be tailored to order.

TGI Fridays

Begin with starters of Pepper calamari, Crispy chicken strips, the crowd-pleasing Mac ‘n’ cheese loaded potato twisters (or any one of their potato-centric plates of deliciousness) or a bowl of slow-cooked garlic and chilli buffalo wings to share, before moving on to larger fare.

TGI Fridays’ Ultimate Burger

From lip-smacking scrumptious ribs smothered in sauce to steaks, burgers, crunchy salads, desserts, cocktails and more, every day can be Friday if you choose. Desserts take in American favourites such as the piping hot Apple crisp, Oreo Cookie sundae and the S’mores brownie topped with hot fudge and a marshmallow. With 180 seats in this restaurant, even in Happy Hour there are plenty of perches for everyone to enjoy a great time and an ocean view.

El Camino Cantina

It’s always party time at El Camino Cantina. The prime spots in this huge 250-seat party venue are stools perched high on the venue’s perimeter overlooking the beach. Picture yourself there with a taco in one hand, a margarita in the other. With rolling surf, white sand and sunshine pouring in from one side, on the other you’re immersed in a kaleidoscope of Mexican colour.

Tacos from El Camino Cantina

From 8am you can sit on one of those same stools, hands full of breakfast tacos and orange juice from the only El Camino Cantina in Australia that serves breakfast. Yes, it’s special but, then again, no one has a view like this!

It’s always party time at El Camino Cantina

Prepare for a day as long as a Mexican summer. Inside the cantina colour is everywhere, not only in the décor, but also in the delicious Tex-Mex food and drinks, with multi-coloured frozen margaritas on continuous pour. With special deals like $2 Taco Tuesdays, 10-cent Wing Wednesdays and half price Fajita Thursdays the party continues through the weekend. Jive to the sounds of the jukebox beats and as the day wanes and you light the night turbo-charged, you can wave in a new week.

La Playa

If you’re longing for a Mediterranean vacation, pop in for a meal at La Playa. Open every day from 7am until late, there’s a casual sun-filled vibe to this beachside venue that belies the sophistication of its food. From the team who brought us Elston on the Esplanade and Pearl & Ash at the Brickworks, this new venue is dedicated to ‘The Beach’ in both its name and lifestyle reflection.

La Playa‘s Spaghetti Marinara

Start off the day with a freshly squeezed juice or berry smoothie, a coffee and a Med-influenced breakfast. Pimped up standards like Avo smash are elevated with Persian feta and sunflower seeds, while Savoury mince is made from Wagyu accompanied by cumin labneh. Perhaps a Sharwarma chorizo wrap or Wild mushrooms with beetroot hummus, salsa verde and truffle oil will take your fancy.

La Playa’s Pan-seared barramundi

From there, step out onto the beach for a stroll before coming back to indulge in the all-day menu at lunch or dinner. It’s an eclectic menu where you can graze or share delights such as saganaki, arancini, oysters and calamari fritti, or dine on a light or substantial meal with drinks. Classic light meals move around Mediterranean favourites from a Cevapi roll to a Souva, the Quinoa Greek salad blessed with pomegranate, feta and mint. There’s Angus steak and Bangalow pork on offer from the grill. But for us, the sea gods shine on Pan-seared Humpty Doo barramundi, the best in Australia, respectfully dressed with olive salsa and gremolata, while Spaghetti Marinara brings to the table the varied abundance of the sea. Add a great wine or espresso martini and that’s date night sorted!

Nahm Talay Thai Restaurant & Bar

Hospitality veterans Pattaree (Pat) Jiranuchaiwattana and Vitchaya (Alex) Hasitawet, whose restaurants include Nahm Thai in Westfield Coomera and Chong Co Thai at Pacific Fair, have taken Thai cuisine to a whole new level in their latest Gold Coast venue. From traditional to internationally inspired, their modern rendition of Thai food is stunningly realised and theatrically presented.

Kingfish ceviche at Nahm Talay Thai

Beginning the day at 8.30am, Nahm Talay Thai presents breakfast as we’ve never seen it before. Thailand meets France in their stunning Instaworthy creations, such as Soft-Shell Crab Egg Lava bubbling out of a French croissant, Enoki Benny with turmeric hummus, crispy enoki mushrooms and luxe smoked salmon bonded by homemade hollandaise, and a maple, cinnamon and chocolate French Toast tumbling from a loaf end, top notches of ice cream and Persian fairy floss its crowning glory.

A selection of mains at Nahm Talay Thai

Nahm Talay Thai’s all-day menu is equally as spectacular. Beautifully presented with flowers, rocks and tendrils of smoke, the beach and riverfront are constant themes running through many dishes. That aside, each dish uses top ingredients, Kingfish ceviche a garland of fresh glory, the BBQ Wagyu steak magnificently graded 9+ perfectly cooked to medium rare by Chef Metira (May) Wongtom when we dine.

Talay ‘Seashore’, the signature dessert at Nahm Talay Thai

It is our dish of the evening, even surpassing the signature Talay dessert, an edible representation of the seashore. This is Thai food to amaze and delight. Try as you might, you could travel Thailand from coast to coast trying to find a meal as luxurious as this, let alone with such a panoramic beachside view.

Pandan creme brulee

Enzo’s Cucina

When it comes to our favourite family dining cuisine, Italian tops the list. The Enzo’s Cucina group of restaurants, eponymously named after founder Enzo Marturano, has been so successful feeding Sydney diners that it has expanded from 3 to 16 venues in just a few years. Enzo’s goal is to give diners an authentic yet affordable dining experience with friendly professional service. The latest addition to the family-owned group, the Surfers venue is owned by Enzo with Dylan Di Liberto.

Seafood platter at Enzo’s Cucina

The key to Enzo’s restaurant success is the balance of classic hospitality, authentic pasta and fresh, homely Italian food made from his mother Antonia’s recipes. Antonia’s so much a part of the operation that she still makes the meatballs for 15 of her son’s restaurants.

There is no chance of going away hungry from Enzo’s. Its expansive menu, which covers breads, entrees, salads, pasta, risotto, pizza, mains and dessert, has something for everyone. Squarely aimed at family dining, there’s a separate kids’ menu. Couples and groups can enjoy platters of seafood risotto or the seafood feast.

Gelato Messina

Ice cream and sunshine go together. Our beloved sweet favourite, Gelato Messina, satisfies our summer cravings for flavour-packed gelato like nowhere else can.

Forty flavours of sweet delight at Gelato Messina

Messina’s cabinet boasts forty flavours. Thirty-five are signatures, including crowd favourites such as salted caramel and white chocolate, milk chocolate with choc-peanut fudge as well as the more traditional tiramisu and pistachio. Five rotating special flavours verge into the tribe’s wild and whacky creations. Did I hear bacon gelato?

Gelato Messina

All Gelato Messina’s creations are hand made in house with natural ingredients. You can also buy edible gelato masterpieces for someone special’s birthday…but why wait until then!

Dining in Paradise

So, next time you’re in Paradise, don’t just think about a day at the beach. Now there are iconic dining venues waiting for you to satisfy your hunger before, during or after your swim and beach walk. Your only choice is where to begin.

Paradise Centre, Cavill Ave., Surfers Paradise, Opening hours vary.

NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast was a guest of the Paradise Centre. Some photos were supplied.

Open daily 9am – late. Opening hours of restaurants and food outlets varies.
Paradise Centre, Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise Queensland 4217, Australia