When you’re looking for food on the run, poke bowls are one of the healthiest, most convenient fast food meals in town. The name ‘poke’ (pronounced ‘po-kay’, and written without an acute accent on the ‘e’) comes from the Hawaiian word meaning ‘to slice’ or ‘cut crosswise into pieces’, referring to the leftover pieces of fish from which the dish was made. Since the 1970s, the dish gained Japanese influences before travelling across to the US mainland, from where California-style poke has become mainstream in Western culture.
Not sure where to find poke on the Gold Coast? We’ve got you covered with five dedicated poke shops, each one offering vibrant fresh versions of the dish.
Poke Poke, Mermaid Beach
What defines a great poke bowl? ‘Morgan Walsh’, her staff say, and we must agree. In the first dedicated poke restaurant on the Gold Coast, Morgan takes the idea of poke and reinvents it for the coast’s existing ingredient loves. ‘Breakfast pokes’ turn poke on its head, while the ‘All day poke’ menu contains more traditional versions along with vegetarian, chicken and karaage. The ‘Tuna me on’ is one of our favourites, mixed to order.
Finn Poke, Byron Bay, Pacific Fair Broadbeach and Burleigh Heads
‘This is how we bowl,’ says the neon one-liner in family-run Finn Poke’s shops. Yes indeed! Not only using premium sustainable seafood but also ‘curating’ each of their dozen signature bowls’ organic ingredients to achieve balance of flavour and texture, Finn Poke’s bowls include food for gut health and wellbeing served in recycled containers. You also have the option to build your own bowl. Local and certified sustainable, you’ll be eating top sashimi-grade fish without the price tag!
Raw + Rice, Coolangatta
Located just a stone’s throw from both Coolangatta and Greenmount Beaches, Raw + Rice places an emphasis on fresh, local, and sustainable ingredients, with a variable, flavour-packed menu. The restaurant offers five signature bowls based on sustainable seafood, chicken and tofu, or a Build Your Own Bowl from the base of brown rice, sushi rice, quinoa or mixed greens adding ingredients for Protein, Freshness, Sauce and Crunch. Freshness and exceptional sauces make Raw + Rice a top choice.
Poke California, Circle on Cavill Surfers Paradise
Poké California, the most price-competitive poke store ($12.50 – $14.90 with a kids’ bowl at $9), offers a range of about a dozen signature bowls or a ‘pick-your-own-ingredient’ choice. Building a bowl is a five-step process starting with a base of rice, green or seaweed salad, then a protein such as sashimi-grade salmon and tuna, prawns, chicken and tofu, ‘mixers’ such as edamame or avocado, sauces including wasabi mayo and toppers such as crispy fried garlic and sesame seeds. Your bowl is ready!
Hipoke, Kirra Beach
Located opposite the famous Kirra surf break, the beautiful shopfront Hipoke offers five bowl options of sashimi-grade fish, chicken or tofu accompanied by fresh ingredients and sauces, as well as a build-your-own-bowl option. There are some interesting ingredients her, including coconut rice, black rice and quinoa as bases, green tea or passionfruit sauces, and lotus chips as a topper (as well as more traditional elements).