See & do
11 Amazing cafés in the Gold Coast's north
Kellie Warner | April 30, 2021
When it comes to great cafes on the Gold Coast we all know the list of the usual suspects.
But most of those places are on the southern end of the Gold Coast. Those of us who cannot simply pop up the road to that hip new place at Mermaid Beach need places to go to. So I’ve scoured the northern Gold Coast and have found some terrific cafés up this way serving excellent coffee and yummy food that is worth getting excited about.
So here are 11 cafés to add to your must-visit list. Enjoy.
THE WHISTLESTOP – PIMPAMA
The Whistlestop is a family run cafe and bistro that was established in 1996. In reality, Pimpama is a suburb of the Gold Coast like any other, but being at Whistlestop feels like you have stepped into the picturesque, quaint countryside, almost like being on a holiday.
And what a wonderful holiday. Whistlestop offers great coffee and food all day long. If you need coffee on the way to work you can grab a take away at the Back Alley Sally drive through. Or visit for morning or afternoon tea. If you are after a good meal then you can choose lunch or dinner. Choose to sit inside at the large rustic tables or sit on the deck and watch the world go by.
Co-Owner Sarah-Ann Degen says the Whistlestop is always bustling as they provide good wholesome food and a great variety of beverages with exceptional coffee.
“Our staff care about our product and value our customers and take pride in representing our business” says Sarah.
They are famous for their pizza such as the latest masterpiece, ‘the Beast’ featuring slow cooked brisket, Texan style hot sauce, broccolini, almonds, feta and dill pickles which sounds ravishing, if a tad unorthodox. They also have an extensive menu featuring meals from around the world. Breakfasts are hearty and include a popular Spanish Tostada featuring bacon, Jarlsberg cheese, avocado and more. The cakes are plentiful and yummy too.
Sarah-Ann takes great pride in the great coffee they serve;
“We use Vittoria Coffee as we have spent many years researching “good” coffee and found Vittoria to be the best “all-rounder” coffee.
“A big part of coffee depends on the barista and our staff are trained to a specific standard.”
On my recent visit I enjoyed a perfect flat white with just the right amount of crema and a smooth, rich and strong flavour. It came in a simple mis-matched mug and saucer which added to the charm of this fun cafe.
Where: 88 Pimpama-Jacobs Well Rd, Pimpama
Hours: Tue, 7am-7pm | Wed-Thu, 7am-8pm | Fri-Sat, 7am-9pm | Sun, 7am-2pm
Back Alley Sally drive through: 6 days, 5am-10am
RED TRACTOR CAFE – PARADISE POINT
Paradise Point isn’t without some great places to enjoy scrumptious food and good aromatic coffee. The Red Tractor fast became one of the most popular. Their success relies on the great trio of excellent food, great coffee and friendly service.
Owner and part-time chef Samantha Perrin strongly believes in sustainability and low environmental impact and this is at the core of her business. Many products such as ketchup, relishes, and coffee syrup are made in-house and Samantha feels it is important to use only Australian produce.
Not only can you sample tasty, fresh food but like most good coffee shops, Red Tractor takes its coffee brewing very seriously. Samantha explains that her baristas are trained in the art of a fine cup of coffee, ensuring the extractions are timed just right and that the temperature of the milk is perfect.
“Coffee is the basis of our business and our talented baristas take pride in producing quality coffee” says Samantha.
The coffee is provided by Quest Coffee Roasters from Burleigh Heads and they use the organic blend, Casa. Gold Coast based Norco is their milk of choice and they source meat and bread from a local butcher and baker. There is no plastic, only glass bottles at Red Tractor and customers are rewarded for using re-usable take-away coffee cups.
Popular items include the breakfast burger featuring four hour slow cooked ham hock, crispy fried egg and homemade tomato ketchup. Or for lunch, why not try the popular beer battered sweet potato wedges with homemade roast garlic mayo? Sounds like heaven.
Where: 10 Grice Ave, Paradise Point
Hours: Daily, 6.30am-3pm
BLACK SHEEP BISTRO – OXENFORD
Fine dining in Oxenford? Well not quite but certainly exceptional, modern and tasty cuisine cooked by a skilled chef is available at Black Sheep Bistro (BSB).
Owner and Chef Sian Bressolles is true to her farming roots, cooking tasty and authentic cuisine for lovers of good food. She employs the concepts of sustainability and compassion for the environment, believing that using produce at its optimal time is not only good for the land but for business. Uninfluenced by trends or fads, she employs a nose-to-tail approach and most of all wants diners to be treated to hearty, satisfying meals.
“Our meals are freshly made to order with a contemporary twist. I’ve travelled much of the world and it’s the family meals at the table of friends and colleagues that have the most impacted on our seasonal menu changes.”
The menu includes tantalising treats like a tender rump steak option in the form of the BSB Steak Sandwich for lunch. For dinner the Caramel Pork Belly (slow roasted pork belly with sum tam salad, crispy glass noodles & salted caramel sauce) sounds divine. Dessert isn’t forgotten and the stars are home-made pies of which the Milk ‘n Honey pie served with vanilla bean ice cream is the favourite.
So up here in the northern end of the Gold Coast, we know our food. In fact Sian loves cooking for her Oxenford clientele, “I’ve been a chef for 20+ years and have never had such a wonderful group of people to cook for, they really do make all the difference when you work in the hospitality trade.”
They source their coffee locally from Yatala, Full City is the coffee of choice and the blend is called nobodies. The blend is full bodied with a rich caramel crema, which is flavoursome but not bitter. Sian’s thought on the perfect cup? “You should be able to taste the ‘sweetness without the sugar’”.
Where: 2/108 Old Pacific Highway, Oxenford 4210
Hours: Tue-Thu, 6.30am-2.30pm | Fri, 6am-3pm & 6pm-8.30pm | Sat, 8am-2pm & 6pm-8.30pm | Sun, 8am-12pm
CAFÉ NINETEEN – SANCTUARY COVE
By no means a newbie, Café Nineteen is a popular regular haunt located at The Marina Village at Sanctuary Cove. You can shop, people watch or simply relax in tranquil surroundings before or after a great breakfast, smooth cup of coffee or hearty lunch.
Cafe Nineteen pride themselves on a relaxed, welcoming environment and serve gourmet, sumptuous dishes to a thankful public.
All day breakfast is a speciality here and the menu has plenty of choice. From a New York bagel to the large and hearty Cove breakfast. The lunch menu features fresh Queensland ingredients including great seafood and fresh salads. The Fishermans Catch is, not surprisingly, a popular choice.
Owner/Director Ronell Bunting strives to ensure her customers are happy and well fed.
“Our focus is to serve food that is made with the highest quality of ingredients, that is accompanied with professional and friendly staff” says Ronnell.
Café Nineteen serves a top brand coffee, called “di Manfredi”. They believe an exceptionally trained barista is a must have and that consistency in their coffee making is paramount. Also Ronell believes, ‘a friendly smile also goes a long way.’
You can bring along your canine best friend if you intend to sit alfresco or else go inside, grab a newspaper and settle in.
Where: 5 Masthead Way, Sanctuary Cove, QLD, 4212
Hours: Mon-Sun, 7am-4pm
THE GALLEY – COOMERA
The Galley is a rare find. It is the type of place everyone should be talking about. It is tucked away in the Marina at Coomera and it should stay a local secret no longer.
The Galley is almost outrageously nautically themed. Decked out in natural wood and reclaimed timber it sits well amongst the masts and sails of the Marina.
The friendly staff, often dressed as pirates serve the popular boutique coffee The Establishment and take pride in making an excellent cup of coffee. Most importantly the positively divine homemade cakes are made by Irina, a qualified pastry chef who trained in France. You truly have not tasted a macaron until you have tasted one from The Galley.
Meals are also available for lunch and they are open for dinner on Thursday and Friday nights.
Where: The Boat Works, 200 Beattie Road, Coomera
Hours: Sun-Thu & Sat 7am-4pm| Fri 7am-9pm
THE OLD DANUBE EUROPEAN CAKE AND COFFEE SHOP – HELENSVALE
Unable to find the kind of European cakes they were used to back home the owners opened this café so their love of European cakes could be enjoyed by people on the Gold Coast. With a pastry chef who has spent 18 years at the famous Gerbeaud Patisserie in Budapest, Hungary, a love of great coffee and a customer service focus The Old Danube was born.
There are 25 indulgent cakes to choose from and all are preservative free. The cake choices include a traditional Dobos Cake, which is a Hungarian layered cake with a soft white sponge, soft cooked chocolate cream and caramelised toffee top. Or you could try some Eszterhazy Cake, which is a traditional layered cake with vanilla cream, walnuts through the sponge, a touch of brandy flavour and soft fondant top.
Cakes can be bought by the slice or ordered whole. You can also have breakfast or lunch at the café. The coffee is exquisite. Now under new management they have expanded their range to include a variety of gluten, dairy and nut free cakes.
Where: Helensvale Plaza – 12 Sir John Overall Drive, Helensvale
Hours: Mon-Sat, 8am-5pm | Sun, 9am-3pm
TIFFANYS – HOPE ISLAND
Newly opened at Hope Island, Tiffanys is the home of luxury. This café is unique in that you can enjoy a great cup of specially hand roasted coffee or indulge with some sparkling wine or a cocktail in their Chandelier Bar.
Not surprisingly they have a Breakfast at Tiffanys menu as well as a Luncheon at Tiffanys menu. You can indulge in a cheese platter or choose some oysters. There are also some delectable sweet treats to have with your tea or coffee.
So whether you want an early pick me up or to enjoy a leisurely sunset over the Marina you can come and relax at Tiffanys and spoil yourself.
Where: Shop 19 Marina Shopping Village, 10 Santa Barbara Road, Hope Island
Hours: Tues-Thurs & Sun 7am-4pm | Fri-Sat 7am-11pm
CAFÉ 7 – PARADISE POINT
Café 7 is a quirky café on the popular Esplanade at Paradise Point. It has outside seating or go inside to a booth or funky table and take in the style and atmosphere.
Café 7 does great breakfasts including the healthy bread board which features dukkha sprinkled poached eggs, pancetta and pesto.
They are licensed so you can have a drink with your meal or the coffee is excellent. They have a great lunch deal where for $18.50 you can choose an entrée and main from their special menu with a glass of wine or soft drink.
They are becoming famous for their muffins and the dessert menu features delicacies such as dark chocolate timtam cheesecake or their own secret recipe banoffi.
Where: Shop 42, The Esplanade Paradise Point
Hours: Daily, 6am-3.30pm
DRIFT – TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN
Drift is a popular café and restaurant on Tamborine Mountain. Choose to sit in the restaurant area or on the huge deck where you can enjoy the view and cool breezes on the mountain. Featuring a new funky Café Lounge Menu, Drift is a modern and unique dining establishment well worth a visit.
Your Merlo coffee is made by their dedicated, trained baristas. Or you could have a glass of wine with your meal as Drift is fully licensed.
Drift uses quality local produce to serve you breakfast and lunch. Or their menu is not short of sweet treats with delectable desserts like their ginger and mascarpone crème brûlée.
While enjoying a coffee or meal you can check out the Aboriginal Artwork from North East Arnhem Land for something a little bit different.
Where: 12 Main Western Road, Tamborine Mountain
Hours: Daily, 7.00am-5.00pm
CAFÉ ON ALPINE AT BIRCHGROVE NURSERY – TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN
Located on Tamborine Mountain what sets Café on Alpine apart is its romantic shabby chic style décor nestled amongst the greenery and beauty of a garden nursery.
If you prefer your cafés quaint and cosy but not skimping on excellent sweet treats and coffee than this place is for you.
Enjoy a delicious cup of loose leaf tea in glorious surroundings or slow down with a Fair Trade coffee and home-made piece of cake after pacing along the busy tourist heavy Gallery Walk.
Where: 38 Alpine Terrace, Tamborine Mountain
Hours: Daily, 8.30am-4pm
TERRARIUM – OXENFORD
The staff here are friendly and the music is at just the right volume. If the weather is too hot they close up and put the air con on so you can better enjoy your cup coffee as they are serious lovers of specialty coffee. The house blend is called ‘Stellated’ by Terrarium and is roasted by Q Roasters in Brisbane. They also offer single origins which are currently organic Honduran Biolatina and Ethiopian Yirgacheffe which are offered as a cold drip, espresso, V60 pour over or their special S.O Smoothie.
You can enjoy breakfast, brunch or lunch here though Terrarium doesn’t forget those with a sweet tooth searching out a morning or afternoon treat. Their talented baker coming up with offerings to delight such as Bailey’s Irish Cream Baked Cheesecake with Salted Caramel.
Where: 1/141 Maudsland Road, Oxenford
Hours: Tue-Fri, 6.30am-3pm | Sat-Sun, 7am-3pm